Zebra


Zebra, from left to right: Jerry Beasly, Noe Cruz, Bob Silvert, Timo Laine and Bruce Bordon
One of the final releases on the Miramar label was Zebra’s “Helter-Skelter” released in 1969. The b-side was an original by Bruce Bordon and Timo Laine titled “Wasted” that in my opinion is the better side.

Zebra’s guitarist Timo Laine sent me the photos above and told me about the group.

Zebra members were:

Timo Laine: lead guitar
Noe Cruz: bass
Bruce Bordon: vocals
Jerry Beasley: drums
Bob Silvert: keyboards

Zebra was together for about 5 years. Everywhere we played there would be a line around the building to get in. We were loved by the dance crowd, and the club owners kept us busy.

Zebra opened for the Rolling Stones and the Byrds in the late ’60s in Fresno. We also played with B.B. King, Ballin’jack, Zephyr, Ike and Tina Turner and many other name acts, but I don’t remember them all. We were a full time club band, 5 nights a week.

Our main clubs were Pier 11 (Newport Beach), Finnegan’s Rainbow (Newport Beach), The Interlude (Santa Cruz), Odyssey Theatre (Phoenix, AZ), Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Ichabods (Fullerton), Saint George and the Dragon (Tustin), and the Forum in Fresno.

We met Tony Cary at the Forum, where he first saw the act. He kept coming in every night and buying us drinks. Finally he said he was a record producer, and wanted to produce Zebra. Tony had a lot of industry contacts, and radio station friends like the Drake-Chenault radio station owners.

He moved the band to the Marriott in Studio City, and started recording the act at Pat Boone’s Lion and the Lamb Studio. We were almost finished recording the album when we got a telegram that Tony had died. We were told he had overdosed. This was a huge loss for us.

The album was never mixed or mastered, except the single “Helter Skelter” and “Wasted”, that was done first. I don’t know whatever happened to the masters.

After his death, I was offered a recording contract to record an album I wrote called Space Rangers with Neil Merryweather. It was recorded in Capital Records studio, and released by Mercury Records out of Chicago. After Space Rangers, I signed to A&M Records and released Symphonic Slam.

I had a new release this year, and another in 2011. I’m currently working on a new production: Jimmy Haslip (Yellow Jackets, Alan Holdsworth, Robin Ford) will be on bass, Mark Stevens on drums, me on guitars and guitar synths. Talks are in the works that Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge) may do the keys.

My later albums are on timolainemusic.com

Timo Laine

Q. Was your band the same Zebra who released “Christmas Morning Parts I & II” on Blue Thumb in Nov. 1969, written, produced and arranged by Sean Bonniwell of the Music Machine.

Timo Laine: No, we were before they came out.

Thanks to Timo for his help with this post. See the page on Just Us for info on Neil Merryweather’s first bands in Ontario.


10″ acetate from Gold Star Studios with both songs from the 45

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