If you go
What: The Zombies
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder
More info: bouldertheater.com
Abbey Road Studio 3
The Zombie's classic "Odessey and Oracle" was recorded at London's famed Abbey Road Studios in 1967, just days after the Beatles recorded "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Co-founder of The Zombies Colin Blunstone said that although The Zombies didn't have much interaction with the Fab Four, the Beatles had an unintentional influence on "Odessey and Oracle."
"John Lennon had left his mellotron in Studio 3, which is where we were recording," he said, adding that there were also tambourines and maracas left behind. "We'd make full use of all these instruments that were lying around, but particularly that mellotron. If John Lennon hadn't left that behind, it probably wouldn't have been recorded on 'Odessey and Oracle' at all. It would have been a totally different album."
Cool tip: Studio 3 also housed Pink Floyd during the recording of "Dark Side of the Moon" and Lady Gaga for "Born this Way."
Popular music can seem saturated with finger snaps and hand claps.
Despite some youth consensus, Fitz and the Tantrums did not hatch the trend. From The Marvelettes to The Meters, the Go-Go's, The Rembrandts, Outkast, Beck, The Lumineers and even that little ditty about "Jack & Diane," the beat's antique.
Then there's The Zombies — the second British band, behind the Beatles, to score a No. 1 hit in America — who hand clapped their way to the top of the charts during the 1960s British Invasion.
The Zombies' signature clap-breath-"What's your name? Who's your daddy?" in "Time of the Season" (on 1968's "Odessey and Oracle" ) had the band peaking after 1964's "She's Not There" debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"When I first came into this business, I remember asking a question about what I was looking for in the music business," said Blunstone, 71, in an August phone interview. "One of the things I was looking for was the ability to sustain a career without relying on a current, or future, hit single. And at the time, when it seemed nearly all careers were based on hit singles, that seemed quite an ambitious demand — quite an ambitious achievement."
He added, "But I think for me as a solo artist, and especially as a member of The Zombies, I got my wish."
But by the time "Odessey and Oracle" was released, the band had broken up. A year later in 1969, "Time of the Season" became a smash. But Blunstone was riding a successful solo career (and frequently collaborated with Alan Parsons Project), while Zombies co-founder Rod Argent formed the band Argent. After brief reunions over the subsequent decades, the band is now back on tour celebrating the release of 2015's "Still Got That Hunger."
"We don't have to work at this time in our lives," said Blunstone. "Part of the thrill of it is that it's all so unexpected. Until Rod and I got back together again in 1999, I think that we both thought our career as live performers was over. We got together originally for six dates and enjoyed it so much we just kept going. And we didn't expect to get this opportunity to be live performers at this time in our lives."
The current lineup features Blunstone and keyboardist Argent alongside bassist Jim Rodford (of Argent and The Kinks), Rodford's son Steve Rodford on drums and renowned guitarist Tom Toomey.
As much of current music has turned towards synthetic and digital arrangements, Blunstone said those genres don't quite pique his interest.
"I like songs and lyrics and beautiful chord changes and wonderful performances. (Where) it evokes an emotion from you when you listen to this music," he said.
Blunstone said he enjoys listening to music from his formative years, like Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and James Taylor.
But on the positive side, he said the "future looks rosy" for the plethora of young and talented singer-songwriters.
As an active musician with a career that spans more than 50 years, Blunstone said he still relishes creating new material.
"It's very important for us that we do right and record new material," he said. "I don't think we would ever be satisfied with just playing old material. We're very happy to play the old songs — I love them — and we're always discovering obscure songs that we recorded years and years ago. ... But we do love to perform new songs as well."
Blunstone said the Boulder show will include some new material and maybe some Argent and Alan Parsons tunes.
And, of course, the hits.
"I enjoy performing them even after all this time," Blunstone said. "I think we're lucky that there's a kind of timelessness about the hits that The Zombies have. They still sound as fresh and feel as relevant today."
And Blunstone is all about bucking trends.
"In The Zombies, we were always thinking in the terms that we're craftsmen, trying to learn our craft," he said. "I'm constantly trying to learn how to write songs, how to write better songs and how to perform on a higher level. That's my aim, that's my ambition and that's what drives me." He added, "Hopefully we can sustain a career without relying on trends."
Sustain, they accomplished. And since 2015 marked the band's return to Billboard's charts after nearly a half a century with "Still Got That Hunger," "thrive" may be the better term.
Now that's worthy of some hand claps.
Christy Fantz: twitter.com/fantzypants