Circle II Circle’s Presidential Candidate Zak Stevens

Barbara Fara
MusicIncider Magazine
Editor-In- Chief

Why did I fucking name this interview with Zak Stevens from Circle II Circle like this? It is because I believe that Zak is the most promising candidate for President out there. He has REAL knowledge about the issues-the important ones like health care and marijuana legalization. He has another JOB in addition to Circle II Circle. He is a family man, and would appeal to many of the swing voters out there. He has a SOLID foothold in the Southeast and would make an EXCELLENT fucking grassroots candidate for the top spot in the U.S.A.-on top of all that he can fucking sing and play the drums. Here is what MusicIncider’s Candidate for 2004 had to say:

MI-What is your birth date?
Zak-March 5th.

What year darling?
1966. (I am so fucking nosy, I know…but the psychic thing always kicks in for me at the beginning of an interview. Zak is a GOOD pieces, he is NOT like my brother Charlie.)

MI-What has been the biggest influence on your life?
Zak-I would probably say just being able to pick up the drumsticks when I was nine years old and get some drum lessons and get into music-it eventually panned out into everything I do now.

MI-Who would you compare yourself vocally to?
Zak-I don’t know. I think it probably stems from some of the early influences that I had when I was in high school and college…Like Ronnie Dio, Bruce Dickinson, and Queensryche was really big when I was in college-so I think it is a combination of those three that you can see in my voice-or maybe you might see a little bit of John Fogerty, because that was the first record that I got when I was like six years old. I got a CCR record, and I think some of that growl might come subliminally from that. That’s probably where I compare myself
MI-Describe Circle II Circle’s music to me.
Zak-It is pretty much just straight hard rock. It’s melodic, because I like really melodic vocal melodies. I would say it is just a march into the soul. It is kind of an experience and a journey into the mind. It is really psychological and live in nature tempered in a hard rock, you can call it metal-but in a hard rock musical bed. We use piano as well as a lot of guitar together with the vocals-a lot like Savatage.

MI-Why did you leave Savatage?
Zak-Originally, I left for just a few months because I had to take care of a few things around the house. I had to do some things that I had just put off for years and years-you know eight years of touring and making records with Savatage. As I had a little time off, I started thinking and that is the dangerous part. I started thinking about what’s the next step in my career. What is the logical step for a guy who came into Savatage and was given a chance? A bunch of great guys in Savatage gave me a chance eight years ago. I am not the original lead vocals of the band-so, what do you do after eight years when you have met most of your goals. So I figured let me see if I can get a record deal. I was able to get a record deal-so here’s chapter 2.

MI-Tell me about the average day in your life.
Zak-Well, I have a five year old daughter-so a lot of time is spent with her, especially on the weekends. During the week when she is at school, I work around the house and I do a lot of work with software design. I have a few contracts out there, so I am usually sitting on the pc. The design revolves around health care type programs (Note from MI: Not only does he have a voice, he has one of those MONSTER brains. Zak actually has fucking tech type work in a deflated economy. He must be a really talented designer.) Zak continues: The programs are for use in the medical community. I am familiar with health care related terminology. I have a biology degree. So, that kind of plays into it too. That is kind of a little technical thing I do, and then in the evening I usually practice with the band. We always play on the weekends. Sometimes it is local, one week I am in Germany, next week I am in Atlanta. There is a lot of musical stuff, and I work around the house and get stuff done for my wife. You know how that goes-they always have projects lined up for you. Stuff like that really-I do some yard work here and there. I have a couple of acres, so unfortunately I have to go maintain that. I think the next time I am not going to have so much land.

I’ll bet your wife is a Scorpio too right?
No, A Leo-but she does it well.

