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An Intricate Work in Progress
A Zim Zum Interview by Rosie Green
March 1, 2000


Zim Zum left the Marilyn Manson band in the summer of 1998 and has shown no signs of slowing down. He's worked with Cher and her son, Elijah Blue Allman, for the "A Walk On The Moon" soundtrack and with Josh Abraham on KORN's "Got The Life" remix. Now Zim is full into his newest project, Pleistocene. Within this project, from what Zim has told me, proves to be much more than just a rock band, but I wanted to take a little glimps into Zim Zum himself with this interview........

ROSIE GREEN: How are you these days?

ZIM ZUM: I'm feeling extremely positive and motivated, things have really picked up.

RG: What was your childhood like? What was school like for you? Were you popular?

ZZ: I was a funny kid, always looking at things from a humorous angle.
School wasn't one of my favorite things, but it was something I felt I just had to do, and to finish. I went to private Lutheran schools until my senior year, where I went to a public school and really had the opportunity to loosen up a bit more. I took every art class that you could in high school so it wasn't as sterile an environment. I went to school with the same people most of my life, until I went to the public school, so being popular wasn't really a problem until I was faced with relatively new people, then being different just didn't seem to go over well at the time.

RG: What was the first record that you bought? Who did you grow up listening to?

ZZ: The first one was an AC/DC album, I think. I grew up listening to my mom's albums. The first albums I heard were David Bowies "Ziggy Stardust" and "The Spiders from Mars" and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." I listened to a lot of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Queen, Van Halen, AC/DC, Kiss and Led Zeppelin.

RG: How would you describe yourself?

ZZ: An intricate work in progress.

RG: What is a "typical" day for you? Describe a day in the life of Zim.

ZZ: My days are filled with a lot of little details that always have something to do with music. Some days I will record or arrange songs for about 8 to 12 hours. Some days are spent setting up guitars and recording different instruments or working with new studio equipment. Or spending hours shaping the tone of my amps, or just playing my guitar to new tracks of music. Or working on the website ideas, or merchandise, or CD packaging. Or going over photo shoot pictures and audition tapes. Then if there is any time left I'll usually watch a movie or listen to playback of what I've recorded, maybe check my e-mail.

RG: Were you in any bands prior to Pleistocene? What was/were the name(s) of the band(s)? Did you record anything with them?

ZZ: Yes, before Pleistocene there was LSD, Marilyn Manson and one off recordings with Cher and Korn (Got The Life remix).

RG: Have you always wanted to be a guitarist?

ZZ: I wanted to be the Beatles. As far as being a guitarist I guess that came a little later when I realized that you had to have a specific talent and mine just gravitated towards the complexities of guitar.

RG: From what age did you start playing?

ZZ: 13

RG: Did you take lessons?

ZZ: No formal lessons. I did order some tapes through the mail. Doug Marks "Metal Method."

RG: What was your first guitar - acoustic or electric?

ZZ: It was an electric. A Kingston then a Dixon, then a Les Paul copy, then a Charvel, then a guitar I built out of spare parts, then a guitar I made while working at a guitar company. Then..........a lot more.

RG: Who are some of your musical influences?

ZZ: My musical influence is fairly based around "classic" bands and life experience's in general. Like the first albums I can remember hearing and what was going on in my life when I heard them. It was mostly "guitar based" rock like David Bowie, AC/DC, Queen, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and classic guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew and Mick Ronson. But my influences today are a lot more various. I like creative bands that are based around songwriting and exploring new avenues through unconventional tone and sounds.

RG: Who has made the most impact on your life? What did they say/do to leave such an impression on you?

ZZ: The single most important piece of advise I got when I first started playing was not to learn popular bands at the time, but to try something a little more challenging and time proven. Like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles (I was actually given a Beatles Chord book) and The Rolling Stones, Blue Cheer, Badfinger, Black Sabbath or Pink Floyd and some other prog rock bands. I chose to try and write songs very early on instead of learning a lot of cover songs. I would take pieces of chords or progressions and use them in a different way. Analyzing what it was about chords and progressions that made them "work." So, if I were to pass this advice on it would be to "Learn the basics, then do things your own way and don't let yourself be influenced by anything other than yourself and your own ideas of what is creative."

RG: What has been a major turning point in your life?

ZZ: I think every day is a major turning point. There was one specific time when I came to the realization that if I was going to have a life in music it would have to be something that I would have to put more than 100% into without a safety net or something to fall back on, all or nothing. You either do it or be the worlds biggest loser, but you will be without regrets.

RG: Do you read a lot? If so, what are you reading at the moment?

ZZ: I don't really have the time to read as much now. I spent a lot of time reading books on philosophy and Tao and the 3 pillars of Zen, but these days I usually spend my extra time reading equipment manuals.

