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The band developed out of the Marauders, a teen group which included Chris Gerniottis (vocals), Pete Stinson (guitar), and Rex Gregory (bass), and who then became the Riptides, adding lead guitarist John Lopez. By 1966, they had acquired a new drummer, Stan Moore, and had become the Zakary Thaks – the name being a mutated version of one seen in a magazine.
Influenced by blues guitarists as well as British and American groups of the period, the band soon gained local popularity. Their first record, for the local J-Beck label, combined an original composition, "Bad Girl", with a Kinks song, "I Need You". Released in mid-1966, it became a regional hit and was picked up nationally by Mercury Records. Its success won the band a spot supporting their heroes The Yardbirds.
A second single, "Face To Face" was less successful, but the band continued to tour, supporting acts including Jefferson Airplane and the 13th Floor Elevators. Later singles showed the band taking a more pop-focused approach. By 1968, Gerniottis had left the band for a while to join another group, the Liberty Bell, but returned later. However, the band did not repeat its early success, splitting up in the early 1970s.
In 1979, "Bad Girl" was included on the Volume 2 of the Pebbles anthology of mid-1960s garage bands, and has maintained its renown among collectors of the genre. The song was also included on disc four of the 1998 four-disc Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968 box set. A compilation of the band's singles was issued in May 2001.