Vendetta Red’s Zach Davidson

Interview By: Zaneta Padilla

I sat with Zach Davidson, of Vendetta Red, and spoke about their upcoming album release. This album promises to be their best one yet with so much emotion and inspiration written into it, but it stays within the classic Vendetta Red parameters to appease V.R. fans.

Side Stage Magazine: Thanks for taking time to chat with us today!

Zach Davidson: Oh no, thank you for wanting to talk today, that’s wonderful!

So, I was looking at what’s going on with you guys. You have a new album coming out in March.

Yeah!

That’s exciting! What can you tell me about it?

It’s pretty damn good too.

Oh really?

We got to spend as much time as we wanted on it, and we got to do it ourselves. So we really spent a lot of time tracking on it. We’re basically trying to make “A Night at the Opera” with the budget of “They Walk Among Us.” It was a very small record deal, but they let us do whatever we wanted and they were just hands off, and it’s almost done. We’re doing final mixes on Sunday.

That’s really exciting!

I’m really excited about it.

Congratulations!

Thank you!

So, I was listening to some of your songs, and it seems like you have a fusion style. And you said “a night at the opera,” that’s kind of what I was getting from it.

Cool! Burke is really into prog [progressive] and has a background in technical-you know drum and “nerd music.” He comes from a place of precision and sanity and technical prowess, and then I come from a place of kind of punk-rock/first slave alternative background and we both love Latin music and classics. It’s pretty cool. It’s fun playing with him. He’s damn good!

I love that! I love how you were able to mix in the strings on “Silhouette Serenade” and make it your own sound.

Thank you very much. 
And then with “P.S. Love the Black,” I was like “Yeah, I dig this,” then it turns to sort of scream metal, and I was like “yeah, ok. This definitely has a wide fan-base”
Haha yeah. It’s definitely an adventure.

I see you guys have been kind of on the down low for a while. Have you guys been working on your album that whole time?

No, we started working on this album in January. And really taking our time and practicing like twice a week. Vendetta Red isn’t a full-time job for us. You know, I have two kids and a wife and a business. Burke is a teacher and has a wife. And then we do all these projects too. One of my careers, I have a pretty thriving career as a singer. You know, I do weddings and private parties. To say we’re busy is kind of an understatement. Yeah, we’re really fucking busy haha! Raising a family has taken up most of my time, personally.

Yeah, I can feel you. I have two as well, so I know exactly what you’re feeling! I think that’s cool that you have your “day job” and you’re still out pursuing your passion and being successful at it. Right on!
Thank you! It’s fun.

I see a couple of concert dates for you guys. Do you guys get to go on tour with your day jobs, or are you kind of staying local?

You know, we’re at an age where going on tour isn’t that appealing. There’s a lot of things that need to be put in place before we get in the van and go tour. Finances has a lot to do with it, and it’s hard to be away, you know, reconciling with our significant others. But we are totally into touring! It kind of just needs to be on our terms. We’d like to start touring more, especially for this record, but it would require more, first a really good booking agent, and we really don’t want to headline so that’s a challenge. We don’t want to be the main act, we’d rather support someone else, so that’s kind of a challenge there.

If you could open for your dream band, who would it be?

U2.

Oh yeah! I saw them a few years ago. It was such a sick show!

Yeah, it’s like church! U2 is like church. I understand they rub people the wrong way, and I understand, but to me, if you don’t like U2, you’re probably not that fun to hang out with. Like people with super gnarly negative opinions on them, I’m like “You’re probably not that fun. You probably don’t like dessert. You’re probably not that cool.” At least that’s how I see it.

No, I like that! Actually thinking of everyone who was mad that they got a free album on their iPhone, they don’t seem that much fun.

Yeah, right. Totally! They probably got a lot of opinions, and that’s totally fine.

Besides being able to work almost a year on this album, what can you tell me about it?

OK so, the songs are pretty damn good. I’m really into subject matter. Most of the time with Vendetta Red I can tap into this very evil, cynical, finger-pointing, divisive mode. I can really tap into this little shit who lives in my head that’s really super-right and super self-righteous and opinionated. But with this record, it was really awesome to see how the lyrics have evolved with being a family man and reconciling, or attempting to reconcile with my own parents and letting go of a lot of the things that have sort of kept me mired in anger and negative emotions. One of the songs I’m really proud of, I hope it’s a really big hit too, by the way, I wrote it for Laura from Against Me, because I was just so excited for her journey and evolution and it was just really exciting and quite challenging for me as a male with kids and watching somebody kind of evolve the way she did. She also juggles a family and a very successful band, so it was just super inspiring. So that song was written for her. Which, I’ve never really written a song for another musician before. Then there are songs about—well, lately I’ve been really quiet politically, and I think that’s really important cause there’s so many people just yelling all over the place really loud out there. So, I get a few opportunities to really go political on it and those songs I’m really proud of. And then there are songs where I go “I’m a dad! I’m not really angry anymore” type of songs. And there’s the really fucking angry type of songs. So, you know, it’s a lot of fun.

It kind of sounds like for Vendetta Red, you kind of tap into your inner alter-ego, but it kind of sounds like you’re combining your ego and your id and all parts of you and it’s more personal.

Yeah, it’s a LOT more personal. Vendetta Red, normally for me, is a way to just kind of exercise—in the past, for most of it, I’ve been very selfish with it. When I would perform, it was all about me. I didn’t give a fuck about the audiences or if anyone was entertained. I didn’t give a shit about my band members, if they were having a good time. It was all about me to go up there and fucking purge myself of whatever the hell I felt like I needed to vomit. But this particular record is really fucking personal. REALLY personal. I say some really revealing shit about myself.

Do you think that’s because you’ve become a dad?

Uhh, it’s easier to tap into that because I’ve become a dad. Also, I don’t give a shit as much. I’m not as afraid. The way I deal with fear, or how I have in the past, is to turn it into anger and just get super pissed off and divisive about things and now it’s a lot easier. Having kids really makes you soft, I’m pretty soft these days. It’s pretty cool. That’s not to say that the music isn’t still there. It still has teeth, really sharp teeth!

I’m excited to check it out!

Yeah, I’m stoked. If you like “Silhouette Serenade,” there’s a whole lot of melody on this record too for people who are on that side of our fans, which is really good. We’ve always been into the ballads and classical arrangements. There’s always been a lot of showcasing there. This record is um, it’s for the ladies haha. It’s like, it’s totally ridiculous, but we should be on the cover sipping brandy. The record should be called Ladies Night.

With a scarf folded and you’re wearing your velvet dinner jacket?

Exactly, yeah! An Evening at Home with Vendetta Red.

 

Smoking a wooden pipe.

Exactly, gotta have it!

I read that you kind of take your inspiration from other musicians that you’re inspired by. Is there one that you in particular feel inspired by with this album?

Hmm, that’s a good question. Definitely Laura from Against Me, for sure. I also kind of dug up my old Radiohead records. I feel really influenced by Thom Yorke as a singer. I’m really into Thom Yorke, Tori Amos. Whenever it’s time to make a record, I go back to a few cornerstone singers. Tori Amos is definitely one of them, Thom Yorke, and the Misfits.

If those are your guys’ inspirations, I definitely want to check it out! So, it’s releasing in March, right?

We hope so, yeah. The label’s been so damn patient with us and if we could get our shit together faster, then it might come out faster, but I think March.

Is there anything else you want to add for our readers?

Hmm, nope. Haha, I know this should be my soapbox, but um, people should buy our record and support music.

Do you want people to go to your Facebook or website for updates?

Go to Cleopatra’s [music label] website for release updates.

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