Obscure Music Magazine of the Day: Zoo World



Not that obscure, really. I know my brother had a copy or two, and Richard Meltzer mentioned it (somewhat mockingly) in my interview with him. But it’s more or less forgotten, and I’ve no idea if it was any good or not. (My guess is that, like a lot of ‘zines from the period, it had some decent contributers but a limited budget and/or no clear aesthetic differentiation from the big kids on the block — Creem, Rolling Stone, Circus, and Crawdaddy. But who am I to say?)

18 thoughts on “Obscure Music Magazine of the Day: Zoo World

  1. Zoo World was published in Florida, Miami I believe. It had a Rolling Stone-like tabloid format, while its editorial personality was probably closer to the post-Paul Williams Crawdaddy, as I recall.

    I do have one weird Zoo World experience in my own resume. In the summer of 1973, when I was intent on getting published in CREEM, I wrote a completely fictional profile of some dire country-rock band I’d made up, with lots of satire of that scene, and sent it off to Lester Bangs. He returned it to me with a note that he found it funny, but too “obvious” a parody to run in CREEM. So I shipped the ms. off to new player Zoo World, and before long got a request from an editor there, wanting to know more about the band I’d profiled, as they sounded interesting and might be worthy of a full feature in Zoo World(!) I still recall sneaking out of my welfare job to a phone booth (q.v.) on 6th St. in downtown Cincy and calling said editor down in Miami, to break it to him gently that the band existed only in my head.

    Zoo World and I avoided each other after that incident, but I was sure to let Lester know what had happened and that “obvious” was definitely in the eye of the beholder!

  2. Too bad, in a way, they didn’t print it first! Though probably better for you. I’m assuming ZW stuck it out for a year or two?

  3. I think a guy named Arthur Levy was the editor. I remember him doing liner notes to the Workshop of the Telescopes BOC compilation.

  4. Zoo world was published for three years out of ft. Lauderdale jan 72 to dec 74. Regular writers included nick touches and melter, Cameron Crowe, Eric van lustbader,toby mamis and many others during the 75 issue run. And yes, Arthur levy eas the guy. Many on the staff went on to successful careers in the music biz. It was rolling stone without the politics.

  5. Oh yeah, Arthur Levy—read an account of some occasion (maybe have been the first and last Rock Writers Convention), where Meltzer asked Levy what was his favorite Jewish holiday. Patti Smith was sitting on Meltz’s lap at the time. She was even quoted as saying, “Rock ‘n’ Roll is whatever he does,” presumably referring to Meltzer.

  6. Les Feldman:
    At least Zoo World never ran a bogus story (Richard Reigel) reporting a gang rape at a college, that never happened, like Rolling Stone…..,
    Rolling Stone “decided” to go more political in the early 70’s because Zoo World was kicking their collective asses all over the Rock and Roll industry.
    The Magazine distributor, the biggest distributor in the world, at that time…for Rolling Stone dumped them and took on Zoo World for all American distribution and that is a FACT.

  7. Yes Leslie! Bulls-eye. There was nothing like Zoo World. Rolling Stone never could take the place of it. The writing was beyond hip in Zoo World; it was insightful & hypnotic and the articles were fascinating. It was the wilder, ironic chunk of meteorite that landed still sizzling, while Rolling Stone was and is a manufactured high grade metal alloy. They were both magnetic, But after tuning in with Zoo World, I could never feel attached to Rolling Stone. Me and my cousins in rural Arkansas were bummed out for several years because there was no more Zoo World. Maybe Rolling Stone was good enough for some, but it was not the same.

  8. Way to go Leslie J! Zoo World was a great paper with an excellent staff. Thankfully I am intelligent enough to not listen to misinformation from uninformed people. You really should have been there! Zoo World opened doors for many. Thank you Jack Hunt! You are loved and missed.

  9. Zoo World was an excellent rock mag out of Fort Lauderdale, edited by the music scholar/historian Arthur Levy. There was also an influential rock radio station out of Lauderdale, WSHE, so there was a lively scene there, though Zoo World’s ambitions were national. I spent a lot of time in South Florida visiting family, so one day just called Arthur and asked about writing for them. He said, “sure,” and it offered a lot of freedom to an ambitious young rock journalist.

