By SABRINA GREGORY, Staff Writer
Detroit rockers Citizen Zero spent time gearing up for the release of their first full-length album, State of Mind. The first single from the project “Go (Let Me Save You)” premiered on Guitar World on May 18, 2016, and the album was released yesterday from Wind-up Records.
In advance of the release, the band has been touring this May with P.O.D. through numerous venues. High-profile appearances at the sold-out Rock on the Range festival in Columbus, Ohio the weekend of May 20, and Rocklahoma the following weekend, capped the month and won the group many new fans beyond the Detroit region.
Citizen Zero was originally formed in 2010 by the three Dudley brothers from Rochester Hills, Mich., with Greg on bass, John on drums and eldest brother Matt playing his distinctive style on guitar. The brothers recruited Josh LeMay as the group’s vocalist and got off to a promising start. A self-titled debut EP, recorded at Rustbelt Records with recording engineer Al Sutton, known for his work with Kid Rock, came out in 2011. After playing numerous regional gigs, the group headed back into Sutton’s studio in early 2012.
It was at that point that tragedy struck. Matt Dudley died only days into the recording session, leaving behind some blistering guitar solos as his legacy. The surviving members of Citizen Zero were forced to reevaluate the future — canceling gigs and, once they decided to carry on as a tribute to Matt’s memory, looking for a guitar player to replace him.
The band recruited Sammy Boller to fill the guitar slot. Already a YouTube star where his self-released guitar videos receive thousands of hits, Boller is a regular contributor to GuitarWorld.com, contributing the popular “Secrets of Shredding” column. Joe Satriani named him the winner of Guitar Center’s Master Satriani competition in 2012.
With Boller on board, the band returned to Rustbelt to complete the project begun with Matt. The resulting EP, Life Explodes, was released in 2012, funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign. It was produced by Sutton and Kid Rock lead guitarist Marlon Young, with contributions by Sponge lead singer Vinnie Dombroski.
Life Explodes went on to win the Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Rock/Pop Recording in 2013. Since its release, the band has shared the stage with Kid Rock, opening for two of his sold out shows at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, as well as rock heavyweights ZZ Top, Halestorm, Royal Blood, Highly Suspect and others. A single from the EP, “DOA Sunday,” received heavy airplay on the Detroit rock radio station 101.1 WRIF. Another track, “Love To Hate,” includes Matt Dudley’s final solos.
The Detroit music press has hailed Citizen Zero as the city’s next breakout band, praising its thoughtful and meaningful lyrics paired with powerful guitar work and a polished delivery that combine to create instant classics. The band’s music has been favorably compared to rock ‘n roll headliners Stone Temple Pilots, Foo Fighters, Theory of a Deadman and Kings Of Leon. The string of high-profile rock festival bookings testifies to the Citizen Zero’s arena-size sound and ability to deliver exciting live performances.
The group’s new album, State of Mind, also produced by Al Sutton and Marlon Young, is the first since the band signed with NYC’s Wind-up Records, one of the country’s largest independently owned music companies. The first single, “Go (Let Me Save You),” was written by Sammy and Josh in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, an event that struck close to home following the loss of Matt.
“It’s actually the first song Sammy and I wrote together,” Josh said. “I was watching the news, and I couldn’t believe how the cameramen were consciously filming crying parents. It was so wrong. Having gone through tragedy, it made me really angry. I had to say something.”
Josh continues: “I think the best music comes from the most honest place. Being from Detroit, there’s a no fly zone for bullshit. You have to be real, or the people will know. State of Mind is one-hundred percent who we are.
“Citizen Zero represents the faceless citizen. It’s the everyday person no better than any of us. However, that any one individual can change the world.”