From The CD - Crazy Over You
By: Mick Lail
What’s going on with Zaharas these days?
As far as I know, I am the
of any of my bands who is still writing and recording. Every once in a while, an
idea comes to me and I putter around with it to see if I can make a new
I have recorded enough songs so far to make one
country CD, three rock CDs, and one Christmas CD. I continue to write and
record on my own at times. Time is becoming short, and inspiration is harder
to come by than in my younger days.
Over the years, the music has changed a lot. My
recordings go all the way back to 1974. If nothing else, my kids will have
something to remember me by!
Here are a few interesting things that others
have to say about our first album: Livin’ Ain’t Easy.
Rare music store in Belgium
ZAHARAS: Livin’ Ain’t Easy (private US 74)*
bloody rare and great North Carolina thunderous hard/rock quartet… 10
awesome tracks with heavy Led Zep influences, manic vocals, cooking acid
guitar leads, and that feel you’ll find in Finchley Boys or Josefus
From a book about bands from the
70’s in Wolverhampton,
ZAHARAS: Livin' Ain't Easy - Private Pressing From North
Carolina, a hard rock quartet with strong Led Zeppelin influence.
This hard rock album dates to the mid-70s but
sounds more modern, almost 80s.
On the first few songs, two of which are slower and more deliberate than
your typical hard rock/southern rock fare, the songwriting and guitar
playing are surprisingly subtle for this style of music.
ZAHARAS-Livin' Ain't Easy –Vegas (U.S., '74)* - Rare privately issued
hardrock blaster; thunderous beat, tortured vocalist, and the ever-present
– VEGAS (U.S., ’79) Totally unknown and obviously much more rare second album in the
same musical niche as their first. Issued in plain white cover.
definitely a specialist item.
*The album was recorded in 1978. I have no
idea why everyone has that it was
done in 1974. - Mick
Fans Everywhere – Thank You!
our first album, Livin' Ain't Easy, found its way all over the United States and several
countries in Europe is a bit of a mystery. But it just proves that music
has a life of its own sometimes. It is nice that some people appreciate our
old LPs and are taking care of them. To my delight, Blackbird is now
becoming quite popular as well.
A little bit of the old band will
always live on in those pieces of vinyl. Thanks to all of our fans from the
past and the present. Thanks also to those of you who will become fans if
you ever have a chance to hear how a bunch of good old boys from the
Catawba Valley played their hearts out in North Carolina Honky-Tonks.
It gives me unending joy to know that the music that I wrote is still wanted
all over the world. Along with the old vinyl records, I have
completed two self-made CDs that are pretty decent, but very different from
the old music. These CDs are becoming popular in their own right.
The "Livin' Ain't Easy" LP was a labor of love,
but the "Blackbird" LP was intense, complicated, and took much longer
to write and complete. The vast majority of any band's fan base does not
really know what inspired the songs the band does. So, I will tell you a
little about some of the songs.
The song Livin' Ain't Easy was written while I was sitting on the floorboard
of a car as we were trying to find places to play when we first started out.
One Last Night Together was written for my wife. Stairway To Heaven - Part
Two is self explanatory. I Love you Babe was written for an old girlfriend.
And my favorite song on the Livin' Ain't Easy LP, Grand Illusion, is about a
young man who overdoses on drugs and sees his dead girlfriend. Nobody in my
band was allowed to do drugs. The only one allowed to drink any alcohol
while we were playing was the drummer because he worked up such a sweat -
and he wasn't allowed more than a beer during breaks.
On the Blackbird LP, the song Blackbird is about how people in ancient times
believed that the blackbird signified evil. Reflections was yet another song
for an old girlfriend. Let My People Go was something for the disco haters of
the time. Evil woman was about a witch. Looking For a Way To Get High was
another song about young people overdosing on drugs. Starr was about a
really hot young lady who I just couldn't say no too. And my favorite song
on the Blackbird LP, She Wants Me, is about a man who was done dirty by his
woman and now he has found another so the ex-girlfriend is out of luck.
I am amazed that I even have any of these LPs left at all.
The Mick's Christmas CD done for the fun of it. I used karaoke music
and sang a lot of old standards. One thing I am not is a Christmas song type
singer. It isn't that good, but it was a lot of fun.
The Crazy Over You CD was done simply because I wanted to do
something country. The songs on it range from happy go lucky to brooding and
tragic. I like it but you may not. As far as country tunes go, they are pretty good.
