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A Dirty Dozen with TREV LUKATHER and JULES GALLI of ZFG – February 2019

| 25 February 2019 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Serendipitous is an adjective that describes accidentally being in the right place at the right time, like bumping into a good friend in some unusual location, or finding a hundred dollar bill on the ground. The word could also be used well in describing the inception of the band ZFG. Within its ranks you’ll find seasoned songwriters and performers of which you may be familiar, but sometimes the sum of the parts is beyond expectations and lends itself to being genre defining. Based in Los Angeles, CA, ZFG consists of Jules Galli on vocals, Trev Lukather on guitar, Sam Porcaro on bass and Josh Devine on drums. The members were close friends in different projects, but decided to get into the studio for fun with a new approach in mind, making music with no rules or boundaries. “Zero Fucks Given” is what they called their first day in the studio, which led to their band name ZFG. After writing and recording together on day one, the chemistry was undeniable, so the decision was made to forge their individual projects into one. By melding anthemic, hook-filled melodies within funk rock guitar riffs and groove rock beats, the band shows their ability to compact a vast array of influence and experience into a signature sound with substance, style, and soul.” We get Trev and Jules to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Trev Lukather: At first listen, the listener might not notice we have real percussion in our new single “Special”. They won’t know that it’s the only song off our EP that has percussion. Lenny Castro who is a legendary percussionist came in the studio and laid it down in one take. He’s played with The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and Toto just to name a few. He’s my Godfather and to have him play on one of our tracks was an honor. He played with Sam and my Pop’s band since the 70’s so it was a full circle moment. They also won’t know that it’s a song that almost didn’t make it on our EP. It was an experimental track because we wrote and arranged it in the studio. We went even more ZFG on this song because we had no pre production to what the song structure would be. We really came together last minute on this one. Every member brought something really special to the table. We all felt the magic of this one off the bat. Calling it “Special” is ironic.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Jules Galli: My dad has always been a huge fan of “Johnny Hallyday” who was the French Elvis at the time (RIP). Dad took me to his first concert when I was 5 yrs old. Needless to say experiencing my first concert was amazing in itself. There was a moment when I was on my dad’s shoulders, I was the only kid there and we were in the pit. I gave Johnny my thumbs up, and there he looked at me and replied with his right thumb up. At this moment, I wanted to do what he was doing, and for as long as I remember, I’ve been chasing this feeling… here I am with the ZFG boys, and we’re gonna thumb up the whole world.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Jules Galli: There are so many… I was jamming to MJ before I even knew who and what it was. I have to admit Disney movies were my first musical stimuli, especially the Jungle Book haha. As far as musical taste goes, I like everything that’s groovy and/or melodic, classical, trip-hop, you name it.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Jules Galli: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band was and still is the best show I’ve ever seen. Especially the tour with Tom Morello!!

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Jules Galli: This is a tough one… the first that comes to mind as a female vocalist and songwriter would be Lady Gaga. She can do it all, and she can rock 🤘🏼!!! As far as a male collaborator, Lenny Kravitz. Coolest cat out there and amazing artist. I think we could create some amazing music together right boys?!!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Jules Galli: I’ve been describing it as Audioslave meets Stevie Wonder. I remember Trev’s dad saying our song “Special” sounds like Earth Wind and Fire meets metal! I dig that. At this point, anyone who spend their time listening to our music, coming to a show, and comparing us to someone they know is cool. Better be compared to a band you’re not really into than being ignored. 

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

Trev Lukather: Being able to create something out of thin air at any moment. Being able to express yourself in a way that connects to strangers all around the world. Being a musician is being vulnerable at all times. You put yourself out there and something you create within minutes can last a lifetime. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s also the best therapy.

Jules Galli: absolutely 100% agree with Trev. 🙏🏼

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Trev Lukather: Chef Bruno Galli (Jules Dad) has been the band chef. Whenever we accomplish something, Bruno invites us to the family house for dinner. That’s a strong motivation for the band. Jules, Sam and I handle the drinks for sure. Josh is the smart one. Jules, Josh and I usually bust out the acoustic for a nostalgic sing along in rotation.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Trev Lukather: For me it was meeting David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. He’s such an influence on my solo playing style. I went to his show at the Forum here in LA and got to hang with him after the show and have a few glasses of wine with him. It made my life! What a cool, laid back guy too. I never get star struck, but that was a moment for me.

Jules Galli: Josh Devine. I’m such a huge fan of One Direction 😂

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Jules Galli: Architect. I studied my first year in New York and really enjoyed it. But music was calling so I stopped. I figured I have all my life ahead of me if I want to go back to studies. I find it fascinating that you can create a 3 dimensional space out of anything. We used to start designing out of poems, random 2 dimensional shapes, color combinations, and end up with a building by the end of the course.  The design process is ever expanding and I believe I brought my architectural lessons to my songwriting.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Trev Lukather: When I was 20 I used to think I was invincible. I think most 20 year old’s feel that way. I was making a solo record with Tommy Henriksen who is now in Hollywood Vampires and Alice Cooper. He had an imprint on Geffen Records. He decided to sign me. We were making one hell of a record. I was seriously partying every night and then showing up to the studio. One day I even showed up with vomit crust on my mouth and shirt. Couldn’t sing and he gave me this look like GET IT TOGETHER BRO. I had a big showcase to do in a few days for the label. Two days prior I decided on a random party night to stay up playing Wii tennis and do a bunch of cocaine. It got in my vocal chords and paralyzed them. I couldn’t talk, let alone sing. When it came time to perform, I had little to no voice. Tried to reschedule but couldn’t. The showcase was paid for. The label was excited for the record until after my performance. I was so nervous and I was never nervous to play. I blew it. The label wasn’t so excited after that. I obviously stopped doing that stuff. I used to think I screwed up my one chance but now I can say that isn’t true. I kept going for my dream knowing this is the only option for a career. I just needed to work on myself. Build my mind, body and soul. Self love is key. Past is the past. All we have is this moment right now and I’m grateful for it. Everything happens for a reason tho. If that wouldn’t have happened, who knows where I’d be at this point. I believe my career would already be over because I wasn’t ready for it then mentally which kind of goes against the question but it’s true. I was too reckless. Now, I’m better than ever and mentally prepared for this as a career. I’ve proven it to myself playing big stages like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Life is Beautiful etc connecting to an audience every show because back then, I thought it was about me. That’s far from the case. It’s not about me, it’s about what I do with my music and performance to provide an escape for people. That changed the game for me and here I am with the best band I’ve ever been a part of.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Jules Galli: Definitely Off The Wall with MJ and Quincy. The musicianship was so incredible, still with the old school recording ways, and making history! What you hear is what you get and I love that. The album is a masterpiece from start to finish. It personally taught me a lot about singing and songwriting. I mean, the groove on these tunes!!! Heee heee.





Category: Interviews

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ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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