RG: Do you "surf" the World Wide Web? What is your opinion of the Internet? What are some of your favorite websites to go to?

ZZ: I'm not very sports orientated so, no I don't surf. The Internet is a place to learn and it's also a place to rot. If you bypass the typical Internet and search for specific things that relate to you I find it is a lot more interesting and creative. It is a business and a way to communicate, it is commerce and a convenience and it is a way to further society as well as bring it to a crashing halt. It is another world and one that is part of everyone's daily lives, but it should be used cautiously and creatively, as it gives "everyone" a "voice." I don't really have any "favorite" sites because everything changes so quickly they are never really the same. I spend most of my time working on the Internet.

RG: What do you think of the current music scene? What is your opinion on all the boy or girl bands?

ZZ: I really haven't paid any attention to current music, because I've been in the studio and don't like to hear any other music while recording. It's impossible not to know about some of the boy/girl entertainers and I find a complete lack of creativity and an assumption that the general public is stupid enough to actually think that some of these "entertainers" are actually talented or creative or something more than a trend.

RG: Who do you like to listen to on a regular basis?

ZZ: Well since Pleistocene is either recording or mixing the only thing I listen to on a regular basis is Pleistocene.

RG: Who, of "today's" bands/artists do you listen to?

ZZ: I like Muse, The London Suede and Zilch.

RG: What artists/albums would you recommend to people? What are your Top 10 favorite albums...1999 up to today?

ZZ: Newer bands: Muse, The London Suede and Zilch.
Narrowing down 10 albums as my favorites is impossible but I would start with a solid base like: David Bowie, Queen, Iggy and The Stooges, PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, The Rolling Stones, T rex, King Crimson, Adam Ant, Gary Numan, Tin Machine, Badfinger and Brian Eno (I could go on and on).

RG: Do you go out to the clubs a lot? What do you think of the club scene?

ZZ: Well, I've experienced every club scene around the world and they are all basically the same. I don't really go out unless it's to a small club or bar.
I prefer to be somewhat low profile and usually cant go out to just any club on any night without it being a major adventure. Once in a while I'll see a friends band play or go to a show that someone has recommended.

RG: What was your first impression of X? Now that you know X a bit more, has your opinion of him changed? How? How would you describe X now?

ZZ: First impressions really don't mean anything in a world based on "what have you done lately." My opinion of X is 100% positive as he is adapting creatively to anything I come up with, he has a lot to say to and about the world. He will be someone that will attract everyone's interest for a long time to come. X is an artist.

RG: How would you describe Pleistocene's image?

ZZ: The way we look on any given day is based on how we feel. Using emotions as a basis for style.

RG: What's a "typical" day in the studio like?

ZZ: I like long days of recording. Everything is based around trying all of the possibilities and then going with the ones that work best for each individual song. We have access to a lot of different sounds and we use them all. Recording reflects life, building up and tearing down.

RG: What other projects do you have planned for yourself?

ZZ: I have the website (www.ultra-fag.com) and the Internet magazine I've been working on for the site. I have a clothing company that will release some of my clothing designs in the future and there is always UF Entertainment that fills most of my time.

RG: What do you think of fashion designers like Betsy Johnson, Jean Paul Gautier, McQueen, etc? Do you have a favorite designer?

ZZ: I usually gravitate towards fashion that looks like it was made specifically for me (or was made specifically for me) I don't have any favorite designer, there are certain styles that appeal to me as long as they are tailored/fitted and modern.

RG: What types of movies do you like to watch? Which would you recommend to people to see?

ZZ: I like to watch a lot of movies. I try to watch newer ones as often as I can. I would recommend "City of the Lost Children", �Santa Sangre", "Blade Runner" "Escape from New York", "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", and "Buffalo'66" as basic ones to see. Although I always liked all of the Star Wars movies and the Evel Knievel movie is one of my favorites (there's something about the entertainment value of the possibility of dying on television in a red, white and blue leather jumpsuit that has always appealed to me, there could be no cooler way to go).

RG: How would you describe the Beatles to someone who didn't know who they were? What's your opinion of John? Paul?

ZZ: The Beatles were thee most incredible songwriters pop music may ever know. Each had a different take on life and the mix was something amazing. I also really liked each of their solo careers like the solo Lennon albums and the solo McCartney albums as well as Wings and the various projects that George Harrison has worked on (including his participation with Badfinger) and Ringo's participation with TREX.

RG: Is there anything you'd like to say to the fans at this point?

ZZ: The wait is almost over and you wont be disappointed. Your support now is more important than ever as everything Pleistocene is going public. I'll update everyone on live shows and album release dates in the next couple of weeks.

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Zim Zum for taking the time out to answer my questions.

I'd like to know what you thought of this interview! Please e-mail me with your thoughts! I'll post all responses at the bottom of this page: E-mail ME!

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