MI-How did you come up with the band name?
Zak-Well, I wanted it to be symbolic and represent what I am doing now. So, I said I came from the past circle, which is Savatage-a great musical circle. Now I have this whole new circle of friends-the new guys in our band, and basically it is still tied together in a continuous circle. I still write songs with a few of the guys who are in Savatage-Jon Oliva and Chris Caffery. This first album we had always wanted to write together for years and years. So, it took me getting a record deal and forming a new band for us to go outside the box and write these songs in a different environment, but that opened up a good opportunity this time. So, it is still kind of intertwined. I don’t know if we will be doing quite as much of that on the next go around, but it is still going to be very linked in and the fact that I still work on things like Trans Siberian Orchestra with Paul O’Neal , who is my long time producer in Savatage-it is still a continuous circle. I just kind of went from Circle II Circle-and that’s it.

MI-So who are the new band members?
Zak-Matt La Porte on guitar, Christopher Kinder on drums-I have a new guitar player in the second guitarist slot named Shane French, and then on keyboards John Zahner-and they are all from the Tampa Bay area. My bass player is Kevin Rothney-Kevin on bass, and he is from Canada actually-but he is a permanent resident of the US and he lives in Tampa Bay. We all pretty much live right there in Tampa, so we are able to deploy rather easily to go play wherever we want to play-whether it be Europe or the States or whatever, it is a lot easier.

MI-So how did the band get together?
Zak-It first it was me calling up Matt and seeing what Matt was doing, because he auditioned for Savatage quite a few years ago-when we were going from the Handful of Rain record and into the next record, we had to find another guitar player because Alex Skolnick decided to go off and work on his own thing. So Matt auditioned back then, and even though he didn’t get the gig I was impressed. He had been playing around several bands in Tampa-so I was always out there watching him. So me and Matt got together; he actually wrote on three of the songs on the record. It was good to get him into the fray there on this record, but he introduced me to Shane, the other guitar player and to Kevin. Chris Kinder came by the studio when we were recording-right in the beginning-before I even had the whole band together. We did a lot of songs, and didn’t even have the whole band together on this go around, so that’s why it is going to be so much more productive on the next go around, having everybody here together. –That’s pretty much it. We just started rehearsing. It wasn’t really that hard. John Zahner, the keyboard player, I had been seeing him work around Tampa with quite a few bands and I knew he could do the job. He even sat in with Savatage quite a few years ago on the Gutter Ballet tour way back when –when Jon Oliva decided to come out front a little bit more. There are even two or three guys in the band that have even got involved with that Savatage thing a while back. –It came together very easily, really. I had a few auditions where I had to look at three or four people for certain positions like bass, but after that it was very easy and it came together pretty quickly.

MI-What do you consider to be Circle II Circle’s first big break?
Zak-I think probably going over to play this festival in Europe. We had done one small festival, which was about 10,000 people-which was the Rock Hard Magazine 20th anniversary party, and that was kind of the coming out party letting everyone know that yes, we can get up there and do it-that we can rock and play this record. But I think coming back from that second run that we just got back from-it was a four country, four festival little run in Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Budapest, Hungary…We were the first band out, and they chose us as the first band because they wanted to create some excitement, and we had the most people for the first band ever. Because, I think, there was some curiosity out there, I think that is what marked the break for the band, because that is what gave us that worldwide press with people saying that these guys are really putting out what they said they could deliver. Since then, we have just been on a roll. So, that’s probably the first big break.

MI-How does it feel to be playing Prog Power?
Zak-Great. I am from Columbia; SC-and my mom is coming to this show if that tells you anything about how many relatives are going to show up (laughing). This is a great show to play because it is so close to where I am from, and I have a lot of family that lives in Georgia-so there are a lot of people coming down to check out the show and that’s always pretty special.

MI-What is your favorite movie of all time?
Zak-I always thought Saving Private Ryan hit a mark with me. I have always been into war history. I do a lot of reading on all the wars, from the Civil War to WWII to the War with Iraq-all that stuff is fascinating to me. Being that it was a WWII chronicle and that it had a great story line to it…it has always had a special place because of that history background I have. It was real emotional and real graphic, and all that stuff coming together hit a real mark with me. There are a lot of movies out there that I like, but none of them have surpassed all of those elements coming together for me.

