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How and when did Zot form? Who were the original members?

by Tom Calderaro

Zot Insanity single cover

It's a bit fuzzy about the actual beginning but I would say about 1982-83. The original members were Randy Wayne, Patrick Knowles and Chris Stewart. See the two attachments. Bryant Simpson was added later I think about '84? Can't quote me on these factually as it was a long time ago. The band was definitely a tech-trio for sometime before the decision to add a bass player was made. There were various additions to the group for support as needed. I was involved closely through all the years Zot was alive being included in arranging/production and at times keyboards. Andy Thomas entered the scene when Randy went back to England to finish sweetening and mixing on the album. In preparation for the release of the record the band added Andy and I, known as "The Hi-Tech Brothers", to handle all keyboard responsibilities so Randy could focus all his attention on fronting the band. This was a marked departure from the trio days when Randy sang, played support keyboard parts AND synth bass. He deserves an MVP award for that trick alone. Also playing with us for those post-release" shows was jazz sax star Eric Merienthal, an old friend from Orange County. Eric had also played with us at the Rock Palace show which was a Don Kirschner-type live TV taping. We played with Huey Lewis & The News and Night Ranger. I was playing support keyboards off stage b/c of contract/union rules but that was fine as I always hated make up.

An additional bit of history about the early days of ZOT. In 1977 Huntington Beach High School graduated some interesting figures. In addition to myself (Tom Calderaro) that same ceremony included:

Randy Wayne, famous drummer Chad Wackerman and founding member of Hurley International sportswear Bill Hurley. Believe it or not Randy, Bill and myself used to surf together all the time and Bill Hurley remains a good friend. My mom has a graduation picture with the three of us just standing around!!!!

Also at that time (1977 to about 1983) we were hanging with friend Dave Diamond (graduated H.B.H.S. A year or two later). Dave came in and out of the ZOT circle several times and we played some shows together that pre-date the recording of the album. He was a genius on the Prophet Five and other synths. We hung at the Whisky-a-go-go with his sister's band "The Teenage Prostitutes". I'm not sure who it was but one of the girls from TTP went on to form the Runaways. I don't know what happened to Dave's sister Diane Diamond. Living close by John Crawford and Terry Nunn. Those three (Dave, John and Terry) as you know formed Berlin about the same time as ZOT released.

More....

I was using in my jazz Big band about the same time a bass player named John Patittucci. And when living within a mile of Randy and Pat was founding members of MEGADETH, most notably Dave Mustaine. As a matter of fact there was a bit of a rivalry (mostly a stylistic one) between ZOT and Dave Mustaine's various groups. Interesting history!

Posted by Bill at June 20, 2004 5:00 PM

Comments

Actually, I was jamming with Pat when he was approached by Randy to join Zot who at that time consisted of Kirk Heiner on Guitar, Brian Hilton on Vocals, and Randy on Keybords (old Arp, and an Oberheim). As far as I know, these were the true original members. I remember Tom coming around when the deal with Electra got closer but not in the early years. He did help Randy with arrangements and mentored him in this way.

Posted by: chelton at February 13, 2005 2:47 AM

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