January, 1994. Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Huddled around their amplifiers and instruments in a freezing cold “studio” apartment on Prospect Street are The Wasteland Zombies. They’re in the midst of recording their first demo tape The Town Fair. Their luxurious studio, which has only one heater, is being paid for by their recent victory at Fredericton’s Battle of Bands competition. Despite the parkas and gloves the band intends to have the recording done in time for the upcoming National College Radio Conference hosted by CHSR-FM on the UNB Campus.
“[We] recorded the album live off the floor,” said lead vocalist, Chris Waddell. “In 1994 it was still pretty steep for a band to put their craft to CD, so we went with cassettes and reproduced them ourselves.”
Those were the glory days for The Wasteland Zombies. The five piece alternative metal band that were inspired by the likes of Iron Maiden, Faith No More and Blind Melon had won over the Fredericton crowds and were on the verge of taking off for the rest of Canada. They were playing a show in Saint John when they attracted the attention of a representative of EMI Canada. He was rushed a copy of The Town Fair, however, after a follow up on the demo the rep said he wanted a “better produced product.” By then The Wasteland Zombies had broken up.
The reason for the break-up was no secret.
“I was angry with the band,” said Waddell. “I had made many great contacts that I was planning to use for a tour from Western Ontario to right back home here.”
The other members of the band were either not able or not willing to leave work commitments for a tour of Canada. The band eventually parted ways that year, and Waddell moved to Vancouver.
Flash forward to 2014. Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Waddell has moved back to Fredericton from his job with Electronic Arts in Vancouver.
“I got the itch to play,” said Waddell. “I could have started a band I suppose, but I wanted and had always wanted to do a Wasteland Zombies reunion.”
And reunite they did. All loose ends were tied years ago, and there are no more hard feelings between the band mates. The current line up has four out of five of its original members. With Chris Waddell on vocals, Ray Robinson on lead guitar, Rick Brown on rhythm guitar, and his brother Glen Brown on drums, they are joined by newcomer Jake Taylor on the bass.
“I can’t zip around like I used to,” said Waddell, due to his severe arthritis. “I’ve tried to channel that energy into my voice and I am also going to engage the audience a little more than I used to.”
The reunion show will be at the Oromocto Legion, 284 Restigouche Rd. Nov. 28 with Fallen Pawns and Moment of Inertia. Cover is $5.