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A Dirty Dozen with ZAIN SMITH from LOCUST GROVE – March 2022

| 25 March 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Oklahoma City, OK based Hard Rock band LOCUST GROVE has released the official music video for their new single, “Worth My Time.” Featuring the band performing in Oklahoma City, OK with 3130 Studios by Clark Deal, with the model shots by Alex Heider from Atlanta, GA, “Worth My Time” is the first single off of the band’s upcoming, debut LP, Battle of Locust. Locust Grove is a four-piece, high-energy hard rock band based out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Loaded with heavy guitar riffs, formidable grooves, and raw emotion — you can’t stop yourself from banging your head when you listen to Locust Grove.” We get singer / guitarist Zain to discuss new music, influences, and 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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest release is called The Battle of Locust. This is our first full-length album! We are super excited about it. The music is everything from hard hitting stadium drums to clean vocals over acoustic guitar. We didn’t want to write in a box, but rather experiment with different tunings and tones. This album, vocally, was a learning curve and is basically me experimenting with my range as well as tone. I believe it’s about the lyrics and also how they’re being delivered. No secrets or anything with this album — we talked about putting a secret track at the end of the album, but decided against that.

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

My parents were very into music. I remember hearing AC/DC early on in my life and asking my dad for a guitar. After getting one it annoyed everyone for a while and then it lived under my bed for a year or so until I met some friends that also played. We would always get together and play all the riffs we had learned that week, things like “Enter Sandman,” “Thunderstruck,” or “Iron Man.” I feel like my interest for music has always been there even as a young kid listening to the Bee Gees with my grandparents wishing I could play keyboard like Maurice or sing like Barry or Robin. I also remember being amazed by the piano part in the beginning of “Fur Elise” by Beethoven. Once I received my first guitar, that’s when the rock and metal side of things started happening and I haven’t looked back since!

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

As I said earlier, AC/DC and Angus were early inspirations, and as I got better as a player it went more towards Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, and Dimebag Darrell. These players are all so influential from their tone, to the way they played, to how they were off stage. In my opinion this is what makes an “icon.” These are some of my guitar idols, I have vocal ones too since I started singing in 2014. Chad Gray, Brent Smith, Layne Staley, Pepper Keenan, Zakk Wylde, and you can’t forget James Hetfield. All these people played a huge role in forging the sound that is Locust Grove.

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

I have a few. I think it would be great to do a song with Lzzy Hale, because she has such a powerful voice. I also think it would be cool to have Chris Adler play drums on a track someday. Or writing a song with Zakk Wylde would be awesome. I have also always wanted to meet or work with Jack Black.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I don’t do a lot outside of music, because I literally live in my studio. When Locust Grove isn’t recording or making music I am making music with local artists in Oklahoma, however, I do have interest in building/fixing guitars. I also play PUBG MOBILE.

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?

I would say we are gritty and heavy but also radio friendly, we want to be able to play with metal or rock bands! I cringed once when I saw someone compare us to Nickelback, I don’t really see it. I like some Nickelback songs too but I can’t say they are a heavy influence of the band.

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

Well Q our bassist is probably going to be the one cooking and getting the drinks in, that’s why we call him “Dad” on the road. I am totally the one that always gets the acoustic out for singalongs even when I don’t know the lyrics hahaha.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Rocklahoma 2012. I was side stage during Hellyeah, but before they played Chad Grey was warming up right by me and then hit the stage, but honestly seeing Vinnie Paul was surreal, I was too young to see Pantera so this was the closest thing to it I could experience and it was something I will never forget. R.I.P. Abbott brothers forever legends!!

9. What is the best part of being a musician?  If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician to me is the fans and friends, seeing people connect that never would have ever connected if it wasn’t for the common factor “your band” I have friends from all walks of life and all over the world and it’s great to see them all interact because of one thing MUSIC. I honestly have religiously lived my life to be a musician for over half of it at this point and there is not much out there that gives me the same happy feeling, don’t get me wrong I enjoy construction and tools, there is other avenues I have had to take to help make ends meat because the music industry can be hard but I don’t enjoy anything on the level I do performing and writing. Producing is also an avenue that I took because it is still involved in music but not on the performing side.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Usually the interviewers have better questions than I can come up with however I am tired of people asking if our band is from the town Locust Grove and I have to explain ‘No, we are from Oklahoma City, OK.’ The name sounded cool and fit our sound.

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?

Everyday we do this we continue to learn things and I think that is what helps you adapt, I learned early on that I needed to listen to others out there succeeding at the same thing I wanted to be doing in order to grow. I have made mistakes, but the key is to not make the same mistake twice! Everything that has happened in my career brought me to this point though so I can’t say that I have regrets.

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?

The Black Album! It was a turning point in Metallica’s career and Bob Rock is a legend as well. I love everything they have done but sonically that record slams!






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

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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