That said: It is not the best sounding of
my projects, but it won't hurt your ears too much if you decide to listen to
My favorite project so far has been the Shades of Darkness CD. I
think I was born to play that type of music. I had more fun doing that set
of songs than any other. There are a few songs on the set that seem a bit
out of place, but I just wanted to do something really different. Seven of
the ten songs in that set deal with the occult, death, and just evil in
general. You know, family stuff. :)
I love that people like my newer CDs, and I really appreciate the interest in the old vinyl records. Hopefully, when I am long gone from this world, my songs will still be
I hope that you enjoy
Blackbird, Livin’ Ain’t Easy, and all the rest of my songs, as much as I enjoyed making them.
It has taken many years, but
Easy" and "Blackbird" are now all over the world. They are now in the following countries that I know
of: Germany, Sweden, Italy, The Netherlands, Japan,
England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Chili, and Brazil, and of course,
all over the United States,
everywhere else from illegal downloads. The band, Zaharas, has been
mentioned in countless music books and articles in several countries.
Article about the band:
ZAHARAS was a southern rock band that originated in the
Hickory area of North Carolina in 1977. Members of the band came from
Bethlehem, Long View, Hickory, and Granite Falls, North Carolina. The group
Mick Lail, Gary Freeman, Cecil Crotts, and Glenn Freeman.
After many years of playing in groups which played only
covers of songs by other bands, the members of ZAHARAS decided to play only
original tunes. Mick Lail, lead singer and lead guitar player, was the
driving force behind the band as well as the chief songwriter. Cecil Crotts,
backup singer and rhythm guitar player, collaborated with Lail on a few
songs. The Freeman brothers, Gary on drums and Glenn on bass guitar, and
musicians and left the majority of the song writing to Lail.
The band had a good local following and was seen as a
novelty for playing only original songs. After several months, playing at
sold out clubs was common as people wanted to see these guys who were
bucking the trend.
The shows that ZAHARAS put on were the usual rock and
roll type that was common in that day except for their clothes: All four
guys changed into different outfits after each set. The highlight of the
night was the last set when Cecil wore black velvet pants with a matching
shirt, Glenn wore a brown satin suit, and Mick came on stage with a pearl
white satin suit. Gary wore whatever was comfortable
for him as everyone knows that drummers get hot banging around the way they
The band recorded two albums during their brief time
together. The first album, Livin' Ain't Easy, is now a collectors item and
is still being sold all over the United States and a several countries in
Europe. The second album, Blackbird, came a little over one year after Livin'
Ain't Easy, and was quite a bit different. Lail reached into the darker
parts of his life and came up with some classics that dealt with sex, drugs,
rock and roll, and the occult.
The group stayed together for almost four years and
never actually broke up. They just quit playing. Lail continued to write and
play with friends when he had the chance, and Gary showed up many times to
keep a beat. The two constants in the band were Lail and Crotts who played
together for around ten years, and remained friends for life.
The darkest day in the bands history came when drummer
Gary Freeman died as a result of a fire in 1981. Gary rushed into
a burning home to save his brother, Glenn, who he thought was trapped inside.
Gary didn't know that Glenn had already gone out the back door and was safe.
The only member of the band who is still active is Mick
Lail who is still writing songs and recording. Mick has recorded a solo
country CD, another rock CD, and is currently still writing for a second
solo rock and country collection. Most all of these songs are very much
different from what ZAHARAS played many years ago, but one can still hear
the old band in there if one listens closely.
Lail has made a webpage for the band that you can reach
through this link:
End of article
There were many more musicians and friends who played
or helped out through the years in the various incarnations of bands before
Zaharas. These include - Drummer - Rick Lail ( my brother), Keyboards
- David Kerley (my nephew), Bass - Paul Sams, Drummer - Roger Isenhour,
Bass - Tommy
Collie, Bass - Dennis Berryhill, Guitar - Keith Johnson,
Part Time Roadie and good Friend - Mike Roper, Lights and Sound - Paul Hill,
Manager For a Short Time - Donnie Webb.
Those who have taken the final journey into the
Gary Freeman - 1982, Paul Hill, David Kerly - 2010, Cecil Crotts
- 2010, Rick Lail - 2011, Tommy Collie - 2013
The band may no longer be playing, but the music will
live on as long as there is a fan somewhere in the world.