The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Who’s behind the Door?

with 2 comments

I’ve always loved Zebra and considered them a severely underrated rock band.  I first heard them on the radio when I first heard Who’s Behind the Door on Norfolk’s K-94 in 1983.  I was instantly hooked

That debut album is pretty righteous from beginning to end.  Randy Jackson has a great vocal range and is a solid guitar player.  The album flows very well.

A year later they release No Tellin’ Lies which was not quite as strong of a release.  They had some minor success with the slightlygoofy song Bears (worst video ever?).  Sure, I like the song but it was a bit silly.

For me they struck gold again with their third album 3.V in 1986.  I bought the cassette at Roses department store for $6.99 and was immediately hooked.  It’s a very polished album and pretty radio friendly, but the hooks are there.

Zebra IV came out in 2003 and again they released another quality album.  Highly recommended if you’re even mildly a fan.

I was fortunate enough to see the 3.V tour in 1986.  I’ll never forget it.  Cold rainy night…torrential rain even…A former friend from high school didn’t want to go out in the rain and get his hair messed up(just kidding)  so i went alone.  I already had really bad hair back then so it was no big deal to me.  Plus it was $5!  FIVE BUCKS! (Ren and Stimpy reference).  The lineup Alcatrazz (post-Yngwie/Vai era), Rough Cutt (Duke Fame!) and Zebra headlining.  I think there may have been 100 people there if that.  It was at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA which held about 2000 I think.  For some shows there they put the barricade up so only prople in the beer garden could stand in the area in front of the stage.  This was one of those shows.  So there I was wedged up in the front stage right corner between the speaker mains, the stage and the beer garden barricade.  My buddy Kirshon was standing behind me and was the only other person there that I knew.

Alcatrazz came on and was quite possibly the most boring band I have ever seen.  i swear I fell asleep standing up during their performance.  Some squid woke me up.  Then comes Rough Cutt supporting their Wants You! album.  I had that cassette and their debut and liked them a lot so I was familiar with their material.  They kicked ass.  Royally.  Amir Derakh was great.  He’s a killer guitarist, plain and simple.  They rocked from beginning to end and got a great response from a crowd that had no idea who they were.  Then comes Zebra.  Perfectly refined, in time, in tune.  They played a seemingly flawless set and mixed up the harder stuff with some acoustic songs.  Unfortunately they played a Zeppelin song or 2 but I suffered through it.  It was a great show.

Years later (1996 I believe) by wife at the time and I went to the va Beach Amphitheatre to see the Virginia Symphony tribute to Led Zeppelin.  Yes, I don’t like Zeppelin but Randy Jackson was fronting the band so I had to go.  We got 4th row center and got there pretty early.  of course I brought all of my Zebra CDs and Randy’s solo album CD.  Before the show started, I saw a woman walking around on the stage and she obviously was someone “in charge”.  So I left my seat and walked up to the stage and asked her if there was a way for me to meet Randy before or after the show.  She looked at me for a second and just said, “Wait here.”  Ten minutes later she came back out and said to come to the back stage gate after the show and Randy would come out.  Eureka!  During the show, Randy did a fine Robert Plan imitation.  It was a fun show, Zep fan or not.

So afterwards my wife and I are waiting for about 20 minutes by the backstage gate and out comes Randy, freshly showered.  I shook his hand, introduced my wife and me and talked with him for about a half hour.  It was an afternoon show so no one seemed rushed to get out of there.  I told him that I saw the 3.V tour and he said he remembered that particular show because of the rain and poor crowd attendance.  he signed all my stuff and was very appreciative of my “fanboyness”.  haha.  He stated that I was the first person out of the 20 or so shows to recognize him and/or bring stuff to get signed.  He was super cool.

In 2000 my former guitarist and I went up to Jaxx in Springfield, VA to see them.  Moderate turnout and a great show.  I got to meet Felix and Guy before the show and got permission to film it.  The picture came out great.  Unfortunately, something screwed up on the camera and no sound was recorded.  I was pissed.  I got to meet randy again afterwards and reminded him about the symphony gig from a few years prior.  He remembered talking to us and asked where my “pretty little wife” was.  I just said, “Ancient history, man.”  It was cool seeing him and the band again.  I hope to catch them again sometime.  On the way home (3 hour drive), Reggie fell asleep…and so did I.  He just happened to wake up right before me and yell.  I woke up just in time to steer away from hitting the entrance wall to the Monitor-Merrimac Tunnel.  Scary shit!

It’s unfortunate that they won’t allow their studio vids on YouTube.

2 Responses

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  1. Great Recollection Sean… Many of these anecdotes I heard 1st person as they happened but getting a recap is cool..

    I have all the Zebra videos on that live DVD I got a while back,I thought I got in to you…

    Good times!

    Steve Athey

    April 2, 2009 at 8:37 am

  2. Any other ZEBRA fans from Texas, please feel free to contact me. I have worked with Randy and the band for 10 years, booking and promoting shows throughout the Midwest. I am planning to bring the band back to Dallas next year for the first time since 2003. 2010 will mark the 35th anniversary!

    Don Wishon

    August 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm

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