The Zakary Thaks

No no -- THE Zakary Thaks.

Ha! To think, you thought it was some GUY named Zakary Thaks! Jesus, what planet have you been living under a barn?

Face To Face - Collectables 1995
Rating = 6

If you own the Nuggets Box Set or the Pebbles Vol. 2 compilation, you know what it's like to say aloud, "Wow! What a bunch of incredibly good songs by bands I've never heard of!" I did too; hell, I'm no different than anybody else. I can pretend to throw my pants on both legs at a time, but we've all seen the bruises on my knees and regardless of what I told the police, they're not from spousal abuse. But one thing I think I DO have in common with me that you might not have noticed in your pursuit of the ultimate 60s riff is the incredible speed of one of the tracks on both of these fine compilations. In between the "Western Union"s and "Psychotic Reaction"s and "Carburetor Dung"s lies a song that made my ears perk up, my pants burst open, and my eyeballs jiggle around under my eyepenis as I shouted, "THIS IS A GODDAMN HARDCORE PUNK SONG!!!! FROM NINETEENGODDAMNEDSIXTYSIX!?!??!?!?"

And indeed it was. "Bad Girl" by The Zakary Thaks is a high-speed, chord-driven doop-chick doop-chick hardcore punk song from 1966. Guitar distortion wasn't quite worth its weight in snuff at that point in time, but you play that song today with today's modern distortion pedal and see how many old people let you into their party! (Four -- all former members of the Zakary Thaks).

But what of these Zakary Thaks? Were they in fact the world's first nazi skinhead hardcore thrash punk band? Or was "Bad Girl" just an energetic anomaly in an otherwise normal garage band career? This is still, by the way, why I insist that the Ramones were the first true PUNK ROCK band of all time. Other bands had done punk rock songs before, but only as one-offs (Stooges' "I Got A Right," Bowie's "Hang On To Your...whatever, I forgot the full title. Yourself, I think?"), but The Ramones were the first band of note to adopt it as a signature STYLE. So anyway, at some point I was gracious enough to purchase the Zakary Thaks' singles compilation Face To Face at a local The Wiz closing-down sale and drag it home to taste the history.

The history was just as I'd suspected; nothing else even came close to the manic energy of "Bad Girl." I wasn't disappointed though! Not at first, anyway.... This disc includes all six of the Corpus Christi, TX-based band's singles (they never did release an album during their four-year career) along with two instrumental outtakes. And greater than great can be terrific is what I'd call the first six songs. These tracks represent the "good stuff" of '60s melodic guitar pop -- very solid, tempting guitar melodicism reminiscent of early Grass Roots, prime Paul Revere and the Raiders, and even Britain's The Beatles at times (especially when they rip off the "dit-dit-dit-dit" backup vocals from "Girl"!). Other aspects in attendance include that great old garagey recording sound (mono), an earthy vocalist who'd never cut it in today's assholish world of style over songwriting, and everything from gorgeous brass-and-strings-enhanced balladry to uptempo bubblegum rock to Easybeats hard guitar brains-riffery. Incidentally, the singer was 15 when they got signed. Do you realize how young 15 is? And I'm not talking years - I mean 15 DAYS! Alas, after the first six songs, Peter comes along and the album follows him.

That didn't work as well as I'd hoped. I mean the album "petered out." There wasn't actually anybody named Peter in the band.

Oh wait no - FUCK! There WAS a guy named Pete in the band! He was an original member though. The problem wasn't him - the problem was that band members kept quitting and being replaced with those of an entirely different vision. The second half of the disc fumbles boringly between the worst of the early band's material (including -- shockingly for a young white '60s garage band -- a BLUES song!) and the disappointing, forgettable output of later, less melodic line-ups (lame Blue Cheer-style "heavy" motorcycle fuzz cock rock, clueless roots country-rock). Then they all died and went to Spain.

Yes, the Zakary Thaks story has an unhappy ending I just made up, but none of us old-timers will ever forget the first time we heard "Bad Girl" on a compilation that came out 20 years after the band broke up, nor the first time we saw the band play their hits in that dark tavern in Hamburg. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming.... Chris Gerniottis! John Lopez! Pete Stinson! Rex Gregory! Stan Moore! THE BEATLES!!!!!

(' contemporaries the zakary thaks)

Okay, let's not kid ourselves: finding a copy of this CD isn't easy. Fortunately for you, I found it on Amazon, and I've posted a link to it at the bottom of this page. "Thank you" is what you're saying to me right now, in your own silent way.

Reader Comments
Man, when I saw that you'd added a Zakary Thaks (sorry, I mean a The Zakary Thaks) page, I thought someone had switched my reading glasses for beer goggles!

So *you're* the one who bought the other copy of this CD. It's good (and I don't mean in the Jerome Bixby sense, and did your realize he died in 1998?) to see you covering bands like this and Music Machine. Can a Bubble Puppy page be far behind?

Or White Witch?

I've also got to hand it to the Collectables label for issuing stuff like the ZT's and the crown jewel of their (Collectables) catalog, Battle of the Bands Live! Which, if you don't own, I urge you in the strongest terms, and waggling my index finger at you, to get. So Corpus Christi (which is kind of a creepy name for a town, if I'm translating it correctly) must've been one rocking' locale to merit that cover text: "Corpus Christi! Rock in the 60's" Suppose that's on there to help retailers place the CD in ! the correct bin?

