The early seventies in New Zealand was a great place for live music with venues everywhere catering to both original and covers bands. It was possible to make a reasonable living playing covers on the pub circuit and at private functions, dances, weddings and birthdays and in the Hutt Valley C&W Society I started out to do this, later working for UBA, one of Wellington's premier booking agencies and in the bands Southern Comfort, Tracta and Leaway. We worked and toured throughout Wellington, the Gold Cost, Wairarapa and as far north as Rotorua, playing with many different people including John Hore (later John Grenell), Steve Gilpin and Maria Dallas. It was sometimes necessary to have a day job and there were long periods when music wasn't providing much money but it was always the primary focus and as well as playing I continued to write my own material. Musicians I worked with in those days included Tony Florance, Wayne Svensek, Dennis Hunt, Angela Hyland, Daphne Hansen, Maureen Harvey, Ray Stroud, Bruce Hitchings, Alan Hansen, Mark Barratt, Terry and Peter Pirihi, Neville Berry and many more.
In 1977 I relocated to England, cut my hair and joined punk band the Gits, with Ziro Baby, Rick Gregorson and Phil Anderson. With Richard Kenyer replacing Anderson, we changed our name to Tronics and recorded the single 'Suzie's Vibrator'. Tronics carried on in various forms under the direction of Ziro Baby, later known as Zarjaz, and I left to join power trio the Reds, with Steve Payne and the multi-talented Mick Watson. Recordings from a session at the BBC, including the iconic 'Brixton Lives' are all that survive from this period. This was followed by a stint with the Lost Lovers (with Steve de la Haye, Lloyd Chapman, Jill Ryan and Colin Crowe) - and later Cindy Day and Syd Sydelnyk (Invaders, Style Council). A recording of our 'Broken Bangle' was made at Matrix in London, with guest guitar from Steve New (Rich Kids).
After a hiatus from music - a seven year break back in New Zealand during which I worked at some very non-musical jobs - in shipping and PC Support - I came to Australia in 1991 and joined Dangerous Goods, a big, loud blues band playing classic chicago 12-bars, texas boogie and a mixture of originals. With the impressive Howling Wolf style vocals of Troy Dwyer, plus guitarist Garry Meaklim and John Calder on bass, we played regularly in Victoria, including two sets at the Broadford Rock Concert and at the Melbourne Blues Festival, as well as touring New South Wales. A few recordings from this era survive, including a live-to-air radio broadcast and our Dane Centre recordings. I contributed just one original to the Goods, a 12-bar called 'North To Sydney'. but the lure of playing original music was always strong and by 1995 I was in the original rock trio, Scrimshaw, with Jo Brew (then Jo Cook) and Michael Macdermid.
Scrimshaw made one well received album, 'The Amazing Adventures of Mavis And Roy', on which I sang Jo's 'My Ghost' and 'Outside' and she sang two of my songs, 'Lady Of The Sands' and 'Whisper Wood'. Finally, I released my first solo record, 'In The Wake Of A Shadow' in 1998, with Michael and Jo helping out in the recording. Three tracks from this, 'Pitched Back With Venom', backed by 'Tamasha' and 'She Never Speaks', were released on vinyl in 2010.
Again, when I first arrived in Australia I had to make a living servicing PCs but since 1992 I have been back in music fulltime, selling records in my shop, Vinyl Solution, and now, with my live and recording career behind me I concentrate solely on the shop - but I enjoy being able to share some of the music I have made.