Shaka Zulu Overdrive
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Shaka Zulu Overdrive

Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


This band has no press


Self-released, self-titled EP.


Feeling a bit camera shy


"Evan O'Reilly describes his band Shaka Zulu Overdrive as 'shoe-gazing negro prog rock' Based on his impressive, self-titled EP, we'll buy that. Anyone interested in the baroque-funk thunder of the Mars Volta might find head and ass alike moved by what's on offer here."

-Time Out New York-

Born to an Irish ship captain and an exiled South African heiress, Evan O'Reilly grew up hearing stories of his rich family heritage. His mother told him about his great-great-grandfather, a powerful warrior from KwaZulu-Natal. His father told him about his granduncle, Bucky Van Johnson, alto saxophonist in Woody Herman Jazz Orchestra. As a teenager, Evan briefly worked as a roadie for John Coltrane's drummer, Elvin Jones. The experience convinced Evan that music was his vocation. Unfortunately, Evan was careless at that time in his life. In the clubs, he would often run up large drink tabs, get repulsively drunk and scream "is that the fuck music??" at the bandstand. He was fired after only a week, but managed to make enough money to buy a one-way ticket to New York City.

Upon arriving, Evan immediately moved into a vegan commune in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. A brother in the commune owned an old Fender Stratocaster and loaned it to Evan. He spent the next few months tucked away, experimenting with guitar sounds while secretly snacking on dirty, fleshy veal. The bottom floor of the commune was a separately-owned used book and record shop. An older Jewish couple owned the shop and prided themselves on "being there before the yuppies." They lent out their vinyl to Evan in exchange for an occasional card game against their restauranteur French neighbors. The couple would always say "Those goddam French. They keeled over for the Nazis and now they're killing us again!"

Evan spent the next few years listening to records and writing songs. Evan drew upon on his jazz experience to combine improvisation with an aggressive yet dreamy rock style that contained quick shifts in dynamics and tone. It was Coltranes sheets of sound living in a sonic vacuum with Kevin Shields and Fugazi. In early 2003, Evan made a trip to Africa, and met many of his mother's family for the first time. Evan learned that he was a distant relative of the famous tribal leader, Shaka Zulu. He felt humbled to be part of such a rich history. Upon returning to the states, Evan decided to name his project SHAKA ZULU OVERDRIVE.

That summer, Evan began recording his songs on a laptop and at the Dust Brother's studio in Los Angeles. With the spirit of 3,000 African warriors coursing through his skinny thighs, Evan feverously worked on the material. He also searched for a crack rhythm section to perform the songs live. After scouring every dive bar, cottonfield and greasy spoon in the Northeast, Evan found bassist Michael Burns. They played with an assortment of drummers and started performing in the summer 2004 at venues such as Southpaw, Rothko and the Delancey. Despite successful shows, the band could not find a drummer who could pass The Blind Test of Fear until they encountered the rhythmic titan, Don McKenzie. With his dexterious grooves, Don finalized the line-up and the three musicians have been playing music together ever since. Look out for their self-released EP and inspired live performances!!!