Music Weekly: To finish let’s see what some of your tour favourites are. Who is your favourite crew or band member to travel with, and the person that least gets on your nerves.
Ali Tabatatbaee: Man they all get on my nerves! [Laughs] Actually I get along with everybody in the band. Our sound guy stays up late, I stay up late and Dan, who’s now in the band, does too, so we tend to always be the last ones to stick around. The three of us might be causing the most havoc on this next tour, but you never know. There’s always someone who you don’t expect that outdoes themself and ends up in the hospital or really really sick.
I take it this has happened before?
Oh yeah. Unfortunately it has happened more than once. But nobody died!
Good to hear. But these were all made from good experiences, right?
They just went way too big when they should’ve gone a little bit smaller.
OK, we’ll leave it at that. Who is your favourite person to annoy? There’s always someone in any group that gets picked on.
The funniest person to annoy – and I don’t like to annoy him because I know it bothers him so I try not to do it – is our drummer, Ed because he really gets bummed out. And a lot of the other dudes tend to f*ck with him. Whenever Ed’s in a mood we say, “don’t mess with Ed he’s in porcupine mode”. I stay away from him when he’s like that but the rest of the guys get a bit of a thrill messing with him, but not me because, I love you Ed!
What sort of things have you done to him in the past?
[Coughs uncomfortably] This was not me but we were in France or something and our old sound guy got suckered into going to a strip bar in the middle of the week. It was empty and our manager rolled up and ordered two bottles of their most expensive champagne – it was like over six or seven hundred dollars. Nobody was even there, none of the girls were even dancing. [Editor’s note: at this point of the conversation, the line gets weak and I can barely make out what Ali is saying] At that moment I realised… and pretended they had to go to the bathroom … and our sound guy saw him running down the street. He somehow got out of the strip bar. So our sound guy had to sit there and pay for the two bottles of champagne.
Were they empty bottles at that point?
No because our sound guy didn’t even really drink. [Editor’s note: again, the line gets weak. Ali goes on about how the guys are all worthy of revenge and will have to be cautious and watch their backs on the next tour.]
Is that how you roll on tour? You guys just getting each other back?
Always, always. Don’t piss somebody off unless you’re ready to get sh*t on in some way.
What’s your go-to food when the band’s on tour? Something quick, easy and that gets you going perhaps?
We are gluttons for McDonalds. Unfortunately that’s not very healthy but it’s delicious and there’s always a McDonalds somewhere. Also if there’s a place that has kebabs we tend to hit up the kebab shops. In Japan, I’m a glutton for sushi.
What’s your favourite city to play?
I can’t choose a favourite city but I would say my favourite show we played at is a festival in Japan called Summersonic and we played during a, I don’t know if it was a monsoon but it was crazy weather, lightning and rain. People were taking cover. Nobody was out before we played, then right before the show, everybody came out in that rain, thunder, wind and all that sh*t madness, and they just went crazy. And I’ll never forget that show. I don’t know about a town but I’d definitely say that was my favourite show because it was in the middle of a huge storm and the fans came out, and they went hard. They didn’t mellow out because of the storm, they went even harder. So: Summersonic in Japan.
Thank you so much, Ali for taking some time to speak with me. All the best with the tour and we look forward to hearing the record!
Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me.
Zebrahead’s 10th studio album, Call Your Friends is out on the 7th August. The band will tour China and Japan with Secret 7 Line.
2 August: Yugongyishan, Beijing
3 August: Yuyintang, Shanghai
4 August: 191 Space, Guangzhou
6 August: B10, Shenzhen
10 August: Summer Sonic Festival, Osaka
11 August: Summer Sonic Festival, Tokyo