Music News

Zero Tolerance

Ch-ch-ch-changes! Always in favor of mixing things up, the local punk/dub genre-blenders of Authority Zero are all about switching gears lately. In a chat with New Times, Authority Zero guitarist Bill Marcks drops the skinny on AZ's move from Lava/Atlantic, its new acoustic CD, and its ballooning DIY plans for 2006.

"We're free agents," says Marcks of the band's amicable split with the now-defunct Atlantic sub Lava Records. "We know our audience better than they did." Authority Zero likes the change to an independent approach for obvious reasons -- total creative control and no middle man. "We're not itching to get back into a contract. If a label shows interest, the tour budget and creative elements would have to be right. Otherwise, it's just better doing it yourself."

With that in mind, Authority Zero recently christened its own label, Zero Crew Records, with the release of the new Authority Zero live acoustic CD, Rhythm and Booze. And talk about changes -- the limited-release acoustic CD features mellowed-out versions of classic high-octane AZ songs.

"We're really stoked about it," says Marcks. "We wanted to give people a taste of the old music so people can have something to listen to until we get the new electric album out."

If you're wondering what an "unplugged" Authority Zero sounds like, think "Bro-Hymn" meets Brad Nowell. Purists, take heart: Rhythm and Booze hums with AZ's trademark electricity. The half-time versions of "Super Bitch," "A Passage in Time," and "Find Your Way" sound tailor-made for the half-time treatment, and should make for prime sing-along fodder for double-fisted swillers everywhere.

So what's on the docket for '06? Authority Zero plans to record its third full-length CD in April with veteran punk knob-turner Ryan Greene (who relocated his studio to the Valley recently after falling in love with the people and the area during the recording of Andiamo). The new CD will see Authority Zero take its hybrid Descendents-meets-Half Pint sound in some new, er, old directions. "The new material includes a retro, vintage feel in some instances. We pull from stuff like The Clash, old Op Ivy," says Marcks.

In the meantime, he has another feather in his cap: club promoter. Marcks has started organizing events like Brew Sippin' Wednesdays at the Real Bar in Tempe. "Cheap drinks, good friends, lots of great music," Marcks explains. "Just the way we like it."

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Casey Lynch