Australian singer songwriter Jeff St John has died at the age of 71.
Well the balance of the MIXED BUSINESS CDs have gone South into Zarsoff care.
We took a visit out to the Spot in the Forest where Iz was found in 2014. Steve Batty had made a plaque for Izzy’s iron bark benches out there and Koala John had screwed it in and we went to take a look at how things were. Its dusty right now but the Uke and Buddha and Cross are all still surviving.
It was around 1970 (or maybe 1971) when I joined The Internationally Famous 69ers. They were resident at the Clique Wine Bar in Surry Hills – in fact, that was my first gig with them. At the time I was called Peter Knox – and I was the house bass-player at ‘Chaplin’s’, the joint (bistro, club, disco – none of these; it was a joint) opened in Oxford Street near Whitlam Square (over the road from the Burdekin Hotel) Sydney, by the owners of the notorious ‘Ball Pants’ coffee lounge in Kings Cross.
The Kaye has gone out for a few days to be played and loved by Peter Barry and Jo Pierce. Then Peter tells me he is playing at Kalang Hall Winter Solstice which will be Izzy’s 3rd anniversary and he will play EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT.
I reckon Iz would like this.
I am finally looking back at some of the things people have written for Izzy. Here’s one. I shall dig more up.
I learned of Peter’s death through my son just last night and the news has left me devastated. The very idea Izzy is no longer with us seems unreal.
The source of this news was the father of a friend of my son, who is apparently something of a Zarsoff Brothers tragic, but he is not alone in this, because at the Blue Gum Hotel in Hornsby they still talk about the days when the band played there.
From late 1977 till 81, Peter was an integral and influential part of my life, while he, Bernie, Bluey and I breathed life into the Zarsoff Brothers. What a time that was. Green? I could have been the outer on the SCG after a wet winter, but was living my dream being in a full time band and absolutely having the time of my life.
It all came together in Cairns, little more than a large country town then, where we had a six week residency and first worked as the Zarsoff Brothers at a disco called Caesar’s Palace. It was located beside a dilapidated, deserted and condemned hotel, so it should come as no surprise to learn this is where the band stayed. We had this entire hotel to ourselves while conveniently located right next door was the biggest liquor warehouse in the universe with booze they were practically giving away. Little more than an hour after we arrived, Bluey had already laid his hands on a thirty-dollar, North Queensland ounce and to this day I am still in awe at his resourcefulness and dedication to that task.
The venue’s patrons were strictly disco and we had maybe a dozen songs or so that might have fitted the bill, but with three hours to fill, we were struggling and the first week was horrendous. The disco crowd didn’t like us at all and management was extremely worried. For a band getting its act together though, a residency is like gold. An extended period of time where you don’t have to lug gear? Heaven, and with everything already set up, we rehearsed just about every single day.
During that difficult period where you’re completely alienating one type of audience, and hoping to catch a new one, Izzy fronted the microphone each night, undaunted, dedicated and resolutely outrageous. Ball-bag solos, armpit solos, farting, burping, swearing – at the time this kind of behaviour was unheard of.
So what happened? Those twelve disco songs we knew became works of bullshit art. Dog’s Boogie was born in Cairns, as was Nose Pickin’ Boogie. Bum Sweat, Little Red Riding Hood, They Won’t let Us Show It At The Beach, all the classic Zarsoff Brothers songs were fermented during that six week stint.
We spent Christmas there. It fell on our second week, when things beginning to turn around. On Christmas day, just using an open sandwich maker, Bluey produced the most amazing Christmas lunch I’ve ever had. On New Year’s Eve, Caesar’s Palace was so packed, a queue formed outside and on our last night I think we might have brought the sleepy village to a standstill. Such was the power, talent, fearlessness and absolute charm of Izzy Foreal. The rest is legend.
I’ll miss you dear friend, but thanks for all the meat. (Burp)
Ray Floyd JonesMe too.Pretty shocked.I spent a year on the road with Izzy in the bastard sons of the Zarsoff Bros.Some very funny times were had and we even saw a UFO.Maybe we’ve already been in space and had an episode of missing time!Izzy is in space now and maybe his ashes can join him!My version of the Zarsoff bros(and Steve and Ken) all would wish him well on his next adventure in the universe.Cheers mate.
Dave WrayMy Dad saw Izzy perform before I even knew he existed, let alone joined his band. I believe it was The 69ers at Sefton Hotel. I had some of the funniest times of my life with the man. Some were actually on stage. RIP Iz!Unreal. Mate it was very shocking news. I was part of the road crew for a few years. Started off doing the lighting with I think only 8 cans and and basic switch board. Then Jamie Dodd show ed me how to do front of house. Traveled many miles with you guys which have me a great start to the industry. Izzy was truly one of the kind.