An Interview with Zinny Zan of Zinny Zan & Formerly of Easy Action & Shotgun Messiah

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Image courtesy of Zinny Zan

Zinny Zan first made his mark on the international music scene as a frontman for the band Easy Action at the age of eighteen, after cutting his teeth in Sweden’s booming music scene.

Zan, originally a drummer in the first incarnation of Easy Action, joined forces with guitarist, Kee Marcello, in 1983. The reformulated version of the band was widely expected to rise to prominence after the subsequent support from Warner Bros. Records and Bill Aucoin Management, but after a year of toiling in limbo, Zan decided to leave the band and return to Sweden.

Meanwhile, in Sweden, guitarist Harry Cody, bassist Tim Skold, and drummer Pekka “Stixx Galore” Ollinen were generating significant buzz with their upstart band, Kingpin. Kingpin happened to be looking for a new frontman since they had recently parted ways with their lead singer. During a magazine shoot, the band made it known that Zan was among two singers in which they coveted.

Zan met the band at the studio, listened to the music, and wrote some lyrics. The fit proved to be mutually beneficial, and Zan completed the lineup then known as Kingpin. Kingpin, of course, would eventually morph into Shotgun Messiah.

Shotgun Messiah produced its hard-hitting, self-titled debut, in 1989, via Relativity Records. The album produced two singles, “Shout It Out,” and “Don’t Care ‘Bout Nothin’,” and reportedly sold 490,000 copies in the US. Despite positive early returns, however, Shotgun Messiah proved to be Zan’s lone record with the band.

Zan has since embarked on various musical ventures, including Zan Clan and, most recently, Zinny Zan.

I recently sat down with Zinny to discuss his formative years as well as some of his recent endeavors in a career-spanning interview.

Andrew:
Before we dive in, Zinny, I wanted to hear about your musical roots. What can you tell me about your earliest introduction to music?

Zinny:
When I grew up — I am a typical 70s child since I was born in the mid-60s — so, I grew up with all these English bands to start with, like The Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, early Queen stuff, and so on. But at the same time, of course, we’re looking at the US, and back in those days, it was more like early Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, and stuff like that. 

Andrew:
What genres of music had you taken an affinity to growing up, and was the music scene flourishing in Sweden around that time?

Zinny:
Sweden has always been up-to-date, music-wise. So, we’ve always been curious — we love music — it didn’t matter if it came from England or the US, so the music scene was pretty good in Sweden. Growing up, the thing that happened was that — of course, when you grow up with bands like Queen, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, and so on, and so forth — those are bands that really, really could play. But by the time I was thirteen, the Punk wave came, with bands like the Sex Pistols, and The Clash. Those guys weren’t exactly geniuses as players, but they played at their best ability. Then you got to understand that, “Okay, I don’t need to be a virtuoso to play live. I can go out and do this shit, as well.” So, that’s how we started, because in the beginning, if you weren’t Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, or Steven Tyler, you didn’t really wanna go on stage. These guys really could do it. But when you heard the Punk Rock thing, you go, “Well, if they can do it, fuck it, I can do it, too!”

So, that was the kind of attitude I had when I was thirteen or fourteen. Back in those days, I played the drums in the beginning, and we played youth clubs because, of course, we couldn’t get into bars or anything like that. I got my first record deal when I was eighteen, with the band Easy Action. That was the first real tour; we toured around Scandinavia. The early days, those were like youth clubs and small venues for punk bands. That’s really where I started.

Andrew:
How did Easy Action originate?

Zinny:
From the absolute beginning, there was a band called Easy Action, where I played drums. We were singing in English, but then the singer in that band wanted to sing in Swedish. Then I jumped the band, but they made two singles and then broke up. Back in 1983, when I met Kee Marcello — who later played in the band Europe — when we met, they wanted to form a band with me. And I said, “Okay, let’s listen to it. What songs do you have?” When we did that, we said, “Okay let’s do this.” Then I go, “Okay, let’s come up with a good name for a band.” And I already had Easy Action, and I got that from the Alice Cooper second album, and of course the Marc Bolan song, “Solid Gold Easy Action.” So, it came from both Marc Bolan and Alice Cooper.

