Interview with Zero Hour (Jasun Tipton)

ZERO HOUR - A Fragile Mind

California based band Zero Hour launched the highly acclaimed The Towers Of Avarice in 2001 and amazed the Progressive Metal scene with their unique sound. We had a word with the band back in December that year, but with 2005’s brilliant A Fragile Mind and a new singer onboard we felt it was time to have a word again, this time with guitarist and creative force Jasun Tipton!

Metal Express Radio: First of all, congratulations on another fine album! How’s the weather in California these days?

Jasun: It’s 64 degrees Fahrenheit here in CA. We’re having great weather this way for the month of December.

MER: Last time Metal Express Radio spoke to you, Towers Of Avarice was just out, putting Zero Hour on the map. Later, you went to Europe touring and seemingly the world was at your feet. But upon returning to sunny California, your singer Erik Rosvold drifted away from the band. What happened?

Jasun: Mikey (Guy, drummer), Troy (Tipton, bass) and I had finished recording our tracks in Feb. of 2003. Over a year went by and Erik (Rosvold, vocals) maybe finished about half of the CD and it just got to the point where we needed Erik to really finish the material. We would call and email Erik to setup a band meeting, but he wouldn’t respond to our emails. He probably answered 2 of the many, many, many emails we sent. The label said we were becoming a financial burden and we couldn’t wait for Erik any longer. It just got to the point in order for Zero Hour to continue as a group, we needed to find a new singer.

MER: Any news of Erik these days?

Jasun: Nothing of late… I talked to Erik a few times after the split and he’s a good guy and a great singer. I think he’s just trying to get his life back together.

MER: Replacing Erik is Fred Marshall. How did you find him?

Jasun: We remembered Fred from back in the days with a couple of local acts. He had a strong voice and it got our attention. We ended up getting his number and everything was a go.

MER: Fred seems to be fully integrated with the band?

Jasun: Yeah, he worked out well with A Fragile Mind.

MER: Now A Fragile Mind is out. Did you have material ready for this album while Erik was still around?

Jasun: Yeah, the material was all written back in 2002, so this was a long time coming. Erik had maybe half of the lyrics done and this was after 2 years of having the material. We just couldn’t wait on Erik any longer in order for the band to continue.

MER: You have stated that A Fragile Mind is not a concept album. Still, wouldn’t you agree there is a conceptual structure to it, judging by the thematic relations between the songs and also the cross references in the lyrics?

Jasun: Yeah, I would agree with that. When you listen to everything it does come together as a story, but that happened by accident.

MER: The production is spot on and sound is crisp, natural and loaded with presence. Your collaboration with Dino Alden seems to have been fruitbearing?

Jasun: Dino is the best and we will always work with him. He knows exactly what the band needs sonically, just an awesome friend, engineer and producer.

MER: Dwelling with the production, it almost sounds as if you have arranged/produced this album from a live point of view, since guitar overdubs are kept at a minimum?

Jasun: I actually track all my (guitar) tracks 3 times to give a real thickness to the sound. The process is very organic with the drums, bass and guitars. So you do get a live vibe from the music in the end.

MER: Vocals are subject to extensive harmonizing, how is this solved in a live setting (i.e. who steps up to the microphone alongside Fred)?

Jasun: That’s a good question and that’s something I can’t answer just yet. Once we figure out the live setting we’ll dive into that area.

MER: Speaking of live, are there any plans for tour with A Fragile Mind yet?

Jasun: We will start playing out in April 2006 and really haven’t dived into that process just yet. We want to put on the best show possible. Once we get our other obligations out of the way, we’ll focus on live material.

MER: Word has it you already have another album up your sleeve?

Jasun: Yeah, we do and that’s the big reason why we haven’t jumped into playing live: our next disc, which will be called Specs of Pictures Burnt Beyond. This CD is going to be amazing and our best by far, I feel. We are almost done with all the pre-production for the material and it will come out in 2006. Think Towers on steroids!

MER: Finally, thanks for sharing your time with Metal Express Radio and our audience. From all of us to all of you in Zero Hour: Happy New Year!

Jasun: Happy New Year to everyone. We really look forward to 2006 and thank you so much for all the support towards Zero Hour, YOU ALL RULE!!!


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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