The Zombies are very much alive. Rod Argent, founder of the seminal British rock group, will follow up a summer run as a member of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band with an early fall North American tour b

The Zombies are very much alive. Rod Argent, founder of the seminal British rock group, will follow up a summer run as a member of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band with an early fall North American tour by the Zombies.

"I never wanted to just reform the Zombies," Argent tells Billboard, adding that the reunion had to include "doing some new stuff as well. It sounds like a fresh new band with an immense amount of energy, [plus] we're really happy to do all of the old stuff. It's a blast to do those songs live."

When Argent's post-Zombies group Argent ("Hold Your Head Up") split in 1975, he says, "I thought at the time that my musical career was going to go in a different direction, [like] writing for films and television, particularly here in England."

Instead, Argent turned to producing other artists' albums, including Nanci Griffith's stellar "Late Night Grande Hotel."

"I produced several million-selling albums from 1987 to about 1999," he says. "I was nothing else but a producer, and I'm still doing that. But it got to the point where I was aching to play again actually."

A chance meeting with original Zombies singer Colin Blunstone revived their creative partnership. Argent was playing a charity gig, and Blunstone happened to be in the audience.

"He got up just on the spur of the moment and sang 'She's Not There' and 'Time of the Season' with me, and it honestly felt as if we'd just been together two weeks before rather than God knows how many years ago," Argent recalls. "We suddenly found ourselves doing a few concerts together just for a bounce, and, in fact, that somehow turned into four tours of America. We just got back from a tour of the Philippines, we've toured in Europe, we just go all over the place."

Since then, Blunstone and Argent have recorded two studio albums and just released "Live at Bloomsbury Theatre" on Rhino Records, and Argent says he's "having a ball" playing live. He's also thrilled to be sharing the stage with Starr, one of his formative influences.

"When the Beatles first came out in England, the groove that Ringo had was revolutionary at the time. He didn't sound like any other drummer," Argent says. "The Zombies' first record, 'She's Not There,' was one of the early songs I'd written. That idea of starting the song with a sort of broken rhythm very much came out of listening to Ringo and the way he had patterns on the beginnings of verses. The idea of playing with him after all these years is just fantastic."

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