Zonk is a portmanteau describing a hybrid musical style combining punk with the "boingy guitars, wobbly keyboards, polka dot percussions, hiccupping falsettos, jerky / staccato beats, and lopsided rhythms" of zolo (Terry Sharkie, “Zolo Synthesis,” 1997). The aesthetic and ethos of weirdo punk wave guided our initial efforts to define our veggie burger branding. Once all alternative ideas felt insufficient, we settled on the most obvious and on-the-nose option.

We retired our Zonkmobile food truck at the start of the pandemic, and when we signed the lease on a cozy brick and mortar location, we could officially incorporate our appreciation for the classic American burger stand: simple, delicious menu; friendly people; and--importantly--an evocative soundtrack. We now had two contrasting primary influences: '50s Americana and mostly European (or Californian) '80s bizarro underground.

The Zonk Burger soundtrack was an opportunity to connect those dots, celebrating: early rock 'n' roll, Wall-of-Sound pop, doo-wop, surf, yeh-yeh, psych, proto-punk, garage rock, disco, new wave, dark wave, cold wave, minimal synth, synth pop, post-punk, ndw, rio and other mutant sounds (dot-blogspot-dot-com). There are transformative pop hits like "I Feel Love" next to novelty rock from The Playmates; chart-toppers sharing space with barely remembered imports. They're all part of the Zonk Burger Hot 100, the music we'll play when we open the doors. Apple Music and Spotify playlists embedded below.