Andrew:
Since punk was considered en vogue at that time, was that the initial blueprint for Easy Action, or had it always leaned towards the Glam side?

Zinny:
When it came to the Easy Action stuff, no, it was more like a Glam band with a Punk attitude; and that’s what I loved about it. I loved the Glam scene, and Hard Rock scene, as well, but what I was missing — or what got me excited when it came to the Punk thing — was the adrenaline and attitude. They were cockier, so to speak. That’s what we tried to get into Easy Action, as well, and that’s maybe why we were successful in Scandinavia back in those days. Before, we were like no other band; it was like, “Take it or fuckin’ leave it.” There was another band that came from Finland in the beginning, but they were living in Sweden, and that’s Hanoi Rocks. They were old friends of mine, and they started before Easy Action. And they had the same kind of attitude; they were more Rock ‘N’ Roll, Stoneish-like, but they also liked Glam and loved the Pistols stuff, for the attitude of it. Both of these bands, we kind of had the same platform, so to speak.

Andrew:
How did Easy Action get involved with Tandan Records?

Zinny:
Tandan was kind of known for being the underground guy because he looked at bands like Hanoi Rocks, and so on. Kee Marcello and our bass player back in those days, Alex Tyrone, they had a deal with Tandan; back in those days, we called it a Maxi-single…like a four-track. They had a contract for that, and at the same time, me and my friend, Danny Wilde — who later became the guitarist of Easy Action — we also got a deal from Sanji on the same thing. And that’s how we met because Kee Marcello and the guys were such poor singers, and when they were asking me to sing for them, I said, “Well, I got a really good guitar player already…” It was really Sanji’s thing; he signed us both, two different bands, but we put it all together in the same band.

Andrew:
So, Tim [Skold], Harry [Cody], and Stixx [Galore] form Shotgun Messiah. At what point did you leave Easy Action, and join that trio to form the classic lineup that would become Shotgun Messiah?

Zinny:
I left Easy Action when I was still living in Sweden. But then we got signed to Warner with Seymour Stein — that signed The Ramones, Talking Heads, Madonna, and so on — and we also got signed by Bill Aucoin Management. And Bill Aucoin back in those days, we’re talking 1984 now, he had two bands — KISS and he also broke Billy Idol, who came from England as an old Punk Rock guy from Generation-X. So, the next thing for him was Easy Action. But all of a sudden, when we got this contract, these guys in Easy Action said, “Hey Zinny, we don’t want to go over to New York now and live there,” because New York was the deal then. So, then I quit; I quit Easy Action and I moved to New York. I was in New York for a year trying to make it there, and create my new band. I was supported by Aucoin Management by then, so I met Billy Idol, Steve Stevens, and so on, and so forth. But after a year of not finding the right people, I just gave up and moved back to Sweden. 

While I was doing that, Stixx, Tim, and Harry had their band called “Kingpin,” and they were getting attention; one of the biggest rock magazines in Sweden was about to do some shoot for them. They said that they had kicked out their lead singer, and were looking for a replacement. So, the magazine asked them, “Okay, what would be your ideal Rock singer in your band?” And they said, “Either Michael Monroe or Zinny Zan, but both are unavailable.” And this guy said, “Zinny’s not unavailable.” … “Yeah, but he’s in New York.” And the guy said, “No, no. He’s back in Sweden.” So, they actually called me and said, “Can you get down to the studio, meet us, and listen to our music?” And I said, “I’d be glad to.” And I did and I liked it. I was really surprised because it was really good, fresh, and something new that I never heard before. They asked me, “Could you sit down and try to write some lyrics for this?” This was over a weekend. So, I went into the studio, sat there, listened to the songs, wrote some lyrics, sang it down, and then that was about it. They said, “Wow, you’re absolutely the guy we want.” And I loved their music, so it was love at first sight in that sense, I would say. From then on, we knew, “Okay, this is it.” We were talking about it — all they wanted was to go to America, of course. And the record company they were signed to back at that time, I told them, “The tours in Sweden and Scandinavia were done around and around again with Easy Action. Of course, it would be good for you guys, but then again, why not aim for America straight away?” And that’s what we did.

