THE ‘FIRST’ ZARSOFF BROS

Years back , before Izzy put together his LEGANDARY ZARSOFF BROS, Winifred Atwell had a band of her own- Zarsoff Bros they were. Years later Izzy found out about this former Zarsoff Band and as the Net picked up speed, Iz was able to contact the pioneering Zarsoffs and get their nod for what was by then the Legendary Zs.  

http://members.optusnet.com.au/behindthebook/c25behindpiano.html

THE ZARSOFF BROTHERS

Now that we had a fully Australian band, Lew wanted to give us a name. He preferred one of Winnie�s Aussie suggestions � �The Magic Pudding�. We really thought that a name for Winnie�s band was superfluous and we often joked about other possible names. It wasn�t until we were all driving to the gig one night that another suggestion came up. As Jim tried to get the last puff out of one of the little numbers he used to roll for the car trip, he dropped a smouldering ash on my seat.

�Look out!� said Michael. �You�ll burn his arse off!�

�Burn-his-arse-off?� I replied. �That sounds like a Russian composer � BERNIE ZARSOFF.�

�That�s it!� said Jim. �We could call the band the ZARSOFF BROTHERS!�

We rattled off a few more names that fitted. As well as Bernie, we could have BLUEY ZARSOFF, TERRY ZARSOFF and RORY ZARSOFF. �What about Gavin?� said Michael.

�I know, we�ll call him RUDY ZARSOFF!� – And so the Zarsoff Brothers were born.

Winnie and Lew thought it was great name. Although Winnie never really grasped the significance, she always requested that we sing our song for the prominent guests at our feudic suppers.

(Sung to the tune of Dark Eyes)

(All – in unison) We are the Zarsoffs, the dreaded Zarsoffs

(Michael) I�m Bluey Zarsoff,

(Leon) I�m Bernie Zarsoff,

(Jim) I�m Rory Zarsoff, or Terry Zarsoff,

(All � in harmony pointing to Gavin)

and there is Rudy Zarsoff, too.

This was then followed by an unrehearsed Russian Cossack dance that usually received a burst of applause.

During one of our trips to Melbourne we had an extra two roadies who did such a good job that we made them �Honorary Zarsoffs� with the names of LEFTY ZARSOFF and EDDY ZARSOFF. Although the roadies were flattered by the honorary names it would later lead to another band stealing our name and using it commercially later on. But that�s another story. They did apologise.

Lew loved all the nicknames that we gave to various people that we met. One of our promoters was a retired mouth organ player who had a big wart on his nose and we always referred to him as the �Wart.� Lew had no sensitivity at all, and in his presence Lew blurted out, �Gee, these boys have funny names for some people. They call you the Wart!� This statement was followed by deadly silence. Lew was the only one smiling. The Wart was devastated and we were embarrassed no end. Lew was always giving promoters a hard time. He loved it. While we were following Lew and the Wart in another car we could see that they were having a heated argument in the back seat. This prompted Muckle to observe.

�Look guys. It�s the battle of Wart and Lew!�

It was a busy time for Winnie the Pooh and the famous Zarsoff Brothers, although I still managed to fit in a new weekly television show on Channel 10 called The Tonight Show with Dick Curtis and Hazel Phillips. Produced by John Collins, it was recorded every Saturday afternoon and I played with John Ferguson�s 20-piece band. The show began on October 9, and American Dick Curtis was later replaced by Bernard King and Maggie Tabberer.

With all of Winnie�s gigs I had probably bitten off more than I could chew, but I could always get drummer Will Dower to fill in for me when we went away on tour. At the time, Will was breaking his neck to get into television. It was the usual thing. Play-ins and play-offs to ad breaks followed by backing up a few visiting guests. After years of television at Channel 7 with Dig Richards and then Johnny O�Keefe, I didn�t fancy making a career out of it. The Tonight Show soon evolved into a daytime show with Mike Walsh and eventually moved to Channel 9. Will Dower managed to stay on as the resident drummer extraordinaire for the next twenty years or so.

After a week at St. George Leagues Club with Winnie, the Zarsoffs spent the end of the year in Jon Hayton�s new swimming pool; paid for, no doubt, with his earnings from Col Joye & the Joy Boys tours. Jon�s arthritis was worsening, so as well as Col and brother Keith Jacobsen carrying his amp, they sometimes even physically carried Jon. The Jacobsens had adopted Jon and they always looked after their own.

Jon and I had been friends with Col and the Joy Boys since we first started with Dig Richards & the R�Jays back in 1959. Col�s sister Carol and Lonnie Lee�s sister Liz were great friends and they always came to our early rock�n�roll dances. Sandy Scott married Carol while I ended up marrying Liz. Col�s brother Keith married Little Pattie, and it all sounds very incestuous.

Throughout this time I was never ever an official Joy Boy. Their original drummer, the notorious John Bogie, already had the honour of that position. Bogie was also the originator of the legendary �Dance Of The Flames�, as well as many other indecent acts of debauchery that were performed on some of the early tours.

At the start of 1972 Winnie and the Zarsoffs played a couple of weeks in Surfers Paradise and Lew became very sick. While we took a week off I was at last called upon to be an official Joy Boy for one night in Goulburn.

http://members.optusnet.com.au/behindthebook/c25behindpiano.html

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