Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Zips at Otto's Shrunken Head

John Zip
After the 1977 demise of Road Angel, a pub rock band in Glasgow, Scotland, John McNeill (later to be known as John Zip) formed a punk rock quartet called the Zips in 1978. The band caught the tail end of the original punk rock movement, playing all the local punk venues and releasing a few singles and EPs. As history would have it, MTV and the 1980s killed punk in favor of the more commercial new wave movement and with nowhere left to play, the Zips pogoed into the sunset in 1981. Time has a way of turning failure into success, and Zips tracks later appeared on compilation albums and the original singles fetched up to $427 on eBay. John Zip reformed the Zips in 2001 and in 2006 released a debut album, 27 years after the debut single. The Zips' third and most recent album is 2015's Down with the Zips.

Backed by a trio of local musicians (guitarist Brian Morgan of the Carvels NYC, bassist Sean Sanders and drummer Joe Dugan), John Zip led this version of the Zips through a well-rehearsed set tonight at Otto's Shrunken Head. As in the past, it was four musicians, three chords, and two minute buzz bombs for an impressively executed punk rock performance. The songs were constructed around pop melodies played through bombastic blasts. This was nearly 40 years later, so the set may have lacked the anger that the original band may have exhibited, but the energetic thrust and the cleverness of the songs was mighty. Put these guys on the road!

Visit the Zips at

  1. Barbara Wire
  2. Thin Blue Line
  3. 40 Years of Punk
  4. Over and Over
  5. Siren Song
  6. Morning Standard
  7. Govern Meant
  8. Don't Be Pushed Around
  9. 19 Forevva
  10. Victim