Sunday, November 30, 2008


ZOMBIE PISTOLERO photo by Phillip Intilé

Zombie Pistolero & His Guns is the solo project of young, extremely talented, and extraordinairily strange Vancouver based artist, Aaron Summerfield. After a somewhat recent break-up with his former band, The Petroleum By-Products, Aaron moved on to write songs that were all his own. His band members now consist of a bass guitar, a drum machine and a reverb pedal.

Zombie Pistolero songs sound like they were recorded by a lost cowboy with a heartache(perhaps Lee Hazelwood's long lost son?) in the middle of the desert. I think that's probably what he wants them to sound like.

The bass based (ha!) songs are minimalist, leaving lots of room for atmosphere. Close attention should be paid to Aaron's lyrics, many of which seem directed to particular people in a cutting, yet witty manner. Dare I say Morrissey-esque? I think I'd like to mention either David Bowie or Morrissey in every interview.

The lyrics are also poetic and humourous; Aaron makes great use of metaphors, similes, and allusions to comment on lost friendships, the unwanted strains of being introduced to new people, and the death of love. Aaron's thinly veiled jabs at the members of his social world are often laugh out loud hilarious and for "anti-socialites" such as myself, easy to relate to.

Over the past year, I have gotten to know Aaron somewhat and gotten to know his music...maybe a little too well. I don't know, is three times a day too much? In person, when he is not busy being shrouded in romance and mystery, he is frank, and he'll do things that everyone does, like drinking too much wine and complaining about work. He is somewhat shy, but when he speaks, just like in his lyrics, he always has something magical to say. He has been a favorite of Shindig judges,myself and the most tasteful show promoters- Zombie Pistolero is a gem in this sea of shit*.

(*just kidding about the "sea of shit"...sort of)

Nikki Never: You seem to pay very close attention both to your aesthetic surroundings and colour during your sets. Why is that?

Aaron Summerfield: I feel that colour, lighting and surroundings in general are neglected far too often for things that really influence an audience in such a dramatic way. If people didn't want something to look at, they'd listen to it at home, right? Actually, I think atmosphere is neglected way too much everywhere. Imagine how much less depressing everything would be if someone spent the time to tap into the individual personalities of inanimate objects? Streets with number names and the same house a thousand times; fluorescent lighting; vinyl siding; carpet that looks like spit up newspaper? To me it says, "Who cares who lives there or if they even live..."

NN: Please describe your relationship with colors.

AS: Massive, constant distraction (

NN: What is your favorite color?

AS: always love a good rusty cadmium coppery orange and a comet cleaner colour of pale blue on the edge of indigo, but Zombie Pistolero is mostly Plum, Purple, Turquoise, Mint Green and sometimes a kind of Navy-Blue.

NN:Have you ever been to the hospital?

AS: I've spent a good deal of time in the hospital for all kinds of accidents including (but not limited to) poisonings, blood loss, dehydration, HUGE migraines and the like as well as to visit a number of ill and/or dying people near and dear to me.

NN: How long have you been writing Zombie Pistolero songs for?

AS: None of this stuff is older than May of the year 2008

NN: What is a common theme in your song lyrics?

AS: Frustration explanations

NN: What is some of your favorite music?

AS: Almost anything with authenticity can catch me. If I list specific things, I could feel sick with it next week!

NN: Do you do any drugs?

AS: I only trust nature (except painkillers). I think it's always good to re-evaluate a situation.

NN: What was highschool like for you?

AS: Which one? I've been at almost 6 different highschools, and they've all been pretty lame. I guess I just couldn't find the right place.

NN: Did you go to school with the Petroleum By-Products folk?

AS: I didn't. Not so sure I'm disappointed

NN: Do you prefer playing solo or in a band?

AS: I prefer playing with a band most times so I don't have to be everyone. It's also exciting when you hear what your bonds with people actually sound like.

NN: Why did you leave Petroleum By-Products?

Actually, I was kicked out of the Petroleum By-Products. There'd been some difficulty regarding show offers and some people needing new material in order to play said shows. However, in order to prepare new material, it's generally a requirement that everyone involved be in attendance on the agreed upon day of the week and that their tools be in working order.

