By CADY KUZMICH
CLIFTON PARK — Detroit-based rock band Citizen Zero will be opening for Sick Puppies and Trapt at Clifton Park’s Upstate Concert Hall on Dec. 14.
Though the hard rock band has played the New York circuit before, this will be the band’s first time stopping in Clifton Park, according to lead singer and guitarist Josh LeMay.
LeMay, 26, may be a frontman now but his musical career began with a drum set when he was just 3 years old. “All four of us are third-generation musicians in our family,” said LeMay, speaking of his bandmates.
“Sammy’s parents were part of a travelling Vegas show band. They’re awesome people,” said LeMay.
As the crew tested the equipment for the stage in the background, LeMay sounded relieved to be on tour. Like many musicians, he’s had to put in time at various odd jobs over the years, one of which involved delivering spotlights to strip clubs.
LeMay grew up listening to bands like Soundgarden and Alter Bridge, a heavy metal band from Florida. Alter Bridge’s Myles Kennedy and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell were especially inspirational to young LeMay. Watching Kennedy and Cornell work as their bands’ frontmen, LeMay realized he too wanted to be front and center.
“You’re the voice of the band,” he said. “You can’t shut me up,” he added, laughing.
Initially, the band was made up LeMay and three brothers, John, Greg and Matt Dudley. “We pretty much grew up in the same town. I always knew they were incredible musicians,” said LeMay. After a mutual friend introduced the guys, they started playing together. “The rest is history,” he said.
“Detroit is a melting pot,” said LeMay. He credits the city with the group’s eclectic range of influences. “There are so many different styles of music that have influenced us.”
The group suffered the loss of Matt Dudley, the eldest Dudley brother and the band’s guitarist, in 2013.
“That obviously derailed things a bit,” said LeMay. “We found Sammy [Boller, the lead guitarist], and eventually had to replace Greg.”
While LeMay primarily writes the lyrics, the process of putting the music together for each song is collaborative. “It’s everybody sittin’ in the room and vibing off of what we’re doing,” he said.
LeMay thinks of the band’s latest work, “State of Mind,” as a themed album. “It’s about reacting to the last three years of our lives. Our reaction to happiness and sadness and tragedy — the whole spectrum of emotions.”
His musical influences have remained steady largely since his childhood. LeMay said bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains changed his entire world.
A brief Q&A with Josh LeMay:
Q: If you could tour with any band, which would you choose?
A: Guns and Roses just because I don’t know if it’s ever going to happen again. Or Alter Bridge.
Q: Have political themes made their way into your songs? Have you considered writing about this election?
A: If I was going to write a song it wouldn’t be so much about the election as it would be about how this election has divided us as people.
Q: Where do you hope the band will be five or 10 years from now?
A: Still doing it. Still touring. Still writing. Still in the spotlight.
Q: What is one of your most memorable concert experiences?
A: One of the most powerful shows I’ve ever seen was Nine Inch Nails. It was the first really incredible show I’ve seen. It wasn’t only about the music. It was a rock show.