My Inspiration: Zudz – Bound For Old Glory | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Newcastle-based heavy-psych trio Zudz drop their single, Bound For Old Glory, the second song from their debut EP (out 17th October) and a track inspired by the Woody Guthrie self-penned history. The track is a warm and epic amalgamation of folk, Americana and classic rock, alongside more modern elements of grunge and indie, and comes complete with soulful vocals, growling guitar and pounding rhythms.

The band are set to play at The Lubber Fiend on 19th August and Zerox on 18th November. Here, they tell us more about what inspired the single…

Bound For Old Glory has been a musical idea I’ve had for about 9 years, but the inspiration for the song really comes from before that. Thanks to Mike and Fintan for helping me realise it in a full band ZUDZ setting and Merc over at The SoundRoom in Gateshead for managing to get the essence of the song recorded and Chelsea from Generator guiding me through the release process. The final EP release is scheduled for October – which includes our first single ‘Yellow Chariot’ and also the songs, country-swayed ‘Richard Roll On Home’ and big stage emo/psychedelic guitar solo banger ‘Westage’. Im geeet proud of this EP and would love anyone to have a listen. 

To begin my inspiration, and this weird online essay I’ve committed myself to attempting to write, we should deal with the title. The title ‘Bound for Old Glory’ is a bastardisation of the Woody Guthrie autobiography title and genius song – Bound For Glory, a book that I devoured as a hungry teenager looking to make some music and meet people in the big wide musical world. It obviously had a lasting impact on me when I read it and suggest finding a copy and trying a page or two.  

Woody’s life was fascinating, being a troubadour and travelling entertainer during the worst of times/best of times in America’s turbulent history, Woody (1912-1967)  would travel through the bars, migrant houses and union rooms, singing folk songs he had learned and wild songs he had written to entertain and inspire the founding common folks that migrated to the United States to take part in its manifest destiny – these workers needed to hear songs of strikes and positive worker action to free themselves from the constraints that monopolised their industries and the fascists that helped capitalist companies which consumed their time, energy and lives. The ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ slogan that you might see on any proud socialists’ musical equipment began on Woody’s National-brand guitar. I weirdly got to Woody Guthrie through downloading Bob Dylan’s Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie, a live recording read aloud that I downloaded from SoulSeek back when I was younger. It’s a beautiful piece of Dylanism and poetry and suggest a youtube dive for this piece of 60s counter-culture. 

Woody Guthrie’s sentiment ‘Bound For Glory’ addresses that if we keep moving forward, there is hope for arriving at something better, in his words “This train is bound for glory” – the promise of something better will always be upheld as long as the sun rises. So don’t give up yet, another day will dawn and the train will keep rolling on.  

To borrow Woody’s sentiment and change it to my means is more my own interpretation of it – the reason that Bound For Old Glory exists is because of my own experiences and making music has been a huge part of that. Moving forward knowing that music can help and give and heal – it’s a thankful feeling knowing that however you feel, there is a way to make those feelings loud and that, in itself, is a comfort. 

 I’ve always been a musical person, someone who loves to imitate noisy things that I hear and dancing because of the joy found in rhythm. I was lucky to begin playing music when I was 14 (finally having the chance to learn my instrument, the guitar – since hearing Chuck Berry at 5) finding my own emotions easier to process by having a musical conversation and in turn finding my own voice. It’s an incredibly therapeutic way to understand myself as an aural learner and suggest anyone who doesn’t make any noise to do so – it’s a very cathartic practice. 

 Once I knew the few chords necessary, and knew how this machine worked (and killed fascists) I was off. My first band began seriously at around 17 – and ended at 24. The Sound Explosion began by playing around every venue in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2002 by the end, The Sound Ex finished playing at The End bar in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2009 somewhat appropriately. I’m giving you this back story to illuminate the Old Glory side of the song title. 

 In those intervening 7 years, The Sound Explosion had little commercial success but lived a life of gig experiences and finding joy in collaborative art and adventure, as any group of musicians and close friends aged 17-24 could do. The immaturity that existed around our mental health and emotional understanding meant that going through the ‘music industry’ at that time took its toll, on those in the band and those around the band, we had very supportive friends and family that helped us greatly realise the music and dreams and I could never thank the people in my life enough who have helped me get to now. Playing 1000s of shows up and down the UK with all sorts of artists (which deserves its own essay) signing to independent labels and being picked up, chewed up and spat out by major labels – I know how lucky I am to have had these experiences – but warn against letting anyone in the industry tell you what to do. It is YOUR art, don’t ‘let’ them tell you what to do with it. I should have listened to Woody more.

So this is the Old Glory that I speak of ZUDZ’ new song – the success and failure of back then, what I had created and what success is judged by – I like to remind myself, life is chaos and you have to live in the moment. By those standards, even breathing is a success – so we’re all incredibly successful! Well done everyone. Moving forward carrying those positive experiences, being bound to your own history is a situation we all have to deal with. Thankfully we can learn and change ourselves for the better, improve ourselves and grow. We are lucky mammals.   

The second verse may sound a little different to the first, the lyrics are about not being home and not being with friends. Due to the job that I do, working away from home means missing gigs and not being able to support friends and family and the scene that I care for as much as I used to. Working with unwell patients and listening to the stories and lives of those who I encounter daily who share lessons they’ve learned through their own varied and crazy lives, I think I’ve been able to learn more about what truly matters in life from those that don’t have much of it left, and what those things that are essential to people and being happy. This hopefully is reflected musically and lyrically in Bound For Old Glory – it’s a song I love, and I love to play and always gets a fantastic reaction live whenever ZUDZ play it. I hope that people can see the genuine emotions that are in the song, and connect to them when me, Mike and Fintan are playing it live.  

And speaking of the music, it takes some influences from different places – there’s parts that I hope sound a bit like Lift To Experience who were a Texan band who created an amazing double LP called ‘The Texas Jerusalem Crossroads‘ 2001 which in a multi-delay swhirlwind (sic) shoegaze country masterpiece of music addressing topics of the end of the world, the rapture and Texas being the promised land with very smart wordplay (sample lyric ‘The USA is the centre of Jerusalem”) the ringing G pedal-note that I play during the rising chords (F – A – C – D)  of some of Bound To Old Glory and the swells that we use hopefully pays inspiration to Josh T Pearsons guitar work. There is also a heavy-debt paid to Australian Psych-Rock band The Orb, who my ex-CAVE SUNS buddies all enjoyed and learned some great tricks from when we shared the album between us before going on to form SMOTE and IRKED (both amazing local bands who deserve a lot of attention – please do a google too!). The Orb specialise in 70s-sounding modern psychedelic rock – very entertaining and helpful if you search for the cosmic nod. Vocally, I’m a singer who learned to control my own shouting – if you love Edwin Starr, you’ll know the deal, it’s nice to get to sing the words in Bound To Old Glory and not always be a shouter. 

In the words of the late, dreadful Gene Simmons who stole the saying from Thomas Edison “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” – now I DO NOT claim that Bound To Old Glory is genius, or even an equal to many of your favourite songs. But of the 100s of song ideas I’ve had that have come through to full realisation – I’m glad I sweated this one out of my system and it is now present, a salty puddle of music that you get to stomp in. 


Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout