The Portland Zoo Electric Band

Also see: PZEB  on  Facebook
and: A PZEB 45-year reunion  on  YouTube

Portland Zoo Recent Events

PZEB at the Crystal Ballroom in 2014!
On Monday, January 6th, 2014
the U.S. Cadenza opened for
the Portland Zoo Electric Band
as part of the Crystal Ballroom's
100th birthday celebration.

Five original members of the Zoo
(Peter, Sharyle, Denny, Dwarf, & Mario)
played to happy fans who stayed late
on a Monday night to hear them.
The Portland Zoo loves its fans!

Thank you McMenamins.
Thank you U.S. Candenza - they rocked!
And especially
PZEB at the Bagdad Theatre in 2013!
Monday, August 26th, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Peter Langston appeared as a "cultural icon" of the counterculture
at a McMenamins History Pub panel discussion titled
"Portland in the 1960s - Stories from the Counterculture"
based on the book by Polina Olsen.
YouTube video of the panel discussion

Monday, August 26th, 2013 at ~8:45 p.m.
Six original members of the Portland Zoo Electric Band
(Peter, Sharyle, Denny, Dwarf, Larry, & Mario)
played a set at the Bagdad theatre with a
light show created by Gary Ewing
YouTube video of PZEB at the Bagdad Theatre
PZEB on OPB in 2010!
"Vortex I" will air on Oregon Public Broadcasting television
Monday, February 8th, 2010
At 9:00 PM

"Vortex I" preview screening
1001 SE Morrison, Portland
Monday, February 1st, 2010
At 7:15 PM
PZEB 40-year reunion in 2008!

6 / 7 / 08 -- Reed College Student Union
An Authentic 60s-style Reed Social with Light Show
8:00 p.m. - The Portland Zoo!

6 / 8 / 08 -- The Crystal Ballroom
The Gary Ewing Memorial & Portland Zoo Reunion
All-Day Dance & G.E. Light Show
9:30 p.m. - The Portland Zoo!
More info...
Pictures from Reed College
Pictures from the Crystal Ballroom
Misc pictures from rehearsals, etc.

An early picture of the early Portland Zoo band
taken at the Charix Coffee House where they were the house band. . .
early PZEB photo
left to right: Denny Jackson, Bass · T. Dwarf, Harmonica · Peter Langston, Guitar · Larry Whitney, Drums · Sharyle Patton, Guitar

The Zoo became the house band for the Charix Coffeehouse in the basement of the Unitarian Universalist Church in downtown Portland, Oregon. You might think of the band as the bait to bring "troubled youth" within outreach range... Or you might think of the band as the bait to bring church members within drug dealers' range ... (pssst! Acid? Speed? Lids?) Charix poster

Charix article This is an article from 12/1/67 issue of the Vanguard, the Portland State College newspaper. All the people pictured are identified except for those in the largest picture; it shows Peter singing, Sharyle playing guitar, and Fred Corbett's left hand fretting his Hofner "Beatle Bass." They had to crop Fred out of the picture because he was wearing his flowered pants.
The article says:

  The Portland Zoo, world's most ethnic phantasyrock group, usually plays Wednesday and Saturday evenings at the Charix, basement coffeehouse of the Unitarian Church, 12th and Salmon Street.
  The Zoo is Peter Langston from Reed College, lead guitar; Sharyle Peronya Patton from PSC, rhythm guitar; Larry Whitney from Lewis and Clark, drums; Denny Jackson ex-PSC, bass guitar; and Triple Dwarf from the basement of the church, harmonica.
  For the best rock music in Portland at the Charix it's only 50 cents weeknights, 75 cents weekends. Don't wait too long or you'll find yourself giving the KISN goodguys $2.50 per ticket to see the Zoo at the Memorial Coliseum.

Charix article

Well, speak of the devil! There are those pants now... The CharixPhoto courtesy of the Corbett Collection

This is from an article in the 12/17/70 issue of the Willamette Bridge, a local underground paper. Papa John's


The Zoo played the Bullfrog 1 Rock Festival in Oregon City and would have played Bullfrog 2 at the Columbia County Fairgrounds if it hadn't been shut down on a technicality by the Columbia County District Attorney. (See the partial band list here.)

With the Fairgrounds unavailable for the festival, many of the would-be festival-goers descended on the St. Helens town square instead and had a pseudo-festival there. It was all very friendly and upbeat and the Zoo joined in and played there.

The St. Helen's newspaper, the Sentinel-Mist Chronicle, followed the events of Bullfrog 2 and 3; Click here to see a collection of articles.

Daily Planet interview

This is probably the Zoo's most famous poster
-- drawn by Kelly of Mouse Studios (San Francisco) and contested by lawyers of Disney Studios!

It's flattering that we still get fan mail such as this lucid memory of an event from forty years ago...

Date 2/26/10 2:56 PM
Subject: PZEB at U of O in 1970

I saw you guys play at the Art Pearl for Governor 12 Hours of Music Festival in the University of Oregon gymnasium in the spring of 1970. I thought that the lead guitar player was one of the best I had ever heard anywhere. I still remember one of the lead guitar riffs that was played. I also thought that it was really cool that you ended your show with a recording of a telephone operator saying over and over "At the tone, the time will be". What a great show!!

Bob Lawyer
Milwaukie, Oregon

Another one of many colorful animal-themed Portland Zoo posters, this one from 1968 is for a dance at the Pythian Hall on Yamhill in downtown Portland, Ore.

Tibal Stomp?

Here's a poster for a dance at the Pythian Hall early in the summer of 1967...

Fortunately for us, Jim Brownell was listening to KGAR when an ad for the dance came on:
and he recorded it, and then, 42 years later, shared it with us.
CLICK HERE to play back the ad.
(It sounds like the ad agency thought The Phantasmagoria was a band...)

Get a load of the demented zoo keeper in this one...
Roxy had just changed its name to (or perhaps it was from) Roxy Music.

The Portland Zoo was just the kind of band that the folks at Zap Comix could understand.
Here's a stock flyer, all ready for the local information to be drawn in...

left to right: Denny Jackson, Bass · Sharyle Patton, Guitar · Pat Coffey, Drums · Peter Langston, Guitar
The band takes a little break from rabble rousing in Lair Hill Park. We were protesting something that park commissioner Ivancie was doing... closing down the parks, maybe? So we threw him a party!

PZEB Poster Du Jour


Many of these posters are from the collection of Greg McCullough. (Thanks, Greg!), a few come from Gary Ewing's collection (thanks, Gary!), and the rest are from Peter Langston's basement.

* (If the date above and the poster don't seem to match, refresh your browser and the poster will probably catch up.)
poster du jour

This is Peter with his favorite electric guitar, a specially customized and hot-rodded 1952 Gibson Les Paul with trapeze tailpiece that he bought from Stew Dodge of the U.S. Cadenza band. It was stolen along with all the band's equipment but was not recovered when we tracked the rest of the equipment to San Francisco. It seems the guitar had already been sold and shipped to someone in Vermont... Sigh!
You can tell Peter was so "into" this solo that he didn't notice a caterpillar crawling onto his lip!

One of a series of buttons drawn by Dutch artist Henk Pander for the Band. Each button represented one of us (this one is obviously Peter -- note his anatomically-correct hair-do). We gave these out at concerts and dances to highlight the important role of the audience in the band's music, thereby making everyone an honorary member of the Portland Zoo Electric Band.

If you can decipher this ornate type face you'll see that this dance was being put on by one of California's most notorious police departments. It's a long story how we ended up playing a dance for the Weed Police and winning $50 in a bet with a motorcycle patrolman...

A late picture of the late Portland Zoo band...
late PZEB photo
Jack Ely, Bass · Peter Langston, Guitar · Mario Bolivar, Drums · Sharyle Patton, Guitar (and there's that caterpillar again!)

late PZEB photo
A scruffier but friendlier picture of the same Portland Zoo band...
(and there's that caterpillar AGAIN!)

A list of the musicians that were performing members of the Portland Zoo Electric Band would include, in roughly chronological order:
Tom McFarland - guitar
Sharyle Patton - guitar, keyboards
Lynn Parkinson - Bass
Larry Whitney - drums
Isreal Stone - harmonica
Peter Langston - guitar, mandolin, keyboards, electronics
T. Dwarf - harmonica
Fred Corbett - bass
Denny Jackson - bass
Pat Coffey - drums
Scott White - bass
Mario Bolivar - drums
Ted Thompson - bass
Jack Ely - bass
Sharyle and Peter were responsible for the bulk of the vocals, but everybody sang, at one time or another.
I'm sure there are names missing from this list... If you know them please let us know!

We're keeping an eye out for other bits and pieces left behind by the band.
If you have any Portland Zoo
+ Pictures
+ Posters
+ Recordings
+ Anecdotes
please let Peter know via e-mail.
PZEB CD label The Zoo recorded two songs in the studio, but they were never released -- "Alligator Man" by Floyd Chance & Jimmy Newman and "Lie Down" by Peter. We have the acetate test pressings of those two recordings and we also have some reel-to-reel tapes from performances.

==> NEWS FLASH: as of 6/7/08: <==
We've assembled a CD's worth of classic PZEB live performances from those reel-to-reel tapes!
The fidelity is not the highest, but the sound, the energy, and the irreverent creativity is still there...
To get a copy, send $18.00 ($15 + $3.00) to:
Peter Langston
9228 1st Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98117
and ask for:
"CAT-115CD -- The Portland Zoo Electric Band, 'Purity - Accuracy'"
Don't forget to include your postal address!

And while we're at it... Want to wear something with our name on it?

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