ZUKU is so awesome, even Playboy models will date them!

Live Pic of Zuku By: Sheena Lyonnais
May 6, 2008
Sitting around the table at Pauper’s Pub, it occurs to me that ZUKU is comprised of some of the raddest people I have ever met.  Between tattered leather jackets, incredibly big hair, pints of beer and a girlfriend repertoire that includes a Playboy model, the quartet is a noteworthy concoction of typical rocker meets boy next door.

As unassuming as they appear in person, they transform into the archetypal rock machine at the strum of the first guitar chord.  Their set at Lee’s Palace on April 30 served as a perfect prelude to Toronto’s Die Mannequin.  It was loud and fueled by an unconquerable energy and passion. 

Live Pic of Toronto Band ZukuIn a few weeks, vocalist/guitarist Brandon Kennedy, guitarist Matt Felske, bassist Jordan Beard and drummer Chris Chartrand will take that live energy back to the studio to work with producers Jordan Zadorozny (Sam Roberts, Auf der Maur ) and Jon Drew (Tokyo Police Club, Brutal Knights) to complete their first full-length release.  They’ve already began working with Zadorozny on sample tracks. 

“Two of the songs we were doing with Jordan we’re actually using them on our album.  We didn’t know it at the time, but it’s like we’re slowly putting together our album,” Kennedy said.

What sets ZUKU apart from other Toronto rock-driven-pop bands, is their use of atypical instrumentation.  Their recordings incorporate such instruments as the mandolin, piano and moog, allowing them to stray from conventions and ensure their sound is fresh.  Former member Mike Conroy even joined them on stage to play mandolin live.

Zuku rocks Lee's PalaceThe full-length is expected to be complete by fall.  It will feature classic Zuku riffs combined with more acoustic songs.  Six tracks will be recorded at Toronto’s Hallam studios where they recorded their first album, four will be recorded in hometown Pembroke with Zadorozny, and the final two will be the previously recorded tracks.

Perhaps this is what makes them so appealing.  They are passionate, ambitious, solid and talented.  At least, Playboy models seem to like it.  After two years, model Pamela Mars is still hot for drummer Chartrand.

“She was seeing a guy from Buckcherry, and then they wanted [my former band] Cheerleader to open up for them,” Chartrand said.  “I got her to come to our show and tell Buckcherry we were a good band, but really I wanted to hook up with her. I was sort of trying to kill two birds with one stone.  We didn’t get the show, but I got the girl.”

ZukuYou may know them by their posters that lace what seems like the entirety of Bloor Street West, and soon you will ZUKU them for their rock.  The self-proclaimed “kings of postering” give fellow Toronto band Tin Bangs a run for their money.  When ZUKU plays a Toronto show, they average 4,000 posters over three months, which they put up themselves.  Expect to see some soon for their Bovine show on June 7.

Their 7-track EP “Here With You” can be picked up at Sonic Boom, Rotate This, iTunes and  www.myspace.com/zukuband .  Also check out their page for more info.

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