It wasn’t that long ago Zakk Sandler was just a high-school kid with a dream of joining a band and becoming the next Van Halen. But now, at the tender age of 20, the Black Tide bassist comes across as so bitter, jaded, and emotionally stunted that he could easily pass for a rock star twice his age. Axl Rose would be proud.
So where am I calling him today?
“I’m in the middle of Bumblefuck, Wyoming,” he says, before adding the obvious: “I hate Wyoming.”
And it’s not just whole states that the Floridian headbanger likes to shit-talk. Bands, fans, celebrities, and even music journalists are all on this young buck’s impressive hit list.
“I had an interviewer—a middle-of-America fuckhead—say that I was rude,” he says without a hint of irony. “Which is kind of weird because I’m never really rude to anybody. So I kind of want to find out who he is and go burn his house down. He deserves to be punished.”
Don’t be fooled by Sandler’s world-done-me-wrong disposition. His band is actually doing pretty well for a group of kids with little or no life experience. Formed in 2003, when singer Gabriel Garcia was 10 and Sandler was all of 14, the pubescent metal quartet quickly caught the attention of label reps.
Fast forward six years and the group has scored a major record deal, a couple of PlayStation hits, primo festival slots, and critical acclaim for its debut album, Light From Above. Sadly, all this success has had one big downside: namely, Sandler’s realization that his band isn’t going to become the next Van Halen.
“Nowadays, I just want it [the band] to work out and survive,” says the bassist. “I know that there’s never going to be another arena-rock, Van Halen type of band. It’s over. And that sucks.”
He credits this recent revelation to the success of some of his Warped Tour bill mates, specifically 3OH!3.
“Now we’re on tour with them and I have to watch that shit every day,” he says. “I watch 15,000 kids run to that stage as fast as possible to watch them play—not the entire set, but one song. And then they all leave. And every year, there’s going to be one of those bands that’s going to do that. 3OH!3 just happens to be the ticket this year. Remember when Gym Class Heroes got really big? Who the fuck are they now?”
Anyhoo, in addition to most of the Warped Tour talent, Sandler doesn’t have a lot of patience for the scenesters that attend the festival, either.
“Those idiot kids who all wear the same shirts and think they’re original and have the same stupid fucking haircuts—they should just die.”
Black Tide plays the Vans Warped Tour at Thunderbird Stadium on Friday (August 14).