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Australian Rock Pioneers Zoot Reform for First Tour in Almost 50 Years

Five decades on from their debut record’s release, Zoot are set to tour once again, with Russell Morris taking over from the late Darryl Cotton.

Zoot originally broke up in 1971, months after releasing their biggest single, a cover of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby"


After almost 50 years away, Australian rock icons Zoot have announced that they’re set to reform for a small run of shows this year.

First forming as Down the Line back in Adelaide in the early ’60s, the lineup of Beeb Birtles, Darryl Cotton, Teddy Higgins, and John D’Arcy had changed their name to Zoot within a few years before moving to Melbourne in 1968.

By 1969, Rick Springfield had joined the group as lead guitarist, and in 1970, the band released their sole studio album, Just Zoot, which went on to reach #12 on the Kent Music Report that year.

Though their biggest single – a cover of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” – soon followed, the group split in 1971, with members going on to greater things – as evidenced in Zoot’s frequent referral of being a “supergroup in reverse”. While Birtles would go on to form Mississippi (which itself would evolve into the Little River Band), Cotton would embark on a solo career, and Springfield eventually relocated to the US where he received a Grammy for his 1981 single “Jessie’s Girl”.

Though Zoot reunited in 2011 for the Rick Springfield and Friends cruise, Cotton passed away the following year due to live cancer, seemingly putting to rest any idea of further reunions.

Now, the group have revealed they’re set to hit the road for their first tour in almost 50 years, with Russell Morris taking over on lead vocals.

“This whole tour is about honouring Darryl Cotton and his band Zoot,” Rick Springfield said in a statement. “Darryl also had a band with Russell Morris, Jim Keays and Ronnie Burns for 16 years, so it’s great to have Russell celebrating Darryl by joining Zoot.”

Adding his own thoughts, Morris explained that the upcoming tour will be a “labour of love”.

“I am not trying to be Darryl,” Morris points out. “But as I worked with Darryl for so long, he is a part of me. And I know how much he cared about Zoot, so I will give it my very best.”

While these shows will serve as Springfield’s first Australian shows since 1971 (save for an appearance at the 2007 Countdown Spectacular), the group will also feature founding Little River Band member Roger McLachlan on bass.

“I think Zoot 2020 will be truly extraordinary,” explained Rick Brewer. “We made history together and individually, and we are going to make history again in 2020.”

Kicking off in Brisbane on November 12, the four-date tour will visit Adelaide and Sydney, before wrapping up in Melbourne on November 21. Read on for full tour and ticketing details.

Zoot Australian Tour 2020

Thursday, November 12th
The Fortitude, Brisbane, QLD

Friday, November 13th
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA   

Friday, November 20th
Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Saturday, November 21st
Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Tickets on sale from 9am, Friday, February 21