Before Zomber was a band, it was the mysterious college nickname of Robert Levites.
“No one is really certain where it came from. Maybe I was somber? A zombie? A somber zombie? Who actually said the word the first time? Was it Hank? Was it Steve? Seth? Sounds like something they would say…Zomber was how people greeted me when I got dragged to the bar or maybe a house party. Often, the person prodding me to be more social was Mark Fletcher. Mark and I met as foolish teenagers and attended Bard college together as foolish young men. He played guitar, and he loved music. And I didn’t play anything.”
As happy accidents would have it, and with Fletcher’s encouragement, Levites began writing songs , which was about as alien an endeavor as he’d ever undertaken.
” I didn’t even like music until I was thirteen. Weird, right? I kinda hated it. I described it as ‘noise.’ But then something happened, I guess, and I started loving it. So why not try? Why not write lyrics for Mark to play guitar to, and see what happens?”
The duo began recording demos in their garage, enlisting Riley Zimmer to play bass and Eric Harm, formerly of Titus Andronicus on drums.
Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing “1-95” a single from their forthcoming album, Laddie, which is set to drop in late April.
This is what Levites had to say about it:
“I wrote this song in the car. I used to commute on I-95, and I would hit congestion traffic pretty regularly. It really whittled me down, sometimes. It was stop and go or standstill, and I’d be trying to stick my neck out the window and see where the traffic cleared up. Maybe somewhere just beyond my line of sight it was freeing up. Maybe it was just bottle necking, and the rest of the drive would be easy.
I’d look out at the other cars and the expressions were all the same, for the most part. Tired, or maybe angry and tired, or in a rush to get home. Or sad. Everyone just seemed to really hate this traffic that hit every night. Why were we always on this highway? It was mind-numbingly constant, but it was also unpredictable. It was the same, but never really the same.
I wondered if other people had the same impulse I did, the desire for the road to somehow clear ahead of them like the Red Sea. I wondered how many days a week they waited here, at this same bend of the road, wanting the highway to somehow accommodate their fatigue, knowing that it would never do something like that.
So one day traffic got really bad and I started doing this tuneless humming thing, and that turned into a chorus, and then two hours later when I got home I wrote it down. And now I take the Merritt parkway to work, and I don’t drive on I-95 much anymore, and that’s just fine with me.”
Catch the band live, Friday Feb 9 at the Glove in Brooklyn, NY. Details are here.