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.
FROM VAN BADHAM Van Badham I wrote the following for his life companion, Lynne: Lynne, amidst heartbreak, be consoled that the man who was your beloved companion was no ordinary man. He was a leader, a fighter, a guru, a comrade, a friend. He was a man of independent thought and resolute moral principle. He was an artist, a maker and creator and a bard in the truest sense. Meeting Izzy as an 18 year old was the encounter that inspired the directions I took in my own life – artistic and political. He proved to me in his example that those who are as selfless as they are motivated have the power to open minds and effect change. He had the rare quality of the true champion – to understand the indivisibility of leadership and teamwork. He was good. He was kind. He shared what he learned with uninhibited generosity, he told a cracking story and he was always prepared to take the piss out of himself. He spoke truth to power. And he loved you, truly. He leaves love and good example behind him as he embarks on his next journey, and so he endures. I am thinking of how he used to treat his terrible migraines by trapping his head in a wire hanger. And it makes me think what I should have realised before hearing this today: that he appeared in my life as some kind of sage, or wizard – a Gandalf or Merlin – grey-bearded, wise to the world, stepping out from the edge of a grey forest at a crossroads, and, smiling, nudging me gently towards my true way.
On this day 33 years ago, way back in 1983, this is what you could have seen on a Friday night in Sydney. Good days. 🙂
Friday 9th Sept 1983.
Adam’s Apple Bistro, Caringbah – Alcan Zephyr
Arncliffe Hotel, Arncliffe – Faultline
Arthurs Court – Wine Bar, North Sydney – Trader
Ashfield Hotel, Ashfield – Feeler
Balmain Leagues Club, Balmain – The Expression
Bankstown Sports Club, Bankstown – Full Marks and Swanee
Blacktown RSL, Blacktown – Peculiar Clerk and Snake
Bluegum Hotel, Waitara – Rupert B and Strange Desire
Brighton Hotel, Sydney – Forever Fifteen
Cabbage Tree Hotel, Fairy Meadow – Rose Tattoo
Campbelltown Leagues Club, Leumeah – Fallen Idols and Total Fire Band
Campbelltown RSL Club, Campbelltown – One Word and Moving Pictures
Caringbah Inn, Caringbah – Hugo A Go Go and Mi-Sex
Cronulla Workers Club, Cronulla – The Honeymoon, QV’s, and Choirboys
Dee Why Hotel, Dee Why – Snake
Governor’s Pleasure, The Rocks, Sydney – Mysterons
Greenfield Tavern, Greenfield Park – Mole Rats and Hoodoo Gurus
Grey Gums Hotel, Penrith – Bankrupt
Helensburgh Workers Sports & Social Club Ltd, Helensburgh – Vicky O’Keefe Band
Hotel Bondi, Bondi – Shaylee Wilde Experience
Leichhardt Hotel, Leichhardt – X
Lewisham Hotel, Lewisham – Mr X
Mosman Hotel, Mosman – Zulu Rattle and The Scientists
Paddington Green Hotel, Paddington – Minutemen and The Celibate Rifles
Padstow Park Hotel, Padstow – Shy Thunder and The Beast
Piccadilly Hotel, Kings Cross – Non Stop Dancers
Rest Hotel, Milson’s Point – Pat Drummond
Sefton Hotel, Sefton – Passion and Lightning Rock
Selina’s – Coogee Bay Hotel, Coogee – Fashions and Q.E.D.
Stardust Hotel aka Sweethearts, Cabramatta – Uppa Hand and The Lonely Hearts
Sydney Cove Tavern, Circular Quay – The Zarsoff Brothers
The Manzil Room, Kings Cross – Hijinx and Party Girls
Tourmaline Hotel, Vineyard – Torrid Zone
Trade Union Club, Sydney – The Rescue Squad, The Introverts, and The Cockroaches
War and Peace, Parramatta – Inner Release
Greg NortonBaker to Izzy Foreal
Izzy was a dude unlike any other… miss you brother!Narrell Brown to Izzy Foreal
thinking of you Izzy and Peter as you are no doubt having the best of times with all the amazing newcomers to Rock n Roll Heaven of late. Fondest of memories. x