We named our first band TIMES UNLIMITED. John and I shared the vocals as I did not play an instrument at the time. When Darryl Cotton joined as our lead singer, we changed our name to DOWN THE LINE after a Hollies song off one of their albums.
It was this lineup that was approached by Doc Neeson (THE ANGELS) and a friend shortly thereafter, offering to manage us. They had reservations about our name and suggested that we change it to something short and punchy like ZOOT, a word that really didn’t mean anything. After kicking it around for a few days, we decided we quite liked it and changed our name to ZOOT, but we never heard from the management team again.
ZOOT worked their way up and became one of the most popular bands on the Adelaide music scene between 1966 and 1968. THE TWILIGHTS were the first Adelaide group to break nationally, late in 1965 and it was one of their lead singers, Paddy McCartney, who brought us to the attention of their record producer, David McKay. We drove to Melbourne to record our very first single, “You Better Get Going Now” at Bill Armstrong Studios in Albert Park.
ZOOT turned professional and moved to Melbourne in August 1968 and on September 3rd the “Think Pink – Think Zoot” campaign was launched at a heavily promoted media party at Berties. Tony Knight and Wayne de Gruchy had decked out the whole of Berties in pink.
ZOOT’s second single was “1x2x3x4”, written and produced by Terry Britten, lead guitarist for THE TWILIGHTS. In June 1969, Ian “Molly” Meldrum, produced our third single, “Monty and Me”, written by Hans Poulsen and Bruce Woodley. EMI released ZOOT’s fourth single – a Brian Cadd / Don Mudie song called “It’s About Time” as the follow up.
In 1970 we set to work on our first and only album – “JUST ZOOT”, released in early 1970. Around that time we ceremoniously burned all of our pink stage outfits before the cameras of Happening ‘70, a popular Saturday morning television music program.
A strong reaction from the Go-Set Pop Poll performance had Howard Gable, EMI’s in house producer, insisting on “Eleanor Rigby” as the next single that EMI released in December 1970. A follow up single to “Eleanor Rigby”, “The Freak / Evil Child”, fared dismally on the Australian national charts and by early 1971, irrevocable disillusionment had set in for us and we decided amicably to all go our own way in April of that year.
Remembering John Darcy…
In July 2006, we lost John Darcy, guitarist, singer, songwriter and founding member of Zoot along with Darryl Cotton, Ted Higgins and myself.
To read more about John Darcy and what he meant to me please visit my tribute page to him, “We Were Lads”.