That Corpus Christi Rock in the 60's bin must be massive!

But enough about the size of my retailer's bin.

How could I not be intrigued by song titles such as "Outprint" (the B-side of their final single) and "The Mirrors [sic.] Reflection." Oooo, the ambiguity! Is it one reflection in multiple mirrors?

A reflection *of* a mirror? A missing apostrophe?

More ambiguity is raised by a discrepancy between the back cover and the liner notes: were there seven singles or a mere six?

Whatever the case, they were short one Peter by the time they recorded that sixth and final (or sixth of seven) single; as the helpful liner notes point out: "The only original member to depart was Pete," but it was ok because Rex changed his name from Jim to Roger and carried on the franchise, putting a horse in Pete's place in the next band photo.

As always, your review is so entertaining, I'm going to "outprint" a copy to read over and over! in the mirrors reflection.

Chris Gerniottis of The Zakary Thaks
I have to admit that you've addressed and assessed our music most accurately. Everything you wrote was right on target and I certainly enjoyed the read. The Thaks were indeed totally unique for our first two singles but alas, management started interfering with the band's direction and the rest is garage band history.

Rex Gregory of The Zakary Thaks
WoW! It's so cool to live in a time when there are such wonderful music scholars readily at hand...We're so grateful for your comprehensive assessment of our music. It's really rewarding to finally have our (honest) attempts at Texas R&R translated for the masses..Gosh...Thanks! We'll keep at the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans, April 27th, ''05...we'll be there, our first gig in 38 years...if you're not too busy reviewing (inspiring) other bands, maybe you could find time to swing by and check us out live...we'd love to meet ya, buy you a drink, and maybe get a few pointers on how to approach music today...Hope to see ya there (please pardon any mis-spelling...we ain't got lots of smarts down South here...we done got kicked out of high school cause we had long hair and wuz playing that commie R&R music instead of minding our P's and Q's)...Your move... (Margaret Loper)
Hi Guys,

I enjoyed your tales of band lore from the 60's. In 1966 my family relocated to Corpus Christi after Brookley Field Air Force base closed, from Mobile, Alabama. My sister was 15 and I was 12. We were really into the music and had groupy leanings but gratefully our parents kept us pretty much contained.

We had moved to Holly Rd. outside Corpus. There was a huge fence on one side that we think held antique cars with a railroad track across the street. Then two doors down a hard rock band invaded our neighborhood. There was a ballpark on the other side of the old house that the band moved in. All hell broke loose. Loud metal music, women screaming, "not in a good way", gun shots and in general long hair hippie boy bedlam. They were there for just about a week or two, leaving a mess and the F-word carved by a hachet, in an oak tree.

I have always wondered who they were. Do you know of any bands that were playing in south Padre and Corpus area during the summer of 1966 who fit this description?

I would love any info, tips and tidbits about the whole scene during that period. Meanwhile, rock on!
Bob Killough, King High School 1970, Corpus.Christi...........I saw these guys a few times.,...I remember the Carousel Ballroom at Six Points....and I have their 45's on my juke boxes....also The Bad Seeds.....if someone recorded the 2005 reunion please let me know........gotta know how that turned out.....Rex and Chris are correct....they were very progressive for their time (with Bad Seeds and 13th Floor Elevators) and I wish them all well in old the rest of us. Grin. Anybody know where Barbara Donahoe is ? (Booby's sister). Adios.
Oh my God! I had such a crush on Chris way back when. He sang the Who's "Pictures of Lilly" and I quite literally swooned. I lived on Lincoln - closer to MCHS. What memories. It was a great time in life. Glad to hear they're making a "comeback" of sorts. Just went on a cruise and saw The Royal Guardsman perform. Different music genre - but still an indication that we baby boomers want to remember when.
I just read that Zackary Thaks review. I still have to get any Nuggets compilation. A lot of revisionist historians call those bands '66 garage punk. Ever heard the Back from the Grave compilations? there's about 10 volumes of even more obscure garage bands.

Do you still think the ramones were the first punk rock band? I'm not really a genre expert but I always thought that albums by Stooges, MC5, New York Dolls and Dictators sound as punk as any band from the late 70s. Not to mention that just about every punk band covered "Search and Destroy" or "Raw Power."
The Three Top bands from CC
Bad Seeds
Zachary Thaks
The Liberty bell
its fact ,not just my opinion


Jordan Lopez
John Lopez is my dad. I didnít know that people still talked about the Zakary Thaks. Like for real. He lives in Corpus Christi. I live in Bay City, (my parents are divorced) He lives in some apartments on Weber road. Paradise Bay. Hes the best dad in the entire world. He bought me my first guitar when I was 12. Im definitely not as good as he is, but hopefully ill be there some day.

David McDonald
the videos have been pulled from youtube, anybody know what really happened?
The reason all the videos were pulled is because something called Cicadelic Records & Music claim they have exclusive rights to all Zachary Thaks material. In fact, this company is nothing but bootleggers and they file copyright infringements with YouTube anytime someone uploads Thaks material. Pathetic.
I missed a gig in Corpus due to a scotch drinking contest in the late 60s. John filled in for me.

If Jordan can supply me with an email address, Iíve got some John Lopez pictures he and his dad might appreciate.

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