This article is about the band. For the 1992 movie, see Zebrahead (film).

Zebrahead performing in 2011
Background information
Origin La Habra, Orange County, California, U.S.
Genres Punk rock, pop punk, rap rock, rap metal, rapcore, alternative rock
Years active 1996–present
Labels MFZB Records, Sony Japan, Granted Records, Rude Records, 3wise Records
Associated acts 3-Ply, Jank 1000, Darling Thieves, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Green Day, Death by Stereo, The Matches, Man With A Mission
Website Zebrahead.com
Members Ben Osmundson
Ed Udhus
Ali Tabatabaee
Matty Lewis
Dan Palmer
Past members Justin Mauriello
Greg Bergdorf

Zebrahead is an American rock band from Orange County, California, United States. Formed in 1996, the band has released twelve studio albums to date.


1996–97: Formation

Zebrahead's Logo

Zebrahead was formed in La Habra, California in 1996 by guitarist Greg Bergdorf and drummer Ed Udhus (both formerly of the band 409), bassist Ben Osmundson (formerly of 3-Ply) and singer/rhythm guitarist Justin Mauriello (formerly of Once There). All four musicians, whose bands at the time shared the same practice space, found themselves experimenting with different sounds together and soon became friends. After deciding that they wanted to explore their musical options further, the foursome left their bands all together and formed Zebrahead.

The group, who were inspired by acts including Fugazi and Descendents, found themselves uninspired by the local musical trends of ska-punk and instead began incorporating elements of hip-hop into their sound, eventually recruiting rapper Ali Tabatabaee to join them as a co-vocalist.[1]

1998–2002: Waste of Mind and Playmate of the Year

After issuing the self-titled demo album Zebrahead (more widely known as Yellow due to the color of the cover) from the indie label Doctor Dream Records in April 1998, Zebrahead were signed to major record label Columbia Records and released their full-length debut Waste of Mind later that same year.[2] The album contained newly re-recorded songs from their previous release along with new tracks, including the minor radio hit "Get Back", which gained some popularity in the U.S. and charted at No. 32 on the U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts.

The band's follow-up album Playmate of the Year was released in the summer of 2000, and was followed up by the EP Stupid Fat Americans, released in February 2001 exclusively in Japan.

2003–05: MFZB and Waste of MFZB

Main articles: MFZB and Waste of MFZB

Three years after the release of Playmate of the Year, the band published their fourth studio album MFZB (abbreviation of Mother Fucking Zebrahead Bitch, named after the Zebrahead fanclub) in late 2003, which introduced a new heavier punk rock sound from the band, rather than hip-hop funk from their previous releases. Zebrahead spent the majority of their time promoting the album overseas in Japan, where it went to gold in sales and charted at No. 9 on the Japanese Charts. During this time, Zebrahead performed at various festivals in Japan including the Summer Sonic festival.[3]

In July 2004, Zebrahead released a fifth studio album exclusively in Japan under the title Waste of MFZB. As the title suggests, the album is made up of songs that never made the final cut of MFZB.[4]

In late 2004, shortly after Zebrahead's tour through Japan, co-lead singer/rhythm guitarist Justin Mauriello left the band due to creative differences, the news was later made public on the band's website.[5] The news of Mauriello's departure distressed fans, as the singing/rapping dynamic between him and co-vocalist Ali Tabatabaee was crucial to Zebrahead's sound.

Matty Lewis joined Zebrahead around 2004. Just before this he was in another band (Jank 1000) which had recently toured around the States with Zebrahead, his band happened to break up around the same time as Justin Mauriello left Zebrahead. Leading Matty Lewis to head into the studio to work on a solo project, with assistance from Ed Udhus and Ben Osmundson of Zebrahead, who advised him he should try out for the now vacant vocal position in their own band. Due to the fact that he didn't know any Zebrahead songs, their manager arranged for all their albums to be sent out to him, allowing him to memorise them all.[6] By this time Mauriello, had moved on in music and founded the band I Hate Kate, later renamed to Darling Thieves.[7]

2006–08: Broadcast to the World and Phoenix

Zebrahead performing in 2006

Zebrahead, with new co-vocalist Matty Lewis, returned to the music scene in early 2006 with their sixth studio album Broadcast to the World, which later debuted in other countries throughout the year. After touring Europe in June that same year, including a gig at the annual UK Download Festival,[8] Zebrahead spent the rest of the summer in the U.S. travelling and performing as part of the Warped Tour festival.[9]

