TZWO – the history
The Zany Woodruff Operation evolved from ‘Satan & The Disciples’, a notorious beat group led by Ronnie Mosley (who owned all the gear) and fronted by Howard Burnette (who incidentally had a prosthetic leg from a vehicle accident). The line-up was Martin Garside (drums), Pete Sewell (guitar), Peter Garnett (bass), Ronnie Mosley (lead guitar), Howard Burnette (lead singer) & Graham Lockwood (organ).
The band was based in the Birstall/Dewsbury/Gomersal area of West Yorkshire during the early 1960s’. It was a volatile combination, with numerous incidents still clear in my mind (dragging the bass players’ amplifier head behind the van and blowing a hapless punter up with flash powder at a gig are two that spring to mind). So after divesting ourselves of one lead singer, one bass player and the resignation of Ronnie together with the head-hunting of Cleckheaton bass player Kenneth Rooke, we decided on a new name since Satan was no longer in the band.
We became ‘The Tonebenders’. After paying our dues round the West Riding, we decided to expand the sound to include a sax player. Russell Walker was enlisted on tenor sax shortly after, followed by another name change – this time ‘The Zany Woodruff Operation’.
By this time, the band was being managed by Martins’ eldest brother John Garside who was pretty old (26), but had a Jaguar and an Afghan hound – what more could we want! He foolishly signed up for all our gear at Kitchens Music Store in Leeds, where we instantly became valued customers.
Now that the band seemed to be taking off, the next change was to be the addition of two Go-Go dancers – Jill Stuart and Maureen Fordham. It was this combination that led us to Streatham in April as Bradford area finalists in the national UK competition ‘Search For Sound 1967 ‘, where we took second place to local band ‘Mud’. Our fan club organisers Anita Bell, Christine Boynton and Elizabeth Brook did us all proud and organised a couple of bus loads of fans to cheer us on and presented the band with ceremonial ‘gonks’ to boot.
Shortly after, we took on a female backing singer called Andrea Hanson (or ‘fandango’ as the gnome christened her) only because she had contacts with a supposedly large London agency. Russ Walker was feeling a bit lonely by this stage, so we decided to recruit trumpet player Tony Light and now ZWO had grown to a nine piece.
Worthy of mention was our faithful ‘roadie’ and friend, David Leadbetter. Not only did he do a fine job of driving the van (sober or drunk), but he had a particularly curious hat that had a fine array of accruements displayed on it – including what we believe were Martins’ grandmothers false teeth.
Now the band was at it’s zenith, Russ decided to leave to join the RAF and together with Tony we had lost our frontline. It became financially harder to keep the band on the road, so we came back to the quartet of Lockwood, Sewell, Rooke and Garside.
However, things were changing on the music front and the psychedelic era was making some headway in the Northern Soul dominated Yorkshire gig scene. After some hard feelings from Pete & Kenny (justifiably so) and at the instigation of new guitarist, Alan Holdsworth, the only members of the former ZWO to survive into the reformed band (now called Museum) were Lockwood & Garside. It became a short lived band, as they were deemed too progressive for the Northern scene and gigs became fewer and far between.
– Graham Lockwood (unofficial ZWO historian).