Andrew:
Where does your inspiration come from when it comes to songwriting, Zinny?

Zinny:
It’s a couple of things; first, of course, it’s the bands I love from growing up. I love so many different kinds of music, to be honest; I love punk, I love Hard Rock, and I love the Glam thing. For me, it’s got to come from the heart, because if you don’t really believe in it…you have to believe in what you do. After all, at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding; people are gonna see if you really believe in it or not. So, I would say, the old heroes that I had — and their love of music — I put myself in there, grab the guitar, and say, “Okay, what kind of mood am I in today, what do I wanna write about, and what have I been through?” To be honest, I’m really surprised, because when I look at Rock Stars or Rock bands today, I see that they’re doing great stuff in the beginning, and then it kind of edges out and they do one album every five years. To me, it’s quite the contrary, because I was too busy living and having fun when I was younger. Today, I can reflect on everything, and I’ve been through so much, so I have a lot of stories to tell. When you’re twenty-five, you don’t have too many stories to tell. Well, you’ve been drunk, and you’ve maybe tried drugs, or you’ve met a girl or someone. But imagine when you’re forty or fifty; you’ve lived your life. You’ve got a lot of stories to tell. So, for me, it’s a lot easier to write music today than it ever was.

Andrew:
Shotgun Messiah is a bit of an unusual name, even for that time. What was the inspiration behind the name?

Zinny:
I wasn’t too keen about the band name “Kingpin” to start with, but I thought, “Okay, the music will speak for itself.” I came in last in the band and didn’t have too much say about it. But fortunately for me, when we came [to Los Angeles], we found out there was a band in San Francisco called The Kingpins, and they were going to be quite annoyed if we called ourselves Kingpin. And of course, the record company didn’t want to have a lawsuit going on or anything like that, so they said, “Guys, could you come up with something?” So, to be honest with you, I think we spent some great, two, three weeks trying to come up with a name. And the record company is going, “Guys, come on. How hard can it be? It’s just a fuckin’ name. You know, you make the name be something interesting.” We said, “Yeah, but everything sounds phony.” So, the record company guy — in this case, Cliff Cultreri, from Relativity Records — he said, “Okay, you four guys, write the coolest word, name, or whatever you can think of on a piece of paper and give it to me.” And that’s what we did. Now, I don’t remember who was who, but it was me and Tim [Skold]; so, either Tim or I wrote “Shotgun” and the other guy wrote “Messiah.” And what Cliff actually did, he took these papers and measured them through every name. All of a sudden, he had “Shotgun” on one paper and “Messiah” on the other one, and goes, “What about Shotgun Messiah?” We were like, “Fuck! That is a fuckin’ statement. Yeah, let’s go for that one.” So, that’s actually how we did it.

Andrew:
How did the band ultimately become affiliated with Relativity Records?

Zinny:
First, Kingpin was signed to a Swedish label. These guys normally didn’t work with Hard Rock, but since they did understand that Harry Cody was something else on guitar, they signed us; of course, with good songs, as well. So, when we finished the album, the first thing they wanted to do was put us on for around one hundred and fifty gigs in Scandinavia, which was a lot for a Hard Rock band back in those days. And I said, “No, no, no. I won’t have that. I’m going to the U.S. to use the connections that I have from New York. But I’m gonna go down to LA this time.” And the record company said, “We will not give you one dime for this, because you have to prove that you’re big in Sweden, first. No matter if you had Easy Action or whatever. No one is gonna listen to you in LA.” So, I grabbed the money that I had at home, and I went to LA by myself. I didn’t have a business manager; I didn’t have a lawyer; I didn’t have anything. I had a friend of mine that I stayed with who was living in LA, so what I did was, I called these record companies and said, “Can I come up for five minutes?” And of course, I didn’t get one appointment, because it’s, “Who is representing you?” I didn’t have anyone to represent me, so of course, I didn’t get anything. 

