LARGO — There's no mistaking the sound of the Zombies.
No, not the dead kind. The 1960s British rock group called the Zombies. The guys with velvety voices that made girls tuck their transistor radios under their pillows in case It's the Time of the Season played, or She's Not There or Tell Her No.
Whether you were lucky enough to be a kid or teen when their songs rose up the music charts, or you're just a fan of great music, get ready for an unforgettable concert. The Zombies are coming to Largo, the only Florida stop on their current American tour.
Lead vocalist Colin Blunstone talked to the Tampa Bay Times earlier this month from his home in Surrey, England.
"We only just finished a British tour, and so I'm really just starting to think of America,'' said Blunstone, 67. "I'm looking forward to it, though."
Fans will be too. The meet-and-greet pass for the concert is sold out, but there are tickets left to hear the band play.
"We are the first show on their North American tour," said Ron Mondora, artistic supervisor for the Largo Cultural Center. "We're really excited to land this show. They just flew in to town (Wednesday) and will have time to get over any jet lag and enjoy the Tampa Bay area before the concert."
The original five band members — Blunstone, Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson, Hugh Grundy and Paul Arnold — met and formed the Zombies in 1961.
"A fellow named Paul Arnold sat in front of me in class, and one day he turned around and asked if I played the guitar," Blunstone said. "Then he invited me to play with him and some other guys. We met one Saturday morning with three other guys who went to another school. When we met that Saturday morning, Paul Arnold was late, and I didn't know anyone, and what was funny was that I played rugby and I had a broken nose, two black eyes and strapping all across my face. I actually looked like a zombie. I looked a bit scary."
The Zombies were the second U.K. group after the Beatles to hit No. 1 on the pop music charts in America.
For anyone wondering how a British group with such smooth voices and clean-cut looks came up with the name of Zombies, Blunstone confesses that he didn't like it much at first.
"We were originally the Mustangs, and then we realized there were other bands called the Mustangs," Blunstone said. "But Paul Arnold, again my friend Paul, came up with Zombies. To be absolutely honest, everyone thought it was a great name, but I wasn't that keen on it. After awhile though, it came to represent the band. But I still think that the name Zombies sounds more like a heavy metal band."
Since the early days the band has continued to make music, together and separately. Their latest album, Breathe Out Breathe In, was released in 2011.
Blunstone said the evening will include "a little bit of everything, from 1964 all the way up to the album we put out 18 months ago.'' That means you can expect to hear the classics She's Not There and Time of the Season, but some Argent songs, too, including Hold Your Head Up.
"A tour like this is such a great way to explore so many places," said Blunstone. "I'll be sure to get out and have a chat with all the locals in Largo.''
Times staff writer Piper Castillo contributed to this report. Theodora Aggeles can be reached at [email protected]