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Zor Gabor - JPop.com
Artist info
Zor Gabor

Zor Gabor

Zor Gabor


Zor Gabor were formed in 1982 by ex-Banshees guitarist John McKay and his long-standing girlfriend, Linda Clarke. They also included drummer Graham Dowdall, also known as Dids, and were associated for a time with Warhol actor, Bowie photographer and Heartbreakers manager, Leee Black Childers. Zor Gabor was McKay's first music project since the famous defection from the Banshees by John and drummer Kenny Morris in Aberdeen in September 1979. McKay subsequently rejected an offer to play on Peter Gabriel's second album Read more on Last.fm
Zor Gabor were formed in 1982 by ex-Banshees guitarist John McKay and his long-standing girlfriend, Linda Clarke. They also included drummer Graham Dowdall, also known as Dids, and were associated for a time with Warhol actor, Bowie photographer and Heartbreakers manager, Leee Black Childers. Zor Gabor was McKay's first music project since the famous defection from the Banshees by John and drummer Kenny Morris in Aberdeen in September 1979. McKay subsequently rejected an offer to play on Peter Gabriel's second album, which was being produced by Steve Lilywhite, who had produced the Banshees album, 'The Scream'.

The long delay between walking out of the Banshees and the formation of Zor Gabor was due to a number of factors: John and Kenny lost their record contract with Polydor; they had no management; John's guitar had been given away to a fan by the Banshees after the Aberdeen gig; Kenny's drum kit was kept by the Banshees and was used by his replacement, Budgie (and later given to Titch from Altered Images); they received no income from publishing as the Banshees claimed it in lieu of damages arising from the cancellation of several gigs following John and Kenny's departure. Kenny eventually decided not to continue in music and returned to study art at university. John is said to have worked in a charity shop in London during the early '80s. Zor Gabor began playing gigs in the mid-80s.

Marco Pirroni stated that he and Kenny Morris saw the band's first gig. Zor Gabor are known to have played the Batcave in 1985. The photograph of Linda on this page comes from a Batcave show. Two others from the same gig were included in a 2008 on-line Goth photo collection by Mick Mercer.

Zor Gabor also supported The Fall on at least two occasions in 1986. The band recorded a 12" single in late 1986: Tightrope/Amber/Vigilante. A 7" version was also released, with an edit of Tightrope. The single was released in summer 1987 by In Tape, who collapsed before any further material could be released.

It is not clear if any further recordings had been made for the label by that point. Tightrope was awarded Single of the Week in Sounds, and also received a positive review in NME. The lengthy Sounds review included a profile photograph of John, in partial negative. Zor Gabor were interviewed by Melody Maker in Kensington Gardens in early summer '87.

A further song title, The Legend of Zor Gabor, was mentioned in this feature, which was accompanied by a photograph of Linda. John and Linda were married in 1987. On their way north to the wedding, they stayed overnight at a hotel in the Lake District, where they found themselves to be the only guests apart from Siouxsie and Budgie from the Banshees. This was the first time that McKay and Sioux had met since John and Kenny had vanished in Aberdeen in 1979. Budgie recently (2009) commented that 'it was all very, very surreal...'. Zor Gabor continued to play gigs sporadically until at least 1989.

Melody Maker published a review of their late summer '89 gig at the Duchess of York in Leeds, which revealed that the band used projections and films as part of their live set. The band played at least one concert in Belgium, which was recorded from the soundboard and was available unofficially from European sources during the 1990s. By 1991, John and Linda ran a stall on Camden Market in London, selling their homemade jewellery. They retained this stall until at least 1997.

Requests by fans and other stallholders for John to autograph Banshees records were declined. John's refusal to sign autographs had contributed to the circumstances of his and Kenny's departure from the Banshees in 1979. McKay was interviewed for the Banshees/PiL/Slits/Ants episode of the BBC's 'Rock Family Trees' in 1998 and also appeared in Channel 4's 'Top 10 Punk' programme. John McKay was not interviewed for the official Siouxsie and the Banshees biography in 2002-03.

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