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)
Bruce McLean 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.
Ian Willis Caesar’s Palace Cairns. 6 weeks, 6 nights each week, 6 brackets – devilish numbers! All true Terry, I know as I also lived it with all of you as your sound engineer. Champagne times on North Queensland lager. Living above the old Queenslander pub which was Caesar’s we had the entire floor for ourselves. The huge veranda is where we partied every night till the sun came up between 2 hills on the peninsula to the sea. Slept till afternoon when we would go to swim up in the hills often with Danny or travel around, hang out, whatever came up. Then in the evening prepare for the long session at work. When Bernie & Ted refused to perform “What’s That Smell Like Fish, Mama?”, because it might cruel their chances with the girls, I would sub & we would do it 3 piece. I was dubbed Rudi Zarsoff & have forever on done my best to honour that title. I would have a beer each bracket & by the end of the residency I was developing mouth ulcers. Hey Tony perhaps we should write it up?
I was in a touring Band in the 80s, Gimix and run into the Zarsoffs many a time at Royals rugby Club in Camberra,we were pretty out there but the 2 of us together on the one bill the audiances didn.t know what hit them lol Issy will be missed, As a fellow musician that was touched by issy and the Zarsoffs my heart goes out to his close friends and family he certainly made his mark in the music industry.
Ray Floyd Jones Me 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.