Stripey Zebras
Stripey Zebras: 'Live in Burnett's Bedroom - Poster
Stripey Zebras: Left to right Steve Dobson (Bass), Paul Brown (Guitar), Martin Fulton sitting (Vocals), Martin Hardy also sitting (Guitar) and Graham Burnett (Drums)
Stripey Zebras - Live in Burnett's Bedroom - Poster
L-R: Steve Dobson, Paul Brown, Martin Fulton sitting, Martin Hardy also sitting and Graham Burnett
...The Story...

Stripey Zebras: The First Gig - July 1980 - left to right Martin, Paul Brown and Steve Dobson Stripey Zebras were much more influenced by the Punk 'get up on stage and just do it' ethos rather than any actual affiliation to the Southend Punk Scene. However, as they played at the same venues as their punk contemporaries they were part of the Southend Music Scene of the early '80's.

Stripey Zebras were loosely formed around March/April of 1980. The original line up consisted of Martin Fulton on Vocals, Paul Brown on Guitar and Steve Dobson who had just purchased a bass guitar. The trio was to have been augmented on drums by 'Trog'.

The debut concert was booked for July 1980 and Graham Burnett, who had never sat at a drum kit, was hastily bought into service, as was Martin Hardy who was drafted in owing to Paul Brown nearly cancelling at the last moment.

"We are mighty, we are stripey, we are ….Zebras”

Their debut performance at Zero Six was truly memorable and they played many of their songs twice, as encore followed encore. Audience members described them as 'the weirdest band ever seen or heard.' Encouraged by this positive comment Stripeys decided to continue.

The songs played at that time were 'Monsters on TV' (Godzilla). 'Donny and Marie' (Osmond's), 'Wild Thing' (Troggs), 'Disco, disco' (They loved it). As the song titles may convey, they did not cover serious subject matter but were more of a laugh, more of a counter point to the strong political songs done by many of their Punk contemporaries

Stripey Zebras: Live at The Zero 6Further, stronger songs were developed as the band became more musically proficient (ironically this was to be their downfall). 'Skellington Flat' (where most of the band lived at some time or rather), 'Sore eyes party' (one of the true songs about a real party),'Greta Garbo goes shopping (Totally untrue and Steve sang this one live).

The band was augmented at various stages by Wayne Kermode (Guitar and backing vocals), Colin Dobson (Steve's brother on guitar who was chucked out for being too good looking), Sheena Fulton (occasional vocals), and Julian Ware-Lane (played guitar at one gig).

Musically the band members were most collectively influenced by 'The Fall' and this sound would be the closest form of reference as Martins lyrics denoted a development away from the earlier, 'wackier' aspects. Other influences were 'The Residents',' The Prats', 'The Slits', and 'Sparks'.

Most of the above song titles are featured on 'Live in Burnett's Bedroom' which was a tape cassette, recorded later on that year.

The Stripey Zebras were name checked in Smash Hits (Top Ten Bands named after animals, beating 'Adam and the Ants') and in NME (Garage Band Section). Some of their song titles made it into the Obscurist Charts in 'Sounds Magazine'.

Stripey Zebras: Live at The Zero 6Stripey Zebra's musical ability increased and some strong songs such as 'Why are Piano's rude?' (because they go plink plonk), 'Sergeant Bilko Plays Pop' (Iwojima) illustrated the growing development. However this lead to musical differences in the band as Martin wanted the band to move away from the wacky lyrics of old and become more of a true band. However, it was generally felt that the group had developed musically as far as they could go and it was decided to call it a day.

Graham formed Autumn Poison (with many members of the Stripey Zebras helping out in rehearsal stages). Steve joined another Southend group - The Get.

Stripey Zebras reformed for one last gig in late 1981 and never played again. Although there have been musical collaborations since such as 'Dr Pretorious and the Lazy Sluts' (Steve, Graham and Julian Ware-Lane of 86 Mix) 'The Beer Poofs' (Steve and Graham) which were cassette based only.

Sadly Martin Fulton died in 1999 and his funeral was attended by Graham, Martin and Steve. In 2013, Colin Dobson died on May 24th, in Harlem, Holland.

Occasionally, cassettes come up for sale over the internet and Graham still hears that Stripey Zebras generate interest. A very limited edition CD collecting all of the material from 'Live in Burnett's Bedroom' plus a selection of other live tracks was compiled a few years ago by Graham and Paul Brown, we will consider making this more widely available if there is enough interest.

Profile by Steve Dobson

Special Southend Punk Feature - Click Here to see a special Stripey Zebras Gallery!
Stripey Zebras - 'Videos'


'Messthetics Greatest Hiss (#110) - An introduction to the DIY Cassette Scene 1979 - 1982' - 25 Track Enhanced CD - Features the Song 'Walking Home' by The Stripey Zebras

'Messthetics Greatest Hiss (#110) - An introduction to the DIY Cassette Scene 1979 - 1982' - Features The Stripey Zebras song 'Walking Home' - CD (Hyped To Death H2D - 2008)


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