Zebrahead is an Orange County, California-based band that was formed in La Habra, California.
Early Years (1996?1998)
The band was formed in 1996 by guitarists Justin Mauriello (formerly of Once There), Greg Bergdorf (who was formerly of 409), bassist Ben Osmundson (formerly of 3-Ply), and drummer Ed Udhus (formerly of 409). All four musicians, whose bands at the time shared the same practice space, found themselves experimenting with different sounds together and soon became friends. After deciding that they wanted to explore their musical options further, Greg, Justin, Ben and Ed quit their previous bands and Zebrahead was formed.
The group who were inspired by acts including Fugazi and The Descendents, found themselves uninspired by the local trend towards ska-punk and instead began incorporating elements of hip-hop into their sound, eventually recruiting rapper Ali Tabatabaee to join their ranks.
After issuing the self-titled EP Zebrahead (also known as The Yellow due to the cover) on the indie label Doctor Dream Records in May 1998, Zebrahead signed to major label Columbia Records to release their full-length debut, Waste of Mind, which appeared later that same year. The band?s follow up album Playmate of the Year was issued in mid-2000 and the Stupid Fat Americans EP followed the next year as an exclusive release for Japan.
Zebrahead headed over to Europe with Green Day to support the records and played various festival dates as well. Throughout the years, they also shared gigs with bands like Less Than Jake, Kottonmouth Kings, 311, MxPx, Reel Big Fish, Unwritten Law and Goldfinger.
Three years after having released a full length album, MFZB (aka Mother Fucking Zebrahead Bitch!) appeared in 2003, which the band spent the majority of their time promoting overseas in Japan where the record soon went gold. Zebrahead found themselves performing at various festivals including Summer Sonic Festival and Punkspring, as well as headline shows throughout Japan. During this time the band started to take on more of a heavier more punk sound rather than a hip-hop funk-rock sound.
Justin Mauriello's departure (2004)
Shortly after their 2004 Japanese tour, lead singer/rhythm guitarist Mauriello exited the group to pursue other interests. The news of Mauriello's departure was broken to fans via the band's official website in December 2004. His exit from the group distressed fans, as the singing/rapping dynamic between him and Tabatabaee was crucial to the band's sound. The same month, Matty Lewis (formerly of the band Jank 1000) received a call from Zebrahead's manager Todd Singerman (who also had a management deal with Jank 1000), and was informed that Zebrahead were looking for a new co-lead singer. Lewis set out to California to try out for the role, and after being heavily impressed with what they saw, the four remaining members officially named him Zebrahead's new co-lead singer with him being formally introduced to the world at a "secret" show at the Anaheim House of Blues on March 12, 2005.
Broadcast to the World (2005?2007)
After two years since their last CD release, Zebrahead, now armed with a new vocalist, released their fifth studio album Broadcast to the World on February 22, 2006.
After touring Europe and the UK at the start of June 2006, including a spot on the annual UK Download Festival, Zebrahead spent the rest of the summer in the USA on the Warped Tour. During this time their current album Broadcast to the World was released on July 3 in Europe through the German based record company SPV. October 24, 2006 finally saw the long awaited, American and Canadian release of the record via new label ICON MES. The rest of 2006 was spent touring Europe and the US as part of the Broadcast To The World tour.
In March 2007, the band took two months off to begin writing new material for their next studio album, which would go on to be Phoenix. The band later returned to Europe in May on a co-headline tour with MxPx and a headline UK tour. Zebrahead spent more time writing material for their new album which had a planned release date of February, 2008.
After several of the active users at MFZB.com made it apparent they were in need of update from the band during this 'quiet' period, Zebrahead responded by posting a video update to YouTube which was promised as "the first of many". The video talks about the writing/recording process and has an update on Zebrahead's official fanclub.
October 2007 saw the return of Zebrahead to the UK as part of the annual Get Happy Tour where they shared the stage with Army of Freshmen, The Bloodhound Gang and Bowling For Soup. Zebrahead returned to Download 2008 (UK) after their first appearance in 2006. For the rest of 2007 the band continued to write songs for the new album. Demos were recorded and received input from Jason Freese of Green Day fame.
In March 2008 Zebrahead entered the studio and recorded 18 songs for their new album. The first two songs, including "Art Of Breaking Up" were recorded with Howard Benson, while the remaining 16 were recorded with Cameron Webb. Zebrahead released clips giving an insight into the making of the album the same month.
June saw Zebrahead return to the UK and Europe to headline a tour and play certain festival dates including Download, Leeds Slam Dunk Festival and Greenfield Festival. Several new songs from the upcoming album are likely to make their debut in live form.
On May 17 2008, it was revealed via the band's MySpace tagline that the upcoming album would be entitled "Phoenix". A day later, Zebrahead Blog Postcards From Hell revealed that the first single from the album would be entitled "Mental Health" and its music video was be directed by Elliot Dillman of Pandaworks.
On July 8 2008, it was released a new EP entitled "Not the New Album EP". This EP was released to promote Zebrahead's Phoenix.
On August 5, "Phoenix" was released in the US and Canada.
On September 11, the band announced tour dates for UK, Europe and Japan from October to December 2008.
The second bonus track (We're not a cover band we're a tribute band) makes references to several songs from the console game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.
Panty Raid (2009?present)
On Zebrahead's Blog Postcards From Hell said.
