Fire Garden May 2018 Interview


My Fire Garden homies are one of the most underrated progressive rock bands in the scene right now.  I saw the guys last summer in Niagara Falls at the Evening Star and damn, do they put on a great show.  Oh…..and they’re cool guys, to boot.  What’s not to like about Fire Garden?

As part of the monthly showcase (I tried last month for Angel Vivaldi….nobody got back to me. I at least tried!) an interview of some sorts is conducted with the featured band or artist.  I hope you get a good look into the creative minds and personalties that make Fire Garden the quality band they’ve morphed into.

Fire Garden is:

Zee Baig – Lead Vocals & Guitars

MM: Marc Malitz – Bass and Backing Vocals

Al: Allen Ladis – Lead and Rhythm Guitars

BK: Bill Kiser – Drums



TMR: How did the band come to be?

Zee: I formed this band while I was living in Kazakhstan, played few shows under the Fire Garden name and had a MySpace page as well (anyone remember?).  We wrote a few originals but there was never a serious plan to record and release music, when I moved to USA I decided to continue the journey hired few session musicians to record a 3 song EP called “The Prelude”. The response was great and people started to like it, so I decided to write a full-length record which became “Sound of Majestic Colors”.  That record caught some attention in the PROG community including Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater. So, it was obvious to do a follow-up. This time I went to find people who can play this music live as well. Luckily, I found these guys (Marc Malitz, Bill Kiser, Allen Ladis) and I am blown away with the response of Far and Near and our live shows. The good thing is whoever comes to our shows they appreciate the music. We are constantly working on our live show we try to keep things fresh and I am excited for the future ahead.


TMR: What is the meaning behind the band name? Is it a Steve vai reference? 🙂

Zee: Yes!!! I am a big fan of Steve Vai and the name represent perfectly with the style of music I enjoy. “Fire” is for aggressive side and “Garden” is for mellow side…does that make sense? 😉 … BTW do you know Steve Vai is a Bee Keeper? And, his garden is called Fire Garden.


TMR: What was it like recording the vocals for Far and Near? Did it feel more pure putting your voice on the music as Zee Baig, rather than someone else singing? Totally different sound and texture than the vocalist that sang on Sound of Majestic Colors.

Zee: It was one of the best decisions I took in my life. Sometimes you are not familiar with your own inner potential. I am a performer and I always want to play live music. When you have a different frontman with every release, it is hard for fans to relate to the band. Therefore, I decided to do vocals myself and I am happy with the results and fans loved it.

TMR: What is everyone’s favorite piece of gear past or present?


Zee: Probably my studio computer

MM: Schroeder bass cabinet

AL: My Fractal Axe Fx I XL

BK: My 20” Zildjian K Constantinople Medium Thin Low ride cymbal.

TMR: You guys finish playing a long set and are starving ….what’s the first food you’re craving?


Zee: Mediterranean food  

MM: Tacos

AL: Pizza or Burritos

BK: Pizza


TMR: How is the writing process for the latest fire garden album going?


Zee: Writing process is going well, a little slower than my expectation.  This time I am taking a slightly different approach, experimenting with different instruments and taking influences from other genres. I think the world doesn’t need another Dream Theater or Porcupine Tree. Let’s see how successful I am 🙂

TMR: What’s everyone’s favorite drink of choice at the bar?


Zee: I don’t drink alcohol so Ginger Ale or lemonade for me

MM: Beer

AL: Beer and Tequila

BK: Red wine. Always

TMR: Who is everyone’s bucket list band they’d love to see live?


Zee: Past David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and Queen….Present Peter Gabriel, Guns n Roses (Yes I missed the last tour)  

MM: The Kinks

AL: RUSH reunion show

BK: Going to the past, early Zeppelin and Genesis 73 era.


TMR: What band would you guys want to play with that’s also on your bucket list?


Zee: So many to list..but opening for Opeth or Steven Wilson would be great.

MM: Pineapple Thief, Opeth, Steven Wilson, Haken, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, King Crimson, and Primus

AL: Symphony X

BK: Any cool band with great energy.


TMR: You’re putting together an all day festival….what bands are you guys booking? Let’s say for conversation’s sake 10 total including you guys, so 9 other bands.

Zee: Dream Theater, Steven Wilson, Opeth, Nine Inch Nails, Roger Waters, Opeth, Coldplay, Steve Vai, Junoon (Pakistani band) and of course Fire Garden.

MM: Pineapple Thief, Opeth, Steven Wilson, Haken, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, King Crimson, and Primus

AL: Circle of Illusion, Frost, Voyager, Moon Safari, Haken, Dream Theater , Porcupine Tree, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani

BK: Janes addiction, tool, opeth, king crimson, Syd Arthur, Radiohead, primus, marillion, bela fleck. 🙂


TMR: What’s everyone listening rotation usually consist of?

Zee: I listen to different styles and post my playlist every month on and my MixTapes on Spotify

MM: Prog, Jazz, Metal, Classic Rock

AL: Dream Theater, RUSH, repeat

BK: Constantly evolving but always includes Rush, Jellyfish, Genesis, Radiohead and Laura Marling to name but a few.


TMR: What 2018 releases are you guys looking forward to? And your favorites that have been released so far this year, as well.


Zee: Nine Inch Nails, The Sea Within, The Pineapple Thief … favorite so far don’t have one yet.

MM: Looking forward to new releases by Riverside, TesseracT, The Sea Within, Pineapple Thief, favorites so far are releases from Judas Priest, Between the Buried and Me, and Joe Satriani

AL:  Not really up on new releases.. In my bubble I guess

BK: Tool


TMR: You guitarists rock those Kiesel and music man guitars nicely….sponsorship would be cool! You guys should totally hit them up.


Zee: Would love to, but I am not a big fan of endorsements. I like to keep my options open, you might see me playing different instruments in the future.

AL: I’m a little fish in a big pond. Maybe?  



TMR: Music theory or no music theory? It’s very helpful, yet on the other end you don’t want to be so focused on music theory and not write great music….what are your opinions on it?


Zee: It helps but I don’t like to put boundaries when writing music. I am not good in theory at all. I just write what I hear in my head.

MM: Learning theory and music content is great, but should only be used as a tool.

AL: I never learned theory.  Wish I had.. Definitely helps writing.

BK: For drummers knowledge of rhythm is important.



TMR: What hobbies do you guys have outside of the band and being an artist?


Zee: I like to play sports whenever I can, cricket or tennis…. these days into tennis a lot.

MM: I collect comic books

AL: Camping, Fishing, Outdoor stuff I guess..

BK: I’m a closet guitar player and love to run, outside preferably.

TMR: What else do you guys do outside of fire garden whether it’s music related or not? Link your other endeavors and projects here for people to check out.


Zee: I run my own production company where I record/mix/produce other people’s music. Also, I love doing movie scores for short films and direct music videos. You can contact me at

MM: I play in a Jazz group called, The Nascent Jazz Trio:

AL: No other projects right now. So mostly family, work, the band..  And most importantly my beard!!!!

BK: Of course family time, running, reading, wine drinking and a fun original instrumental band called Mute, as time allows.



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