When Graham Brazier died on 4 September 2015 it was a shock – I thought he had had a longer lasting battery. Looking through the many photos I took of Graham over the years, I was amazed at how many there were and that I do not have a comparable collection of photos of any other musician. I was a fan of Hello Sailor and worked with Graham to record and release the East Of Eden album in 2004, but the longevity of our association does not explain why I have so many photos of the man.

To be blunt, Graham was into having his photo taken and in my case I think in the spirit of helping me take great photos. The cynical will say: “rock star poseur” but us photographers appreciate the assistance of the musician who can perform on and off stage. Most of the best photos I have taken are interesting because of what the people in the photos contribute to that moment in time.

Graham was aware of the arts, beyond music. He was a poet himself, his mother was a bibliophile actively running bookshops since 1933. He collected first edition books by writers such as Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Raymond Chandler and James K. Baxter.

Graham could communicate with an audience in an emotional sense and a visual sense, in addition to his musical performance. Just as he had empathy for poets and writers he was not above helping a photographer to get a good photo.

After Hello Sailor played at the University Recreation Centre in early 1978, he was speaking to friends near backstage and I was lurking, doing my usual “fly on the wall” photographer thing. After speaking with friends, Graham asked me, “Do want to take a photo?” I did but didn’t seem to have the balls to ask him. The available light was limited, so he moved to where I could take a photo. A couple of clicks and it was “thank you” and “goodbye”. I have chosen that photo to lead off this series of photos I took of Graham over the years. On other occasions when I was nearby with my camera ready, I’d get that nod of approval from him, “Okay, this will make a great photo.”

Admin thumb gb 01 ak uni rec centre1

The after show backstage portrait Graham found time for after they had performed one of their finest shows at the Auckland University Recreation Centre, early 1978.

Admin thumb gb 02 globe july77

In simpler times, the Globe Hotel, Wakefield St, Auckland.

Admin thumb gb 03 davemcart graham

Waiting for something? Brothers in music, Dave McArtney and Graham on stage at the Gluepot.

Admin thumb gb 04 akuni precoketour77

Mr Tambourine Man, playing Auckland University Café, 1977.

Admin thumb gb 05 hs july77interview pic 3

The first TV2 Telethon was nearing its conclusion as we interviewed Dave McArtney and Graham Brazier at their Jervois Road flat in July 1977. Their eyes glanced at the tele to check the skyrocketing Telethon total, during the interview. There were four of us from Rip It Up: a photographer, an editor, a writer and a girlfriend.

Admin thumb gb 06 hs july77 int 2

Graham looks young in this photo and is wearing rather casual, sporty attire on his day off.

Admin thumb gb 07 ripitup cover august 1977

After Hello Sailor appeared on the cover of the third issue of Rip It Up in August 1977, Graham Brazier stopped by the magazine’s office, above Snaps Gallery in Airedale Street. He thought we had a fine magazine. As co-publisher I had asked original editor Alastair Dougal, “Why are we putting a band that plays a small bar like the Globe on the cover?” He considered them to be as good as any band that played larger venues.

Admin thumb gb 08 hs slackalice 1

Hello Sailor doing a photo session for a Wellington newspaper at Slack Alice’s nightclub. Also in town were the Suburban Reptiles. Buster Stiggs commented in 2013: “The old wave v new wave thing was just a way to get publicity, I did an interview with Graham, Harry and Dave with John Hood on Radio Windy where we totally slagged each other. Graham referred to us ‘The Suburban Roof Tiles’. I renamed them ‘Goodbye Sailor’. After the interview, we had a good laugh and partied on hard.”

Admin thumb gb 09 hs gluepot live

Graham and Lisle Kinney at the Gluepot, Hello Sailor’s new home as their audience grew.

Admin thumb gb 10 hs gluepot live2

Graham and Lisle Kinney at the Gluepot.

Admin thumb gb 11 grahamb marchuntergreatwestmf grey

Marc Hunter of Dragon and Graham Brazier, Great Western Festival, 15 January 1978. Rip It Up called Hello Sailor “the chief crowd pleasers” on the day as many punters were bemused by Dragon’s move from prog to pop.

Admin thumb gb 12 hs navy rehearsal 4

Dressed (and seated) to rehearse at the naval depot in Birkenhead.

Admin thumb gb 13 hello sailor aucktownhall

Graham on a big stage, the Auckland Town Hall.

Admin thumb gb 14 hs grahamhismajestys

Graham heads for the stage, His Majesty’s Theatre, Auckland.

Admin thumb gb 15 hellosailor hismajesys maybe

Those “Hello Sailor boots” had heels. This stage is probably His Majesty's Theatre.

Admin thumb gb 16 hs hismajstysthtre maybe

Graham’s black pants with the red stripe were a wardrobe highlight.

Admin thumb gb 17 hs joesdiner

Graham is upstaged by Lisle Kinney, wearing a very cool T-shirt.

Admin thumb gb 20 hellosailor mainstreet

“Son of Sam, bam, bam, bam, bam” – I presume – at Mainstreet Cabaret.

Admin thumb gb 21 hs mainstreet post usa 4

There was no lack of energy when Hello Sailor returned to their hometown from LA. I suspect Graham is wearing new, post-USA trousers.

Admin thumb gb 22 hs sweetwaterspissed

As the show ran late at the inaugural Sweetwaters Festival in 1980, the acts appearing later in the evening had had a beer or two, too many. Hello Sailor got bad reviews. This may have been the largest audience they ever played to.

Admin thumb gb 24 grahambrazier lane 8 exhibit

This 1981 Rip It Up magazine photo session was done in the old cobblestone lane that linked Darby Street to Victoria St, just downstairs from the Rip It Up office.

Admin thumb gb 25 grahambrazier lane b w

Black and white suits Graham big time. He was facing a criminal charge, something like loitering with intent outside a chemist shop.

Admin thumb gb 26 grahambrazier col lane 3 eye

The release of Graham’s Inside Out album was on the horizon and this session included colour shots for a possible Rip It Up cover. Graham looks younger in colour.

Admin thumb gb 27 grahamb harry2

Stand by your man. An outtake from the Rip It Up August 1982 cover photo session.

Admin thumb gb 28 grahambmainstreet1

Multi-tasking. Graham could pee and take a fine photo at the same time. Venues are still being built with no backstage toilet for musicians.

Admin thumb gb 29 grahambrazier strawberryfields

Hello Sailor played Strawberry Fields Festival, Raglan, on Sunday 25 February 1995, and got an enthusiastic review from Rip It Up’s John Russell in the April issue.

Admin thumb gb 30 grahambrazier ferry buildings

I thought Graham would live forever. He looked so strong a week before his death. I regretted being too busy to talk for hours with him, I regretted not seeing his poems published and I regretted my not taking many photos when I worked with him on the release of his 2004 album East Of Eden. This year I found a lot of photos I took during that time – I just forgot that I had taken them. Here’s a favourite of Graham on the Devonport Ferry en route to work with producer Rikki Morris at the Depot studio.


All photos © 1977 to 2016 Murray Cammick, used by permission.