Saturday, November 3, 2012

Interview with Heath Benson from The Zits

Critical Mass: Thanks for taking the time to talk with Critical Mass, Heath! I appreciate your time. For anyone new to The Zits, can you give us a little history on the band and how you got started?

Heath Benson: Yeah well I started The Zits in 2008 and wanted to write songs that paid tribute to bands like The Ramones, Screeching Weasel, and The Queers.  I started out acoustically and put out two EP's, "Giggle" and "Poprocks".  In 2010 I recorded everything electric and played all the instruments for "Electrified!" EP.  After that release, that's when the band kinda took off.  Got some great reviews, even played my first show ever in 2009.  The Zits are completely DIY.  I do everything myself, I'm the only member!

CM: I had the chance to review The Zits latest EP "Breakout", and it's great . How many releases do you have out?

HB: Actually "Breakout" was my 7th release.  But it was the first EP of the new sound I was going for.  Personally, it's my favorite release yet!

CM: I can hear obvious influences like Screeching Weasel and The Queers in your music. And they are influences on you, as you've said. are there any other bands that have inspired you as a musician?

HB: Well yeah I'm definitely influenced by Screeching Weasel and The Queers.  Other bands that influence me I would say are The Ramones, and Bomb The Music Industry.

CM: This band is pretty much your baby, as you've stated. So, when it comes to songwriting and recording, have you ever written with anyone else or had other players on the albums?

HB: Yep, 100% all by myself!  It's all me!  In a way it's a good thing because I have complete control.  If I feel like completely changing my sound, I can do it.  It's my music, I do what I want!  But I do kinda wish I had a second brain to pick song ideas from.  It's very difficult to write and record and master everything by yourself.  I probably could be writing music faster if I had more people to help out.

CM: I know the band hails from Denton, MD. Do you guys play outside of the Maryland area at all? And are there any plans on taking the show on the road in the near future?

HB: I play shows occasionally when I can find fill-ins.  The last show I played was at The Ottobar in Baltimore, MD.  It was a blast!  But since then, the guys that helped me out have bailed and went their separate ways.  It's been very frustrating getting reliable people to help out!  Had to cancel two shows because my bassist kept bailing!  Want to do some kinda a show though sometime next year.

CM: With 2012 coming to a fast close, what can we expect from The Zits in 2013? Are there any plans for any new material in the new year?

CM: I've been working on the next EP titled, "Broke and Lovin' It" for a year now.  Planning on releasing it in January.  That will probably be the only release next year since I want to concentrate on other projects and other important things.

CM: The band has been pretty much a DIY band from jump. Are there any labels out there who have shown interest in the band? Or will this be an exclusive indie band?

HB: Yes, well just this month I signed to Basement Handjob Records.  They are releasing my whole back catalogue on CD and vinyl.  Pretty exciting!

CM: Is there a website you wanna plug where we can get up to date news on new releases, show dates and merch?

HB: Yeah sure, I've got everything up for download at and "Breakout" EP is available on iTunes and Amazon MP3.  Also like The Zits on Facebook

CM: Thanks again for talking with Critical Mass Heath. I greatly appreciate it. I hope we can get you guys out on the road in the near future. We would love to see you in Chicago at some point. Thanks again man.

HB: I'll definitely try to make it to Chicago!  Thanks!

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