The Zulus

Boston, MA's the Zulus are often used to answering the trivia question, "Whatever happened to Human Sexual Response?" Zulus vocalist Larry Bangor and guitarist Rich Gilbert were founding members of Human Sexual Response, a demented post-punk group that existed from the late '70s to the early '80s. Human Sexual Response were staples of the Boston underground rock scene during the new wave era, and twisted songs such as "What Does Sex Mean to Me?" and "Jackie Onassis" were catchy and accessible enough -- despite the off-the-wall lyrics -- to receive some mainstream recognition. The band became a cult favorite, even appearing on the SCTV comedy program. However, Human Sexual Response's second LP, 1981's In a Roman Mood, disappointed fans and critics with its darker material. The group split up in 1982. Bangor, Gilbert, and drummer Malcolm Travis then formed Wild Kingdom. The band had to change its name when Mutual of Omaha, the sponsor of the Wild Kingdom TV show, threatened to sue them if they didn't. They became Gospel Birds; again, the appellation was short-lived as a music publishing company with the same name made them drop it. Finally, the group chose the Zulus. The Zulus had a louder, more straightforward rock & roll sound than Human Sexual Response; their angst-laden, guitar-heavy tunes fit well on late-'80s college radio, helping to pave the way for grunge. The Zulus were signed to Slash and released their debut album, Down on the Floor, in 1988. Down on the Floor was produced by Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü, one of the Zulus' obvious influences. In 1992, the band broke up. Travis then joined Mould in Sugar while Gilbert and bassist Rich Cortese formed Concussion Ensemble.
Michael Sutton, Rovi

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