Review: The Zmed Brothers Honor the Early Rock and Roll Icons in THE EVERLY BROTHERS EXPERIENCE
Growing up with father Adrian Zmed, a traveling singer/dancer/actor known for Grease 2, Bachelor Party, T.J. Hooker, and mother Barbara, a second-grade teacher in a suburb of Los Angeles, brothers Zachary and Dylan Zmed grew up around entertainers their entire lives. But as brothers, the two were especially inspired to take up the guitar and learn to create their own music by listening to the early rock and roll hit duo, The Everly Brothers. In January 2016, along with their partner Burleigh Drummond (drummer), the two began developing THE EVERLY BROTHERS EXPERIENCE show with The Bird Dog Band, recently presented by 3,000 Miles Off-Broadway at the El Portal Theatre in NoHo to honor the two brothers who so greatly have influenced all aspects of their own lives.
For those too young to remember, from 1957 to 1962 The Everly Brothers sold more than 35 million records and had 35 Billboard top-100 singles, 26 in the top 40, and to this day, carry the record for most Billboard charting hits of any American Duo. Their success at that time was only rivaled by Elvis. The Zmeds are absolutely thrilled to be able to contribute to a cause that supports the recognition and preservation of the intimate origins of America's greatest Rock 'n Roll sibling duo, stating, "We are not impersonators. Our aim is to honor the aesthetics of the Everly Brothers' iconic sound and their unique place in music history, all while having a little fun telling our own personal story."
And that they certainly did with great style, talent, and humor as they paid homage to their roots by always infusing an instinctual blend of entertainment (a la Smothers Brothers) and contextual education in their performance, referring to a timeline of events from the birth of Don and Phil Everly through the many ups and downs of their career while sharing their own progression as brothers during the same stages in their own lives.
Although The Everly Brothers were not accomplished songwriters like Lennon and McCartney, they began their musical careers listening to and learning to play the same early rock and roll music as teens all over the world in the mid-50s. The Zmeds performed many of those tunes during THE EVERLY BROTHERS EXPERIENCE SHOW, as well as early Country Music hits which also influenced the rockabilly style from which rock and roll was born.
During the performance, The Zmeds shared how The Bryants, a husband and wife songwriting duo who created over 6,000 songs for The Everly Brothers and many other early rock and rollers, with one of the most interesting tales being how they wrote "Bye Bye Love" to the rhythm of their car's windshield wipers while driving. After that story, drummer Burleigh Drummond honored the original recording of their song "Take a Message to Mary" by tapping a Coke bottle with a screwdriver as was done during the studio recording of the song. And did you know when Buddy Holly died, his band The Crickets played back-up for The Everly Brothers on several of their hit recordings?
Among the songs about teen-age love shared during the show were hits "Wake Up Little Susie," "All I Have To Do Is Dream," "Cathy's Clown," "Let It Be Me," "Crying in the Rain" (written by Carol King, "When Will I Be Loved" (written by Phil Everly), "Till I Kissed You," "Not Fade Away," "Love Hurts," and "Gone Gone Gone" among many others. In fact, The Everly Brothers recorded over 600 hit songs, so The Zmeds could have played for many more hours, which the appreciative audience would certainly have stayed for and sung along while dancing the night away.
After following in the footsteps of Elvis by moving to Hollywood to study acting for six months in the hope of appearing in movies, The Everlys lost the right to perform their hits or any of the songs written by The Bryants to a lawsuit filed by their manager (who owned the rights) after the duo fired him due to creative differences. In 1962, The Everly Brothers joined the Army Reserves, with The Zmeds honoring all those who served in any branch of the military by asking any in the audience to please stand up and leading the applause for them.
In 1964 after all their differences were settled and The Everly Brothers could again perform their hits, The Beatles had already brought The British Invasion into the world of music. But the duo persisted, and in 1970 went on to star in "The Everly Brothers Show" on TV thanks to Johnny Cash giving them his time slot. And they went on to entertain together from 1973-83, showing the world how to get along as brothers, to love each other, and harmonize like the angels. And trust me, The Zmeds carry on those time-honored traditions to a tee, ending the evening with a rousing rendition of "Hallelujah."
The Everly Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, earned a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and were then inducted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Zmed Brothers recently relocated to Nashville and continue to travel the world keeping the memory of the groundbreaking duo alive by honoring their careers from 1937-2005 in THE EVERLY BROTHERS EXPERIENCE. The performance is a brilliantly nostalgic way to honor these often-under-appreciated icons of Rock and Roll. Read more about the group and upcoming tour dates at http://theeverlybrothersexperience.com
Photos provided by The Zmed Brothers