A conglomerate of several Sarnia garage bands in the mid ’60s, Zooom was centered around singers/guitarists Kim Mitchell and Jim Chevalier. Mitchell and drummer Brian McLellan had left The Quotations, and Chevalier, along with bassist Dave Myles and Phil Goodwin on keyboards and sax had just dissolved their own band, The Unit Four.

The new fivesome changed their name to Big Al’s Band while still learning the covers of the day while doing the high school dances around the area, as well as a regular weekend gig at the roller rink. Their reputation and talents grew, and so did the venues. They played at several events around the GTA, and even socred some dates in Michigan, highlighted by opening for The MC5 in Battle Creek.

By early 1970 they’d outgrown Sarnia and moved to Toronto. Still developing a style that incorporated their British Blues roots, while soaking up all the new sounds around them, Zooom was born. They conquered the smaller clubs in and around the Toronto area, as well as Purgatory in London and Electric Circus in Toronto, where they opened for Brit prog rockers Family. Mitchell was the youngest and still a teen humping his guitar, playing covers while they tried to find themselves, but couldn’t make a go of it.

The band split up by ’72, and everyone went their separate ways. After a sabatical in Greece, Mitchell would of course go on to form Max Webster (one lineup which featured Myles on bass). Hooking up with lyricist Pye Dubois, they became one of most successful Canadian songwriting duos in rock history, and scored huge with several gold singles.

Then of course he’d go on to surpass those feats when he went solo in the early ’80s.

  • With notes from Kim Mitchell and Greg Simpson

Max websterKim Mitchell