In a world besieged by the resonating beat of gansta rap, the shrill vocals of present-day pop divas and the angst-ridden lyrics
of alternative rock, music-lovers seeking fresh, fun, feel-good music have few places to turn. But the Zookeepers' brand of
folkadelic party rock provides a place for those of us who realize that life is pretty damn good if we just stop for a few minutes
and take a look around.
Musically, the band's style is a combination of old and new -- sort of Van Morrison meets Dave Matthews. The emphasis is on
a funky, laid-back sound laced with pop culture references and a tinge of escapism. Their repertoire ranges from bittersweet
ballads (“Ordinary Man”) and catchy pop numbers (“He’s Crazy”) to rock anthems ('Set Me Free') and soulfully whimsical
ditties (“The Cow Song”). Smart and sweet lyrics are sung beautifully and carried by catchy melodies and strong musicianship,
prompting BAM to call the Zookeepers 'an extremely appealing group.'
Soon 'Patrick Vernon and the Zookeepers' began taking their music to the clubs of Hollywood, running against the tide of the
slit-your-wrist alternative movement. Based on a strong following from his years of performing solo, the Zookeepers' local fan
base and popularity began to grow -- so much so, in fact, that in 1994, Fox-TV named the group one of the top five unsigned
bands in Los Angeles. That year, the band released its debut disk, The Zookeepers, on its own label.
Buoyed by their local success, the band took its show on the road, embarking on a three-state, 17-date tour. 'Sure, we were
playing to three people in Eugene, Oregon,” Patrick laughs, “but that was three more people who knew the Zookeepers were a
good band. And we knew that -- God willing -- if we could get back to Eugene, there'd be at least six people next time.'
And that's exactly what happened. Their popularity growing, the Zookeepers stopped touring only long enough to record Set
Me Free in 1995 and Leaving L.A. in 1997. Still unsigned, both releases were on the band's own label. 'We're not militantly
independent,' Patrick says. 'But we want to make records so we do.'