After a name change to Red Zebra and the recruitment of Dirk De Pauw as manager and Johan Isselee as new drummer, things start moving fast. The group plays support to The Cure and The Undertones and reaches the final round of the prestigious Belgian "Rock Rally" contest. Shortly after, an EP with tree selfpenned tracks is recorded : "Graveyard shuffle", "Innocent People" and "I can't live in a living room". They release the record on a D.I.Y. basis, and in no time "Living room" becomes an alternative chart topper. A cult hit is born and in the wake of its success Red Zebra intensively tour their native country together with De Brassers. Their second single "TV Activity/I'm falling apart" is produced by Paul Couter, while for the mini-album "Bastogne" (recorded with Chery Derycke on bass) Jean-Marie Aerts (of TC Matic fame) coaches the sessions in the ICP studios in Brussels.
"Bastogne", their most gloomy record until then, also becomes their most successful. With highlights such as "Art of conversation" and "Man comes from ape", it consolidates Red Zebra's position as one of Belgium's hottest groups and even generates interest from abroad. When in 1982 the band plays the Seaside Festival in De Panne, with new bass player Pip Vreede, Slabbynck proves during "Man comes from ape" that it's possible to sing and eat bananas at the same time. An achievement of sorts...
"Maquis", Red Zebra's first full-lenght album, is preceded by the singles "Lust/The beauty of the beast" and "Polar Club" and proves that the group has outgrown labels as "new wave" or "cold wave". Public and press however receive the record with mixed feelings. But the band continues to expand it's range: Bruno Melon, former guitarist with The Strings, joins the band and live the quintet is regularly reinforced with a brass section and a female backing vocalist. The 12-inch "Always", released in the summer of 1984, introduces a completely revised sound. Nevertheless, for at least one member it seems that Red Zebra has run its course: Peter Slabbynck leaves the group.
He is replaced by Patrick Provoost, which leaves Geert Maertens as the only remaining original Zebra. Demos are recorded ("True Poseurs" and "Behind Bars") and the new lineup continues to play live, but it's just not enough: in May 1986 Red Zebra officially ceases to exist ... for the time being.
In 1990 Slabbynck, Maertens, Isselee, Vreede and Melon get together and decide to play a number of reunion gigs. The audience definitely hasn't forgotten Red Zebra as sold-out extra shows clearly point out, and it becomes obvious that lots of people are hunting for Red Zebra on vinyl. The band hits upon the idea of releasing a compilation CD - quite a task, since a number of original tapes seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth ... after a long Quest for the Missing Tapes, the CD "From Ape to Zebra" is released, containing 20 original recordings. The CD does well and Red Zebra gains a new and rejuvenated audience.
The pressure to hit the road again grows, and early 1994 it's a fact: the "No Right to Remain Silent" tour gets into gear. During this tour a live CD "A Red Zebra is not a Dead Zebra", is recorded. Will this be the final farewell present by Red Zebra to their fans ?
Towards the end of 1994 the idea to reform the band for real sees the light. Guitarist Bruno Melon throws in his towel and is replaced by Nicolas Delfosse, former guitarist of Slabbynck's previous band The Boy Wonders. Early 1995 the Return of Red Zebra is marked by their appearance on two larger festivals, Rudd-Rock and Windo-Rock, where the band convince friend and foe alike by putting up a hell of a show.
Plans are made for new recordings and early 1996 a CD-single "Sanitized for your protection" sees the light. Pip Vreede decides to leave the band because of lack of time and is replaced by his friend and roadie Jurgen S. With him the band works on a new CD. At the end of April 1997 the new CD, the first in 14 years is a fact. Title: MIMICRY.
The single taken from the album is John Wayne
After the release, the band starts touring intensively for two years. Album guest Dett Peyskens joins the band as the first ever female "Zebra"
Meanwhile ... the band starts rehearsing new songs for the next album