Hard Rockers and “Z-Rock” Stars ZO2 Talk About Entertaining Kids and Groping Joan Rivers

As seen on the IFC show Z Rock, hard-rock bruisers ZO2 lead a double life, playing children’s parties during the day and rocking out at night (they’ve even opened for KISS). The Season 2 DVD of Z Rock hit stores on June 8, and Paulie Z., Joey Cassata, and David Zablidowsky of ZO2, were more than happy to fill Revolver in on some of the hilarious events that happened both on and off set.

REVOLVER How did the show itself come about?
JOEY CASSATA
We actually are a kid band and a rock band, and we used to pay our bills by playing in the [children’s group] Z Brothers. We were doing a kid’s birthday party and a William Morris agent was there, and he was like, “You guys are really good, but you look like you’re rock musicians. What’s the deal?” And we actually had a show at [New York venue] B.B. Kings that night, so we said why don’t you come down. So he came to the show and he was like, “You guys are great. I can’t believe I just watched you play ‘Wheels on the Bus’ and now I’m watching you play in front of a big crowd. We gotta do something.” So we said, “That’s great. Can you book us?” But he wasn’t in the booking department; he was in the TV department. So he suggested doing a TV show about a rock band at night and kids’ band during the day, because we have this “Superman–Clark Kent thing” going.

What’s the craziest thing that happened when filming this season?
PAULIE Z.
I got to feel up Joan Rivers. That’s pretty crazy. [Laughs] The thing that’s cool about Z Rock is that things happen pretty much on the fly, which can also cause chaos sometimes. So they said, “How cool would it be if Paulie got to grab Joan’s boobs?” So they said, “OK, let’s write it in!” and stuff like that happened a lot.

How are the storylines and situations come up with for the show? Are they scripted?
DAVID ZABLIDOWSKY
All of the situations from the show are mostly based on real things that happened to us, not necessarily in the right order. When we first started the show, we sat down with the production team and gave them hours of road stories and personal stories that we had, and they took those scenarios and juxtaposed them together in one episode, while obviously exaggerating it a little bit. What is scripted to a point are the actual situations; so we’ll know that, for instance, we’re gonna be at a party where Constantine [Maroulis] is going to be locked in a room, but that’s all that we know. As far as what actually happens in the scene and what we say, we come up with on the spot. Even with guest stars, we get a call that says they’re in town and would love to be on the show, boom, they write ’em into the show.

This season, you guys ended up in jail on the show. Have you ever gotten into any actual trouble with the law when filming the show?
Z.
We’re pretty good boys, but when we were on tour with KISS I almost got arrested, actually I almost got shot. We were at a 24-hour Laundromat doing our laundry really late at night, and I put my stage clothes in a separate dryer but I didn’t turn it on; I just left them there to dry. We walked down the block to the store and when we came back, I looked in the dryer, and my stage clothes were gone. When I asked the guy who worked there if he saw the clothes that were in the dryer, he said that he threw ’em out, and I said, “What?! Why would you do that!” and he said it was because of a policy they had about clothes left in the machines. When I looked in the garbage can, the clothes were covered with detergent and bleach, and I went crazy. I started kicking machines and punching stuff and he actually called the cops. About 10 minutes later, I looked outside and there were like three SWAT cars; they got out with guns and there were like please put your hands up we don’t want any trouble, and our manager had to talk ’em down. It was unreal because I’ve never been in a situation like that.

Any other stories that stick out about celebrities you worked with on Season 2?
CASSATA
From day one, as soon as we started working with Frank Stallone, he showed up on set at 6 a.m., hyper as all hell, with a guitar and a little mini Marshall amp strapped to his belt singing Frank Stallone songs. And we were like, its 6 a.m., what’s he doing? [Laughs] And then all of a sudden, Mini KISS, in full makeup and full KISS gear, are running around the set, and it actually looked like we were in a carnival for a little while. It was really out of control.

Any plans for Season 3 of Z Rock?
ZABLIDOWSKY
Right now we’ve actually parted ways with IFC, so we’re looking for a different network to be the new home for Z Rock. In the meantime were actually putting out our own webisodes on youtube.com/zo2videoz. We’re actually taking our camera out with us on the road and filming Z Rock for real. We’ll have footage of us recording, us on the road, and little skits that we do.

Interview by Roger Vai

 

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