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ZINNY J ZAN - CITY BOY BLUES - FASTLANE
Zinny J Zan is the Swedish former singer for Shotgun Messiah and Easy Action who after a lengthy absence from the scene has now returned with the release of City Boy Blues via Fastlane Records. With a little help from a couple of old Shotgun Messiah colleagues and Motorhead's Mickey Dee, Zinny's album comes across as a mixture of Thin Lizzy, Tesla and the The London Quireboys. Pay special attention to that first name for it's a comparison which will come up often.
City Boy Blues has a nice sound and manages to be melodic without coming across as forced. It's Sweden gone L.A. glam which oddly enough, not having a bio, comes across as if fronted by two singers. One of whom sounds like a dead ringer for Lizzy's Phil Lynott, while the other has a less bluesy vice.
This boy kicks off the blues with the title track which is a song where the singer sounds particularly close to Lynott, Grin 'n' Bear It is more of a crossover L.A. tune which sports a solid hard-rocking rhythm. The leads are fluid and the backing vocals harmonic. This is a fun song which rocks. Love Is Like Fire gives a nod to both Aerosmith and Kix. It is a slower track about the time-honoured 'baby.' Are those slide guitars in the background? Hollywood is completely Thin Lizzy again. The song has cool leads. This is followed by I Believe, a more straightforward rocker whose vocal phrasings are actually reminiscent of Big Country. The solo is soulful and wailing. For Your Rights is right next and has a sleazier melody. It is slower and has a message about freedom of speech. Is that Axl himself singing back up on this one? Point Of No Return picks up the pace again with its kick-off ominous riff. It goes on to explode into a hard-edged riff. The vocals too are sharp and angry on this song. Lost Generation is another commercial up-tempo hard rocker with Lynott on vocals - just can't get over this - and has more intelligent lyrics about self-empowerment. This one is catchy as hell. Reach For The Sky comes, ironically, with a more gloomy beginning. This sad power ballad would have been on heavy rotation on M$TV were this 1987. Those vocal harmonies present two distinct styles throughout this (nearly) six-minute song. The song before last is called Blow By Blow and is a weaker composition. The vocals are semi-rapped and the power chords, although later lightened by a solo reminiscent of George lynch, are primitive overall. The boy comes to a stop with the song Wild As A Rose. This bud is both slower and bluesier. Slide guitars and acoustic guitars mingle for an effect reminiscent of an unplugged Tesla crossed with Aerosmith. Like it or not, the courage of this material is undeniable - Ali "The Metallian"




Interviews

Who is Zinny J Zan? What is the City Boy Blues? What does it have to do with any of us? If you thought Zinny J Zan was the new leader of the Chinese Communist Party, you must have been hiding under a hard rock for the past decade. He is the former front man of Shotgun Messiah who now has returned after a decade-long absence with his very own solo band. City Boy Blues is his album's title and that's where things begin to get interesting. It concerns us because he has glammed it up, sleazed it down. and rocked hard all the way from his hometown of Stockholm, which explains the part about the city at least. So was that a good story? Hell no, it was just the beginning. Ali "The Metallian" tracked down J Zan in his homeland of Sweden for a quick story. Read on! - 10.11.2002

METALLIAN: Zinny, thank you for speaking with Metallian.com. Why don't we begin with your outlining the early years for the readers?
ZINNY J ZAN: Absolutely, the early years, for me, were a blend of Aerosmith, Kiss, Sex Pistols , Clash , Ramones, Sweet and Thin Lizzy. My early bands sounded just like that: a big mixture of all those bands. After a few years one gets the feel for it, picks out the best in every band, takes the result and makes it his style. I was in a few bands of that style. My early bands were Belsen Boys, Brilliant Boys, Alarm X, Bangshot, then came Easy-Action and later Shotgun Messiah.

METALLIAN: It is for the latter band which you are known. How did you arrive at Shotgun Messiah?
ZINNY J ZAN: Simple, Tim Tim and Harry Cody called me up and asked me to try out for them and I did!