After taking a two-month hiatus to begin writing for their upcoming seventh studio album, Zebrahead returned to Europe in May 2007 on a co-headline tour with MxPx,[10] as well as a headline UK tour.[11] Zebrahead returned to the UK in October 2007 as part of the annual Get Happy Tour where they shared the stage with bands Army of Freshmen, The Bloodhound Gang and Bowling For Soup.[12] The band later continued writing new songs for their next album, demos were recorded and received input from Jason Freese.[13] Zebrahead soon began recording for the album in March 2008, with Hell Yeah produced with Howard Benson, and the latter set of tracks with Cameron Webb.[14]

Zebrahead later announced the title of their new album as Phoenix and that it would be released in the summer of 2008.[15] They released Not the New Album EP a day before the album's first release in Japan, it was re-issued in 2010 containing two new songs, which also serve as the bonus tracks on the Japanese edition of Phoenix.[16] In June, Zebrahead returned to the UK once again and toured and performed at the festivals Download, Leeds Slam Dunk and Greenfield, before touring through Europe and Japan for the remainder of the year. A tour through the U.S. was planned, however co-vocalist Matty Lewis became ill, and to avoid permanent damage to his voice, they had to cancel the tour.[17]

2009–13: Panty Raid, Get Nice! and Call Your Friends

In spring 2009, Zebrahead announced that they had begun recording a covers album featuring songs performed exclusively by female musicians from the 1990s and 2000s. They confirmed that the album would be titled Panty Raid and that it would be released in the late fall of that same year. The band later confirmed the track listing and release dates for the album, along with the announcement that a covered version of "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne would serve as the album's lead single.[18] The band promised covered versions of songs such as "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse, "Jenny from the Block" by Jennifer Lopez, "Survivor" by Destiny's Child and a handful of others would feature on the album. Zebrahead began the Less Than Jake tour to help promote the album in late 2009 through Europe, Japan and the U.S. and concluded in spring 2010.[19]

In August 2010, Zebrahead announced they had begun work on a new studio album and that they would start recording before the end of the year. The band later confirmed in the spring of 2011 the track listing and release dates of their new album, which would be titled Get Nice!,[20] they later released the songs "Ricky Bobby" and the title track "Get Nice!" as the lead singles prior to the album's release in June and July 2011. To help promote Get Nice!, Zebrahead went on the Get Nice! or Die Trying tour that took place between the album's release and the summer of 2012; performing in venues and festivals throughout Europe, Japan and Australia and the United States.[21][22]

In July 2012, Zebrahead announced that they were in the process of writing material for their tenth studio album, planned for an August 2013 release and that they would keep fans informed via video updates and through their social networking pages.[23]

The band later confirmed in June 2013 that the album is titled Call Your Friends and will be released worldwide through different dates the following August. Later that month, Zebrahead announced that lead guitarist Greg Bergdorf would be leaving the band in order to spend more time with his family, with lead guitarist of Death By Stereo Dan Palmer taking his place, the latter of who already played lead guitar on the band's upcoming album Call Your Friends.[24] The title track was released in July 2013,[25] while the band begun a new tour to promote the album a few months later.

2014–Present: The Early Years – Revisited and Walk the Plank

Zebrahead used PledgeMusic campaign for their live DVD Way More Beer, which was filmed and recorded during the band’s 2014 tour of Germany. In addition, Zebrahead went on a short US tour with MxPx and Allister with their last day in Joliet Illinois.[26] The band is set to release their first compilation album Greatest Hits? – Volume 1 in celebration of the 20th anniversary since their formation exclusively in Japan on March 11, 2015. The album is set to contain the new track "Devil on My Shoulder" and several re-recorded songs from the band's early work with former lead singer Justin Mauriello, this time featuring current lead Matty Lewis.[27] The global edition of the compilation will be released April 21, 2015 as Zebrahead's eleventh studio album under the title The Early Years – Revisited and will only feature the re-recorded songs in addition to "Devil on My Shoulder.[28]

Zebrahead premiered the song "Save Your Breath" on August 28, 2015 from their twelfth studio album Walk the Plank, which was released the following October 7. A continuation of their world tour - Walk the Plank/Out of Control tour - ran between October 1–December 11, 2015 in Japan and Europe.[29]

Musical style

They have been classified under genres such as punk rock,[30][31] pop punk,[32][33] rap rock,[31][34] rap metal,[35][36] rapcore,[32][37] and alternative rock.[30][38]

