FAIRFIELD — Long before British actor Andrew Lincoln donned a law enforcement uniform under the guise of Rick Grimes, some of his fellow Brits were filling the radio airwaves with tunes such as “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No” and “Time of the Season.”
Nearly five decades later, The Zombies are still writing, recording and touring while the other zombies, such as those meeting up with Lincoln on TV’s “The Walking Dead,” are dying.
The band formed in 1961, long before zombies became a part of pop culture. Members tossed about various names before deciding on The Zombies, knowing no one else had it.
That was about all they knew about zombies, said founding member Rob Argent.
“We knew it was an exotic creature,” he said.
Today, with the influx of zombies in pop culture, the name seems to attract more attention.
“I think if you like the music, you stop thinking about the name,” Argent said. “When you think of The Beatles, you don’t think of insects.”
The band isn’t into zombie culture. Recently, Argent and Colin Blunstone were asked what their favorite zombie movie was. None, they replied. They haven’t seen a zombie movie.
The band’s 1968 album “Odessey and Oracle” is ranked 100th on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
“It’s extraordinary,” Argent said, adding that when he read the chart, he thought he misread it.
“I had not listened to it in years,” he said. “It’s better than I remember. I’m pretty pleased with what we did.”
The band split up before it was released.
A few reunion tours followed. The 40th anniversary shows were recorded, filmed and released on CD and DVD.
Faced with the choice of being able to play either “Time of the Season,” “She’s Not There” or “Tell Her No,” Argent said it’s a hard choice.
Backed into a corner, Argent said he would opt for “Time of the Season.”
“We do a lot of improvisation with it to keep it fresh,” he said. “We do the solos different every night.”
Another reason is that he enjoys the vocal harmonies with Blunstone.
The Zombies are working on new material and just recently wrapped up a new track. They hope to release an album next year, but time is limited with touring. This is their third time in the United States this year.
“We love playing live,” Argent said. “That’s what gives us such a buzz.”
Two years ago, they released “Breathe Out, Breathe In.”
The music business has changed in the five decades Argent has been active, but there are still parts, some of his not-so-favorite, that remain the same.
“I’ve always hated jet lag,” he said. “Falling asleep sitting up has become a bit harder.”
There’s still the six hours of travel, sound checks before the show starts and meet-and-greets after.
Playing on stage feels the same. “I feel just as energized as when I was 18,” Argent said. “It’s a privilege to get our energy across to the audience and get it back.
“I have a lot of friends who are retiring. I’m still thinking about blazing new trails.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.