Part one of our special hardcore spiffy double slam hooplah issue belongs to the one, the only Zao, one of Tooth and Nail's premier hardcore bands. Kurt Morris took the chance to chat with Ron Gray, guitarist, and here's what Ron had to say...

What does the name Zao mean?
Zao means Alive (in Greek)

How did you guys hook up with T&N?
They saw us at Cornerstone and Brandon gave us a call.

How are thing between Zao and Steadfast Records, now that you've left?
Matt is still good friends with us (we love that guy) even though many people do talk about things they don't know about --If you hear anything just dismiss it.

What ever happened to the emo-hardcore edge that you guys had when you put out your first song on the 7" for Steadfast? (I really liked that, personally)
Well that was the old bass player-that was just for fun.

Tell me a little bit about the new album.
We are really happy with the new album and how it turned out - even though we are already looking to record again, we want to be even better.

What does the title (The Splinter Shards the Birth of Separation) refer to?
Well the splinter shards refer to the cross(Jesus) and the seperation is when you become born again in Christ and you become seperate from the "world".

How was it recording at Oz Studios?
Not a lot of time to dilly-dally around,but it was soo rad.

What's the current line-up for Zao?
Shawn Jonas-vocals, Kevin Moran-bass, Roy Goudy-guitar, Ron Gray -guitar, Jesse Smith- drums.

Any touring plans to go along with this album?
Well we just got back from a two month tour all around the U.S. We go back out in June and through out Cornerstone--possibly the end of summer also.

What's Zao's purpose?
To spread the ministry of Jesus Christ, to share his love and glory to all through our music.

How hard is it to be a band with members in two different states?
And how did you get members in two different states, anyway? Well, all of the original members were from Ohio(Belpre)- but now four of us live in Parkersburg WV and Roy lives about 15 min. away in Ohio. (It's) not hard to get together at all, as a matter of fact we are together all the time and are very active in our church.

Any final comments, questions, or side project bands that Zao is in?
Well, just thanks for letting us do the interview. Jesse just went to the studio to do a solo thing. Roy and Ron (me), and Kevin are doing a emo-thing with a girl singer.