The Ziggens releasing first album in 19 years (stream new song “Rev It Up + Q&A)
Orange County "cowpunksurfabilly" band The Ziggens formed back in 1990 and made big fans out of Sublime, who signed them to their label Skunk Records, frequently toured with them, covered and popularized their song "Big Salty Tears," and also referenced and sampled them on other tracks. The Ziggens never broke up, but they haven't released new music in 19 years... until now. They're releasing a new album called Oregon this summer, and we're premiering its lead single "Rev It Up." It finds the band channelling the instrumental surf rock of bands like The Ventures and The Sandals, and as you'd probably expect from the song title and the single artwork, there's a little hot rod rock in the mix too. It's a sound that never goes out of style, it feels like classic California, and The Ziggens do it with vigor.
Pre-save the song here and stream it below. We also caught up with band leader Bert Susanka to discuss the new song, the band's comeback, and more. Read on for our chat...
What inspired you to finally make another album after 19 years?
Well I've been doing children's albums and a couple solo CDs so I was really ready for a Ziggen CD. The Ziggens have always continued to play live shows but we didn't think much about a new CD. As the songwriter for the group they kind of rely on me to tell them when I have a full CD of music to record. When I brought it up, it sounded like fun to them so I wrote 42 songs (I'm weird that way) but then selected 19 of the songs for the CD... one song for each year we've been "resting" (haha).
Was there any rust to shake off, or did the new songs come pretty naturally?
We didn't have much rust to shake off as we have been playing steadily all these years (except during Covid). I write all year round so the writing was easy. We are just older, grumpier and lazier... But we got in there and got er' done!
What can you tell us specifically about this new single "Rev It Up"?
I'm pretty obsessed with surf music and have been listening to a lot of my favorite surf bands like the Sandals, Ventures, Torquays etc. I asked around Long Beach for any woman who could scream into a mic like a wild animal and when I got the perfect screaming energy woman (Kate), I figured it'd be fun to have "Rev it Up" as the first song. She made it into a hyper-kinetic opener.
Obviously Sublime comes up a lot when people talk about The Ziggens. What kind of impact did their support have on this band? What was your relationship with Bradley like?
Sublime changed everything for us. We put our our first cassette on Skunk Records a few months before them and their guitarist/manager/sound-guy/label head Michael ("Miguel") Happoldt was actually in the Ziggens at the time. We encouraged Michael to press on and devote all his time to Sublime because it was obvious they could be great. We opened up for Sublime more than any other band and got to do portions of two Warped Tours because of them. We were Bradley's favorite band. It was hysterical because I mostly wrote country and novelty songs when we started. The Sublime fans were cool to us but they looked at us like we were from outer space. Over the years I started writing surf punk songs and ballads so I guess we've never actually had many musical similarities to Sublime over our whole career. But that was the beauty of the show. Bradley liked our harmonies and catchy songs. He was fine with the polar opposite nature of the acts and Sublime was super supportive of us. I miss those days. Hopefully this all new 19 song CD shows why Bradley was such a supporter of the Ziggens.