Golden gods

Zeus plays a gig in Kingston as part of a two-stop weekend tour

Zeus founder and guitarist Mike O’Brien says the band’s pre-show ritual is to listen to “Rock this Party (Everybody Dance Now)” and chug a bottle of tequila. He jokingly calls it “The Zeus Method.”
Zeus founder and guitarist Mike O’Brien says the band’s pre-show ritual is to listen to “Rock this Party (Everybody Dance Now)” and chug a bottle of tequila. He jokingly calls it “The Zeus Method.”
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With a band name like Zeus, only gold will do.

Band founder and guitarisst Mike O’Brien said the band has expensive taste in clothing.

“We all wear gold-plated underpants. All the time. They’re really uncomfortable, but worth it,” O’Brien joked while we were speaking on the phone.

The last time Kingstonians got a taste of Zeus was earlier this summer.

The band will be doing a two-stop weekend run of Kingston and Ottawa and O’Brien said the Grad Club is familiar territory.

“It’s a smaller room, but it’s always packed full of excited people,” he said. “Not every city has that kind of vibe and you’re thankful when you have that happening.”

But part of being a musician is having a thankless job, O’Brien said.

“When we do our job, people give us beer and applause, and when we don’t, we don’t get any beer or applause.” To make sure they appeal to the crowd, the band employs “The Zeus Method” to get ready for shows. “We listen to ‘[Rock this Party] (Everybody Dance Now)’ before our shows. We don’t dance — we sit there stone cold with our arms crossed and stare straight forward with no emotion on our faces,” O’Brien said. “Then we get out of the van and chug a bottle of tequila and we’re good to go.”

Signed to the prestigious Arts & Crafts record label in Toronto, Zeus has been on a constant uphill climb as a group.

O’Brien recalled one of his favourite tour experiences when the band got to play a gig in Mexico City in 2011.

“It’s somewhere I’d always wanted to go and never really thought we would go. So when we got the chance to fly down for the day to do a show, it was an awesome experience,” he said.

Now, the band is hoping to tackle Europe. After traveling to sign their first U.K. record deal earlier this autumn, the group is heading back across the pond in a few weeks.

“We’re lying low at the moment with little one-off shows and then we’re heading off on a European tour — it’ll be cold, but fun,” O’Brien said.

This time around, Zeus is going to be touring with fellow Canadian favourites Stars in Europe, a band who Zeus put in a bid to tour with.

“I knew some of the people from the group — I played with Amy [Millan] when she put out her first solo record,” he said. “Then I met Torquil [Campbell] through friends at the label so we’ve known each other for quite a while.”

Fans here in Canada can still have something to look forward to from the band in the form of a new EP.

“Right now we’re recording some cover songs. It’s just something we like to do — reinterpret people’s music.”

O’Brien said the new EP will include R. Kelly and Michael Jackson — music “people wouldn’t expect from the band.”

Zeus plays the Grad Club Friday at 10 p.m.

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