Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Zakary Thaks - Form The Habit (RAW and CRUDE 60s GARAGE US 1965-1968)

9 March 2009

Zakary Thaks - Form The Habit (RAW and CRUDE 60s GARAGE US 1965-1968)


In 1964 a small band of teens began playing instrumentals: formerly known as "The Marauders", the band changed the name to "The Riptides" after original drummer "Rex Gregory" moved to Houston and "David Fore" signed on for a spell.
"John Lopez" said he first met members of "The Riptides" after he transferred to High School."The Riptides" were floored by "John Lopez" and he soon replaced Jordan. Meanwhile, Gregory returned from Houston, hoping to reclaim his drum spot in the band but had to settle for bass. It was a position he'd hold on to for the better part of the "Zakary Thaks"' career.

The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when "The Riptides" played on "Teen Time", a local TV show hosted by Charlie Bright on KIII.
A band called "The Last Five" was also on the program and their drummer -- one "Stan Moore" -- was incredible, "Chris Gerniottis" and Lopez remembered.
"He was such a character", "Chris Gerniottis" said of his former bandmate.
"We could see that he had not yet reached his pinnacle as far as drumming went. But that came quickly".
By spring 1966, "The Riptides" had now become "The Zakary Thaks", a name picked at random by singer "Chris Gerniottis" after reading a letter in a teen magazine. "It was a cool name, so we changed up the spelling and it was ours!" "Chris Gerniottis" said.

Zakary_Thaks,Form_The_Habit,BAD_SEEDS,LIBERTY_BELL,texas,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,punk,elevators,sundazed"The Zakary Thaks" took its cues from the British Invasion -- which meant ample amounts of "The Beatles", "The Kinks", "The Rolling Stones" and "The Yardbirds" in the band's sound -- and later on, American rockers as well.
"We were heavy Rascals fans back then", "Chris Gerniottis" recalled.
While "John Lopez" loved the UK bands, he never forgot his Blues roots.

Before long, the "Zakary Thaks" played out and it was at an early gig at the "Carousel Club", one of the hottest spots in town, that they were approached by a local businessman, "Carl Becker", who ran "J-Beck Records" with his brother-in-law, "Jack Salyers".

"Zakary Thaks" tracked two songs that day -- an original composition called "Bad Girl" and a cover version of "The Kinks"' "I Need You".

Zakary_Thaks,Form_The_Habit,BAD_SEEDS,LIBERTY_BELL,texas,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,punk,elevators,sundazed,bad_girl"The Zakary Thaks": "Bad Girl" / "I Need You", J-Beck Records 1006

The single's A-side is nothing short of incredible.
Drummer "Stanley Moore" SMASHES OUT a ferocious Punk Beat, ten years before it became a style of playing, as guitarists "John Lopez" and "Pete Stinson" and bassist "Rex Gregory" hunker down for some of the GRITTIEST two-minute three chord this city has known.

"J-Beck" Records issued #J-1006 in summer '66. "Bad Girl" took off in South Texas, no doubt helped along by the band's appearances on "Teen Time" and other teen-focused shows across the state. "I guess that was insurance to ensure that your records were played on the radio", "Chris Gerniottis" said. "Bad Girl" soon attracted the attention of a major label, "Mercury Records", which released the single as Mercury #72633.

The single's success led to a coveted opening slot for "The Yardbirds" who headlined "Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars" tour when it played the Memorial Coliseum on October 30, 1966.

Zakary_Thaks,Form_The_Habit,BAD_SEEDS,LIBERTY_BELL,texas,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,punk,elevators,sundazed,bad_girl,journalThe tour, which featured "Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs" and "Gary Lewis and The Playboys", gave the "Zakary Thaks" an opportunity to cross paths with their British idols, "The Yardbirds", featuring future rock legends "Jimmy Page" and "Jeff Beck".
"That was the last night (guitarist) "Jeff Beck" played with them", Lopez remembered. "He flew out to California to meet his girlfriend or something".
Other big shows came and went. "Eric Burdon and The Animals".
"The Steppenwolf" -- a few years down the road.
And numerous gigs with the Texas heavies: Houston's "Moving Sidewalks", featuring a pre-"ZZ Top" "Billy Gibbons", and Austin's "13th Floor Elevators".
Gerniottis and Lopez recall numerous gigs with the band, including a gig in Kerrville, where the "13th Floor Elevators" originally launched.
But it's the first pairing of the two bands that stands out in the mind of the "The Zakary Thaks" singer.
"The most memorable "13th Floor Elevators" gig was the first one at the Knights of Columbus hall in Kingsville", Gerniottis recalled, "Roky Erickson" baritone voice beginning to rise in pitch. "I mean to tell you -- they just blew our minds.
They were incredibly on that night"

For the "The Zakary Thaks"'s third single, "Please" b/w "I Won't Come Back", "J-Beck" turned to "Mike Taylor", a songwriter who cut his teeth with "The Bad Seeds".
The single revealed a significant shift toward a more produced, Pop-focused approach. The change was not well received.
"Right after Please", the third single which had lukewarm sales, "Carl Becker" left and "Lofton Klein" came in to fill his (Becker's) managerial duties," Gerniottis said.
"The one thing I can say about "Lofton Klein" is that he had the idea to go into this film studio and film us". Gerniottis is referring to a video, reportedly shot in Calallen, in which "The Zakary Thaks" were filmed performing cover songs while a young teen crowd does its thing.
The video can be found on various sites on the Web.

Zakary_Thaks,Form_The_Habit,BAD_SEEDS,LIBERTY_BELL,texas,psychedelic-rocknroll,garage,punk,elevators,sundazed,bad_girl,videoJ-1103 featured another pair of "Mike Taylor" gems, "Mirror of Yesterday" and "Can't You Hear Your Daddy's Footsteps".
The single would be the last on "J-Beck" for "Zakary Thaks".

The year 1968 there was trouble on the "Zakary Thaks" front as well.
Gerniottis and Gregory found themselves out of the band and replaced for a time by "Johnny Kenny", a bass player who also sang.
The line-up eventually was reduced to a trio: Stan, Rex and John (Lopez), which was stable enough to record their fifth single, "Green Crystal Ties" and "Green Door" as the "Zakary Thaks" on the band's own "Thak Records".
The trio kept gigging and opened at least one show for "Johnny Winter" at "The Vulcan Gas Company" in Austin.

Eventually, Gerniottis rejoined "Zakary Thaks" on vocals and rhythm guitar after spending some time fronting "The Liberty Bell", which featured former "Zakary Thaks" bassist "Wayne Harrison".
The band's final single, "Everybody Wants to Be Somebody" b/w "Outprint", was released in 1969 on the "Cee-Bee" label, yet another "Carl Becker" creation.

But by then, "The Zakary Thaks" were no longer the band they once were.
Lopez said the band was never as strong as it was with original line-up, lamenting, "Everything was changing. We were just so spoiled, playing with each other, because everybody was so high caliber..." Gerniottis finishes his thought for him. "Well, it was like we had to have Pete and that's something that we didn't think about until he wasn't there".


Psyffer23 said...

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