Band members

Current members

Former members

  • Justin Mauriello – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1996–2004)
  • Greg Bergdorf – lead guitar, backing vocals (1996–2013)

Touring and session members

  • Howard Bensonkeyboards (1998–2000, 2008)
  • Jason Freese – keyboards, piano (2006–present)
  • Dan Regantrombone (occasional live appearances performing "Anthem"; 2006–2014)
  • John Christiansontrumpet (occasional live appearances performing "Anthem"; 2006–present)
  • Chris Dalley – drums (filled in for Ed Udhus on 2008 summer UK tour)
  • Dan Palmer – lead guitar (filled in for Greg Bergdorf on 2010 fall Less Than Jake tour and 2012 Soundwave, Australia tour)
  • Marc Kantor – Tour Manager


Main article: Zebrahead discography


  1. "Zebrahead Biography". AllMusic. Jason Ankeny. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  2. "Waste of Mind at Discogs" (Database). Discogs. Discogs. 1998. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  3. "Summer Sonic 2003". SongKick.com. SongKick. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  4. "Waste of MFZB on Sony Music". sonymusic.co.jp (in Japanese). Sony Music. Retrieved January 12, 2014. "The songs in the album are songs that were recorded for previous album "MFZB", but it's not because they were not good, but because they were dangerously good! "- Justin
  5. Kloke, Joshua. "Zebrahead". Beat.com. Beat. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  6. "Matty's intervew". Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  7. "Darling Thieves: About". Facebook.com. Darling Thieves. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  8. "DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL 2006". Downloadfestival.co.uk. Download Festival. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  9. "Vans Warped Tour 2006". songkick.com. Song Kick. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  10. "No UK dates for MXPX/Zebrahead". Punktastic.com. Punktastic. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  11. "Zebrahead tour history page 30". Songkick.com. Song Kick. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  12. "Get Happy Tour @ Newcastle Academy". bbc.co.uk. BBC Tyne. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  13. "Phoenix Credits". Allmusic.com. AllMusic. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  14. "About Zebrahead". MTV.com. MTV. Retrieved January 18, 2014. We're old friends with Howard," says Tabatabaee of Benson, who produced the song "Hell Yeah.
  15. "Zebrahead to release Phoenix". The Gauntlet. Jason. Retrieved July 23, 2008.
  16. "New artwork and track listing for Phoenix". Myspace. Zebrahead. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  17. "Zebrahead pull US tour". Alterthepress.com. Alter The Press. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  18. "Zebrahead covers Avril Lavigne". Sputnik Music. J. Ponton. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  19. "Japan Panty Raid Tour Announced". Twitter. Zebrahead. Retrieved September 18, 2009.
  20. "Zebrahead announce artwork and track listing for Get Nice!". Ben Osmundson. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  21. "Summer Tour Dates". Zebrahead. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  22. "Zebrahead tours in Australia". Zebrahead. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  23. "Zebrahead sneak peaks on 10th album". Zebrahead Studio Diaries. Zebrahead. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  24. "Departure of Greg". Facebook.com. Zebrahead. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  25. "Zebrahead announces release of music video for "Call Your Friends"". Facebook. Zebrahead. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  26. "Home | Arena Music". Arena.com. Retrieved 2015-08-01.
  27. インフォメーション (in Japanese). Sony Music. Retrieved 2015-08-01.
  28. Gironas, Maria. "Zebrahead re-record early material with new vocalist for 'The Early Years—Revisited'". Substream Magazine. Retrieved 2015-08-01.
  29. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWmvb8ACbao
  30. 1 2 "Zebrahead Announce ' The Early Years - Revisited' Due Out April 21 - Music News Nashville". Music News Nashville. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  31. 1 2 "Rap meets rock in multistylistic, lighthearted Zebrahead. | HighBeam Business: Arrive Prepared". Business.highbeam.com. 1998-12-18. Retrieved 2015-08-01.
  32. 1 2 tom mann (November 6, 2013). "Has the poster for a metal festival in NZ leaked more bands for Soundwave 2014?". FasterLouder. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  33. "Alter The Press!: Zebrahead pull US tour". Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  34. "Zebrahead". Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  35. "Slam Dunk 2015: Desperados Stage". TeamRock. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  36. "Live & On Record | ZEBRAHEAD". Bostonphoenix.com. Retrieved 2015-08-01.
  37. Jason Ankeny. "Zebrahead - Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  38. "Zebrahead at the Wedgeweood Rooms". Retrieved July 3, 2015.
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