Many young children pretend to be super heroes, firemen or anything else they want to be “when they grow up.” For Eddie Salinas, that dream was being a rock star.
In 1999, while cleaning his room on the weekend, 9-year-old Salinas would use a broom as a guitar and his bed as his stage while blasting Jimi Hendrix and Randy Rhoads out of his boombox.
He had no idea he would be signing a record deal with his band years later.
“When we were kids, we would listen to our favorite bands,” Salinas said. “We didn’t think a decade later we would be following the bands that we admired. Especially being that we’re from Robstown, it makes it even more surreal.”
Salinas, now 28, formed heavy metal band ‘ZombieKing’ (ZK) in 2013 after declining an invitation to play guitar for a band that had signed with a record company. The band had seen his guitar solo on YouTube and contacted him.
“It was motivating because some label people had heard of me, ” Salinas said. “It made me want to start my own band.”
He recruited vocalist Juan Aldape, 28, a few months after starting the project and bassist Andrew Garza, 23, joined two years later. ZK is currently looking for a drummer, but in the meantime uses a session drummer.
ZombieKing recently signed a record deal with Pavement Entertainment Records in early July and the record label released the news publicly on Friday, July 21.
Salinas contacted Pavement Entertainment after learning a band he saw at a concert he attended was signed with the label.
“They were actually looking for new talent so I sent in our first music video of our original song ‘Exit Life’ and a cover of a Selena song we did to show our versatility,” Salinas said. “They are vastly different. I wanted to show them how versatile we are and how we’re not limited to one sound. We can play almost anything, whatever we feel.”
According to its website, Pavement Entertainment Records is a “diversified full service entertainment company specializing in consulting, radio promotion, publicity, retail marketing, online marketing, music publishing, merchandising, artist management, and physical and digital distribution.”
Pavement Entertainment has more than 20 years in the music industry and a rich list of contacts that help their clients succeed, the website states. Pavement artists include Candlebox, Powerman 5000, Smile Empty Soul and others.
Tim King, Vice President of Pavement Entertainment Records, said the label looks for hard working artists that not only have talent, but a strong work ethic as well.
“First and foremost I just loved their music. They have a fresh and original sound with a lot of aggression, yet they can take a turn to a melodic side and offer passionate riffs and melodies as well,” King said. “This, along with their very strong work ethic, were what made me decide to offer them a deal. Those two ingredients are recipes for success in this business.”
Although the band is labeled as a heavy metal band, Aldape says one genre cannot define their band’s sound.
“We wouldn’t limit ourselves to a genre. It’s more of a collection of our influences and it’s too many to name,” Aldape said. “We usually just tell people to listen with an open mind and just think of it as traditional heavy metal.”
“It doesn’t limit us though,” Salinas said. “We don’t want the stigma like we worship the devil and just scream into the mic.”
Both Aldape and Garza said Blues, Classic Rock, R&B, Soul, Country and other genres shine through.
The band released a music video of the band’s cover of ‘Si una vez’ by Selena y Los Dinos on April 16 of this year which was the Tejano singer’s birthday.
“Growing up in the South Texas area, you are surrounded by Selena. It’s part of your childhood,” Aldape said.
Salinas said ‘Si Una Vez’ has always been his favorite song by Selena.
“One day we were playing it just for fun and it sounded good so we made the video,” he said. “That’s what puts us out there and shows that we can do any kind of music.”
ZombieKing members are all from the South Texas area including Corpus Christi and Robstown, but Salinas and Garza shared a special bond when they were younger: living across the street from each other.
“We’d always hang out and Eddie taught me how to play guitar,” Garza said. “When he asked me to join the band after all these years, I was honored. I had seen these guys play before with other people and I feel like I bring more energy to the band.”
ZombieKing members said they owe their success to their local supporters.
They said they want to thank The House of Rock staff and Monte Montana, DJ at C101, who has been instrumental in getting ZombieKing’s music out.
“We represent the Robstown and Corpus Christi area,” Salinas said. “Our fans and ZK familia mean the world to us. I’m just another dude on the block here in Robstown,” he said. “Not too many people from here expect opportunities like this to happen. It’s all television and fairy tales as far as we were concerned.”
Salinas said the name ‘ZombieKing’ comes from a song he wrote before he formed the band. The song was dedicated to his cousin Joseph Favela who tragically took his life in 2009.
“It also has a metaphoric meaning,” Salinas said. “A zombie is the living dead with a insatiable hunger for blood. That’s what a lot of people are often like. They have to get their fix whether it be money, drugs or whatever it might be and without that they’re just wandering in a zombie-like state. We feel like that sometimes and I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that. At sometime we feel like zombies and we’re just living for whatever we need to get by. We’re all ZombieKings.”
“It’s not about ourselves,” Aldape said. “A lot of times people call us the ZombieKings, but eventually we’ll introduce what the name means through our music. It’s something that has too many meanings that we have yet to get to.”
The deal with Pavement Entertainment Records is a one album deal, Aldape said. ZK plans to get their debut album out not only locally, but throughout the country.
“Many bands think that once you get signed you are on "Easy Street", but that's actually when all the real work begins,” King said. “My main goal is to get their music out to as many ears as we can get to listen. From there we are really going to work on developing the band in their region and also get them out touring nationally to expose them on a full scale level.”
“Good music needs to be heard first and foremost and that is our main goal here at Pavement. We have a full staff and team of experts here that will help bring ZombieKing to the next level of their musical careers,” he said.
Salinas said their main goal is “to create the best music we possibly can and to infect the world with the ZK sound.”
Aldape said the band will enter studio in October and plans to release it as soon as they can. In the meantime, they will continue playing shows.
ZombieKing’s next show will be at The House of Rock on October 5 as the direct support for the band ‘Motograter.’