Svetlana Nagaeva, better known as Zombierella or Zombie Girl, is the bombshell bassist for the horror surf band (as they are best described) Messer Chups. Hailing from from St Petersburg, Russia, Messer Chups’ sound is reminiscent of the great surf rock bands of the 1960s, but they definitely have their own unique style, which combines surf sounds, classic B-movie horror, and retro-themed artwork. Their instrumentals like “Twin Peaks Twist,” “Tremolo From the Crypt,” and “Zombie in a Mini Skirt” are just as cool as the titles. Zombierella’s vocals on tunes like “Jason Bond 0013,” spiked with her famous shrill, spine-chilling scream, make you wonder how a girl can sing, play, look so sexy and be so cool, all at the same time. Above is Zombierella playing her Fender “blue baby” at the 2012 Surfer Joe Summer Festival in Livorno, Italy. Thanks to Mauro Della Prugna at Youtube.
Even though this was originally intended to be a one-question interview, since Zombierella is currently touring and it seemed doubtful that I could corral her for a full interview, by whatever means, this turned into a three-question interview because I’m a stickler for details, especially with photos I include with interviews. So, I asked the bombshell bassist a couple more questions about her instruments of choice, to which she graciously answered. See more of Messer Chups at their official website, Facebook fan page, and Oleg Gitarkin’s Youtube channel.
ZOMBIERELLA: A few years ago in 2008, as I remember, I started to search for a new bass. Before, I played a vintage German (Musima Deluxe) bass guitar from the 70s. It had a cool sound; really flat, but it had problems with the quality of the neck and body. Next, I bought a US-made Fender Jazz bass. Sure, a real quality bass and fit for different styles of music, but I wanted something special for surf sounds and so I stared to look at bass guitars with a short scale for a more treble sound and something that would be more comfortable for me. And then I fell in love with a vintage 1966 daphne blue Fender Mustang bass. I knew it would be mine. I ordered it from Kansas City and I’m still happy with it. It has the quality that Fender brings and it’s quite a rare outfit. I’ve never seen the same color vintage Mustang. It’s surely my most valuable bass guitar but it’s also the most used. It’s my best friend and I’ve never have any troubles with it. I’ve sometimes tried other ones. Even a year ago, I bought some freaky bass, but then it’s back to my Blue Baby.
Onstage with her Blue Baby last April during Messer Chups 2013 Euro tour
Playing her 70s vintage German-made Musima Deluxe, circa 2005
Zombierella’s “side gig” is that of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Bonecollectors, who are sort of a Messer Chups offshoot band. Above is her onstage with them last year. Said Zombierella of the rare Gretsch guitar she’s playing here; “It’s a Synchromatic Jr. Not really expensive like other Gretsch guitars but I like it. It’s small and nice for a young guitar player. They don’t produce it anymore.”
Cars” 2014 calendar with photographer Carlos Kella