Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom
by Albee Tellone
DR ZOOM AND THE SONIC BOOM was the band that bridged the gap between Steel Mill and the Bruce Springsteen Band. It wasn't meant to be a serious band at all and was a temporary band to fill the gap left by Steel Mill until the new Bruce Springsteen Band was fully rehearsed and ready to perform in public. It was more like a jam session at the Upstage Clup brought out into a larger venue. Temporarily known as BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND FRIENDLY ENEMIES (as a joke name) - it was modeled after the large touring bands of the day like: Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Leon Russell's Shelter People, Van Morrison's Band and Steet Choir. After re-thinking the name, somehow Tinker and Bruce came up with Dr Zoom and the Sonic Boom.
The band was formed in March of 1971 in order for Bruce to perform as the opening act for The Allman Brothers Band and Cowboy. The manager of the venue Sunshine In, called Tinker requesting Steel Mill but he was told that they had broken up and that Bruce was working on a new big band but they weren't even close to being ready. He said " give me Springsteen, I don't care how ". So Bruce and Steve gathered together all of their friends from the Upstage Club and hastily created a band. It would have to have a simple repertoire in order for it to come together quickly. So the nature of the band was to play songs that were familiar standard jam tunes from their late night forays at the Upstage Club. Because they would be opening for the Allman Brothers who had 2 drummers and 2 lead guitarists, Bruce and Steve decided to match that and go 2 steps further with also 2 keyboard players and 2 sax players !
The band core members were: Bruce Springsteen (guitar / vocals), Steve van Zandt(guitar), John "Hotkeys" Waasdorp (piano), , David Sancious (keyboards), Garry Tallent (bass and tuba), Southside Johnny (harmonica), Bobby Williams (drums), Vini Lopez (drums) Albee Tellone (sax), Bobby Feigenbaum (sax) and Tinker(conga drum). There was also a Zoom Chorus made up of friends from the Upstage Club. Directed by Kevin Connair, it included Jeannie Clark, Robin Nash, Fifi Longo, Connie ?, Kevin Kavanaugh, John Luraschi, Big Danny Gallagher (also played Monopoly onstage), Louie Longo and Steve Large. Bruce also nicknamed them the "Sonic People" or the "Zoomettes".
Dr. Zoom was a very wild band, it was different from anything that anyone had seen from Springsteen before, perhaps different from everything the world has ever seen. They had a live monopoly game on stage as a joke and Connie the Twirler performed baton twirling. It was performance art too.
It was disbanded after the concert at Newark State College in Union, NJ now known as Kean University, on May 15, 1971. The new Bruce Springsteen Band was almost ready to perform in public and Bruce needed to concentrate his energies with getting them ready.
This site is a part of Castiles.net (The history of Bruce Springsteen)
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