The Hippo


Jul 23, 2019








Colin Blunstone

Colin Blunstone

When: Thursday, May 8, at 8 p.m.
When: Tupelo Music Hall, 2 Young Road, Londonderry
Tickets: $50-$55 at

Return of the Zombie
Voice of “Tell Her No” and “Time of the Season” plays Tupelo

By Michael Witthaus

 Long before anyone noticed the final single of their last album, The Zombies had ended as a band. Singer and guitarist Colin Blunstone was completely gone from music and working at an insurance agency when “Time of the Season” topped the North American pop charts. 

Forty-five years later, Blunstone seems mystified that the song became a hit. 
“I sometimes think it had a life of its own, because there was no one promoting that album, even when it was released,” he said in a recent phone interview. “It just sort of battled through of its own volition.”
Unlike the band’s principal songwriters Rod Argent and Chris White, Blunstone didn’t have royalties to fall back on when the gigs dried up five years after “Tell Her No,” “She’s Not There” and the British Invasion. 
“It was a very sad and devastating time,” he said. 
Taking a the job at a fast-paced London office ensured he “didn’t have time to dwell on the fact that the Zombies were finished.”
Fortunately, that didn’t last. 
“Within a few months people were calling and suggesting I get back into the music business,” said Blunstone. “It was only a small break and I was recording again.” 
After releasing three pseudonymous singles (as Neil McArthur), Blunstone made the Argent/White produced One Year in 1971. 
A Denny Laine-penned single from the album (“Say You Don’t Mind”) cracked the British Top 20. 
“It was good for me,” said Blunstone. “I had that little break, and now I had a solo career.” 
He made six albums in the 1970s, three on Elton John’s Rocket label, and recorded with the Alan Parsons Project and a pre-Eurhythmics Dave Stewart. 
Though band members stayed friends and collaborators, it took 30 years for a reunion to happen, Blunstone was booked to perform with his band at a launch party for a 4-CD Zombies box set. Towards the end of his set, he saw his old mates coming through the crowd towards the stage. Not knowing what was up, he was initially concerned. 
“Then, they just sort of took the instruments from the guys in the band,” he recalled, “and with no rehearsals, we played ‘She’s Not There’ and ‘Time of the Season’ — and sounded really, really good. I think for the first time something clicked in my mind … I thought, ‘There is still something magical in this combination.’”
A six-date tour a couple of years later was “so good and so much fun that we just kept going and here we are 16 years later,” said Blunstone, who alternates Zombies shows, like the recent Moody Blues Cruise, with solo touring. He plays with his band on Thursday, May 8, at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry. 
The Granite State date will focus on Blunstone material. 
“We try to make these very different … so I will only play ‘She’s Not There’ and ‘Time of the Season,’” he said, noting there is less than a week between Zombies and solo dates. “It should be quite interesting, and I think challenging. … I’ve never actually done this before to change from one band to the other with only a couple of days in between.”  
When the Zombies reunited, Blunstone was surprised at the impact his old band had. Everyone from Tom Petty to Dave Grohl cites Odessey & Oracle, the album that produced “Time of the Season,” as a touchstone. 
“That is very exciting and has validated what we were doing at the time when we perceived ourselves as being unsuccessful,” he said. “I think to a degree we were a little bit naïve. We didn’t really understand how successful we had been around the world, and just maybe if we had understood that, the band would have gone on longer.”  
As seen in the May 1, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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