History

In the beginning…

008Three members of The Zarsoff Bros (Izzy, Bernie and Terry) were playing as The Robin Lee Sinclair Band in 1979, backing a singer (Robin Lee Sinclair) doing disco versions of every kind of song that moved. The band was very popular in the club circuit, but Izzy started to yearn for an outlet for his comedy material.

The three future Zarsoffs started doing some low key gigs away from Robin Lee Sinclair, as The Likker Act. When Robin found out, he demanded exclusive loyalty. Izzy, Bernie and Terry got pissed at the Royal Sheaf Hotel in Double Bay one afternoon, and went to visit Robin. Izzy Told him where to stick his exclusive loyalty, and the 1979 version of The Zarsoff Bros was born.

After a few gigs, the boys decided they needed a fourth member. There was a Bluey who rehearsed a lot with the band and did maybe one gig, but he proved to be too serious a musician and wasn’t too fond of the bizarre onstage antics of the other members. He soon departed and the real Bluey Zarsoff joined, just before the band headed to Cairns for a six week stint at Caesars Palace. In fact, this Bluey only did one gig before Cairns, at The Bondi Tram, then feel headfirst into the mayhem. This was the 1979 version of The Zarsoff Bros because, unknown to Izzy Foreal, there was a band with this name who recorded a single some time in the early 1970s. This band consisted of members from popular bands of the time, who got together to release a record under the name The Zarsoff Bros. This band never performed live as far as is known, and the whole thing was meant to be a one-off joke.

The 1979 version…

The Zarsoff name, of course, has been around as a joke for ages. Many of Izzy’s road crew members had Zarsoff names in previous bands. In fact, Dave Ovenden, drummer with The 69ERS when Izzy was known as Peter Knox and that band’s bass player, used to often call out over the microphone: “A message for Mister Bluey Zarsoff, please refrain from leaving skid marks in the car park”.

Anyway, it was the 1979 Zarsoff Bros who went on to carve themselves a reputation as a rude, crude, offensive, irreverent and extremely funny band throughout the 1980s. The 1979 line up came to an end when Izzy went to Tweed Heads to play bass with The Bullamakankas. After about eight months and one Bullamakankas album, he returned to Sydney and formed the next version of The Zarsoff Bros.

The 80’s version…

004This version featured Rocky on drums, Smokey on lead guitar, Izzy on bass and Bernie on keyboards. Bluey returned after a few months, and Rudi joined on saxophone not long after. This classic line up carved its way through the Sydney live scene for some time, creating the legend that still lives on in many drug addled minds.

Later on…

Frontman and bassist Izzy Foreal put the band to sleep some time in the early 1990s. He was asked to put a lineup together for “The Boys Are Back In Town” tours towards the end of the 1990s, which he did using various combinations of past band members. The vibe was so good that the version of the band in the photo above decided to write an album of new material and continue the mayhem. So, The Legendary Zarsoff Bros were back on the road with a new second guitarist, recording a new album and touring to promote it. Stay tuned to this site for updates on live shows, album release dates and other Zarsoffian insanity.

The last Zarsoffs gig with the line up in the picture was at the Bull N Bush (Sydney), September 22, 2001. Long-time drummer Lefty & airkeys player Buster departed soon after. The next gig at the Lewisham Hotel (January 18, 2002) featured fill-in drummer Squeezie. The remaining members then began rehearsing with a new drummer, to continue as a 4-piece.

23 Comments

  1. The History page is now online. on January 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    […] History […]

  2. Greg Simpson on January 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Hi guys, I only saw the Zarsoffs once in Ballina when a very old friend was playing with you. I am trying to find him after many years and was hoping you might be able to hook me up. His name is Mark Manning and I’m sure you remember him. We played in a band called Pressure Cookers for about 3 years and I’m buggered if I can find him now. A couple of the band came with Mark to my place after the gig (next day) which was the “Boys are back in Town tour” with Matt Finish etc. I had a ball that night, thanks. I’d appreciate it if you could pass my email to him or even supply me with a phone no. etc.
    All the best,
    Greg

    • Susan manning on April 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Greg
      Mark and I are down here in Sydney. I was adding the Zarzoff Bros to my Facebook and I read your message….Hope everyone is well?
      Sat night and Mark is out workin’
      He’ll be in touch with you soon 😉
      susan

  3. Noel C on March 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I remember seeing them at The greystanes Inn in the very late seventies , top band funny and good musicians ,,

  4. The Zarsoff Brothers « Midoz Radio Blog on August 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    […] at: http://www.zarsoffbros.com/history/  August 20, 2011  midozradionotes […]

