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The Zeros Live In Madrid
  • Live In Madrid (dvd)-1
    DVD MRDVD-009
    6,00€ 1,99€ buy

Rock’n’roll can be a cruel sport. The Zeros should have been lauded in their initial lifetime but somehow it never happened. The band’s first manager – the legendary Phast Phreddie Patterson, takes the rap for the band getting tagged as the “Mexican Ramones” right here on this dvd. With the benefit of hindsight, that may have been an albatross but there’s no disputing that spiritually and sonically, they definitely had something in common.

That manifested itself as an outright ability to transcend the fast, loud exterior with a cool pop edge. That which has flashed through the coolest music like lightning since time began. So they might have sounded more like The Heartbreakers sometimes, the important thing is that the legend has grown. Intact.

Thanks to bands like The Nomads, White Flag and Sator, and countries like Spain and Sweden that have a real handle on what constitutes cool music – The Zeros are proven to be longer lasting than most all of the flavour of the month guff championed at the time. “Wimp” and “Don’t Push Me Around” enjoy a reinvigorated status and whilst putting this together, I’ve discovered that I’ve lost, hopefully just mislaid, my copy of “Beat Your Heart Out”, an utter classic that is up there with Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” in terms of lofty pop heights.

The fact that the band never made an album is in itself a crime but maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. On the plus side, this performance from their 30th Anniversary shindig has been captured for posterity. It underlines exactly what was, and still is special about them. It also indicates conclusively that they’ve still got it.

Only Hector is missing from the original line-up, three-quarters of Chula Vista’s finest are here, bashing out energised versions of their old oeuvre for an audience that for the most part probably wasn’t even born when they were kicking it out. Steve Rodriguez of The Dragons steps in on bass to make it all swing just like it ought to.

Their songs stand up better than a lot of ’77 alleged brand anthems do. This combo never belonged to the sell-by date mentality and will rightly be dug for all time.

The Zeros have amounted to way more than their name might suggest. In addition to still be able to cut it as a group, Javier has his own thing going and of course, Robert has his El Vez alter-ego to keep him busy. I’m not sure if or when this will or could ever happen again so all the more reason to check this action out.

Extra-wise there’s some real gold, a great clip from local San Diego TV back in the olden days and several songs from their 1992 comeback show. All compiled to round out the history lesson. These guys didn’t make music to console people who “talk a lot but make no sense”.

Wimps should steer clear, everybody else is welcome. Maybe even a wus or two. Here’s hoping these guys never lose their ability to beat, beat, beat their hearts out!

Power on to Zero hour. Over and out.

Lindsay Hutton