Zebra and Taz Taylor
Back in early ’83, when a newly opened musicians’ shop out near Morena Boulevard was running TV ads starring a mullet-headed rock singer who crooned “Music Mart, your complete music stoooore,” one commercial announced an in-store appearance by a hard-rock trio named Zebra, whose debut album was the buzz of all the rock mags. I remember Mr. Mullet promising “If you like Led Zeppelin, you’ll love Zebra…they’re the next Zeppelin!” He was right about the first claim — I liked Zeppelin and loved the jaw-dropping set that Zebra played on the makeshift Music Mart stage — but totally wrong about their destiny. Terrific hard-driving rock anthems like “Who’s Behind the Door?” and “Tell Me What You Want” did indeed sound like early Zeppelin (at least if the members had come up in New Orleans in the late ’70s), but they also took cues from the first few Rush albums, Marc Bolan, the Sweet, and more than a little Aerosmith.
Being tagged “the next Zeppelin” right out of the gate was as crippling an albatross as naming the Knack “the new Beatles,” to cite another tight little ensemble doomed by their own press releases. Zebra had actually been together for several years before recording that first album, which peaked at U.S. number 29 and took them around the world. Their 1984 follow-up, No Tellin’ Lies, was nearly as good as their first but stalled at number 84. The next two releases, in 1986 and a 1990 live album, failed to chart at all, and the group splintered. A reunion resulted in 2003’s Zebra IV album, and guitarist Randy Jackson has said they’re working on material for a new full-length. Their February 8 set at Brick By Brick, part of their first West Coast tour since 1987, will include a performance of their entire 35 year-old debut album.
The bill includes Taz Taylor.