In July 2002, Zao walked off the stage at the Emerson Theater for what was supposed to have been the last time. On Tuesday, June 8, fans will witness their resurrection as the band headlines the first Ferret Records Tour at the Emerson Theater. Having just signed a three-record deal with the New Jersey-based label, Zao plans to release The Funeral of God on July 13, just as the tour is winding down. Between tour stops, guitarist Scott Mellinger explained the band’s rocky past and confirmed that, yes, Zao has a future.
NUVO: What’s the current lineup of the band?
MELLINGER: Me and Russ Cogdell are still on guitars. Dan Weylandt, of course, doing vocals and the new additions are Steve Peck on drums with bass player Shawn Koschik.
NUVO: At the time, did you really intend for Parade of Chaos to be your last album?
MELLINGER: Yes. We couldn’t find people willing to commit and in all honesty didn’t think we could tread any new territory as a band.
NUVO: What’s different now?
MELLINGER: We got a call from Carl Severson at Ferret Records and he was interested in giving us another shot as a band. I’d have to say that if it had not been for Carl, Zao would not exist anymore.
NUVO: Zao’s 1999 release Liberte te ex Inferes had obvious references to the movie Event Horizon, including the title and sound bites from the movie itself. What’s the connection?
MELLINGER: Sometimes things work without preparation. (laughs) We wanted the album’s mood to follow the way the movie makes you feel. We set out to make this avant garde arty album but still dark as hell and I think we succeeded.
NUVO: Who was singing for Zao in 2001?
MELLINGER: That was Corey Darst. He’s a great guy and did an amazing job filling in but we knew Dan was the voice of this band. We recorded a few tracks with Corey that we’d planned for release as bonus tracks on a live album but when that idea was shelved they turned up on [Legendary, a best-of collection].
NUVO: Speaking of, are there any more B-sides laying around?
MELLINGER: No we were usually busting our ass to write and record and get the albums out. But we really hope for future releases that we can take our time in the studio. Write anywhere from 20-25 songs and pick the best 12 or 13.
NUVO: Are there any current plans for a live album or DVD?
MELLINGER: There’s a documentary DVD in the works and hopefully a live CD with a mix of everything. We’ll be playing a handful of our new songs on this tour.
NUVO: What can you say about The Funeral of God?
MELLINGER: It’s a perfect blend of every album so far. There’s more singing parts to go with the screamy parts. It’s the best record we’ve ever done.
Who: ZAO, Twelve Tribes, Scarlet, Remembering Never & Misery Signals When: June 8 Where: Emerson Theater