So, I went to the record companies and came in with our album and I said, “Where is your A&R person? Give me five minutes of his time and he will not regret it. I will leave for Sweden tomorrow.” I was not leaving tomorrow; I had another week to stay. And as a matter of fact, people let me in. Not everyone, but let’s say in two days, I visited ten different [record companies] — and it was everything from Warner, RCA, Elecktra — and they gave me the time of day and they liked it. But the problem was, again, I had this number to my friend in LA, and I had my number in Sweden. They said, “How do we contact you?” And I said, “This is how you contact me.” Then I came home to my friends’ and then another friend had called and said, “Hey, Sam Yaffa [bassist, Hanoi Rocks] heard that you’re in town.” Me and Sammy are really good friends, so we met up and had a really nice night out. [Yaffa] said, “So, I heard you’re shopping around for a record deal. What’s your new band…” Then he said, “I have a lawyer for you. He’s not my lawyer, but he’s Andy McCoy’s lawyer.” So, the next day, I called this guy up, and he happened to be in Beverly Hills, and I thought, “Oh my God. I don’t have this kind of money.” But we made a deal, and he said, “Come over here, you’ll have to pay me by the hour later on, but I will take this one because this is interesting.” So, I went there and spoke to him.

The very next day, I was out with Sam Yaffa again, and all of a sudden, I get a call from this guy I was staying with in LA and used to be my friend in New York, he’s working at the warehouse at Relativity Records. He had taken the album to show his boss, and his boss was calling me — and that was Cliff Cultreri — he said, “Whatever you do, don’t fuckin’ sign anything because I’m gonna sign your band.” I was like, “Okay, that sounds cool.” And that’s what we did. 

The only reason why — we had, as I said, Elecktra and even Warner was interested — but what they could offer us was, “Okay, you go out three weeks on a tour in the US. You go back to Sweden, and we’ll see if you’re gonna be taken well with the audience or not.” I thought, “That’s not the way to compete, because you have all the American bands that can be out there playing every week, every fuckin’ night. How am I to compete with them?” So, I said, “Well, if you don’t take this band over to the US, we´re not interested.” But Relativity was willing to do that, so we said, “Okay, then we’ll sign with you guys.” And they did a very fine job because the first album sold 490,000 units in the U.S. alone, and that’s pretty okay for a band back then, I would say.

Andrew:
Had you already moved to Hollywood at that time?

Zinny:
As soon as we got signed there, and they promised to take us over, they took us over. We got our H-1B’s in order to work there, play, and make money. We moved over in 1988, a year before the album came out. That’s what we did; all thanks to Relativity Records.

I’d been touring and living in London before when I was with Easy Action, but coming to The Sunset Strip — I was there first in ’87 shopping this record, we moved out in ’88 — everything from The Troubadour, The Whisky A Go-Go, The Roxy, The Cathouse, it was fuckin’ amazing. Everyone was there; everyone was playing. You saw all these bands. It was absolutely hot. It was a hot spot for everything in those days.

Andrew:
Are you able to recall the first gig you did with the band’s classic lineup?

Zinny:
Absolutely. The very first show we did was at the corner of Hollywood and Vine at a club called The Palace. We were playing there together with a band Gene Simmons was very interested in, and he helped them out. It was kind of amazing because I brought my mother over for some reason — she always helped me out — so I took her overseas from Sweden and I said, “Okay, sit  here with the record company.” Then she said after the show, “I met this amazing guy. Do you know Phil Collins? He’s very nice.” And I thought, “Well, she has mistaken some guy for Phil Collins.” Afterward, I came to take care of my mother, and she was sitting with fuckin’ Phil Collins! I said, “Wow, so you saw our first show. What do you think?” And [Phil] said, “It’s really not my kind of music, but you’re a good frontman. And you’ve got a lovely mother.” So, I do remember the first gig. Absolutely.

