The 1960s gave us a plethora of some of the most interesting bands. From the birth of most current genres and sounds, from psych to punk to rock, it was the first boom of real alternative music and one of the most important times in the UKs music history.The Zombies were at the forefront of that wave, releasing a series of successful albums that fitted everywhere from psychadelia to garage and back again and paved the way for so many of today’s bands.

We were given the opportunity to interview the one and only Colin Blunstone, lead singer of The Zombies in every one of their transformations since their formation 50 years ago, and got talking about London in the 60’s, trouble with names and the best song writing technique.

The 405:The name The Zombies is interesting - how did it go down in the 60's? Was there any controversy?

Colin Blunstone: In the very early days of the band in 1961 we had a couple of other names, The Mustangs and The Sundowners but quickly realised that there were many other bands using the same names. Paul Arnold our original bass player came up with the idea of The Zombies and I think everyone in the band, except me, really liked it. However I had to admit I couldn't think of anything better and so The Zombies it was. There wasn't really a "Zombie culture" in those days and I think we were only vaguely aware of what a Zombie was and more importantly we didn't think anyone else would have used the name. Once a band's records become well known I think the name of the band starts to lose its literal meaning and just becomes a word that connects you to a particular band's music.

405: Time of The Season seems to be one of your most loved and well known tracks. But for you personally, could you pick any song that you particularly enjoyed writing and recording?

CB:I started writing a song called "Exclusively For Me" many moons ago and when I got stuck on the lyrics asked my old David Jones to help me out. In the customary traditions of yesteryear we had a very pleasant evening demolishing a bottle of whiskey and ended up with a finished song that I recorded on my Ennismore album and a few years later had the pleasure of hearing Dusty Springfield's immaculate interpretation of our whiskey inspired tune.

405: You're pioneers of the early psych sounds - what was your process? How did you find something that was still so raw and begin to perfect it?

CB: We only ever recorded the best songs we had to the best of our ability.

405: 'She's Not There' is one of the most hypnotic songs I've ever heard - what's the story behind it? How did you write it?

CB: Just before our first session in Decca's West Hampstead studios I can remember our producer Ken Jones throwing away a quick aside along the lines of "As we're going to be recording in a couple of weeks you could always try and write something for the session", I quickly forgot what he said and was absolutely and completely amazed when Rod came back a few days later with a completed version of "She's Not There"!

405: What do you think of the new waves of music fans discovering your music? Is it odd finding out your music has carried so well and still touches people today?

CB: It is incredible exciting and motivating to find new generations appreciating our music. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected our records to be attracting the kind of attention they do after all this time.

405: Some of your old records can sell for more than £100 now - what is your opinion on this? Are those early recordings and versions worth that much in your opinion?

CB: I suppose any object is literally worth what someone is willing to pay for it though it does seem rather ironic that you could probably pay more to buy one of our records now than the whole band received in royalties at the time for making the record!

405:How much influence do you think London had on you in those early days?

CB: There was a tremendous energy in London in the sixties, a feeling that anything was possible and of course an incredible social scene especially when compared with the earlier austerity years of post war Britain. Having said that because we lived quite close to London and so could easily travel in and out from Hertfordshire and didn't actually move into the city until until the late sixties or early seventies and so to some degree probably experienced London in the "swinging sixties" somewhat as outsiders.

405: There's a lot of romantacism pinned to London in the 60s - in your opinion is it justified? Was it really as great as it seemed?

CB: London was the centre of the arts world in the sixties, The Beatles, The Stones, David Bailey, John Osborne, Michael Caine, Mary Quant, Twiggy, Bibba, Peter Blake, so many talented people who led the world in their chosen fields which of course rubbed off on us lesser mortals and helped us believe that we too had something to say to the world.

405: You've spent so long in a band touring - what are your favourite tour stories?

CB: The best ones can't be repeated!!

405: Where is the best place to play, and what was your favourite gig to play?

CB: We are lucky enough to play all over the world and I enjoy playing in every country we visit. They all have a different charm and the thrill of playing live in concert never diminishes.

405: What are your favourite new bands/ undiscovered or underappreciated bands?

CB: I can't get enough of a wonderful new band called The Sonic Executives and would most emphatically recommend everyone to listen to any album by the late great Duncan Browne.

New album Breathe Out, Breathe In is out now!

http://www.thezombies.net/