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Artist Details

Contact: E-Mail
Date Born/Group Began: 1979
Date Died/Group Ended: 1987
Also Known As:
LaZOO (Lazoo)
The New Jew Revue (Lazoo)
Donald Backer (Keyboards, Vocals) From: 1979 To: 1987 (Lazoo)
John Nowak (Drums, Vocals) From: 1980 To: 1987 (Lazoo)
Lory Lazarus (Guitar, Vocals) From: 1979 To: 1987 (Lazoo)
Mark DeSimone (Lead Guitar) From: 1981 To: 1987 (Lazoo)
Monica Hayes (Vocals) From: 1979 To: 1987 (Lazoo)
Monica Passin (Vocals) From: 1983 To: 1987 (Lazoo)
Rosemary Margherita (Vocals) From: 1979 To: 1983 (Lazoo)
Steve Marks (Bass) From: 1981 To: 1987 (Lazoo)
.. .. .. .. .. Once upon a time, Sid Rice gave his friend Lory Lazarus the nickname, "Lazoo." The name stuck, and Lory started using it on stage -- first as a solo singer/songwriter, then in the acoustic-comedy duo, "Buckwheat & Lazoo" ("...Simon and Garfunkel gone mad" -- The Village Voice) with his good friend Louis Mattioli... ..After Louis left the act to pursue a legit theatrical career, Lory/Lazoo decided to form a cabaret act with his friends Rosemary Margherita and Monica Hayes. Lory kept the name Lazoo, and the ladies, wearing Catholic school girl attire, became "The Incomparable Pope-ettes." It was schmaltzy over-the-top cabaret with a hint of dementia, as the act, known in its entirety as "The New Jew Revue," performed original twisted Lazoo songs such as "Beware: The Enema Man," "Reaching For The Third Rail" and "Obey Godzilla" (co-written with Stuffy Shmitt) in which the group, joined by pianist Donald Backer, donned green noses and bathrobes, and walked into the audience -- attacking them like reptillian zombies. After a successful show at New York's West Bank Cafe, their friend John Nowak wanted to join them -- and now they had a drummer. The group went through a series of "one-gig" bass players (Craig Hazen, Bill Hindin, Joe Ford, Alex Terronez). Eventually, in a last-ditch desperate attempt to find a bass player who'd stick with the group, Lazoo asked a rehearsal studio employee if he knew any bass players. "I'M a bass player," replied the employee -- and Steve Marks magically joined the act... ..The group kept getting tighter and weirder, and decided to heed the advice of their first manager, Shari Roman, to dump the name "New Jew Revue" -- for they weren't going to get many bookings in Alabama with a name like that. So, the act took on Lory's nickname, and forevermore they would be known as "Lazoo" -- later changing cases (mental cases), being advertised as "LaZOO." An entertainment lawyer friend saw them perform, and suggested that if they wanted to find real success it would help them if they added an electric guitar player. Lory asked around, and eventually Lewis Friedman, the owner of s.n.a.f.u. (where LaZOO performed every Friday night to a growing following) suggested he contact an up-and-coming guitar player, Mark DeSimone. Mark was an exact fit for the band: unbeknownst to Lory, for his audition Mark played a cassette tape of someone else playing lead guitar. Mark was in, and now they were complete. Performing songs with titles like, "Bob Eubanks," "My Baby's Got No Erogenous Zones," "Prematurely" and of course, their encore of insanity, "Obey Godzilla," LaZOO started to gain wider attention, including a photo and write-up in GQ Magazine, regular play on Dr. Demento's nationally syndicated radio show and "Livewire" on Nickelodeon. Even Bob Lucas, from Freehold, NJ, would take a bus into Manhattan to attend every show (we mean EVERY show)... ..One day Rosemary decided that she wanted to move on to other career pursuits, and left the group. Eventually Monica brought in her friend Monica Passin as a replacement, and now both back-up singers were named... Monica. The entire group thought of changing their names to Monica as well. Luckily, this never happened, but whole audiences would change their names to Monica. Everyone had a Monica moniker. After s.n.a.f.u. closed, the band found a new home, performing regularly at Panache in Midtown Manhattan, and had a stint as the house band on the LifeTime network's talk show, "Hot Properties" (hosted by Fred Newman and Tovah Feldshuh) where they got to shake hands with Little Richard -- probably the coolest thing that ever happened to them... ..The group disbanded in 1987, but the insanity, luckily, still survives. Look for these LaZOO songs on the Dr. Demento Show (Westwood One Radio): "Let's Make Love In A Microwave," "You Make Me Sick," "My Laundry Is Alive," "Obey Godzilla" and "The Love Boat." . ()
  • Triva fact of weirdness: LaZOO once was an opening act for Henny Youngman at New York's Bitter End in the mid 1980s. There were two shows that night. After LaZOO performed their encore, "Obey Godzilla" at the end of their first set, Mr. Youngman came into LaZOO's dressing room and instructed them NOT to do "Obey Godzilla" again. The song and performance truly freaked him out (and even for an established star like Henny, LaZOO was a hard act to follow).... (Lazoo)
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