Andrew:
The band already recorded “We Bop to this City” in 1988 before you came into the picture, but you were brought in and altered the vocals. Did the songs have to be drastically changed?

Zinny:
Musically, it was not a drastic change, because I was co-writing some of the songs, as well. Some of the songs were already there when I came in, but we changed the lyrics, and we changed the song melody so it would fit me. And that, Harry [Cody] and I did together. A lot of thanks to Harry, because Harry wrote most of the songs, so he knew, “Okay, this would probably suit you, Zinny.” But a lot of things they had already. I came into the process and worked with them. They were good musicians, and they had great songs, but we were making an album while we got to know each other. The good thing about it was that we were eating, breathing, sleeping Shotgun Messiah; the bad thing about it was that we didn’t know our past. We didn’t know where we came from. So, sometimes it could be strange to see, and we’d think, “Why is he doing these things?” It was because we didn’t know each other too well, and you know, being young and so on and so forth, but it was an absolutely amazing time. It was absolutely great. Everyone was really open to doing this, and we said, “We’re gonna be something else.” And I believe we were, in a way, because we didn’t sound like any other band.

Andrew:
Many of the notable bands from the LA scene had become headlining acts by the time Shotgun Messiah was coming onto the scene, so who were some of your contemporaries that you were competing with?

Zinny:
Well, when we were touring the U.S. and when everything came out, bands like Motley, Ratt, Van Halen, Cinderella — those guys were already happening. So, what did we have to deal with? Well, we came at the same time as Warrant, Skid Row, a little bit of L.A. Guns, Bang Tango, Danger Danger. I saw the first gig with Warrant and Skid Row, as well. We started out with Skid Row, but of course, it took off really fast for those guys. It was like “Bam.” Then with “18 And Life,” they were off.

Andrew:
Any fond memories from recording the album?

Zinny:
I remember recording the album in Sweden, and then when we came over to the US, they wanted us to re-record some stuff, and then they wanted it to have a more American style around it and more American production. So, we were hanging out at CAN-AM Studios down in Reseda. CAN-AM Studio was great; when you come into a studio and you see David Lee Roth’s Eat ‘Em And Smile album, you see part of Guns ‘N Roses album, Appetite For Destruction was made there, and you go, “Wow, this has some good memories in here. And here we are now, going to do our stuff.” 

Andrew:
How did Tim and Harry handle the production side of things as first-time producers?

Zinny:
They were fresh and new, so they weren’t experienced in any way. The good thing about those two guys was that they knew exactly what they wanted. They didn’t get exactly what they wanted out of the first album, but when it came to the second album, I think they were pretty spot on. They were determined and knew what they wanted. But they were always open to things; I had a lot to do with the first album, as well, because I was experimenting with stuff with Tim. Tim loved to experiment with stuff. Sometimes he’d go way south, and sometimes, he’d be absolutely spot-on. Harry, he’s from Finland, so he’s a thinker. He sits there and goes, “Well, this is how it should be.” And often he was right. It was all good in the beginning.

Andrew:
The music scene hadn’t yet shifted by the time the first Shotgun Messiah album broke, so I imagine the initial tour had to have been deemed a success. Do you have any particular memories from the tour support of that album?

Zinny:
Well, as I said, the first gig was at The Palace in Hollywood. But the first gig of the tour, I was kind of surprised, because all of a sudden, they say, “Well, you guys gotta open up the tour in Dallas, Texas.” We were just like, “What the fuck? We’re gonna meet the redneck cowboys the first we do, with all of our mascara on, our scarves, and all that shit?” The thing for me — I’d been touring before, so I was pretty confident on stage and I’m pretty confident as a person, as well, so I didn’t have a huge problem with it. But for Tim and Harry — and Stixx, who was nineteen years old back in those days — to open up in a dance hall, because we didn’t start in big arenas or anything, and it’s all happy Texans who wanted to have a good time…and here we are, Shotgun Messiah.

