IMPOSTER ZOMBIES

A NEARLY FORGOTTEN BIT OF THE ZOMBIES SAGA

INTRODUCTION: The Zombies broke up just around the time that their final LP, Odessy and Oracle, was released in 1967. Some time after that, the song Time of the Season became a huge, worldwide hit. Although the band was offered big bucks to reform and tour, they refused, having moved on. However, some unscrupulous promoters in America independently assembled imposter versions of The Zombies and booked concerts using The Zombies' name, in order to deceive the public and cash in. There are reports of more than one of these imposter groups. Here are the true stories of three guys who, rightfully expecting to see the real band, bought tickets for imposter Zombies shows. Thanks, Mark, Lloyd, and Jimmy for sharing your interesting tales.

On December 13, 1969, I saw a group billed as the Zombies at the Aerodrome in Schenectady, NY. They played all Zombies material in the Zombies style, BUT THEY WEREN'T THE ZOMBIES. The band, I believe now, had broken up at that point. The band members names were John (voc), Terry (guitar), Howie (organ), Eddie (bass), Gary (drums). I met them after the show (thinking they were the original group) and got their autographs and they gave me a mailing address c/o Bill Eberline, Sudbury, MA. I have the original ad and picture from the Troy, NY newspaper saying "THE ZOMBIES - On December 13, the Aerodrome will present the popular rock group "The Zombies," who have been accredited with such hits as "She's Not There," "Tell Her No," and "Time of the Season." WHAT A RIPOFF!!!!

Mark Fisher


This group is clearly Rick Wakeman, Lou Reed, Rick Springfield, Bob Seger, and Brian Wilson!

YET MORE IMPOSTERS!
I was surprised to hear another story of imposter Zombies that popped up so recently as the 1980s. Here it is, reproduced for you with Lloyd's kind permission.

Zombies from George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968).

A friend and I went to see what we were told would be The Zombies at the old Sahara Club in Willoughby Hills, a suburb of Cleveland, in the late 1980s. When the group came out, we were immediately skeptical because none of the members in this group looked like any original Zombies members that we had seen from photos on their albums. This group only played 3 Zombies songs that we recognized--"Tell Her No," "She's Not There," and "Time of the Season." They did not stick around to talk to people at their break but ran off stage rapidly and disappeared until the next set. My friend and I approached the manager of the club and complained about the bogus Zombies, but he refused to refund our money, claiming there was no way to validate who they really were when he signed them to the performance. Disgustedly, we walked out. It still leaves me with an angry feeling every time I think about that concert sham.

Lloyd Ettkin

This one sounds like the same Late 80s imposter group.

My Imposter Zombies Experience!

It was in July of 1988. I'd been a fan of the Zombies since I first knew who they were in the mid-70s. I'd heard Time Of The Season in 1969, but didn't know the name of the group. I noticed an advertisement in the local paper for an appearance by The Zombies for July 12th at a small club called Kenwood Tavern in Levittown, PA, which was about 40 miles from my house. The Zombies??!!! I was skeptical. This was a little too good to be true.

I arrived at the club that evening right before the opening act, The Billy Goodman Band, was due to hit the stage. After they finished up, I spoke to another guy I'd met there who was also a Zombies fan. We were both wondering who was in the "reformed" lineup. As they took the stage they were introduced by Ed Sciaky, a local Philadelphia radio personality, who was a huge fan as well. He announced that the group had one original member, Hugh Grundy, who was now on bass instead of drums(??!) The "group" only played three Zombies-related tunes (the three hits) and they sounded NOTHING like the group that recorded them. The rest of the set was all sixties rock cover songs performed in much the same style as an average lounge or bar band. The lead singer (who had a British accent) even tried to maintain the farce as he said, "What do you do when you have a #1 hit. Well, we just went back to school." Right.

Not long after that night I saw a retraction/apology from Mr. Sciaky saying that he didn't know that the Hugh Grundy bassist was not the Hugh Grundy, Zombies drummer. The imposter's name was reported to be Robert Hugh Grundy. Our fair drummer is named Hugh Birch Grundy. Goldmine Magazine chimed in shortly thereafter, saying that the Zombies trademark had unknowingly lapsed in 1986, clearing the way for a disreputable promoter (who was also, reportedly, the lead singer of this fake band) to swoop in.

I'm happy to say that that was my only encounter with a fake band. They haven't been able to slip another one in on this well informed rock historian! I guess everyone gets taken at one time or another.

Jimmy M.

 

A Late-60s Sighting in Georgia.

in about 1967 to '69 maybe, I attended a concert billed as The Zombies in the small radio station auditorium in Swainsboro, GA. I and a friend drove in from Statesboro, GA. about 30 miles away. I played in a regional rock band called Critical Mass so I followed as much rock music as I had time for (I attended the 1st Atlanta Pop festival in 1969-70 at the Atlanta International Raceway (where Zepplin made their US depute and its was great!) and the West Palm Beach Festival also in 1970-71 I think.)

this Zombies had a 'Beatle Sgt. Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour' look and was very psychedelic staging. they played & sounded very well, starting off with the Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" with the curtains opening as they started playing - truly breath taking for me. they played it 'spot-on'!!! they did the 3-4 big Zombie hits, but mostly British Invasion tunes (mostly Beatles). what is interesting is that this group sounded very British and all had mostly shoulder length hair with Stg. Pepper type suits on.

We had a wonderful. who ever they were, they could play and sing very difficult songs to cover! I do not think they were the Zombies as they did not look like the pictures of the Zombies I had seen. sound wise there were perfect!

Billy J.