  5. Ian Robson on September 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Whatever became of Bluey?

  6. The Zarsoff Brothers « Midoz Radio Blog on September 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    […] here for external information: http://www.zarsoffbros.com/history/  September 13, 2011  midozradionotes […]

  7. The Zarsoff Brothers — Australian Music History on December 22, 2011 at 7:17 am

    […] Frontman and bassist Izzy Foreal put the band to sleep some time in the early 1990s. He was asked to put a lineup together for “The Boys Are Back In Town” tours towards the end of the 1990s, which he did using various combinations of past band members. The vibe was so good that the version of the band in the photo above decided to write an album of new material and continue the mayhem. So, The Legendary Zarsoff Bros were back on the road with a new second guitarist, recording a new album and touring to promote it. Stay tuned to this site for updates on live shows, album release dates and other Zarsoffian insanity. from http://www.zarsoffbros.com […]

  8. Aussie Ozborn on April 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Had the pleasure of seeing The Zarsoff Bros at the Governor’s Pleasure at The Rocks. Funny as! Later saw them supporting the HeeBeeGeeBees at the Uni of NSW Roundhouse – the funniest night ever.

  9. sue on May 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    hi guys!

    didnt you used to play at collies many years ago! omg, if yes use to love going seeing you when you coming to brisbane !

    all good… when im back in the gong ill come see you play… MEMORIES!!!!

  10. frank klaassen on May 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

    hello susan
    i have been searching for mark manning a guitar player who worked with me in a band called ;the replicas; in the early 1980s.
    would this be your mark?
    regards
    frank klaassen aka the flying dustman

    • Chris Manning on October 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Yeah that’s my old man Mark Manning.

      (Currently listening to Zarsoff Bros)

  11. cathryn Jost on June 22, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Hoping you can help. A friend of our’s is 50 next week and is a big fan. I have been looking on web sites for a poster, I even looked on ebay with no luck. If you have one I can purchase before next weekend that would be great other wise do I have your permission to enlarge an albam cover.
    One of your Fans
    Cathryn Jost

  12. Steve on September 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    We used to go to your gigs @ Blacktown RSL in the auditorium, back when they had live bands. One night I had dragged the whole family down because I had been taking you guys up……and one of the band members left all of a sudden to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. The band struggled on for a bit and we just got pissed…
    Great times!

  13. Bobby Shannon on March 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Hey guys l saw you at the Eastwood pub late 80s then I ended up playing in a band with Steve Wilkenson in Jindabyne. I also met DARREN the all dancing all singing drummer. Would love to see the Zarsoff Bros again for a fucking good belly laugh. As Frank said ” Humour belongs in Music”

  14. Barbie on May 26, 2014 at 10:58 am

    The Zarsoff Brothers were one of the first bands I snuck in to see whilst under the age of 18 at The Palais in NEwcastle!!

  15. Cumsk on March 6, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    No Rudy?

  16. BRUCE on April 22, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    SAIOURS OF MUSIC!!BLOODY GOOD FUN ANDFOREBEARERS OF OTHER great bands THE EDD\YS,COMETS ETC . ONLY KNOWN SONGS ABOUT TREADING IN DOGSHIT!!

  17. […] Frontman and bassist Izzy Foreal put the band to sleep some time in the early 1990s. He was asked to put a lineup together for “The Boys Are Back In Town” tours towards the end of the 1990s, which he did using various combinations of past band members. The vibe was so good that the version of the band in the photo above decided to write an album of new material and continue the mayhem. So, The Legendary Zarsoff Bros were back on the road with a new second guitarist, recording a new album and touring to promote it. Stay tuned to this site for updates on live shows, album release dates and other Zarsoffian insanity. from http://www.zarsoffbros.com […]

  18. Tony on June 29, 2016 at 10:44 am

    spent many a night in the 80s watching the madness first saw the Zarsoff at the Blue Gums at Waitara now i sing parts of songs to my teenage boys to annoy them ahh great times

  19. Mick on July 9, 2016 at 5:32 am

    What a laugh. I was just talking to a co-worker about random stuff and I said the words “blew his arse up” and WHAM… Bluey Zarsoff and the Zarsoff Bros. I had a serious flashback moment coming from sometime in the very early 80s I think at the Tourmaline Hotel on Windsor Rd, hahaha, wow, what fun days they were. I never knew you guys were still going. Cheers for the fun times.

  20. David Hanley on October 22, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Hi guys

    I have a vague memory of you guys playing at UNSW Roundhouse on a Saturday night late seventies or early eighties for an insurance company Christmas party? Is that right? From memory some of the insurance boys got silly drunk and started a fight with the roadies? But the funniest part of the night was the band started playing an Elton John song…Saturday Nights Allright for Fighting. Can you confirm this, or was I too drunk to get it right?

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