The Zulus grew out of one of Boston’s most hallowed late-seventies institutions – Human Sexual Response. That band featured a tight musical unit backing up three lead singers who generated a great deal of heat onstage and one huge local hit in “Jackie Onassis”. After national recognition, Human Sexual Response lost two-thirds of its front lineup and subsequently much of its unique character. Not to be deterred, Wild Kingdom — featuring HSR’s Larry Bangor on vocals, the often astonishing Rich Gilbert on guitar, drummer Malcolm Travis and bassist Chris MacLachlan (later, Rick Coraccio of DMZ and the Lyres) — rose from the ashes and onto the local scene in 1982. Mutual of Omaha, sponsors of the “Wild Kingdom” TV show threatened a legal safari, so the fledgling outfit became Gospel Birds. Unfortunately, for some lost reason, that didn’t work out either. By the time the unit settled on The Zulus, their plight was almost comical — band name du jour? But the Zulus were made of tough stuff — they soon signed to the legendary Slash label and releasedDown on the Floor in 1988, produced by Husker Du’s Bob Mould, whose indie-rock credit limit was about as high as one could get. Sadly, the Zulus broke up in ’92. Travis was recruited into Mould’s post-Husker band Sugar, and also drummed for Peter Prescott’s Kustomized. Rich Gilbert, too, has continued to craft a brilliant musical career playing with such Boston heavyweights as Laurie Geltman, Frank Black and Tanya Donnelly.
(by Carter Alan)