The Zombies, with late bassist Jim Rodford on left (Andrew Eccles)The Zombies launched a new U.S. tour Tuesday in New York City, marking the first time since they re-formed in the early 2000s that the U.K. band is playing without bassist Jim Rodford, who died suddenly in late January at age 76.

Founding Zombies keyboardist Rod Argent tells ABC Radio, “It’s gonna be an odd experience for us being onstage without Jim, and it’s gonna be hugely sad in some ways. But we’re gonna try and live up to the standard that I know he’d want us to do it to. And dedicate the tour…in his honor.”

Argent says that the band initially was unsure about going forward with the trek, but decided to do it when Jim’s son, Zombies drummer Steve Rodford, said, “You’ve got to do it. Dad would’ve hundred percent wanted you to go on.”

To prepare for the tour, The Zombies had to scramble to find a fill-in bassist. Enter Danish musician Soren Koch, who was “unhesitatingly” recommended by another bassist whom Argent’s brother-in-law had suggested but who had other commitments.

Argent tells ABC Radio that Koch “is not only a fine player, but he is a huge fan. And we had an audition and we loved his playing. We’ve had one rehearsal, but he’s done work by himself and we’ve pointed him in the right direction for everything. And here we are.”

Zombies frontman Colin Blunstone, meanwhile, points out that Koch is “a great harmony singer too.” Colin admits that because they’ve had so little time to rehearse with Soren, “there’s gonna be some scary moments…but we’re pros, and we’ll get through it.”

The Zombies’ U.S. tour is mapped out through a March 25 concert in State College, Pennsylvania.

Here are all of the band’s upcoming stateside dates:

3/1 — New York, NY, City Winery New York
3/3 — Boston, MA, City Winery Boston
3/4 — Boston, MA, City Winery Boston
3/7 — New York, NY, Carnegie Hall – Led Zeppelin Tribute
3/8 — East Greenwich, RI, Greenwich Odeum
3/9 — Woodstock, NY, Levon Helm Studios
3/10 — Collingswood, NJ, Scottish Rite Auditorium
3/11 — Annapolis, MD, Rams Head On Stage
3/13 — Alexandria, VA, The Birchmere
3/14 — Annapolis, MD, Rams Head On Stage
3/16 — Atlanta, GA, City Winery Atlanta
3/17 — Nashville, TN, City Winery Nashville
3/19 — Chicago, IL, City Winery Chicago
3/20 — Chicago, IL, City Winery Chicago
3/23 — Niagara Falls, ON, Canada, Fallsview Casino
3/24 — Kent, OH, The Kent Stage
3/25 — State College, PA, The State Theatre

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