Everyone being very busy and geographically dispersed, I suppose, created a sort of void for time and energy that prevented anything moving forward. I was perhaps most irritated of all by this, and started to (try to) delegate, with no frills, frankly. This was apparently not well received, and next thing I knew, the whole thing stood so still, pidgeons arrived, and then it fell apart.

As all the implications of that were spinning around while trying to finish up some recordings at Little Red Sounds, I went to the Practice Shack one day to pick up some equipment and walked in on a "session" with Nicholas of Ice Cream, Cosmetics (respectively) replacing me on Bass. Only Nick and I said,"Hi." back and forth,

I walked through the room and grabbed my mic. stands and then left, closing the door with concerted effort so as to make it inaudible because I really don't like door-slammers. That was it, I was out, although I've heard some extremely interesting recounts from recounts of that day and the whole situation through sources who'll remain anonymous.

NN: Do you intend to ever add members to Zombie Pistolero?

AS: I assure you, Guns are assembling, but we mustn't disregard the invaluable contribution of my first collaborator, the Nomad, who has served me with unfaltering time-tapping.

NN: What has the Shindig contest (a battle of the bands held by UBC unversity radio station CITR) taught you?

AS: Winning isn't anything. I like people from CiTR

NN: Have you ever been in love?

AS: Not properly

NN: Have you ever hated someone?

AS: Too often; it's the most affordable way to find direction, but I try not to more and more. The good part is, my memory is almost irritatingly prone to romanticizing.

NN: What is one of your pet peeves in other people?

AS: Impression of standards and emotional expectations. I really resent being told how I'm supposed to feel. As long as someone's not imposing on someone else, what's the problem really, asides from the pushy jerk?

NN: How do you get along with your parents?

AS: We're friends, but I dunnae see either of them as much as I'd like to. I always think of family as such a perfect way to see parts of the world one might never ever see otherwise, which sometimes helps for tolerating things, and other times, bigtime doesn't.

NN: Describe the strangest dream you've had

AS: I once dreamt that some friends of mine had injured noses, having had them closed in windows of cars. I thought it might be some kind of cocaine reference, and I called another friend who was then seeing one of these two from the dream, who I had been speaking to on the phone in the dream. I told her the story and she said one of them had actually slammed his nose in a door just the day before. I remember that one specifically because it was such an unlikely injury. The rest are all very epic. Go big, or get up!

I also have a few recurring dreams including variations of animals all over me and whispering; another where I'm at a kind of underwater drive-in, and people are in their cars with their windows up at the bottom of a lake and I'm walking around outside, tapping on windows; also, one I've been having since as far back as I can remember where I'm about mid-life and in the desert in a grey suit, with fedora and a deep-red tie. The jacket, I have slung over my shoulder, and I just walk casually off of a cliff and fall with nothing but relaxation. I could go on for too long...

NN: If you could do anything right now, money/gravity not an object,what would it be?

AS: Take ownership of a plot of land by the sea and move into a deep cave with glowing lights and wandering passages, the entrance to which being located in the roots of some gigantic trees (with respective structures amongst their tops). There would be a number of clear pools, lit and unlit, of all different temperatures for all different moods. Surrounding these pools are a great amount of very comfortable persian style banister beds in dark wood amongst thick vegetation provided by very successful plants in enormous ceramics, adorned with more lanterns, housing small birds.

There must be a coupla' walls of giant, well-lit aquarium. Every chamber has some kind of fire pit or place. Fresh water and delicious edible fungae would, of course, produce on site. I'd also like some smooth radiators, in the very unlikely event I should ever become cold and want dry heat. Citrus fruit & others would be retrieved from elsewhere.

There'll be some access to cliffs outside, on the other side of the property, where the house would continue in fairly small airy rooms painted shades of bone, overlooking the water. Mexican blankets will be sloppily folded there, but the architecture will be prim and victorian. Please please visit, but call first. I'd also be able to breathe underwater.

1 comment:

whyisluna said...

Aaron seems like a swell guy!