Von Zippers Malt Liquor, Shotguns and Ambulances

Von Zippers Malt Liquor, Shotguns and Ambulances
"That thing almost discharged in my face," says Von Zipper leader Alan Wayne, chuckling away from his Calgary home. He is, of course, referring to the double barrel shotgun used in the recording of the song "Automatic," from their debut full-length release,Bad Generation . If that isn't rock'n'roll enough for you, Mr. Wayne excitedly asks "Did you know that ambulance siren on 'Kill That Guy' is real?"

Fortunately, it's made clear later that the ambulance sound was just the result of an old tube compressor picking up a lot of ambient noise from nearby their recording studio - the siren fit perfectly into the song.

As the talk with the pride of the Canadian garage scene goes on, it becomes obvious that the type of things that make bands legendary just come naturally to them. All the extra stuff that's attached to them, like having Buddy Hackett's daughter as a fan, is great, but it wouldn't be much without their powerful combo of '60s garage and '70s punk. It's so solid that it's gotten them on the coveted Estrus label; they played the label's illustrious "Garage Shock" festival in 1996. "They're already stocking up on the giant bottles of Old English 800 for us!" Wayne says gleefully of their upcoming appearance at this year's "Superbowl" of trash rock.

This spring will see the boys not only play Garage Shock '99, but do a full West Coast tour, a fly-out mini tour in Ontario, and an appearance at the Calgary Exclaim!/Brave New Waves Anniversattack show. It's quite a flurry of live activity for the band, whose day jobs and other rock responsibilities have kept them from extensive touring in the past. Wayne has been kept more than busy with his own Roto-Flex label, and his other bands, which include the now-defunct Curse of Horseflesh, and currently, the Malt Liquor Giants. He's even organised his own garage punk festival, "The Calgary Boat and Trailer Show," two years in a row.

When asked if the Von Zippers have anything special planned for the Calgary Anniversattack show, Wayne responds in his usual humble fashion "Probably after two weeks of touring, we might actually sound somewhat cohesive, so that will be the surprise."