Bill Zorn
   Of The Kingston Trio

 






I was born in Bridgeport, CT - the third of four sons - to Lillian and Edward in May 1948. My father was a sales representative and his work took us from Connecticut to rural Pennsylvania, to Ohio and finally to Phoenix, Arizona in 1961. I had gotten my first guitar in 1958 (not a Martin), and was already performing folk music in the early sixties.

During high school I was interested and involved with drama, performance and music-both in and out of school-and at eighteen won a national television award as a  host of ‘'The Indispensables,' a teenage variety show.

My first band, The Win'jammers, included my brother Pete and great friend Gaylan Taylor - both future New Christy Minstrels. We performed around Arizona and across the country from the mid-sixties and were featured at Expo67 in Montreal. USO tours to South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Libya, Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean followed.

In February 1970 both Pete and I became New Christy Minstrels after auditioning on the telephone for Sid Garris; I became musical director in May 1970 and leader later that year. We toured in the USA and internationally-virtually non-stop for four years. When I left, I had been the group's longest serving leader and had done the longest non-stop stretch of any member.

 

 

Along the way I had met and spent time with Bob Shane on various occasions. When he heard I had left The Christies, Bob asked me to join him and Roger Gambill in The New Kingston Trio in 1973. We started rehearsals in November and began playing in December and it seems like we just played for about three years - it was the most fun.

The Trio's repertoire includes most of the best American folk music and more, and we had a great time with it. I told Bob when I joined that I would only stay a few years, because eventually I planned to go to England and work with my brother Pete for awhile.

In 1976, I visited Pete in England during the hottest summer for a hundred years and decided I would move there - no one had told me that kind of weather was unusual. This was surprising, as British people talk about the weather a lot. I soon realized they have a strange sense of humor. I moved there in 1977 and stayed in bed for a year. We started doing the rounds of the record companies in London and got lucky with a top-ten hit, ‘'Car 67,' in 1979.

 




 

 

 



 

 

 

I then fell in with an exceptionally talented group of folk musicians, and The Arizona Smoke Revue was born in 1980. We released three albums and toured in the UK, The Republic of Ireland, Europe, Hong Kong and Bermuda. The Smoke Revue still continues to perform whenever we can make it happen.

I also worked in a comedy/folk duo, Bill and Benns. We appeared on a weekly chat show on Anglia television in 1988/89, writing a song a week for whatever topic was under discussion. We also released an album and performed around the UK and abroad. While in England, I also acted in dramas and comedies on British television, did voice-overs for cartoons and documentaries, produced a CD for Glenn Yarbrough and published dozens of my own songs.

At the end of 1980 I met my love Jo and we married in 1986. In 1996, we had the opportunity to move back to Phoenix, which we did in December that year. I joined The Limeliters in September 1996 and performed with them until the end of 2003. During this time I also produced two CDs for the Kingston Trio.

One of nice things about being back in Phoenix is that I have been able to renew my friendship with Bob Shane. I had left The Limeliters when Bob had his health scare in March 2004 and was delighted to fill in for him when he asked me. I've known George Grove for thirty years now, and Rick Dougherty for at least ten, so this really is old friends playing the music they love.