But it was cool because I kind of know how I should work with the audience. I know we were nervous as fuck; the first two songs, my right leg was shaking like fuckin’ Elvis Presley. But when I saw the Texans, I was like, “Wow, they’re getting into this shit. This is cool.” We worked it out fine, and I would say, there was never a strange moment on any of our tours, except for one, and I if anyone should have known that because I was living in New York before.

There was one night, I don’t know exactly what club we played at, but we played at like two in the morning. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Ace Frehley was there; if you remember Malcolm Forbes, the millionaire, he came down. Both me and him love Harleys, so we had a long talk about Harley Davidson’s and stuff like that. And here we are playing at — I think it was The Cat Club, I don’t remember — but dead fuckin’ silence between every song. You know, throw a fuckin’ beer bottle at me, or say “Hooray,” whatever, but fuckin’ don’t be silent. The entire gig was more like, “What the fuck is happening? Are they asleep or what?” And we worked it as good as we absolutely could. I was so ’ pissed off, so I didn’t even go backstage, I went straight to the tour bus. Ten minutes later, my record company executive comes in and says, “Hey Zinny, you did a fuckin’ amazing show.” And I said, “Don’t blow smoke up my ass. This is fuckin’ ridiculous.” He said, “No, no. It’s great. I’ve got Mick Ronson out here. You wanna meet him?” I said, “Mick Ronson? The guitar player from David Bowie? Of course, I want to meet him, but I’m not in a good mood because I really blew it this time.” He said, “No, people really loved the show. This is fuckin’ New York. They’re not gonna kiss your ass and say ‘Hello,’ ‘Hooray’ to you. They thought it was absolutely cool. You were great.” That stuck out in my mind because that was the first time I absolutely misread the audience. I thought, “What the fuck is this? Are we really that bad?” Because there was no reaction whatsoever. And we were used to [reaction] wherever we went; we played Philadelphia, it was fuckin’ amazing; Chicago; Detroit. We never had a hard audience anywhere. Not even LA or anything like that. But New York, that was like, “Wow, what is happening here?”

We went on tour together with the band Pretty Boy Floyd. What we did, because we kind of knew these guys as well, so the record company for Pretty Boy Floyd and the record company for [Shotgun Messiah], they came up with this fantastic idea: Wherever the record sales are better for Shotgun Messiah, they’re gonna headline in that town; when Pretty Boy Floyd has the best-selling record in that town, they’re gonna headline and we’re gonna be the support act. That went on for like a month and a half, then we took off more than Pretty Boy Floyd did. So, then — I think it was Electra that they were signed to – they took [Pretty Boy Floyd] back home because they felt they didn’t do too well, and then they came out with these other guys, from Gene Simmons, of course. It was this Japanese band — I don’t remember what they were called — it was a Japanese Hard Rock band. They had makeup like KISS and everything. So, we played with them for a while, and then we went on our own doing clubs and dance halls.

The last thing we were about to do before we “broke up” — Shotgun Messiah continued when I left the band — we had this great tour going on, because of Billy Idol, who was then a friend of mine because we knew each other from our Bill Aucoin days in New York and we were living near in other in LA. So, we hung out. Billy Idol had just released Charmed Life and Alice Cooper had just released the album Trash. So, we were about to go on tour with Billy Idol and Alice Cooper, and we were the special guest. That would have been a fuckin’ amazing tour. The only small problem was that one night, after a session in the studio for Billy Idol, with too much of everything, he took his Harley home and crashed into a car. That’s when he fucked up his leg. So, that tour was canceled. I believe Alice Cooper went out with Bad English, or something instead. That would have been a great tour, but that was kind of the spinning, farewell thing for me in Shotgun Messiah.

Andrew:
Your stay in Shotgun Messiah was inexplicably brief. What ultimately led to your departure?

