If you‘re looking for a new, classic rock band, look no further than Brooklyn-based ZO2. The trio just released their third album, Casino Logic and, it has the same authentic classic rock sound that has marked their first two releases, Tuesdays and Thursdays (2004) and Ain’t it Beautiful (2007).
All three band members already had pretty decent gigs when they started the group. Lead vocalist/guitarist Paulie Z was the voice behind many of the song parodies on the Howard Stern Show. His brother, bassist David Z was a member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, well known for their Christmas performances, while drummer Joey Cassata was a member of the performance art troupe, Blue Man Group.
With seemingly heavy influences from some of 70’s best hard rock bands, the one thing that is consistent throughout Casino Logic is that every song brings a searing electrical intensity to it. Think of the best parts of Aerosmith, Rainbow, Dio and Kiss, then throw in the bands own originality and you have ZO2.
The album starts with Painted Lady, co-written by Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron, which immediately gives Paulie Z a forum to show off his chops in both vocals and guitar. Cassata has a couple of nice drum riffs in this song as well.
That moves nicely into the next song, I’m Alive, which is a little harder. I’m Alive is a little edgier than Painted Lady, and all three of the band members step it up a notch.
The third track, Red Line Highway, has some Neil Peartesque sounding drum runs in it, as well as great guitar licks. The bass line is solid throughout. Paulie Z channels his inner Rob Halford as this song could have easily been found on any Judas Priest album. If you want a song to just crank on your car stereo while you’re driving down the highway, this is the one.
Like many great trios, Rush, Yes, The Police, (and even Triumph), it’s often hard to believe that there’s only three people jamming on most of these songs.
The band can now be seen on Comcast’s IFC Channel on their own cable show, Z-Rock, a comedy where they play themselves, a band who performs at night but has to play kids parties during the day to make ends meet. It really is pretty humorous.
Oh, by the way, if you ask the band what ZO2 means, they will tell you that it’s the formula for Rock and Roll.