MI-If you could be a comic book hero, which one would you be?
Zak-I think I would be Flash. The reason being that he could get out of tasks that he didn’t want to do, he could just get out of it quickly by flashing out of the scene. So, that would be me.

MI-Do you believe in psychics?
Zak-Yeah, I think there is a certain component out there that you have to respect.

Have you ever had a reading?
Yeah, do you guys do that? I head that on your answering machine.

Yeah, we do. The weird part about the magazine is that we are the first psychic metal magazine out there. So how did your reading go? Zak-It went good. It was mostly Tarot card stuff. When I lived in Massachusetts, I lived right by this lady who did readings and it got to be kind of wild, but that was just one phase of it. There are a lot of different ways to do those readings. Some of the stuff they said was really spot on, and it really did wind up happening. It really was spooky. It was hard for me not to take it and just make it prophecy and not just sit back and accept it. It was really spot on, and it was scarily spot on in a lot of cases.

MI-Have you ever inhaled? (This is our other famous question-if it is good enough for Presidential candidates….)
Zak-Yes. (Note: See Rock Stars NEVER lie about this shit. Maybe it is time a Rock Star ran for President, busy Zak?)

MI-What is your favorite track off of ‘Watching In Silence’ and why?
Zak-I would probably say ‘Into The Wind.’ I think it just gives a message with kind of a big theme for me, which is you don’t ever want to say you didn’t try something. That is one of the biggest fears for me in life-that you just thought you might have been able to do something but you never really got the balls up to do it. I have just tried my whole life to go and do things anyway, even if I had doubts about it, so I wouldn’t have to say I didn’t try. I would rather be able to say I gave it a good effort and it just wasn’t meant to be. I would rather say that than say-I think maybe I could have done that. I just don’t want to be in that position so there’s that line in there –‘I will never be the one to say as I face the day-threw my chances into the wind.’ I just want to try to use those chances.

MI-Where do you see your music and the band in five years?
Zak-Well, we have a three or four record deal. I would hope to see another two or three great records that come from the band. I want to see some evolution. I want to see the direction of the band take shape. Right now, we are really kind of in a mode where we are trying to figure out where do you go. We got a few hints on the record, but I think we have really yet to see where exactly that’s going to go musically. We have got a lot of opportunities, so I hope to see us with some great records that took advantage of some of those opportunities-and it put us in the direction that we wanted to go, and to be out there playing bigger shows than ever and doing this full time still.

MI-What made you decide to become a musician?
Zak-I think it was that I was exposed real early on to music, and being able to be in a band. I was in my first band when I was nine years old, and I was the drummer and the singer. For years and years, they were trying to find a singer that could sing like me, while I was on the drums which was kind of hard to do. So for years, I had to pretty much sing from behind the kit, which was a pretty hard job. When I got out of college, I took the step to get more into vocals. –I think it is just all about early exposure. I have my five-year-old daughter on the keyboards, and she’s got this big Yamaha keyboard and she punches up all kinds of stuff. It is crazy what kids can do if you just let them run. I think that’s why I am into it, I just got exposed early on and I was able to get together with a group of guys and just find out what the magic is like to get up on stage. It is one of the most nervous things you’ll ever do. I remember the first time I got up on stage, I nearly dropped the drumsticks, and my voice was so shaky that I didn’t think I was going to be able to sing. You run the gamut of stage fright to three performances later thinking-man I would like to be able to do this for a living. It is just such a strange thing.

MI-Who are your influences as a musician?
Zak-Early on, coming along with the drum thing I think it was probably Neil Peart from Rush. He was really the guy who was the one to try to emulate out there. He had the most technical prowess, and things like that. Drumming-he was a big influence on me as well as Steve Smith from Journey…he could play jazz rock fusion on one side as well as straight up commercial on the other. Then vocal wise it was pretty much like Ronnie Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Jeff Tate-the bands that had the true out front vocalist. Those were big influences on me. You know, maybe Whitesnake or something like that for a little time period there. Coverdale is a good singer, and he kind of influenced me a little bit.

