As a band as likely to play the tearjerker pop hit “Last Kiss” and an Erik Satie minimalist classical piece in the same set, it’s not surprising guitarist Gerald Sicolvan says The Zooks considered Frank Zappa’s “Uncle Meat” and Captain Beefheart’s “Trout Mask Replica” as the group’s “Old and New Testaments.”
Founded in March 1970 by a group of friends from Dearborn High School, the band included a core of competent musicians on traditional instruments but also occasional ventures into chairs, in lieu of drums, and a vacuum cleaner to get a particular sound. The Zooks played out occasionally, including a few shows at Bookie’s Club 870. The band also released a 7 inch released in 1977, a 7 inch EP in 1978 as well as a track for a Detroit compilation record in the early 1980s.
The Zooks played live on WDET’s Dimension radio show in 1978. Through that performance, drummer Martin Bandyke started to appear on the program playing records and would eventually become a DJ/host on the station in later years. But, the performance also opened the opportunity for Bandyke to take part in some jam sessions with some local musicians. From those sessions, Bandyke and Siclovan formed the band Retro.
While members of The Zooks live in other states and, even, countries, the band has never officially broken up – the the group’s most recent gig was in 1982.
Music from The Zooks can be found on bandcamp.