The Zombies React to Rock Hall Induction: 'It's a Very Emotional Day for Us'

News of the Zombies' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction on Thursday (Dec. 13) left frontman Colin Blunstone "so excited that my words are coming out a little bit strangely."

"It's so exciting," Blunstone told Billboard after the news was announced. “I'm absolutely thrilled. I'm trying to keep in control of my emotions, but it is a very emotional day for us, thinking back over all these years and to get this recognition from the Rock Hall, and the support of our wonderful fans, it's quite overwhelming. It is a sort of career-defining moment, I think, for a band like us, at this time in our lives. It's an absolutely wonderful, wonderful thing. I'm just incredibly grateful."

The induction news comes after the Zombies' fourth inclusion on the Rock Hall nominees ballot, and the group -- which ranked fourth in fan voting with 329,000 votes -- has long been on the list of acts snubbed in preceding years. Blunstone says he's played a kind of mental game with himself to temper his expectations -- and any disappointments.

"To help me cope with the anxiety I've always thought in terms of, if you're nominated it's just a little bit of fun, and it's a wonderful honor to have been nominated," he explains. "That actually helped take the pressure out of the situation for me...It's just extra special we're being inducted."

Blunstone anticipates no drama related to the Zombies' appearance at the March ceremony in Brooklyn. He and keyboardist Rod Argent have been working again as the Zombies since 2009, and original drummer Hugh Grundy and longtime bassist Chris White joined them for recent shows celebrating the group's classic 1968 Odessey and Oracle album. All parties get on well, and Blunstone says the late guitarist Paul Atkinson will be warmly remembered during the festivities.

"l've just emailed Paul's widow, Helen, and I said, 'It is so exciting, and I'd like to think that Paul’s looking down at us and smiling and is as thrilled as we are,'" Blunstone says. "I think Paul will be with us when we play at the induction ceremony. He's very much a part of our thoughts at times like this. It's a terrible shame he won't be with us, but he'll be with us in thought."

Blunstone and Argent, meanwhile, are gearing up for a busy 2019. The singer will be touring the U.S. Northeast with his own band before joining up with the Zombies for the inaugural On The Blue Cruise. The Zombies will also play some additional U.S. dates into March, and Blunstone says he and Argent have started writing songs for a follow-up album to 2015's Still Got That Hunger.

"Because we're going to be (touring) long periods of this coming year the writing might take a little bit of time," Blunstone says, "but I would hope that we'll get most of it done in the next year, and I'm sure we'll start recording in the next year. I'm only hazarding a guess, but I would hope there'd be a new Zombies album in early 2020. We've been talking about it a lot. The time is definitely now."

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