Zeno - fabled, late eighties second album?
Date: September 21, 2014 10:49PM
Recently I’ve been playing the Zeno self-titled album from 1986 quite a bit. While both singer Michael Flexig and perhaps also the lyrics are something of an acquired taste, I find that Zeno (the band) at their best had a pretty good and somewhat individual sound going.
Also delving into the variety of material recorded by Zeno following the debut album and released over a variety of CDs many years later (“Zenology”, “Zenology II”, plus various bonus tracks appearing on the “Zeno” remaster, as well as “Listen to the Light”), I’m left wondering how close Zeno in reality were to completing a second studio album at the time?
To me, songs like “Walking on a Thin Line” and “World of Tomorrow”, both dated 1987 on the “Listen to the Light” CD sleeve, sound like finished masters, while just about everything else comes across as a real hodge podge of various studio sessions and band constellations throughout the late eighties, with further instrumentation and vocals being added as the above mentioned CD compilations and albums were released over the years.
All in all, sleeve notes and interviews of Zeno Roth that I’ve read all seem to support the fact that no regular second Zeno was ever completed, but one puzzling little mystery remains: In the late eighties a record shop owner in my hometown of Trondheim lent me a cassette featuring ten songs (or so) of Zeno material that at least were new to me at the time. Now, I can’t remember if the tape was labeled “Zeno II” or anything else, but I do recall that the song “Victoria” was among the titles listed there. (Later to show up on the “Zenology II” collection.)
I didn’t copy the tape or write down which songs were on it, so all these years later I’m of course wondering if that really was the fabled “Zeno II” album or if I was simply subjected to a collection of songs that the band were shopping to find a new deal? Wasn’t there talk of the band signing to Geffen at some point, despite being on EMI initially? And has anyone out there encountered the same or a similar tape/collection of songs at some point?
On a final note, I would venture a guess that the tape I heard featured only Michael Flexig on lead vocals, as I probably would have recalled there being a different singer on it if that had been the case. (Tommy Heart, despite being an excellent singer, is immediately recognizable as something else than the helium monster himself, Herr Flexig ... and changed the Zeno sound on the demos that he contributed lead vocals to.)
Thanks beforehand for any clues offered!