Zeus is a Toronto-based Canadian indie rock band signed to the Arts & Crafts record label. Its members include Rob Drake, Carlin Nicholson, Mike O'Brien, and Neil Quin. In addition to recording and performing the music of Zeus, the band also served as the backing band for Canadian musician Jason Collett.
O'Brien and Nicholson were childhood friends from Barrie, Ontario, and played in one another's first bands along with Afie Jurvanen. When Jurvanen was recruited by producer Howie Beck to play guitar for Jason Collett, Jurvanen brought along O'Brien and Nicholson, who had learned Collett's album Idols of Exile in its entirety before their audition. The band he brought to Collett, which called itself "Paso Mino" consisted of Jurvanen, Michael P. Clive, and current Zeus members O'Brien and Drake, with Nicholson commonly acting as sound technician. After several years performing behind Collett, as well as performing original material and releasing the acclaimed album Good People, Paso Mino dissolved when Michael P. Clive left the band to pursue a career as a professional chef, and Jurvanen embarked on a tour with Feist and began a new solo project under the name "Bahamas".
"Finding themselves with time on their hands, O'Brien and Nicholson began recording together joined for the original sessions by Dave Azzolini, Jess Grassia and Taylor Knox (The Golden Dogs). The nature of these sessions was goodhearted and rekindled Mike and Carlin's appreciation of each other. Their personal history went back to high school when they also started the 68's, a band Carlin would keep going for 10 years with Mike leaving in 2002 for Paso Mino, along with Robbie Drake. Neil Quin (who had been a member of The Golden Dogs and Major Grange with Taylor Knox) was soon added to the mix, solidifying the current Zeus lineup. The members of Zeus continue as Collett's backing band and toured with Jurvanen in a revue style tour Bonfire Ball Revue, when he described Zeus as sounding like The Band behind Collett, and sounding like Crazy Horse behind Bahamas."
Zeus were the special musical guest on the CBC radio program Q on March 27, 2012.
Sounds Like Zeus (2009):
Their debut EP Sounds Like Zeus was released by Arts & Crafts in June 2009, and includes a cover of the Genesis song "That's All".
Say Us (2010):
The band's debut album, Say Us, was released 23 February 2010. A vinyl LP was released two weeks ahead of the CD release.Say Us was included on the 2010 Polaris Music Prize long list, but failed to advance to the short list. In March 2010, the band performed at the SxSW Music Festival with long-time collaborators Jason Collett and Bahamas.
Busting Visions (2011):
The band released several 7" singles as part of a series. "Hot Under The Collar" / "Aeroplane" was released 7 December 2010 (Arts & Crafts ACX-060), "Permanent Scar" / "The Darkness" 12 April 2011 (Arts & Crafts ACX-063), and "Are You Gonna' Waste My Time?" 18 October 2011 (Arts & Crafts ACX-073).
The album Busting Visions debuted at number 73 in Canada.
Classic Zeus (2014):
Zeus has announced that their third full length album Classic Zeus will be released on Arts & Crafts on September 2, 2014.
Rob Drake (2009-present),
Carlin Nicholson (2009-present),
Mike O'Brien (2009-present),
Neil Quin (2009-present)