The first incarnation of The Zipheads initially formed as a punk band around 2005 in the city of St Albans, but after a handful of local shows, the members soon became more and more enamoured with 1950s Rock’n’roll and Rockabilly, and the project was abandoned in favour of ‘The Runaway Boys’- the unimaginatively-named yet highly prolific Rock’n’roll revue band.

Ditching the bass guitar for a double bass, The Runaway Boys played high-energy covers of songs by all the Rock’n’roll greats- Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, The Everly Brothers, Ritchie Valens to name just a few, along with soul, country and even reggae classics thrown in for good measure, as well as the odd number by The Clash, The Rezillos, The Cramps, Misfits or even Ramones in the set.

It was here they cut their teeth as musicians, playing at least 2 shows every week for half a decade in some of the least glamorous venues you could imagine. They performed hundreds of shows over the next 5 years in pubs, social clubs and function rooms across the south-east of England. 

In 2008 they recorded a 6 track demo of self-penned originals with producer Bryan Smith (who worked on the Chesney Hawkes’ single ‘The One And Only’) still under The Runaway Boys name. 5 of these songs would later be re-recorded for the bands first album.

After the end of The Runaway Boys, they decided to focus exclusively on their own material, returning to the original Zipheads moniker, and recruiting drummer Will Bennett, of St Albans ska-punk heroes, Kiss My Brass.

It was with the addition of Bennett (and his van) that The Zipheads became the touring powerhouse that they are today, having played countless gigs across the UK and Europe, opening for bands such as Soft Play, Don Broco, punk bands Peter and The Test Tube Babies, Anti-Nowhere League and Discharge, as well as 2-Tone heroes The Selecter, The Beat and Neville Staple and Psychobilly stalwarts Reverend Horton Heat, The Meteors, Guana Batz and Demented Are Go- as well as their own headline shows and festival appearances across the UK, Europe and USA.

In 2013 they released their debut album Prehistoric Beat on an unsuspecting public. The 12-track mix of punk, rockabilly, reggae, ska and swing was well received, featuring the song ‘Revenge’ for which the band shot a music video, and a rockin’ cover of the Toots and The Maytals classic reggae hit ’54-46 Was My Number’, a fan favourite and still a staple of the bands live set. 

After more touring to promote Prehistoric Beat, the band released a 7” single in 2015 on famous UK rockabilly/psychobilly label Western Star Records. ‘Just Don’t Seem To Care’ received strong reviews in the UK Rock’n’roll music press, with many critics also praising the Irish influenced B-side ‘Foreign Land’ as a favourite. 

More touring followed, with The Zipheads embarking on a hugely successful tour of Finland in April, as well as the bands debuts in Sweden and Estonia, with the band even performing 2 songs live on early-morning Estonian national TV to an audience of 150,000 viewers.

In 2016 the band continued to play all over the UK and Europe, making their debut at the UK’s beloved Boomtown Festival in the summer, and in September, they contributed a track to the Diablo Records’ ‘The Guv’nor- A Tribute To Nigel Lewis’ album, with their cover of The Meteors song ‘Earwigs In My Brain’. In October, the band played their first ever U.S shows, touring the state of Florida over the Halloween period to a strong response.

The band signed to London-based independent label Bomber Music, and in November 2016 released their much-anticipated second album- Z2:Rampage!. The album was incredibly well received, earning praise for its production and songwriting from many critics, and earning a place in Vive Le Rock magazine’s list of Top 50 Albums of 2016. An official music video for ‘Last Man On Earth’ was released, featuring the band in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, filmed in Dungeness. 3 other music videos were spawned from Z2:Rampage! – ‘No 2 Ways About It’, ‘Welcome To The Real World’ and ‘Get Ready’ (a cover of the Temptations’ Motown classic).

The Zipheads toured the UK in the months after the album’s release, as well as touring Europe extensively over the summer, visiting Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic for the first time.

Around this time, the band were featured in Dr Martens ‘Stand For Something’ campaign, being photographed by the brand and making an in-store appearance, and their song ‘Last Man On Earth’ was used in E4’s show Tattoo Fixers. In 2018 guitarist Ray, a lifelong Gretsch player, received endorsement from Gretsch Guitars.

5 years after its original release, Prehistoric Beat was reissued by Bomber Music in June 2018, featuring 2 new tracks and pressed to (bright yellow) vinyl for the very first time. Festival appearances at Glastonbury and Boomtown followed, as well as returning to the USA and Europe and the bands first shows in Russia- 2 highly anticipated shows in St Petersburg and Moscow.

In May 2020 The Zipheads released a benefit single in aid of the Joe Strummer Foundation during the COVID-19 lockdown, a countrified reworking of The Clash’s “Bankrobber”- with the profits going to musicians in need. It was also during lockdown the band begun work on what would become Surf Wars Vol1: The Day The Surf Stood Still, a (mostly) instrumental EP of surf rock inspired by artists like Dick Dale, The Ventures, The Shadows and Man Or Astro-Man? Surf Wars was released in February 2022 and is the first instalment in what the band hopes will be a long-running “side hustle” of surf releases!

The COVID-19 lockdown also brought about a line-up change with Dick Dynamite stepping in as full-time double bassist, originally from New Zealand, his band Dick Dynamite & The Doppelgangers come with no small reputation of their own, after Dick settled in the UK, the London-based line-up of the Doppelgangers played with The Zipheads many times over the years and when the bassist position became available Dick was asked to join and the band became more active touring once again. At the end of the year, Dick Dynamite made his studio debut on a Zipheads record, the stand-alone single Telekinesis released in December that year.

2023 saw more regular gigging, with The Zipheads opening shows for The Bar Stool Preachers (of which Ray is also a sometime-member) in April before celebrating 10 years of their debut album Prehistoric Beat in September with an anniversary show in London, playing 3 UK shows (and 1 in Belgium) in October with rockabilly legends Reverend Horton Heat before rounding off the year with their annual hometown Xmas show in St Albans.

’23 was also the year the Zipheads began recording their long-awaited third album with their producer Tim Kramer at Signal House Studios, with the very first single Everybody Knows being released on the 1st Dec alongside the accompanying music video, followed by How Do You Like Me Now?, the second single- released 19th April. 

In 2024, The Zipheads go on their biggest tour yet of the UK and Ireland in May supporting the legendary Hayseed Dixie, with more singles and the third album expected by the end of the year…

See the Zipheads in 2024!