Interview with Circle II Circle lead singer Zak Stevens / Ex- Savatage
Name: Zak Stevens
Birth Date: March 5
Favorite bands or groups: Iron Maiden and Godsmack
As you describe yourself? I'm basically a laid back, easy going guy from the deep south of the USA who's pretty happy-go-lucky most of the time. I like to work but I also like to play. I like to try to keep everyone around me in a good mood.
Zak, what are your most recently completed projects and what are you currently working on?
I just made a guest appearance on an upcoming album for a prog rock project out of Spain called Stardust Reverie. This is the second album of theirs that I have performed on. Joe Lynn Turner, Graham Bonnet, and Dougie White have also appeared on vocals for this project in the past and present. At this moment I am finishing the new CircleIICircle album and it will be released in the Spring of 2015. We are in the final phases of mixing the record right now.
You would like to reveal what is your special song and why?
Right now my favorite special song is “Caught in the Middle” Ronnie James Dio. Probably because I've been thinking about the fact that we've been without Dio since 2010 and it's kind of hard to imagine metal music without him. He was just a huge influence on my life and career in vocals so I guess lately I've just found myself reminiscing about his life and times, his music, and his amazing career as a vocalist.
Who were the bands or musicians who had the greatest influence on you?
When I was a kid Kiss was the biggest band in the world and the concert I ever saw. Then through the years it was bands like Black Sabbath, Dio, Bad Company, Queensryche, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Yngwie Malmsteen , Rush, etc. Yes I'm ‘Old School’ ha ha…
Up to this point in your career, what has been your most memorable moment?
Wow there have been a lot of them over the years…But as of late I would say playing in the Middle East for the two times in the last few years has been a real eye-opener for me. Because we play in Dubai but our fans from the Middle East come from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and all over the United Arab Emirates to see us there. I've come to realize that, especially with our Syrian followers, that there are a lot of great people suffering from things that are totally out of their control. Our upcoming documentary film will help show this to the rest of the world, along with a lot of other topics.
What can you say about the days of the Savatage? What are your memories of that time?
Well the Savatage days really seem almost like yesterday to me. It doesn't really feel like 12 years ago when I sang my last show with them. I've continued to work with most of the guys in Savatage throughout the years up until now in some way or another including songwriting in CIIC. And now we have a small “reunion” we are doing in Wacken, Germany next August at the W.O.A. So it feels like everything “Savatage” is coming back full circle in a lot of ways. Of course I will never forget those times because that was my introduction into the metal music business and it all allowed me to have a special niche in the metal vocal world. So I will always be thankful for those days and I will always realize that as long as the spirit of Savatage is alive, there's always a chance to continue that legacy. We still perform Savatage songs in concert with CIIC along with our own music and the fans really enjoy that combination of songs at our shows. So I owe it to my years in Savatage that I am able to play all of these fantastic songs and bring this to the public even 20 years after my first Savatage album.
Let's talk about the new album of Circle II Circle...
Our new album will be released next spring. It really shows a musical side of us that we've always had in us but we just had not shown yet. I'm very excited about the album. It's 11 tracks and it explores a wide range within the musical spectrum that is CIIC. It's a very dark album lyrically, but it has the familiar elements of CIIC as well. There's a lot that no one has ever heard musically from us on this album and that is why I refer to this album as a musical reinvention for us in a lot of ways. And now is the right time for us to show this.
Plans for a Latin America tour?
As a matter of fact, we are heading to Brazil around April 2015 and we are planning for the first time to go to other countries in South America and possible into Central America. We're very excited about the possibilities here and we are in the planning stages for all of this as we speak. I'm really looking forward to expanding our touring in that area, especially in South America.
To end the interview, a phrase you want to leave...
I would like to say THANK YOU to all of your readers for all the support throughout the years! Thank you for allowing me to have a long, fulfilling, and rewarding career. Without all of you listening to and enjoying the music, none of this would be possible. Best wishes always!!
Photo by Minghini Yuri