Zinny:
Well, it was a lot of different things, to be honest. First of all, these guys knew each other since day one, because they came from this small town in Sweden and had known each other all of their lives. I came into their world, we moved to LA, and so on. Tim and Harry were tight, of course, and they wrote songs. But then, Harry and I started writing songs, and it became a little tense between me and Tim, I would say. And at the same time, we figured out we had different ways of living. I have no regrets, but I was the one that loved to be out and have a good time; but at the same time, I had a very high work ethic. But they thought, “Well, you’re hanging with Billy Idol, this and that. We don’t need anyone.” That’s because I’m very outgoing and they weren’t. So, that kind of tension grew. We were too young, everything was too corrupted And to be honest, I believe that right when that started, Tim already had his aim to be a singer in the band because he was never too happy being the bass player in Shotgun Messiah. He was absolutely happy with the album; he was absolutely happy touring together as a band. But the thing is, as you may know, who’s got the most attention in the band? Well, it’s the singer and the guitar player — especially if you’re as good as Harry K. Cody is. So, [Tim] came third, and he was one of the guys that started the band. Of course, he would not get on Harry on this, so he would get on me.

Andrew:
When was the last time you spoke to Tim?

Zinny:
You’re not gonna believe this…1990. Stixx, I have played with many times. Stixx and I talk frequently. I spoke to Harry yesterday. Tim? 1990.

Andrew:
I guess it’s safe to say the original Shotgun Messiah lineup won’t be among the bands from that era that reunite for a handful of shows?

Zinny:
To be honest, it was pretty close two-and-a-half years ago. Two-and-a-half years ago, they were asking about the band here in Europe for festivals. Big festivals. And quite big money, to be honest. So, Harry, who is in touch with me, called me. And I said, “Absolutely we can do that. And let’s do it like this; let’s make the first half-hour with me as the singer and Tim as the bass player, and then you make the next half hour or an hour with the stuff you did on Violent New Breed, and Second Coming with Tim.” So, I said, “You do two-thirds, and we’ll do the original first.” And Harry thought that was a splendid idea. First, he said that Tim was on it, as well. Then all of a sudden, I hear that now Tim was saying that his manager didn’t allow it … “No, Zinny you can come up for two songs, being a guest.” Then I said, “I will not come up as a guest in a band that I was an original in. So, let’s be fair. Let me do at least five or six songs from the first album, and then you can do the rest, so they get the original as well, because that’s what they are paying for.” But then Harry said, “I’m so sorry, Zinny, but it ain’t gonna happen because Tim´s manager doesn’t want it.” And then I saw on Instagram later on that Tim said, “It will be when hell freezes over that I play with Zinny.” We were young — but in some way, I don’t know if he feels hurt or anything — but in interviews, I’ve always said that he’s an absolutely talented guy. You know, he’s been playing with Marilyn Manson and toured with him for six years. But still, I don’t know, some kind of grudge with me; I don’t know what it is. So, we were ready to go, and I knew the songs already because I did have a revival thing with Stixx called Shotgun. We played some festivals back in 2014 and 2015 with Shotgun Messiah’s first album. So, I was already up to date with it, so to speak. But that’s what it came down to; Tim blew off that thing.

Image courtesy of Zinny Zan

Andrew:
So, from the ashes of Shotgun Messiah, you put together a group called the Zan Clan. How did that come about?

Zinny:
Well, it really came up because of Chris Laney, the guitar player. He really loved the Shotgun Messiah thing, and he said, “I can’t believe that you’re not doing anything.” I said, “Well, I am. I’m always writing music.” He said, “But you should be up on stage.” So, I went into a studio with him, and we did the Zan Clan albums. It was absolutely fantastic; we toured with Whitesnake; we toured with Queensryche before we split up! I always like a good journey, so that’s when I looked into making music and singing in my native language. So, what I did was, from 2016-2020, I did three albums in my native language Swedish under my real name Stagman

So, that’s what I’ve been doing, up until now, when I have the Zinny Zan that we are gonna release now. We’re gonna have the first single out on January 14th, and the album will come out on May 20th. So, we will have four singles out — one single a month — January, February, March, April before the album comes out May 2022. So, this new Zinny Zan is a group thing, I’m absolutely psyched with it. I loved the Zan Clan stuff that we did, it was really, really good, but this time around, I think this is even better. Being away from the English style of writing music and being in my native language for three years writing three albums, I really had the hunger back that I did when I was a kid. You know, the first time when you realize music and want to be a musician. I have that again, all of a sudden. At my age, I thought, “Wow, this is fuckin’ amazing. This is fun. Let’s do this.” I’m really, really happy and proud of this album.