METALLIAN: Why did you depart from the band? What have you been up to since?
ZINNY J ZAN: We never really hit the jackpot on a personal basis. Tim, Harry and I never got along so after a few years together... it became too much to handle.
After Shotgun Messiah I formed a band called Grand Slam and even signed with Warner Music, but the main guy at Warner who had signed us left the Swedish office and we soon got dropped. After that I recorded an album with a band called Zan Clan that I had formed. The album bombed. I don't like it myself either! After that disappointment I took a holiday from the business. I am back!

METALLIAN: Zan Clan was actually going to be the subject of my next question. Isn't the current band in fact a continuation of Zan Clan?
ZINNY J ZAN: Right, three of the people on this new album were in fact in Zan Clan - that is correct. This is not a band though, it is just three guys that I thought could get the goods out of the songs that I had written. I do not know whether or not we will work together again. Matthew the drummer will surely join me on an upcoming tour. Other than that guitarist Kee Marcello, formerly of Europe appears on Wild As A Rose playing some guitar and bass. We hadn't worked together since the Easy-Action days so it was a good laugh.

METALLIAN: Are you looking to form a band though or are you content with simply hiring musicians as needed?
ZINNY J ZAN: I would like to have a band, but since it is hard to find the right people I will just hire musicians for the time being.

METALLIAN: Why don't we proceed to the eleven songs on City Boy Blues.
ZINNY J ZAN: Some of the songs were written around 1997 and '98. The rest were composed between 1999 and 2001. Music-wise, I was just trying to write the best songs possible. Lyric-wise I am telling my story up until now. You know, what you have gone through, the people you have lost and your reflection on the events which are going on around you... that kind of a thing.

METALLIAN: There is a variety of vocal styles on the album. One, in particular, sounds very similar to Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott. How often have you heard that comparison made?
ZINNY J ZAN: I hear this a lot and every time in a positive way. People seem to think that it's cool, because Phil is gone and then here is someone else that can keep up on that trademark.

METALLIAN: My favourite song on the album has to be Point Of No Return. Will you say a few words about the tune?
ZINNY J ZAN: It's a bummed out and angry Zinny letting things off the chest. I go fucking nuts when we play that one live. You know, it is pure adrenaline for me.

METALLIAN: Your lyrics seem socially conscious. Is that you as a person or is that you while recording City Boy Blues? Do you have anything specific you need to get across?
ZINNY J ZAN: I guess that's the way I am. It is difficult because I have a serious side, a wild side and then a soft side - like everybody else, but yeah I am socially conscious and that is better that than being unconscious right?

METALLIAN: You are not about to get an argument from me, Zinny. Elsewhere, how did you stumble across the folk at Fastlane Records and what sort of a deal do you have?
ZINNY J ZAN: I got contacted by Shawn, the owner, at Fastlane Records and he tricked me into this slave deal that I signed (laughs). Just kidding, no Shawn did contact me and we have a contract with which we are both happy so far.

METALLIAN: You had relocated to the USA during the Shotgun days. Is that all in the past?
ZINNY J ZAN: Yes, I am currently living a little outside of Stockholm. I bought a house near the ocean where I can isolate myself and write my shit in peace. I am trying to cure myself from the City Boy Blues out here!

METALLIAN: Looked at from a hard rock point-of-view, today's musical climate is not so great for your style. In the context of your act's style, how do you see the road ahead for music?
ZINNY J ZAN: Well I don't worry or think too much about it really. What it comes down to in the end is that it's only Rock n Roll. You should have fun and go with the groove.

METALLIAN: And more specifically, What are your latest news and plans?
ZINNY J ZAN: For the time being I am trying out people to play with me for a Scandinavian tour scheduled to happen around December and January. What's more, as always, I am writing new stuff for a new album. I was just out doing a few guest appearances with other Swedish musicians to build up for my album over here. The album is not released in Sweden yet. Basically I have just been playing with friends around Stockholm. It's not really a solidified line-up yet.

METALLIAN: Thanks for the chat Zinny.
ZINNY J ZAN: Thank you for your interest. I do hope to hit Canada in the future. I hope to see you there then!

Zinny J Zan's City Boy Blues is now out through FastLane Records. Do you need more information than that? Then head over to www.fastlanerecords.com.
Zinny J Zan