Zoom Records was Southern Arizona’s first rock and roll record label. It was the creation of two 17 year old Tucson, Arizona, Catalina High School students, Burt Schneider and Ray Lindstrom. All the records were produced during a short 7 month period in 1959, but they capture the independent rock sound of the era.
They were all recorded in Phoenix at Audio Recorders of Arizona, where Duane Eddy made all his big hits. Legendary engineer, and Grammy award winner, Jack Miller was at the controls. He was famous later for sessions with many top stars including the Rolling Stones and the Monkees.
None of the records were giant chart busters, but they got heavy play and made the hit sheets in Tucson as well as a few other places in the US and Europe. They continue to be included on many US and overseas compilation releases featuring 50's American rock and roll and rockabilly.
Burt and Ray in 1959.
They were 17 year old seniors
at Catalina HIgh School
in Tucson, Arizona.
Who knew that 50 years later the 45 RPM record with the big hole in the middle would become obsolete? Even the successor of that format, the CD, has virtually disappeared. Currently folks are buying (or stealing) music via downloads on the internet. Now, you can hear all the fabulous Zoom Records on YouTube. Your links are below. Enjoy.
ZOOM ON YOUTUBE
King Rock and The Knights
The wildest, groovinest, hard pounding-rockinest sound anywhere.
Roger Hohlenkamp is King Rock with Knights Bob Dickey, Carson Noel, and Tom Hawk.
The two cuts featured here were re-released on a 45 in 1965 and Send-di became a hit in Pittsburgh as the theme song of WZUM's legendary jock "Mad Mike" Metrovich. It is also featured on the Itzy label LP and CD "Pittsburgh's Greatest Hits." Scandal and Send-di were both cuts on on the German label Buffalo Bop's Strictly Instrumental Series.
Fast or slow, these vocals with Pete were the world’s best. (You may have heard of Pete's little sister, Linda Ronstadt) Besides Pete on the vocals and guitar,there was Nate Foster-guitar, Bert Roberts-Drums, Lance Hoopes-Sax, and Don Grossberndt-Piano.
Lonesome Road Rock was the biggest hit of all the Zoom sounds in Tucson. These singles have shown up quite often on foreign early rock compilation albums including the recent Collector's Records "Rockabilly Hoodlums" (Hot Greaseball Action) CD series. Actually, the words "hoodlums" and "greaseball" are really misnomers; the group was about as clean-cut as you could get...just look at the cover photo. Not only that, but Pete later became Tucson's Police Chief!
Pete Ronstadt and The Nightbeats
Jack Wallace and The Hi-Tones
He could have been Elvis, but he was just a couple of years too late. Jack’s deep vocals along with the doo-wop harmony of LeRoy Meadows and Dave First of the Hi-Tones are a real treat.
This was the first Zoom Record and had the blue and silver label. All future releases would be the distinctive red and silver color. The week You Are The One was released it was played on the air very hour as a KTKT Exclusive (Tucson's top station).
See the Documentary Film that tells the Zoom Story!
Created and Produced by University of Arizona filmmaker, Dan Kruse.
Now on youtube. Worth watching.
During the filming of the documentary, Burt and Ray got together with the sound engineer, Jack Miller, who was at the controls for all the Zoom tracks in 1959. Jack went on to have a spectacular career recording some of the biggest names in music including The Rolling Stones and The Monkees. He also won a Grammy. Alas, it was not for his work for Zoom Records.
Burt, Jack, and Ray....over 50 years later.
(We're sorry to report that Jack passed away May 12, 2016)
Where are they now?
Burt and Ray are both back in Tucson and semi-retired. Burt is on the radio at the local NPR station. Ray is active on the internet and makes websites as a hobby. This is one.
They both will never forget those great days and the music of the 50's that they had a small part in producing and promoting.
Thanks to our good friend C.J. Brown for the fantastic job he did editing the audio and adding video to all of our music for youtube.
C.J. is co-author of Tucson Radio...a history of the airwaves in the Old Pueblo. . Available at Amazon.com.
He is also Ray's partner in the tribute site to KTKT, Tucson's greatest radio station.