MI-Who is your favorite poet?
Zak-I like Oscar Wilde’s stuff. I read poetry, but I don’t know if I cane name off a really famous one or my favorite one of all of them. Some of them happen to be women as well. –I just think that Oscar Wilde was real cutting edge for his time.

MI-Other than Circle II Circle, who are your other favorite current bands?
Zak-I listen to a lot off stuff man. I like Staind’s new record. I like Disturbed. I like Chevelle. I have always liked Red Hot Chili Peppers. I have listened to Trapt-those are probably the ones I am listening to the most lately. I have all of those cd’s. I just try to take it all in. –I listen to a lot of old stuff as well as new stuff just to try to keep it all together.

What kind of old stuff do you listen to?
Black Sabbath. Zepplin, I like Black Sabbath with Dio and Ozzy. Deep Purple-I have all those records too. I like Ian Gillan a lot. I love all of my old Metallica records for sure- you know Ride the Lightning, that’s from my college days.

MI-If you were stuck on a desert island, and you could bring one book, one cd, one person, and one bottle of liquor-who/what would that book, person, cd, and bottle of liquor be?
Zak-One person, I don’t think I would single out my daughter or my wife, because they would be lonely.

If you want to bring two people, you can bring your wife and your kid.
Okay, let’s do that. They always keep me interested. That’s my built in entertainment right there, I gotta have that. I have a Time Life survival series-if I am going to be on a desert island, you better give me two editions of that. So I can make stuff out of coconut husks, or whatever (laughing). The bottle of booze-we gotta have some Captain Morgan’s Rum, and a bottle of ten year old Evan Williams. The Cd’s-go ahead and give me Queensryche’s Operation Mind Crime so I can have an end to end concept album, and then the other one would probably be Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath.

MI-If you could be God for a week, what would you change?
Zak-Bush’s domestic policies (laughing), but that has really fallen by the wayside hasn’t it. –I think I would go ahead and try to implement some kind of socialized medicine into the United States government (See, I am really liking Zak as a Presidential candidate at this point.) –to take care of all the people who now get turned away from health care.

MI-Tell me about how the music industry has treated you over the years.
Zak-Well, its been good. It is not an easy business, so you have to go in and really be aggressive, but I have been humbled left and right with people’s appreciation for the music –even coming down here to Atlanta, you walk outside the hotel and have people saying how much they love your stuff, and how they have come from Costa Rica to see Circle II Circle, and that is the only band they want to see. People come from Texas, and they are coming just to see the band. That has always been the most special part-the fact that when we go to Germany, and people say welcome home. It is almost like you have got a home away from home, and it just made the world so much smaller. The world seems like this huge thing that you can never really get your hands around, but after you tour for about ten years, then you realize that people are saying welcome home even though you are going three or four thousand miles away. So, that’s the biggest part. It is just being appreciated out there and having people care about what you do, and that is probable the most special thing in and of itself
MI-What was the worst job you ever had and why?
Zak-When I was in college, I worked at a produce packing plant. We did like peaches and strawberries and all of this stuff that they import-you have to keep it in coolers, so basically you are like at thirty eight degrees. Having to go inside the coolers and come out in a hundred degree weather, and then back in like that…everybody was always getting sick. That was kind of the worst job I ever had-working in extreme temperatures all day long.

MI-Who do you think the five greatest drummers are of all time?
Zak-I would say Neil Peart is one. I would have to say Steve Smith from Journey, he covers it very well. I would say Lars Ulrich from Metallica-just with everything he has done. He opened up the world of speed metal. We gotta get into people who aren’t in metal or rock and roll. I got some old videos of that Buddy Rich. He did stuff that people just dream of being able to do now anyway. –I will say Louis Belson, because I have two old videos and I know they are old school fifties and sixties drummers, but damn.

