A trio from Los Angeles whose sound is a purposefully scuzzy fusion of punk, metal, stoner rock, and trailer trash culture, the Zig Zags were named after a brand of cheap shoes that guitarist and singer Jed Maheu and drummer Bobby Martin were both wearing when they first talked about starting a band in 2010 (though the fact the name is also similar to a popular brand of rolling papers seems quite fitting). Maheu and Martin began working up material, with both playing guitar; by the time they started recording their first single, it became obvious this lineup wasn't going to work for long, so Martin moved over to drums, and the band played a handful of shows as a duo. Patrick McCarthy met Maheu and Martin when he did sound for them at one of their first gigs, and he quickly became a friend and a fan; when they asked him to join the group as a bassist, he quickly said yes, even though he hadn't played the instrument before.
After releasing a pair of digital singles on their own, the Zig Zags released a vinyl 7", "Monster Wizard," on the Tubesteak Tuesday label, and four other singles for several noted indie imprints (including Mexican Summer and In the Red) followed between 2012 and 2014. The Zig Zags also collaborated with Iggy Pop for a special single to honor Light in the Attic Records, with the band backing the punk pioneer on a cover of Betty Davis' "If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up," and Burger Records put out a cassette-only collection of rare and unreleased recordings titled 10-12 (fittingly, it was recorded between 2010 and 2012). In 2013, Ty Segall, a friend of the band, offered to help the Zig Zags record an album, and the band cut its self-titled full-length at Segall's studio; the album was released by In the Red Records in mid-2014. By the time the Zig Zags released their second album, Running Out of Red, in May 2016, Jed Maheu had given the band a thorough overhaul. Bobby Martin and Patrick McCarthy were out, with Caleb Miller as their new bassist and Dane Arnold taking over on drums. ~ Mark Deming