Andrew:
I look forward to checking out the single. I’ll have January 14th circled.

Zinny:
Yeah, it’s called “Heartbreak City.” It’s an up-tempo song. You will most likely hear a little bit of Shotgun Messiah in there, absolutely. It’s in my genes. So, a single for that one, and a video for that one as well. In February, we’re gonna do the next single, and that will actually be a cover. A well-known cover, I would say, but way different from what you would think that Zinny would do. Together, with my partner Stefan Bergström, I felt “Wow, I got that spark back. Now we’re gonna do something really cool here.” That’s why I’m absolutely psyched for this album; it’s called Lullabies For The Masses.

Andrew:
I’d be remiss if I neglected to inquire about an autobiography that I’ve heard is in the works. Any new developments on that front?

Zinny:
The autobiography, that’s the ghost in my life. I don’t know what it is. I have an absolutely fantastic memory. It’s almost photographic, and I’ve got a lot of stories to tell, despite doing all that shit that you did when you were young. I’m pretty intact. The only thing that puzzles me, because I’ve always been the guy that thinks, “Well, I’m gonna do this, and then I do this, no matter what other people say,” — the only thing that I’ve been back-and-forth with all the time, is this autobiography. Because in one way, I feel like, “Okay, how will people know exactly what the fuck happened, the fun we had, and all the misery?” Because you don’t always show that. And the thing is, in an autobiography, you should be absolutely honest. You shouldn’t make up stuff and you shouldn’t take away stuff; you should be really honest with things. And I am. 

The book is almost finished, but when I read it, I go, “Why the fuck should everyone know this about me?” And at the same time, I feel like, “Well, this is absolutely honest.” What I do know — I will finish the book. Of course, I’ve been talking with the publisher of the book. I said, “I will finish the book whatever my decision will be, if I decide not to release it, there will be a book for my kids at least.” So, they will get to know another side of me before they came along in the world, and also thoughts that I have now. I think it would be something good to leave for my kids. So, the book will be finished, but I don’t know if it will ever be released.

Image courtesy of Zinny Zan

Interested in learning more about Zinny Zan? Check out the link below:

Dig this article? Check out the full archives of Shredful Compositions, by Andrew DiCecco, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/shredful-compositions-archives/

About Post Author

Andrew DiCecco

Predominantly known for his NFL coverage, Andrew DiCecco is a Pennsylvania-based journalist with a profound passion for Rock music and its illustrious history. What initially began as a childhood hobby collecting CDs eventually evolved into a full-blown absorption into the world of Rock and Roll. An aspiring rock historian, Andrew seeks out every autobiography and documentary on Rock artists imaginable to further his knowledge to go along with a growing collection of vintage albums and magazines. Andrew’s musical preferences include, but are not limited to, Def Leppard, Van Halen, AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Foreigner, and Journey. An innate appreciation for guitar heroes, Andrew cites Vito Bratta, Eddie Van Halen, John Sykes, George Lynch, Dave Meniketti, and Neal Schon as some of his personal favorite players. Andrew is also a regular listener to SiriusXM’s <i>Trunk Nation</i> with Eddie Trunk, his primary source of inspiration.
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3 thoughts on “An Interview with Zinny Zan of Zinny Zan & Formerly of Easy Action & Shotgun Messiah

  1. Thank you for the interview . I need to know more about Shotgun messiah . Please make a interview with Tim Skold . Will be amazing too.

    1. Thanks, John! I highly encourage you to track down the records or however you consume your music. You’ll enjoy it. Very underrated band with brilliant musicianship.

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