MI-If a movie was made about your life, what would the theme song be?
Zak-Let’s say Ride The Lightning by Metallica.

MI-What do you think of President Bush?
Zak-Well, I like the way he sticks up for the country. He doesn’t let people in the world walk over us. There’ a lot of pride with all that stuff with Iraq and all of that. I think it all goes back to if you are going to bomb our buildings on 9-11, there is going to be a price to pay with that. I think he did a great job of backing us up and letting people know that you just can’t come in and do that. I think that that is suck a huge agenda with all of that stuff that is going on, and trying to wrap up the Iraq thing and Afganistan and all that stuff- that it is pulling him away from all of the domestic issues. So that agenda is going down the toilet. He just took on such a huge endeavor that is hard to keep the things in our own country, like the gas prices-our own people gouging our own people-under control. I like what he did on the foreign policies. Now it is time to shift gears and get back to what counts, because he won’t get back in office again if he doesn’t pay attention to the domestic agenda.

What do you think he should change domestically?
I know that stuff like our national parks and national forests have taken a real hit. That’s really the beauty of America. You can’t stop keeping that up. Environmentally, I think he has missed quite a few opportunities. I think that the pollution is going to come back and get us again. You are going to find a lot of major problems with that just because they didn’t have the time to put in to that sort of thing. The environmental thing is going to come back and bite us the worst. He needs to get back on track with that while he’s still got time left, and get the United States back economically-the jobs. There is unemployment out there, and it is really hard for even technical people to get jobs-computers and stuff like that, which is kind of weird. So something just needs to be done on those fronts-get the economy back on and our jobless numbers down.

Do you think he should give us national health care?
At least to some extent. Maybe just basic services, like for doctor’s office services. It is hard to make calls when it comes to outpatient or inpatient, because I know you are dealing with hospital room and board charges. When it comes to people, you should just be able to walk up to a place where you pay like thirty-five bucks a month, not a huge fee-but you could actually implement some kind of socialized medicine with as little fees as that built into our taxes. Let that take the place of something else. It is not a lot of money. It would be something like Medicare Part B. Part B is medical services-like the doctor’s offices, Part A is the hospital. You should give everybody a little of that so-called Part B coverage.

MI-If a genie came to you and granted you three wishes, what would they be?
Zak-I have another daughter on the way, she’s going to be born any day now-so I think that would be it. Just help me raise those girls to be very happy, and to see as much in life as I have. Number 2-give me as much drugs and alcohol as I need to get through the experience (laughing), and number three I would say help me be as healthy as possible because if you do what I do, you have to be healthy. When your voice is your instrument, your health is directly related to whether or not you are going onstage. If I could have those three, that would be awesome. I wouldn’t need anything else.

MI-Where were you when 9-11 happened, and how did it affect you?
Zak-I was just with a group of my friends, and we were working on some computer software testing the stuff. One guy said, a plane went off course and ran into The World Trade Center. That was the first indication-the plane went off course. I said you gotta be kidding. Then about fourteen minutes later, another one hit-and I was like something’s not right. –We were all just shocked. Everywhere across the country they let everyone go home from their jobs around noon. Everything happened around ten in the morning-so it was just strange, seeing how the whole city, the whole town had just shut down-and that was Tampa. I will never forget where I was.

MI-Who is your hero and why?
Zak-A real American hero seems to be Lance Armstrong. He was able to defeat cancer at a stage where nobody else in history has been able to defeat it-whatever he used mentally, I would love to get tapped into that. The fact that he won the Tour De France five times now and overcome something as devastating as that-I think he is an American hero.

MI-If you could have lunch with anybody, living or dead, who would it be?
Zak-I would say General Patton, Abraham Lincoln, and I heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pretty wild guy to hang out with-so he is number three.

MI-Who do you think the greatest rock and roll star of all time is?
Zak-I think Robert Plant, for that whole thing they did with Led Zepplin in the seventies and all. When you look at the height of rock stars, I would say he probably fits the bill as one of the biggest rock stars of all time.

