Full disclosure: I have never liked hockey. Maybe it’s because I grew up in upstate New York, where hockey was rammed down every boy’s throat like a puck made of broken teeth and bruises. And yeah, okay, I was forced to play in the Squirt and Pee Wee leagues, and I sucked. So that may have something to do with it.
But The Zambonis are almost great enough to make me a hockey fan. Almost.
Started way back in 1991 in Connecticut (R.I.P., Whalers), The Zambonis are the world’s only hockey-themed rock band. Now you might think this is a somewhat limited genre to work within, and frankly, you’d be right. But somehow, against all odds, these dudes are getting ready to release their sixth—sixth!—album, Five Minute Major (In D Minor), on Feb. 14th. Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Because nothing says romance better than songs like “I Got a Concussion (When I Fell for You).”
The Zambonis have built up a pretty decent following among puckheads over the years. They’ve played the NHL All-Star Game twice, written a theme song for the Boston Bruins (“To Bleed Black and Gold”) and even got their song “Hockey Monkey” used as the theme music for The Loop, a short-lived Fox sitcom. The illustrious Jonathan Richman once called them “a beach party on ice.” We like to think of them more as Weezer with mouthguards. They don’t take themselves or their music too seriously (how could they, really?), but most of it is catchy as all get-out.
Side note: Founding Zamboni Dave Schneider is something of a specialist in the art of Extremely Specific Rock Bands. He’s also the co-creator (with Adam Gardner of Guster) of The LeeVees, a band that only writes songs about Hanukkah. And no, it’s not actually all that weird to be both Jewish and into hockey.
Second side note: Believe it or not, the makers of the Zamboni® ice resurfacers actually sent a cease and desist to The Zambonis in 1998. After some legal wrangling, Zamboni® finally let The Zambonis license the name—and, we sincerely hope, granted their wish and finally let them drive an actual Zamboni.
Now, if you’re not already sick of all this hockey talk, why don’t you watch The Zambonis’ latest video, “I’m a Puck.” It’s got a cool sort of NRBQ/Brian Setzer/rockabilly vibe that we’re digging. Maybe it’s…puckabilly? (Ouch. Feel free to cross-check me into the boards for that one.)