History of Band and Members

The Chants R&B claim to be the only soul group in the country. Although they have been playing exclusively at a club in the heart of Christchurch, their fame has been spread throughout the land by excited visitors. They have been compared with the Stones, the Things, and even the Who, but in fact, they defy comparison. Their act is moody, ranging from wild exuberance to bluesy soul filled wailing. Their fans are devoted, not only to the boys themselves but to the music they innovated in this most conservative of cities.

Mike Rudd

The original member and sometimes spokesman for the group, Mike Rudd plays rhythm guitar, supplementing this with harmonica and soul filled vocals. Despite his raving it up on stage he is generally reserved and quiet. He enjoys most facets of music, preferring jazz and modern R&B. His favourite artists include James Brown, Otis Redding, Dusty Springfield and Wilson Pickett. Amongst his other interests is art, and he has been studying Design at the University of Canterbury for the past two years.

Jim Tomlin

Originally played piano with various groups in his home town of Invercargill, and then changed to guitar and ventured into the jazz field. His interest in soul – blues eventually led to him joining the newly formed, “Chants R&B” as lead guitar. Jim also plays harmonica, Bottleneck guitar and an Indian snake charming flute, which is featured on ‘I Want Her’. His favourite artists and composers range from the jazz pianists to Stravinsky and Bach. Jim is a university graduate and is now a high school teacher.

Martin Forrer

Born in England, Martin moved to New Zealand when he was six. At twelve he took up guitar and played lead in his own group for four years. He then switched to bass and it was in this capacity he was asked to play for the “Chants R&B”. Gospel, R&B and any music with an element of soul appeals to Martin. Mahalia Jackson and The Pretty Things are included among his favourite artists. Other interests are modifying and customizing cars, and sleeping. 

Trevor Courtney

The youngest member of the group and still at school. His wild and exuberant drumming dominates the group’s sound and his earthy voice is featured in a large proportion of the vocals. Them, The Downliners Sect, The Graham Bond Organisation and The Pretty Things, with Viv Prince in particular are among Trevor’s favourite artists. His preference for R&B is reflected in his large record collection and in his choice of composers (e.g. Van Morrison, Dick Taylor and Phil May). In addition to a weakness for colour combination of pink and black, Trevor has a passion for 18th century type clothes. It wasn’t just the older generation who had problems with modish hair and dress.