Aussie supergroup Zoot reunite for first gigs in decades
Sixties teen pop sensation turned 70s hard rockers Zoot will reunite in November for their first concerts in almost five decades.
The band members, Darryl Cotton, Rick Springfield, Beeb Birtles and Rick Brewer were teen idols who shed their infamous all-pink outfits to amp up their guitars and fashion themselves as a heavy rock act before they disbanded.
After their split, they proved to be a supergroup in reverse, launching wildly successful solo careers in Springfield's case and globally famous bands such as the Little River Band.
Band founder Cotton planted the seeds for this reunion in 2011 after the four members performed a one-off gig on a Springfield fan cruise in the US.
But tragedy struck when he returned home and was diagnosed with liver cancer, passing away in 2012.
The reunion plans were resurrected last year, with Cotton's good mate Russell Morris stepping into the lead vocal role. The Real Thing star was part of the singer songwriter supertrio Cotton, Keays and Morris - with former Masters Apprentices' member Jim Keays.
"I am not trying to be Darryl," Russell said.
"But as I worked with Darryl for so long, he is a part of me. And I know how much he cared about ZOOT, so I will give it my very best."
Springfield became a superstar in the US when he relocated there after Zoot called it quits in 1971 and hit No. 1 in America and Australia with the much-loved smash Jessie's Girl.
He further broadened his appeal as he launched his acting career, becoming wildly popular as Dr Noah Drake on the enduring soap opera General Hospital.
Snobbish critics dismissed Zoot in their early days because of their all-pink outfits - designed by management to appeal to young female fans - and homophobic "street toughs" would pick fights with the band after their gigs.
Zoot have enjoyed a cult following among rock enthusiasts in recent years thanks to their version of The Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby.
"A lot of American have seen it on YouTube and reckon it sounds like Black Sabbath," Springfield said.
" I hadn't heard Black Sabbath when I started the arrangement. Led Zeppelin was on the horizon and music was getting heavier and we all wanted to be a part of it. But it was extra hard for us, coming out of the whole pink thing and trying to say 'We're not that anymore'."
While he hasn't lived in Australia for almost 50 years, Springfield has been actively raising bushfire relief funds in the US, partnering with the Irwin family's Wildlife Warriors.
He has already raised more than $30,000 via a limited edition T-shirt sale and now is auctioning several of his guitars for the cause via rickspringfield.com
Zoot will kick off the tour on November 12 at the Fortitude, Brisbane, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, on November 13, Enmore Theatre, Sydney on November 20 and Palais Theatre, Melbourne on November 21.
Tickets are on sale on Friday.