Zebrahead is an American punk rock band from Orange County, California. Formed in 1995, the band has released thirteen studio albums to date.
Zebrahead was formed in La Habra, California in December 1995 by guitarist Greg Bergdorf and drummer Ed Udhus, , bassist Ben Osmundson and singer/rhythm guitarist Justin Mauriello . All four musicians, whose bands at the time shared the same practice space, became acquainted with one another after experimenting with different music styles together. This led to all four leaving their respective bands and forming their own and naming it Zebrahead. Inspired by bands such as Fugazi and Descendents and uninterested in the local musical trends of the time, Zebrahead began experimenting and incorporating elements of hip-hop into their sound, leading to the inclusion of rapper Ali Tabatabaee as a co-vocalist.
The band issued their self-titled debut album in April 1998 through indie label Doctor Dream Records, before signing with major label Columbia Records to release their mainstream debut Waste of Mind later that year. The album contains several re-recorded songs from their demo release alongside new tracks, including the minor radio hit "Get Back", which charted at No. 32 on the U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts. The band's follow-up Playmate of the Year was released in August 2000 and charted at No.4 on the U.S. Top Heatseekers chart. The extended play Stupid Fat Americans followed in February 2001 as a Japan-exclusive release.
Zebrahead recorded and released their fourth studio album, MFZB, in 2003; this was their last publication under Columbia Records. The album is noted for trading in the hip-hop funk elements of the band's previous releases in favor of a heavier punk rock sound that would eventually carry over and develop in future releases. Zebrahead spent the majority of 2004 promoting the album at various festivals in Japan, including the Summer Sonic Festival. The band's extensive touring earned them a sizeable fanbase in the country, leading MFZB to chart at No.9 on the Japanese Charts and earn a gold certification. A follow-up to MFZB titled Waste of MFZB – containing songs that didn't make the final cut of the former – was released exclusively in Japan in July 2004 where it topped the Billboard Japan chart.
Shortly after Zebrahead's Japanese tour, co-vocalist/rhythm guitarist Justin Mauriello left the band due to creative differences. As the singing/rapping dynamic between Mauriello and co-vocalist Ali Tabatabaee was crucial to Zebrahead's sound, the band immediately began the search for a replacement. Matty Lewis, a former member of the band Jank 1000 that had previously toured with Zebrahead, was advised by Udhus and Osmundson to try out for the part in December 2004, to which he won. Lewis' inclusion was announced at a private concert at the Anaheim House of Blues, California on March 8, 2005, before the group started recording their next studio album.
Zebrahead's sixth album Broadcast to the World debuted in February 2006 in Japan, where it certified gold. It was later issued in other countries as the year progressed. During that time, the band toured the U.S. as part of the Warped Tour festival and later Europe, notably playing at the UK's annual Download Festival.
Following a two-month hiatus after writing material for their seventh album, Zebrahead returned to Europe in May 2007 on a co-headline tour with MxPx and went on to tour the UK as part of the annual Get Happy Tour the following October. Afterwards, the band continued writing and recorded demos with producers Jason Freese, Howard Benson and Cameron Webb. The album, Phoenix, was released in July 2008, preceded by the Not the New Album EP a day earlier. The band later returned to the UK and performed at the Download, Leeds Slam Dunk and Greenfield festivals, before going on to tour the rest of Europe and Japan for the remainder of the year. An American leg of the tour was originally planned to take place after, however, Lewis became ill, and in order to avoid permanent damage to his voice, the tour was cancelled.
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