Zinc

Zinc, taste that name, Zinc. A strange name for a band or perhaps odd but nonetheless pretty cool. A band with such an unusual name got to produce something special, and to a certain degree they did!

Background

In 1982 Petrus tried just another new concept in his never ending search for success. Zinc became the result. It was, as many times before, a clean studio effort and nothing else. Petrus put together some of his already known Italian in-house-musicians, a few American musicians and singers from the productions in 1981 and also a couple of new faces to play and sing. There was nothing new or sensational by that. As on B. B. & Q. band's debut album in 1981 Gordon Grody (left) took care of the role as lead vocalist, and as always, he did it with an appealing result. Steve Daniels, used as vocalist on Revanche's one and only album in 1979, played Grody's role on one track besides his main work as a background singer. Among the musicians, Rick Gallwey from Change, Yogi Horton and Terry Silverlight could be heard besides the standard line up of Malavasi, Romani, Gianolio and Trevisi.

Petrus and Malavasi produced the set that was equally conducted and arranged by the latter. It was completely recorded at Media sound studios in New York by Michael Barbiero and mixed by Michael Brauer. All albums that year from Little Macho were in fact recorded in that studio. By that Petrus temporarily left the Italian and US split recordings procedure of the albums. But it was just for that year. In 1983 everything was back to normal, even though the studios were different.

The cover featured two sensual legs from a lady in a purple mini skirt stepping out from a classic yellow cab in New York, a rather conventional cover design in other words.

The music was written, the musicians and singers were assembled, all was set for the anticipated release, but was it going to stand the pressure?

The surprising album

The album "Street level" on Jive records was not like the rest of the music from that year that emanated from Petrus empire and the inner core of the mastermind Italian musicians. Zinc was a mix of pop, funk, rock and a bit folk in a very interesting and surprising way. Even though Change's album in 1982 was Petrus' and Malavasi's best effort Zinc didn't came far behind. The excellent title track was the Kashif written "Street level" that managed to catch the street and city life feeling from the time in an excellent way. The song was also perfectly backed up by the lyrics, also written by Kashif. The uprising musician, singer and producer Kashif did some gigs with Petrus in 1982 on Zinc's and High fashion's albums with a good result and on this great tune he showed his potential. The most interesting thing with "Street level" is the subtle mix of styles and instruments brilliantly mixed with Gordon Grody's lively, energetic and irresistible song effort. Even though it's much pop it never gets over the top getting main stream. It hold on to the groove almost without knowing it self. The appealing synth patterns, but most of all the highly addictive, playful and distinctive guitars seamlessly drifting from hard punch to soft, made it complete.

The three following grooves were all written by Malavasi and was easy listening and descent stuff but didn't reach the same level as the first track even though the last track "This is where the love is" had some interesting and quirky guitar riffs and an expressive song by Grody. On the B side however another notable track was presented by Zinc in the funky gem of "Punkulation" featuring some fat bass guitar riffs and a great singing effort. Romani wrote it and it became maybe his most surprising and bold track. The two last ones included the mysterious jungle influenced "Amazon" by Malavasi and the album was ending up with the average "Livin' in the boggie now" by Gianolio and Malavasi.

All in all was the interesting and tasteful album without a doubt more than a few steps above average, showing some experimental and innovative ideas from the main songwriters, especially on "Street level", but also on "Punkulation".

1982 was a change of time for Petrus and Malavasi and Zinc was a very good effort in the last moments of their cooperation. The year after Malavasi, Romani and many others left Petrus due to Little Macho's severe economical problems. In that perspective Zinc was unique as one of their last joint project before the changes within the organization and outside musical poprevolution towards the mid 80s.

One more try...

The story of Zinc didn't stop after "Street level" however. One last effort on the Jive label with a 12" with the thoughtful title of "I'm livin' a life of love" was released. The track was in fact originally written in 82 for B. B. & Q band but didn't make it for the album that year and was instead used here. The B-side featured "Livin' in the boogie now" once again. The song was a poor pop track written by Malavasi lacking of glove and enthusiasm and flirting way to much with new trends. It wasn't a surprise that Malavasi was the composer among Petrus personnel that had the courage to try new formulas. He was much more liberal and open minded for new musical constellations than Romani for example that wanted to slowly continue the old and successful formula without to much notable changes. Unfortunately most of Malavasi's innovative and experimental songs didn't reach any commercial success and non of them were musically as exiting as his classic hits.

More releases?

The pale 12" unfortunately became their last effort on Jive and perhaps any other label as well. However the name Zinc appear on other releases that might have a connection. One of them is the band Zinc featuring Sherwin that at least came with two releases, "Hollowood city" in 84 and "State of the nation". Both are 12" singles released on the small French label Sneak preview, the latter with no printed year. "State of the nation" was written by Carin Caronia and produced by Marco Tansin, the credits of the other 12" are unknown. The name and the fact that Tansini had been involved with Petrus since at least 79 make it likely that these are authentic recordings by Zinc, but that is still unknown.

Zinc was no commercial success but is a highly regarded project among the composers and the musicians that participated today and among a handful of serious collectors as well.

Despite the short story, not unusual among the projects of Petrus' stable, Zinc proved more than enough and more than once that the basic idea of the band could stand the pressure and that Zinc was a metal to take in to consideration.

Reissues

On the 15th of November 2005 the Italian label Fonte records released the album by Zinc on CD as a part of a box of five CD's that also included one album by Armed gang, one album by Flowchart and two albums by Firefly. More info about this box and the additional four exclusive boxes in the series can be found here

(Patrik Andersson)

Discography of Zinc

Please click on the covers below to see a complete list of songs from each record.

Album cover
(if available)

Title, year & format
(if available)

Street level
Street level

1982 (LP & CD)

I'm livin' a life of love

I'm livin' a life of love

1983 (12")

All original release years

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