We Were Zombies!
by Dennis Craswell
published April 2017
Duane Eddy and the Rebels' .. "Rebel Rouser", Link Wray
and his Ray Men's .. "Rumble", The Ventures' .. "Walk Don't
Run" and Surf Music, pioneered by Dick Dale, was the style
of instrumental Rock and Roll that was popular when we first
formed The Castaways in the early 1960s. Then came Beatlemania
and the British Invasion. Radio station DJ's stopped
playing songs unless they included vocals.
We knew that we had to keep up with this
evolution in order to follow our dreams of becoming
a famous Rock and Roll band. There
was only one problem, we had no microphone.
Our guitarist, Dick Roby, said he thought
there was a guy over on Oliver Street that had
one. We all headed over to Roy Hensley's
house to see if we could borrow his Shure 55
mic. Roy informed us that indeed he did have a
microphone. He went on to explain that he was
the only one who was allowed to use it. Thus
enters singer, guitar player Roy Hensley as the
After the success of our song, Liar Liar, in
1965 we began getting offers to open for bands
of larger stature. One such gig was as the opening
act for The Zombies who had recorded hits
such as, She's Not There, Tell Her No and
Time Of The Season.
We were excited to play this gig. We had been
covering She's Not There, and we had gotten
pretty good at it. So when the time came, we
took the stage and played our hit, Liar Liar,
and a full set of cover songs. As we came to the
end of our allotted time I noticed a very panicky
looking promoter at the side curtain giving
us the "rolling" sign with his hands telling
us to keep on playing.
Well he's the boss, so we kept on playing.
Every time we would finish a song we could
hear him whimpering loudly, "keep it going,
keep it going."
We played several more songs and now he's
yelling, "DON'T STOP, DON'T STOP, KEEP
ON PLAYING!" So we kept on playing. Finally
we decided enough was enough and said,
"Thank You and Good night."
We left the stage and found the promoter
having a mental and physical meltdown. The
crowd was stomping on the wooden floors
and chanting "We want the Zombies, we want
the Zombies." The only problem was that The
Zombies had not shown up! The white faced,
panic stricken promoter looked at us and
shrieked, "You guys gotta be The Zombies!
You have to go back out there and BE THE
ZOMBIES! If you don't, this crowd will riot
and tear the place apart."
Now I won't say what town this was, but if
you remember a couple of gangs called The
Greasers and The Baldies, you will understand
that we knew that he was right! We had to do
some quick thinking. Sure we knew The Zombies
hits and were confident we could play
them perfectly, but my God, this crowd had just
seen us on stage for over an hour. How could
we possibly pull off this farcical charade?
First, a costume change. Bob put on his furry
vest, some John Lennon welding glasses
and a fedora hat. The rest of us followed suit
scrounging up whatever we could muster; jackets,
vests, sunglasses, ascots etc.
We switched instruments where possible, arranged
ourselves in different positions and we
took the stage as The Zombies.
In the most convincing English accent I have
ever heard anyone mimic, Bob said, "Thank
you very much" and we started right into She's
Not There. The crowd was a screaming throng
and we really thought "Hey, we're going to
pull this off!"
We played every Zombies' song we knew
and then covered other groups like The Beau
Brummels, Herman's Hermits, The Dave Clark
Five and even some Rolling Stones. The crowd
was going wild. I thought to myself, "my god,
WE ARE The Zombies, The Zombies basking
in all their glory".
Then came a reality check. Out of the corner
of my eye I saw this guy creeping closer and
closer to the front of the stage. I noticed he was
holding an album cover which he would look
at, then look up at us on stage.
I began to get really nervous as he would
point to the album cover and then point to each
one of us on stage. Each time he did this he
would shake his head no. I knew we had been
busted. We were going to die, or at the very
least we would be tarred and feathered.
Sure enough, in a quiet moment between
songs, this guy shouts as loud as possible,
"YOUR NOT THE ZOMBIES!"
You could hear a pin drop in the deafening
silence that followed. Then, once again in that
inimitable British accent, Bob said something
like "Of course we are you silly bloke" then we
played She's Not There again as the closing
song and left the stage.
We should have played "They're Not Here!"
We did not stick around to see what would
happen next. We "got outta Dodge" fast and
alive. Once again, we should have been shot!