"It has been confirmed that zebrahead will release a new album called "panty raid" which will be a cover album . This was stated on the bands myspace blogs . "Yes..the news section has been super super calm lately...that is about to change....big things coming up in the world of zebrahead....FIRST off...a new album of covers....(for those confused...covers are when you play other peoples songs...you would be suprised on how many people are confused by that!)....lots of them....This album will be titled PANTY RAID! Lets play and lame and ridiculous game and make some guesses as to why it will be named that???..and maybe even some songs you think could be on it based on the album TITLE!!!...Next news blog will have the tracklisting for ya to see!!!....this is coming sooner than you think!!..Lets get this party started!"
On April 20 an email was sent out that reads:
"Hey guys hows it going!...been a little calm in the world of zebrahead lately cause we have been recording...we have just finished recording a new album of covers that will be called "Panty Raid"!....very excited for you guys to hear it!!!....turned out amazing.....since it is cover songs I am sure people have wish lists of songs they hope we covered....we listened to many of the suggestions people gave....and we will fill you in on the track listing SOON!!!!....hopefully we will have a release date for you soon!!!..."
On September 12, Ali confirmed the album to have a Japanese release date of , 2008, to be followed by a worldwide release a little over a month later on . He also confirmed tracks Rehab, Jenny from the Block, Survivor, Mickey, London Bridge, and lead single Girlfriend, jokingly stating the underlying theme of song choices would be tunes performed by women that drummer Ed Udhus was romantically linked with, seeming to confirm theories that the album would be comprised of covers of female pop songs. On September 20, Zebrahead posted the first cover on their website: "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne.
Matty Lewis - rhythm guitar, vocals (2005?present)
Matty @ Manchester Academy
Ali Tabatabaee - vocals (1996?present)
Greg Bergdorf - lead guitar (1996?present)
Ben Osmundson - bass (1996?present)
Ed Udhus - drums, percussion (1996?present)
Ben @ Manchester Academy
Justin Mauriello - rhythm guitar, vocals (1996?2004)
Howard Benson - keyboards on Waste of Mind (1998) and Playmate of the Year (2000)
Jason Freese - keyboards on Broadcast to the World (2006) and Phoenix (2008)
Zebrahead in popular culture
Throughout the years, Zebrahead has had their work featured in popular culture. Some notable appearances include the following, in chronological order:
In 1998, the band provided uncredited instrumentation for Lemmy on the Grammy-nominated Metallica cover, "Enter Sandman" (ECW: Extreme Music).)
In 1998, the song "Jag Off" was featured in the David Spade comedy Lost and Found.
The off beat horror comedy Idle Hands starring Devon Sawa, Jessica Alba and Seth Green, featured the song "Mindtrip" from their first released, self titled album "Zebrahead"
The song "Playmate Of The Year" featured in the 2000 movie Dude, Where's My Car?.
Part of the song "Runaway" - "In another town / With the same old Bacardi" is used in a Bacardi banner ad.
The song "Check" was featured in the 2001 hit video game "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3" for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube.
"Now or Never" appears in the 2001 Warren Miller ski film Cold Fusion and also the 2000 Adam Sandler movie Little Nicky
"I Am" appears in the 2002 Warren Miller film Storm.
In 2003 they recorded a bonus track on their album MFZB, entitled "Surrender"; a popular track originally recorded by the 1970s band Cheap Trick.
Two songs, "Falling Apart" and "Alone" featured on the 2004 video games WWE SmackDown vs. Raw for the PlayStation 2 and WWE Day of Reckoning for the Nintendo GameCube.
The song "Rescue me" had been used in the game S.L.A.I. for the PlayStation 2
The band has also had the tracks "Falling Apart" and "Rescue Me" on the 2004 game S.L.A.I. Steel Lancer Arena International, as well as the Japan-exclusive "Are You For Real?", for the PlayStation 2.
Their song, "Lobotomy For Dummies", is featured in the 2006 game FlatOut 2.
In 2006, 2 songs from the album Broadcast to the World are featured on the Fast and the Furious game, "Wake Me Up" and, "The Walking Dead". The game was released for the PlayStation 2, and the PlayStation Portable.
In 2006 the band recorded the song "With Legs Like That", which is featured on the WWE Wreckless Intent album, intended for Stacy Keibler, but is currently being used as WWE Diva Maria's entrance music.
Due to Zebrahead's growing popularity in Japan, vocalists Matty Lewis and Ali Tabatabaee were asked by Sega to record vocals for a new theme song, entitled "His World", which appears in the game Sonic The Hedgehog for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Ali and Matty both recorded their vocals on August 29, 2006. Shortly after, on September 19, 2006, the entire band recorded an alternate version of the song (known as "His World (Zebrahead Version)" to fans for the game's vocal soundtrack CD. This version uses Zebrahead's traditional instrumentation and resembles their other songs. Both tracks feature in the compilation album True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog. Also the Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl has an intrumental version of 'His World' as a unlockable background music.
An "MFZB" poster appears in a scene in the 2007 film, Superbad.
In 2008, the song "Hell Yeah!" had been used in the episode of Knight Rider
The song "Anthem" was used in the cartoon network movie Ace Ventura Jr. Pet Detective
Their song, "Lobotomy for Dummies" is featured in MX-vs-ATV: Untamed for Xbox 360 and PS3.
Main article: Zebrahead discography
Waste of Mind (1998)
Playmate of the Year (2000)
Waste of MFZB (2004)
Broadcast to the World (2006)
Panty Raid (2009)