Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Zebra - Tell Me What You Want

With their Led Zeppelin inspired licks and batshit crazy videos, Zebra became an MTV success story in 1983.  The trio originally formed in 1975 in New Orleans and was fronted by guitarist/singer Randy Jackson.  Bassist/keyboardist Felix Hanemann and drummer Guy Gelso rounded out the lineup.

The group gained a following on the Long Island (NY) club scene in the early 1980's, starting as a cover band playing ... Zeppelin (and Rush).  Their self-titled debut did surprisingly well, helped by the videos for "Tell Me What You Want" and "Who's Behind the Door." In fact, when the album was released it became one of Atlantic Records' fastest-selling debuts ever and eventually climbed to #29 on the charts.

The singles did not do as well; "Who's Behind the Door" only made it to #61, while "Tell Me What You Want" did not break the top 100.  Zebra's follow up album, 1984's No Tellin' Lies only reached #84, and was the band's last charting record.

 The video for "Tell Me What You Want" is a total WTF crazy clip.  Although it starts with a literal interpretation of the lyrics (head's on the floor/with a slam of the door), it soon devolves into some kind of smoke-filled nightmare, complete with Zebra chick, and a bunch of weird images that had seemingly little to do with the band or the song.  By the by, the rest of the band (non-Randy Jackson division) gets remarkably little screen time in the video.  My favorite moments:  the double neck BC Rich guitar solo (1:36), the plastic spider (2:07) and the Saran Wrap scene that presages Dexter (2:22).  Also, considered yourself warned that any drinking game that requires players to take a drink whenever the phrase "tell me what you want" is sung is likely to prove fatal.

Zebra broke up around 1990, but reformed in 1997 and remains active to the present day.


  1. I thought I out grew this
    Hate Shreeeaaam vocals
    Yet, The Song's KICKZ AZZ
    Really, This SONG WOW!

    1. Hi Sam. Yes, the song is not half bad, even if it is a Zeppelin knockoff. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Who's Behind the Door was simply awesome and included my favorite spoken line from a rock song: "And now you'll hear the sound of a thousand butterflies exploding." Or something.

    1. Outstanding. Always cool to run across friends who remember Zebra, even better if they can quote them. By the by, "Who's Behind the Door" is on the list for a future blog post.