The Zolas Revisit The Place Where Evil Grows

Juno-nominated rockers' video arrived just days before the death of Susan Jacks.

The Zolas chart the ups and downs of modern romance in the video for their spin on The Poppy Family’s classic Where Evil Grows — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

While the song appeared on the 2021 covers compilation Light Organ Records Presents Push Button Radio: CanCon AM Radio Hits from the ’70s, the clip for the Canadian indie rockers’ sizzling update arrived just days before the death of Poppy Family cofounder Susan Jacks in late April.

“I thought of the concept for the Where Evil Grows music video while waiting for an elevator in my apartment building,” says Zolas’ frontman Zach Gray. “COVID restrictions were pretty tight at that time so you were only allowed a few people into each elevator so I had to wait and watch three ‘full’ elevators stop at my floor. Each elevator that passed, I saw a little scene play out in front of me and I thought it was an interesting glimpse into some people’s lives. By the time an empty elevator finally came for me, I was already walking back to my apartment to write up the concept for the video.”

Released in late 2021, Push Button Radio features a slate of CanCon radio hits reimagined by contemporary recording artists. “I emailed the bands on our Light Organ imprint to see who wanted to cover AM CanCon hits from the 1970s, conscious that some of these artists were not even alive in the 1970s, let alone listening to music,” recalls Jonathan Simkin, president of 604 / Light Organ Records in Vancouver.

Photo by Conor Cunningham.

“I set certain parameters: The song had to be released between Jan. 1, 1970, and Dec. 31, 1979; it had to have been a legit radio hit; and it had to satisfy CanCon requirements — meaning two of either the lyrics, production location, music, and performer had to be Canadian. We ended up breaking some of those rules, but that’s OK. In spirit, all of the songs satisfy the criteria. I sent around a few suggestions, but left it up to the artists to choose.”

The Zolas, a Juno-nominated four-piece from B.C., naturally turned to the psychedelic pop icons of their home province — The Poppy Family. Their  version of Where Evil Grows earned them praise from musician, producer, and Poppy Family frontman Terry Jacks himself — noting, in particular, Zach Gray’s vocals on the final cut.

“The Poppy Family was an international success story, and I remember hearing these songs on the radio in the ’70s,” says Simkin. “Even at the time, I remember thinking they were kind of like a scarier, more menacing version of The Carpenters. Beautiful melodies and gorgeous harmonies presented in full glorious angst. Songs about the dark underbelly of interpersonal relationships wrapped in such lovely music. The Zolas do justice for this song.”

Watch the video for Where Evil Grows above, listen to Push Button Radio below, and find The Zolas at their website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Photo by Conor Cunningham.