By Hailey Nuthals, Arts Editor
Detroit may not be known as a big music scene, but there’s certainly big music coming out of it. Rock outfit Citizen Zero are poised to release their second full-length (and first album in about five years) this Friday the 12th. Titled “State of Mind,” the band has been teasing clips from each track, and if they’re anything to go by, the album will make their rock heroes proud. The band is made of Josh LeMay on vocals and guitar, Sammy Boller on lead guitar, Sam Collins on bass, and John Dudley on drums. Before their recent show at American Beauty (and after a stint over at the Converse Rubber Tracks studio), the band took a moment to talk with WSN about their album experience and what it’s been like to headline for names like POD and Highly Suspect.
WSN: So you guys have a lot of experience playing stadiums as opposed to smaller venues – what do you prefer between the two styles of playing?
Sammy Boller: We’ve had a couple big shows…
Josh LeMay: I wouldn’t say we’re used to it!
Sam Collins: There’s something to be said about those, those are pretty unique.
John Dudley: Obviously those are the spot that everyone wants to get to in a band, you know. Those are, like, successful nowadays, selling out arenas. But there’s nothing cooler than also playing a small club that’s like, five people that are all right there. Small stages are just as fun as big ones.
JL: The experience of playing live is pretty much good wherever. A lot of it is if it’s a good crowd.
WSN: What do you think the key is to convincing the crowd to listen at a stadium show?
JL: Playing well! [laughs] No, I think you [Sammy] would answer this one better, you know how to work the crowd…
JD: Sammy winks. That seems to work.
SB: I wait until I’m on the screen, and then…
JL: Sammy winks, I point.
SC: He does fish in a barrel.
SB: You just have to be confident.
JD: You know what it is, it’s that people like authenticity. Being something original, and not trying to be something you’re clearly not. That helps.
What do you guys think – there was that whole stir recently with Taylor Swift and the line in Kanye West’s “Famous,” and there were a whole bunch of articles that were saying that this was the moment where people realized that artists weren’t “authentic,” and artists can’t be authentic in the music business.
JD: Are you talking about the line that he put in a song about her, and she lied and said that she didn’t…?
JD: It’s actually just a bunch of hoopla.
SB: I don’t know why they let it get that far anyway.
JD: Yeah, at the end of the day, if you’re an artist…
SC: If I got mentioned in a Kanye song, and he told everybody I had a tiny dick, guess what? I’d be like, “whatever.”
JL: Thanks, Kanye!
SC: Get your magnifying glasses on! Cool! Whatever.
JD: At that point, I think it was stupid on her part to be like, “I didn’t okay that.”
JL: I think when the focus goes from the music to some squabble, that’s when it gets lost –
JD: That’s pop culture. This is rock and roll.
WSN: What do you guys think it is about rock that makes you connect more to it than to other genres? Why are you writing rock?
SB: It’s just what we grew up on. It’s what we love.
JD: It’s in our blood, really. Like I didn’t come from a hip-hop family. I dunno, he [ Sammy] grew up and instantly got a guitar, I got a drum kit…
JL: We grew up on the foundation of rock music. People that built this. We’re more about trying to keep that legacy alive and less about trying to create headlines.
SC: Well, hopefully creating headlines as well.
WSN: It seems like it took you guys a while to get this record out. What do you think was the hardest part of creating it and getting it all together?
JL: Outside our band, yeah. It was outside of our control.
SB: There was a lot of external conflict. It wasn’t really anything to do with getting the sound right or getting it all right, it was getting everything else, getting everyone else’s head in the right team.
WSN: What’s been the most fun part about it?
JD: Being in a different city every day, for me. I think that’s awesome. I mean we have a day off tomorrow here. We fully plan on just doing a bunch of tourist-y shit. That’s awesome.
JL: I’d have to go with the free Converse…