Zoot Money

Zoot

Zoot Money: Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne

It’s an incredible 55 years since local rocker Zoot Money put his home town of Bournemouth well and truly on the musical map.

With guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Colin Allen (both destined for stardom with The Police and Stone the Crows respectively) he ditched a local residency at the Disc A Go Go club at the Lansdowne and headed for London.

Within weeks keyboard wizard Zoot’s Big Roll Band were R&B heroes, revered by the amphetamine-fuelled groovers who danced their nights away at Soho’s legendary Flamingo Club. 

Last night (Thursday), just a month ahead of his 75th birthday, Zoot ( he was christened George Bruno Money by the way ) was back onstage in Dorset re-living a life and career that almost defies belief.

In a two hour show at the Tivoli with a band made up of the identical twin Ower brothers, Mark and Steve on lead guitar and bass, drummer Rich Bannister and backing vocalists Nell Montague-Rendall and Lucy Martin, he unleashed his recent autobiographical album The Book of Life…I’ve Read It.

For many it was a revelation. Not only did it overlay his blues roots with a 70s style heavy rock vibe but it spilled the beans on a survivor who did all the drink, all the drugs and emerged remarkably unscathed.

For the now clean-living Zoot  this musical celebration is meaningful. His latest single is called Still Alive and, in a moving rendition of May The Circle Be Unbroken, he paid tribute to his many friends and musical contemporaries who are not.

He played like a demon from the keyboards while the Owers brothers strutted their stuff like cartoon rock gods. There were stories too, anecdotes about Zoot’s wild days out on the road punctuated the songs which ranged from Sweet Little Rock ’n’ Roller with a  side of Green Onions to a reworking of St James Infirmary called Jack Tar Blues. He closed the show with a revisited Big Time Operator before a final song which asks “If age brings wisdom…when do I get mine?”

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2015