  10. Zoo World Magazine!!!
    A Great Music Magazine in the 70’s.
    I was an illustrator for the magazine, center folds and a few covers.
    George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Olivia Newton John and others…
    I taught at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in the 70’s & 80’s and was hired by Jack Hunt,
    A good man, a fun person to hang with. Jack had great parties, a beautiful sail boat and a great restaurant in Fort Lauderdale (Zoo World). He also owned a major piece of real estate in Lauderdale!
    Jack tried to buy Rolling Stone Magazine, it did not work out! End of Zoo World!
    I also worked for WSHE at the time. The owner was Milner, I think!
    A great Jazz radio voice from Chicgao, He sounded like God when he spoke.
    WSHE played Album Rock, the entire album without commercials.
    I designed their logo, AD campagins (SHE WAS HERE), Bill Boards…
    A great time to to live in Fort Lauderdale.
    If anyone has any copies of Zoo World Magazine, I would love to see them,
    especially if I created any of the artwork…

  11. I was an aspiring writer when Zoo World opened off the corner of Oakland Park Boulevard and Bayview Drive in Fort Lauderdale. Gus Dana, the original editor, was a great guy, published a review of Will Rogers U.S.A. I wrote. The second piece I ever had printed. The whole editorial staff were pretty cool. (Even you, Alan.) A number of my articles are currently posted on Rock’s Backpages (dot com). Had a number of adventures writing for this publication: flying out to Texas to meet up with the Starship; walking into the dressing room with BTO when REO Speedwagon came charging in, witnessing a major confrontation between the bands. One piece I wrote on Deep Purple was reprinted a couple years ago in Classic Rock Mag. I remember Cynthia Spector walking up to Arthur Levy, going: “Computer on.” Then asking something like: “Who sang background vocals on Bob Seger’s ‘Back in ’72’?” or “Who produced the second Cat Mother album?” And, of course, Arthur always knew.

    Jack Hunt opened a bar off Fort Lauderdale Beach — the Village Zoo. I remember a number of “staff meetings” there.

    I was also writing reviews at the time for the Miami Herald. Went out to see Traffic one night at the West Palm Beach Auditorium. The Music Editor of the Miami Herald was there that night. He and the promoter both told me to stay out of the way so he could get the story. After the show the Editor got to talk to Stevie Winwood, so I grabbed Jim Capaldi. Well, Stevie Winwood was a terrible interview — one, two word answers — and Jim Capaldi gave me a lot of good material. I remember, at the end of the night, standing in a little room, staring innocently off into space while the Editor was ragging at the promoter. “Zoo World? Zoo World’s got a better story than the MIAMI HERALD.” Not too surprising, the guy never sent me out to review another show.

    Steven Conforti — I have some back issues. Sent a number of them in to Rock’s Backpages, but kept the dupes. Email me at Jimmy The Finger at yahoo. Next time I’m rummaging through the archives I’ll see if I have any of your artwork.

  12. I wrote for it, reviews mainly– as did most of the usual crew around then. All I recall is that the editor (Arthur Levy?) didn’t mess with the copy and they paid on time.

  13. As a Todd Rundgren collector, I am only just now beginning to discover Zoo World. Even the look of it is raw heaven. So happy to be finding back issues on eBay, I just need some patience.

  14. I have 39 issues in good to very good condition if anyone is interested in acquiring them.

  15. Enjoyed reading the comments and recollection of many here.
    I can tell you with certainty that Zoo World kicked Rolling Stones ass so completely that in the early 70’s when we went head to head, the largest magazine distributor in the world: Independent News (a division of Warner Communications) did indeed drop Rolling Stone to take on Zoo World and RS all but exited the music industry to focus on Politics because ZW had become the advertising darling and publication of choice among record companies.
    Leslie J. Feldman

  16. I don’t have any cool stories about writing for Zoo World unfortunately. I was a teenager back when Zoo was being published. I remember loving 2 magazines bss as close then- National Lampoon for laughs and Zoo World for rock and roll. Zoo had great writers who really brought rock to life for me, and album reviews of bands that opened my eyes yo a lot of great music. Loved the newspaper type layout of the magazine. Regrettably I didn’t think to keep any copies of Zoo World ; who would’ve thought such a great magazine would only be around a few years then disappear ? I do miss it still ( and yes Rolling Stone sucks) !

  17. I used to review albums for Zoo World; actually the first real publication I wrtoe for. The first piece of mine they ran was a full-page overview of UK folk-rock albums unnissued (at the time) in the US (Steeleye Span, Trees, The Woods Band, etc.) Later record reviews included Richard Thompson’s “Henry The Human Fly” (which I loved), Planxty, JSD Band, Sandy Denny (“Old Fashioned Waltz”), Fairport Convention (“Rosie”, “Nine”) John Martyn (“Solid Air”), Sutherland Brothers and Quiver and some others usually along the UK/Irish folk-rock spectrum.

  18. Looking to be a proud owner of old Zoo World issues. Big fan of WSRF and WSHE radio/Ft. Lauderdale and was a regular reader of this rag. Just got back from my big 50 year reunion and need to rock on with my old bad self! Garydiam55@aol.com

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