As a dual threat on both bass and drums, punk and metal veteran, Steve Zing, is still making an impact some forty years after his career first began.
As a member of influential punk bands Mourning Noise and Samhain, Zing aided in ushering in a new era of rage-filled music in the ’80s. But he might be best remembered for his time with the latter, primarily due to his association with the legendary Glen Danzig.
Indeed, with Samhain, Zing created sounds to remember, but he wasn’t long for the fold, nor was Danzig himself, as he moved to form his namesake band shortly after Zing’s departure. In the year since, Zing has stayed busy, appearing on numerous records, reforming Morning Noise, making new music with Blak29, and, oh yeah, joining forces with Glenn Danzig once more.
Ever busy and constantly creative, Steve Zing stepped out from behind his drums and put his bass down for a moment to dig in with ClassicRockHistory.com for a far-reaching interview.
What first inspired you to pick up the drums? Can you recall your first drum kit?
As a kid, I was inspired by Ron Tutt, who was the drummer for Elvis Presley. After watching him, I knew that I wanted to play drums. My first drum kit my mom bought for me from a friend for $40.00. I don’t remember the brand, but it was a cheap kit. It changed the course of my life. I wish I still had it.
What was the first song you learned?
The first song I think I learned was “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. And then I got into the Ramones and started trying to emulate Tommy Ramone.
Tell me about your latest record. How did this one come together?
The latest Blak29 record, The Waiting, came together slowly after our first release, Love and Anger. It was recorded by me in my home studio. I love to experiment with different sounds and techniques. We basically would get together a few times a week, and I would hum different ideas that were in my head, and we just wrote and recorded on the spot to get the basics of the song down.
Which songs are your favorite and why? How do you view this record in terms of progression from your last?
I definitely like “Blackout,” “The Waiting,” and, of course, the two covers that we did, “Long Cool Woman” and “Destroyer.” This album is quite different from the first one in the way we approached it and my better understanding of using all my recording gear.
Johnny Kelly is on this one, right? Tell me how he became involved, what he contributed, and who else is guesting on this one.
Well, since playing with Johnny in Danzig, we have become close friends. Along with Tommy Victor (Prong/Danzig), I asked them to contribute to the two cover songs, and they did an incredible job on my interpretation of the songs.
Going back, how did you first meet Glenn Danzig? How did you end up in Samhain?
I met Glenn through Doyle [Wolfgang von Frankenstein] as a kid but then got to know him better through this old beatnik guy that we used to hang out with. When Glenn had ended the Misfits, he asked me if I wanted to start a new band, and of course, I said “yes.” That was the beginning of Samhain.
What memories do you have from the recording process from the Intium sessions? Glenn is often credited most, but how did you most affect the record?
The Initium record was done by myself and Glenn with some overdubs by Lyle Preslar (Minor Threat). Those sessions were interesting because we were going in a direction that hadn’t been done yet. I think it took a lot of guts for Glenn to go off in a different direction. Everyone was expecting The Misfits, part two. Glenn wasn’t having any of that.
What led you to depart Samhain after the recording of Unholy Passion? Were you ever considered for Danzig once Samhain ended?
At the time, things weren’t moving fast enough, and I had it with one of the other band members, so I decided to leave and try to figure out what was next in life. No, I wasn’t considered for Danzig when they formed. I hadn’t talked to any of them for quite a while at that time.
What songs and recordings that you’ve done so far mean the most to you, and why?
It’s hard to pick out any specific songs. If I look at all the recordings I’ve done for the past 42 years, I would have to say that I still get inspired by all of them. Thinking back to how they were written in a bedroom and then recording them in a studio and learning all the little tricks that are used by all the different engineers.
You are back with Danzig these days but playing bass. How did you re-enter the fold?
Glenn reached out to me in 2006 and asked if I wanted to play bass on a tour that Danzig had coming up. Of course, I jumped at that chance, and it’s been an amazing worldwide journey for the past 17 years.
How does your approach change when playing bass as opposed to playing drums?
Well, Glenn really taught me to play bass the way he wants. It’s all down-stroke playing. In essence, it’s almost like playing a constant drumbeat, except your using your fingers and a pick instead of your hands and drumsticks.
What gear, drums, basses, and amps are you using?
For Danzig, I use Schecter Bass guitars and Ampeg Amps because of their classic sound. I use various drums to record, including Gretsch, Mapex, Sonar, Ludwig, and Sabian cymbals. I like to experiment with different sound pallets.
Is there any new music on the horizon for Danzig? If so, what can you tell us about it?
Right now, we will be focusing on some Danzig sings Elvis shows and celebrating the 35th anniversary of the first Danzig album. So, no new music to report on just yet. I will leave that to Glenn to divulge.
What’s next for you in all lanes?
Besides doing shows with Blak29 and Danzig, I’ll be also doing shows with my old punk band Mourning Noise which was reformed a few years back. There’s a lot going on, and it’s going to be a ton of fun. I hope to see you all out there at the various shows, checking it all out.
Steve Zing of Danzig: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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