MI-If you could play any arena in the world, where would it be?
Zak-I want to play that Red Rock place in Colorado. I want to play there because the set has the mountains beside it, and it is just such a wild place. I saw that big video they made with U2 back in the day, and when I saw it on TV I was like man, I want to play there. Red Rock, I would like to play that place.

MI-If you could open for any band in the world who would it be?
Zak-I would probably say Metallica. It would be great to open up for those guys.

MI-Who do you think the greatest guitar player of all time is?
Zak-People don’t realize that the guy who taught Jimi Hendrix his guitar lessons is in ZZ Top-Billy Gibbons. Even though he has that blues style, he has been the teacher of a lot of great people over the years. I would say Billy Gibbons, really-to think outside the box a little bit, he is really amazing.

MI-Do you see a Savatage reunion happening?
Zak-I don’t know about a reunion per se, but it would be nice and I would surely be up for that. I know that we all are all getting together on October 17th to celebrate the tenth year since Chris passed away-since Chris Oliva got killed in that car accident. I only got to do one record with him. –Everybody who has ever played in Savatage is going to be at that show in Tampa on October 17th. It is at the Masquerade in Tampa. Now that you reminded me of that reunion, that is something I am kind of looking forward to-seeing everybody throughout the years, all the members. Circle II Circle is going to play a few songs, but we are all going to get together with each other and play songs that we are going to dedicate to Chris. –I would say that would be a lot of fun if they could ever put that together, I would certainly be willing to take part.

MI-If you had a million dollars to donate to any charity, what would that charity be?
Zak-I like seeing organizations that help out kids-kids that could go down the wrong path, and maybe get them back on the right path and turn them completely around and have a successful life. I don’t know exactly what the name of it is, but I would pick out that kind of charity. Like Big Brothers/Big Sisters or something like that. I would pick one of those out if I had all that and definitely support it. Kids are where the future of the country is, and if you have inner city kids-that’s one of the biggest things you can do is be an influence. If you take ten kids and turn that around, you don’t know what you could have done-you could be creating the next CEO of a world corporation and that really could influence the world. It really could be something, getting these kids on the right track.

MI-Do you have a message for your fans?
Zak-I just want to say thanks for everything. You guys are what has kept me out here. I am just blown away by all of the support and I can’t wait to perform and do what it takes for you guys. You have allowed me to stay in here this long and get my own record deal. So I can’t thank you enough, and I can’t wait to see everybody.

MI-What do you think of MTV?
Zak-I think it was a successful experiment. Hey it was a huge influence, lets not get it wrong. Whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, it definitely influenced music. I don’t know if it so much now, but I believe the first twenty years in existence-that was a huge influence because it made everything go from audio to video, and it was huge. It was a reason why all that good old rock and roll and heavy metal was able to break out.

MI-Do you see metal coming back?
Zak-I think it has always been around. It is just in different forms. Metal as we know it, and I know what kind of metal you are talking about-I do see it coming back. It is going to have to be mutated a little bit. I think that the bands that do the best job of changing it up and still have that core metal sound are the ones that will be successful. I see it coming back in some senses, yeah.

MI-What do you think about Kurt Cobain’s diaries being released?
Zak-I don’t know. I am all for privacy. I don’t think I like it that much, but I am sure it is very interesting. I am a pieces as well, and I can imagine where his brain might go, and he was a great lyricist and writer. I don’t know if he would want that or not-for his private stuff to be brought out. But as far as something to take an interest in, it is probably hugely interesting.

