ZOOT archaeologyAs Neil Young sang, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.

A “supergroup in reverse”, ZOOT burned brightly before its members found greater success after the band broke up. Guitarist Rick Springfield became a solo star, bass player Beeb Birtles was a key LRB member, drummer Rick Brewer hit the Top 10 in The Ferrets, while singer Darryl Cotton had a successful showbiz career. After a 40-year break, ZOOT re-formed for the Rick Springfield and Friends Cruise. They had so much fun, they started planning a tour. Sadly, Cotton died of liver cancer before it could happen.

This 24-song anthology is a fitting tribute, unearthing some treasures, long buried, while the liner notes by Birtles reveal some fascinating tidbits, including that The Angels’ Doc Neeson suggested the name “ZOOT”. Musically, few Aussie acts have evolved so quickly or dramatically, with the band shifting from bubblegum pop to Black Sabbath-like heavy riffing, burning their pink clothes along the way, and delivering a blistering version of Eleanor Rigby – one of the great Beatles covers.

ZOOT shouldn’t be buried at the back of the rock ’n’ encyclopedia. The campaign to induct ZOOT into the ARIA Hall of Fame starts here.

Archaeology ia out now via EMI/Universal.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi