Zuul's Evil Disco

The Birth of Evil Disco Part 1: The Meeting

In September of 1994, I was in Delaware Hall, at the University of Western Ontario. There, as an impressionable new Frosh, I made the acquaintance of a character by the name of “Juan”, who seemed to be running the show. This Indian-party-leprechaun-type dude would later reveal himself to be Nilz (a.k.a. Nillis, Anil, Vanilla Mal-hatred), and would eventually become our third founding member. Actually, during Frosh Week, Nilz was going by the Sophmore name “One”, but I heard “Juan”, so I figured he was some really friendly Mexican dude, not the crazed party-planning machine and Hall President he proved to be. Now, Anil was all about “Education” and mostly focussed on “Anatomy”. He was of two mind sets: 1. “Enjoy” anatomy – like genitalia – frequently arranging an array of activities whereby his feeble young soldiers would explore and conquer, and 2. “Destroy” anatomy – like the liver – frequently arranging various barbaric rituals where we hoisted double-pint chalices of ale (included in the “Welcome to Western” packages he designed…) in victory of a war we were fighting against “the man”. After one such evening, I gathered what strength I had left the next morning to get some breakfast from the cafeteria…which is where I ran into Jaymz (a.k.a. James, Jammy, Jam) for the first time.

James and Dre Highschool

That first time James and I crossed paths was both a memorable and awkward moment. Let me explain… If Mr.Miyagi (RIP) was to have looked at us, he would have said, “Same. But different.” James was wearing a green lumber jacket, jeans, a Metallica t-shirt, and had long hair on top with a shaved-around head, earrings and a goatee. I was wearing a red lumber jacket, jeans, a Metallica t-shirt, also had long hair with the head shaved around, earrings and a goatee. James, short and white; Dré, tall and brown. So, after a few awkward glances, we exchanged some memorable first words.”Sooo, uh…you like Metallica?” “uh…Yeah” “Cool man.” “Yeah.” Yup, with conversation just like that we became best pals! Eventually, at the end of the school year we decided to get a house together with “Juan”, and a crazy guy named Stew (a.k.a. Stewpid, Haze) – a man who while sober, rearranged the official Western Car sticker to say “University of Western Omelette” – a true scholar. And so we moved to 200 Huron Street in September of 1995.

Now James and I came from two different bands and we almost needed unofficial approval from these guys to put an act together. James came from a five piece named Fish Food For Mozus, based out of Iroquois Falls Ontario, (north of Timmins -yeah man , there’s stuff north of Timmins), and I came from Shrine, a three piece from East Toronto (Whitby, Ajax). Fortunately, for Jam and I, both our respective band mates were totally cool about what we were doing. At that time, little did we know that Zuul’s would end up becoming more than our goofy side project, or how much all these guys would end up being a part of major Zuul’s events and shows, in many ways. The only real difference between our bands, was the way we talked. “Down South”, a term they use “up North”, they said the word “like” at the end of a sentence. So, if we said “that was like really messed up”, they would say “that was really messed up…LIKE”. We’d say “Man, that’s like fucked.” They’d say “Man that was fucked, like.” We all had the same rock and roll blood, so we could still communicate, but conversations at our house were like crazy like.

Fish Food For Mozus and Shrine
Left: Fish Food For Mozus circa 1993. James Leacock, Metal-Dru Swartz, Derek Marshall, Eric Soine, and Eric Girrard. Right: Shrine circa 1993. Me, Jeffro Gaudet, and Tobias Fennessey.

After our first real set together, playing cover tunes at a house party for soon-to-be ZED guitarist and trumpet, Ajay Massey and Chris Graham, we started talking about putting something together for real, but what would we call ourselves? At that point in time, our collective creative genius inspired such promising names as “What AIDS Vaccine?”, “Butter Ball Big-ass” (mocking our good friends Butterfly Back Bacon), and “Captain Zuul and the Skydivers of the Secret Carpet”. We needed a name as good as “It Came From Uranus”, y’know?

Buttmonkeys

But…what exactly got the ball rolling? It was a concert at Call The Office in London a few weeks earlier where we paid $5 to see the Rainbow Butt Monkeys (now Finger 11) – $5! We had never seen anything like these guys: It was like David Lee Roth, Angus Young, and the entire cast of the Chili Peppers – with a trampoline! And the crowd was jumping like a mob from a NWA concert. They kicked the crowd’s ass so hard, shoes were coming of people’s mouths! I was so enthused, I think I freaked out Scott after the show when I saw him at the front door. Later that night, James and I decided that our band would follow a similar recipe to this. The recipe was:

  1. Non-stop movement and energy.
  2. Flashy, ridiculous costumes & accessories (i.e. Afro wigs, capes, and dildos).
  3. A complete mockery of Rock and Roll stage antics (i.e. synchronized moves)
  4. Lyrics that had everything to do with nothing (with an endless supply of the lyric, “Baby”)
  5. Progressive funk grooves.
  6. Puppets.

The first version of Zuul’s Evil Disco circa 1995-96, at 200 Huron Street, London Ontario. Left to Right: Jam, Me, Stew, & Anil. Can you see Tom Jones, Motley Crue, and Big Bird in the background?? Man did we ever fuck that house up… Then us at Maria and my wedding in 2004, and us at the Headstrong Reunion in 2012.

In late February of 1996, James rushed home to tell us there was battle of the bands happening on campus and that we still had time to enter…exactly 4 days to submit our promo package. Now, what did we need for that? A demo, a bio, a GUITARIST, SONGS, a NAME, a MIXER, more cigarettes? What would our heroes do? Well that story is for next time, but I can tell you this: We bought a few cans of Red Bull’s grandfather and got started right away.

The fuel for our creative fire 1996…All the flava and twice the caffeine? Sign us up!

3 Comments so far

  1. stewarthayes November 25th, 2007 3:09 pm

    Man… This is awesome! Dre- you are the inspiration to funk. I love ya bro! Here’s to the reunion tour in 2010… a Funk Odyssey….

  2. funkmaster January 17th, 2008 11:52 am

    Dre. Very good account. Please absolutely super delete that ridiculous high school picture of me….and you too.

    Man…

  3. funkmaster January 17th, 2008 11:56 am

    Seriously though….Skydivers of the Secret Carpet was genius. I think I might use that in some sort of reincarnation funk project. Where did Stu get those ridiculous round circle glasses…and how come we didn’t make fun of them BACK THEN….I mean…it wasn’t the 80’s…