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Colin Blunstone: The Zombies, Old and Wise, Alan Parsons, New Zombies Album and More…

Exclusive interview by Karen Beishuizen

Colin Blunstone is one of the best singers in the music industry. His voice on the beautiful song “Old and Wise” just takes your breath away. He, of course, is part of The Zombies, and they just finished a new album which will be out later this year!

KB: You became prominent as singer of The Zombies back in the 60s: Who came up with the name The Zombies and why that name?

Like all bands we had to have a name. We went through some terrible options…. The Mustangs, The Sundowners and then our original bass player Paul Arnold came up with the idea of The Zombies. I had no idea what a Zombie was, but it was a catchy name and it stuck! Paul eventually left the band to complete his studies to become a doctor and Chris White took his place.

KB: The band had a few hits and then you started a solo career in 1969 under the name Neil MacArthur? Why that name and not your own?

The Zombies we’re terribly mis-managed and when they finished in 1967, I thought my adventure in the music business was over. Sometime later when “Time Of The Season” was a hit in the U. S. I was offered the chance to record again. I have read people deny it was their idea for me to use the name Neil MacArthur but let me tell you it certainly wasn’t my idea to change my name!!!

KB: You appeared on several Alan Parsons albums. You sang the vocals on Old and Wise. I love that song! Who asked you and are you surprised people still love the song today?

Eric Wolfson, Alan Parsons silent partner first played me Old and Wise and asked me if I’d sing it…. but I think Alan Parsons was involved in the decision too! I’m not at all surprised people still love the song, personally I think it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever written.

KB: You then sang on Alan Parsons Ammonia Avenue album: What songs did you do the vocals for?

Yes, I sang “Dancing On A High Wire”. On these later songs I would be invited down to Abbey Road to learn the new song in the studio and then record it. In these more intense sessions (learning and recording in the studio) I would possibly have forgotten the song by the next day!!!

KB: You and The Zombies are back together again? How did this happen? I think it is great you are still singing Old and Wise at gigs.

I was playing some solo gigs in 1999 and got let down by a keyboard player. Rod agreed to play the remaining 6 dates of the tour and he enjoyed it so much we kept performing up until the present day! We don’t always play “Old and Wise” but I’m really enjoying it on this tour.

KB: You starred in a movie with Sir Laurence Olivier called Bunny Lake Is Missing: How was it working with Sir Laurence? You were very young at the time: 20?

Like most films this was shot in completely different sections, so we never actually met Sir Laurence….it certainly was an experience working with the director Otto Preminger who lived up to his reputation of being extremely demanding!!!

KB: Are you working on anything new? New album?

The Zombies have literally just finished a new (as yet unnamed) new album. It will be released later in the year. I’m also recording some solo tracks, but it will be some time before a new solo album will be ready.

KB: Who would you like to make a record with? Any current singers or musicians you like?

I generally like to record with people I know rather than strangers I admire. I’m hopeless at remembering names especially new artists but again I tend to listen to people whose music I’m really familiar with.

KB: How did you spend your days in lock down the past 2 years? Any hobbies? Writing songs?

I was writing and walking and waiting for the pandemic to end. If I had known at the beginning, it would last as long as it did maybe I would have been a bit more structured and ambitious with my time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!!!!!

Check out Colin’s Website: HERE
Check out The Zombies Website: HERE