MI-What do you think about reality TV?
Zak-It is kind of like I am so used to it now, everything is reality TV. It is different, because it really does appeal to most people with the fact that it is the here and now and you never know what is going to happen next. There is no faking it. There is no bullshit. What you see is what you get-I like that part of it. I don’t know what the final effect of that is going to be, when everybody is so used to reality everything-are we going to be bored with everything or what? When is the point where we are going to get numb to the whole thing? People have to do so much to be different, and you have to go so far to get attention. –You have to be so crazy, like Jackass the movie. Everything will have to turn to Jackass the movie. –It is a good angle, and it is doing what the networks want to do right now and that’s make money. I just don’t know how far you can go with all that.
MI-What do you think about the drug problem in this country, and I am not talking about weed?
Zak-Yeah, weed is pretty docile compared to everything else. I think it is just a matter of education. At any given time, you can get any drug you want-it is just do you want to pay the price of the effects of the drugs over a long period of time-like LSD or crack? That’s the kind of stuff that really has devastating effects of your health. If they spent half the money that they do educating people as what they do trying to arrest everybody-they throw you in jail, which doesn’t do anybody any good any way-because they get out and start doing drugs again anyway because they have nothing…then we might see some forward progress in that area, but I think that the education piece is still missing because you can go out and get anything you want to now, or ten years from now. It’s just that if you are educated to know what the hell is going on with the drug, you might not do it.

MI-Do you think they should legalize marijuana?
Zak-Sure. We picked the wrong drug when they chose alcohol over pot. They just went the wrong way-alcohol is the one that causes all of the fights. If you dropped a big pot bomb on Iraq, everybody would have went hey great! There would have been no problem; we would have taken over in a week instead of a month. –I think they ought to seriously look into pot bombs.

MI-Where are you guys going after Prog Power?
Zak-We are going to do the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany. The week after that, we are going to do a couple of shows in the Florida area. We are going to do a tour in December-Saxon, Doro, and Circle II Circle-it is just a little European three-week run. We will go to Spain and Greece and all over Germany and European proper. That will be about it. We are actually starting stuff for the next record even now, but we just got released in America. I have to keep remembering that we just got released over here, but we released in April in Europe…so after a couple of months heading into the first of the year we will start looking at getting a new record done.

MI-What do you think about the European Union-since you are overseas a lot?
Zak-I like it. The fact that the countries can use the Euro. One common currency. The laws-you talked about legalizing pot-I can already see the effects of the European community on that because Holland has had it legalized for years-it has been legalized in Switzerland and has been decriminalized big time all across the European Union. –That is speeding up change. I like the whole idea of it. I like it.

Do you see that happening here?
No, it will be slower because we still have the real religious contingents over here. I live in the Southern Baptist bible belt-which I grew up in-you don’t have that same kind of contingent over in Europe. The Moral Majority, as it were, you’re not going to have that happen here-so that is going to be the biggest obstacle to a law like that.

MI-Do you think Bush is going to win the next election?
Zak-Well, if the economy doesn’t straighten up he is going to have a tough time. People appreciate him sticking up for America-but he really needs to get back into America. –We don’t like not being able to find a job out there now.

I know the Dixie Chicks have made a few remarks about Bush and so has Eddie Vedder-What do you think about those reactions? Zak-I am a little bit more patriotic myself, when I see stuff like that I am like-they shouldn’t have done that. Where they are coming from is correct on a lot of points. –I guess the history of where I am from-South Carolina was the first to succeed (from the Union), but then again people are still pretty patriotic. I guess I am more on the patriotic side. When Bush came out with that speech, I just about cried. You know, Saddam you have forty-eight hours to leave. I felt like he was doing the right thing-taking up for us and everything. You know, there’s credit on both sides. I think he has done some things right and there is some stuff domestically he needs to start concentrating on again. I don’t have any strong statements like that, but I think there are some improvements that need to be made.

MI-What is your favorite quote of all time?
Zak-Winning isn’t everything; it is the only thing-Vince Lombardi.
Now, doesn’t that sound like a presidential candidate to you? If California can have fucking Arnold, why can’t MusicIncider have Zak Stevens run for President. Think about it. Circle II Circle could perform at all of his fundraisers and become his cabinet once he was elected. –Thanks for the interview Zak, you have our votes for President.

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This article was written by Barbara Fara and is identified as Article #125.
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