From 1970-74 The Kal-Q-Lated Risk released 11 singles and an album, then followed in The Fourmyula’s footsteps, travelling to England on a cruise ship and recording an album in London for Decca in 1976. Decca spared no expense and the band’s prospects looked quite promising. Sadly, however, Decca did not release the finished album and the band’s members parted company in 1977 – still only in their mid-twenties.
The Kal-Q-Lated Risk’s genesis was in the small Wairarapa town of Featherston. In 1966, fourth-former Bernie Carey was invited to join The Factors. The band’s line-up was Carl Evensen (bass and vocals), Wayne Thurston (guitar), Bernie Carey (keyboards) and Bradley Dickinson (drums).
“In fact, I started off on the drums, because Bradley Dickinson couldn’t make it to a gig one night,” Carey says. “Carl and I were from Featherston. Wayne was from South Featherston and Bradley was from Carterton.”
Carey had been taking piano lessons for around four years.
“When I went to secondary school, to play piano was almost frowned upon,” Carey says. “The big thing to do was to play guitar or drums.”
There were several early line-up changes. Dave Cameron, from Featherston, came in on bass, allowing Evensen to focus on vocals, and drummer Mike Guildford replaced Dickinson.
“I was recruited by Carl Evensen,” Guildford says. “Previously, I’d set up a band in Martinborough with Dave Cameron, Grant Thomas and Brent Thomas, who later married Sharon O’Neill. We called ourselves So Inspired, then Mode Of Existence.”
Cameron and Guildford attended Kuranui College in Greytown. A teacher at the college, Laki Apelu, replaced Thurston, playing alongside the college’s two students in their new band.
Prior to Guildford joining, the band had in 1967 changed its name to The Kal-Q-Lated Risk.
“One of my sisters came up with the name,” Carey says. “But we came up with the spelling. Then Carl got snapped up by The Fourmyula [in early 1968], so we got Ian Taylor [on vocals], who was going to school with me at St Joseph’s College in Masterton. Ian was from Raupunga, between Napier and Wairoa.”
In early 1969, Upper Hutt guitarist Phil Hope replaced Apelu, who had returned to Samoa at short notice.
“The Fourmyula’s Martin Hope told his little brother Phil to come and have a play with us, and he did, and stayed with us,” Carey says.
Hope’s first band was The Intruders, in 1967.
“The Intruders played together for a year or so and then drifted apart as we left school and got real jobs,” Hope says. “I joined up with The Kal-Q-Lated Risk. Because they were based in Featherston, I got to know ‘the hill’ – the Rimutakas – very well.
“We were the epitome of a covers band. That’s what our audience wanted.”
“We were the epitome of a covers band. That’s what our audience wanted. We would go to the local Featherston record shop and buy the Top 10 each week – it didn’t matter what it was. We had a record player and we’d take the singles out to a little hall between Featherston and Martinborough, and we would sit down and learn those songs, note for note. The Beatles, Cream, Three Dog Night, Marmalade, The Osmonds and The Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ – we played them all! The latter song we slowed down to 33rpm for that current Vanilla Fudge feel and sound.”
Barry Rushton replaced Guildford on drums in mid-1969.
“I’d bought a set of Ludwig drums at a shop in Wellington, earlier in 1969,” Guildford says. “I got them about a week before the Wellington Battle Of The Bands – we came runner-up to Cellophane [the eventual national winner]. The band wanted to go professional after that. I was quite keen, but I had to make a decision about a job and what I wanted to do.
“As we became more popular, we would play Friday and Saturday nights in the Wairarapa, Manawatu or Wellington, then practise on Sundays, so it was quite full on when working as well. They wanted a decision from me and that’s when I pulled out. I do sometimes regret that decision, as it would have been a blast. It was one of the magic moments in my life, being with a great bunch of mates.
“I continued to play until about three years ago, in cabaret and covers bands in halls around the Wairarapa districts, but I sold the Ludwig drums for $300 to buy an engagement ring!”
Rushton, who went to Wairarapa College in Masterton, had seen The Kal-Q-Lated Risk play a lunchtime concert and was suitably impressed. A chance meeting with Ian Taylor, soon after, led to an invitation for Rushton to try out for the band in Featherston.
“I borrowed a Slingerland set of drums from a guy at the top of my road and went down. Whether it was enthusiasm, eagerness or whatever, I got the job,” Rushton says. “Unbelievable. To this day, I credit everything that I have or have done with the experience of being in that band.”
The band turned professional when school finished at the end of 1969, under the guidance of Perry Lennon, who had previously managed The Fourmyula. The first booking was a December/January residency at the Manawatu Boat Club Hall, Foxton Beach.
“Our first big gig was supporting the Beach Boys at the Wellington Town Hall,” Hope says.
HMV staff producer Alan Galbraith signed the band to the HMV label.
“It was still the period where, as a producer, I was interested in signing artists and finding them material,” Galbraith says. “The bands were writing a bit, but not a lot – and some of what they were writing wasn’t really quite good enough to cut it in a hit-parade sense. And, let’s be honest, as producers, myself and Peter Dawkins were interested in the charts. We wanted to make hit records. At that point, it was all about the charts and it was all about producers running the show. I don’t say that with a great deal of pride, but that’s how it was.”
The first single, ‘I’ll Be Home (In A Day Or So)’ backed with ‘Rachel, Rachel’, was released in mid-1970. The B-side was an original, penned by Carey and Taylor, while Peter Williams, Christchurch-born guitarist with Max Merritt & The Meteors, during the ’60s – and, later, singer and guitarist with Australian bands The Groove and The Mixtures, wrote the A-side.
The Marmalade, a UK band, first recorded ‘I’ll Be Home’, including it on the Reflections Of The Marmalade album. Soon after, Dream Police, with future Average White Band singer Hamish Stuart, released their version as a single. Irish singer Joe Dolan and New Zealand’s Frankie Stevens also covered the song. The Marmalade’s Junior Campbell had a hand in the Dream Police version.
“Junior Campbell told me recently he loved the song so much he produced the Dream Police version, because they were in the same management stable as The Marmalade in Scotland,” Peter Williams says.
“They were always really easy to work with ... There was no drama” – HMV producer Alan Galbraith
“They were always really easy to work with,” Galbraith says of The Kal-Q-Lated Risk. “They were very competent, musically, and very tight as a band. They knew their own limitations, and were quite happy to stay within the bounds of what they knew they could do well. They were a pop band and they liked that role. They’d put their heart and soul into it and they’d do a good job of it in the studio.
“I can remember going to rehearsals in a little hall in Featherston. Everything we did in the studio we’d rehearse outside the studio. They would listen and they would take advice. It was an easy working relationship. There was no drama. They’d just get down to work and produce the goods.”
“We’d recorded it, put it out, and it had just gone into the charts,” Hope says. “One afternoon, I was listening to Top Of The Pops from London and the Dream Police came on. And it was a disaster, because their version was really good, and I thought, ‘This is so embarrassing,’ because ours wasn’t. It was okay, but it wasn’t as good as that. I think the deal was that HMV had the rights to release our version in New Zealand and keep the other one out.”
The band recorded the single at HMV’s Wellington studio, on a 4-track recorder, assisted by producer Alan Galbraith and sound engineer Peter Hitchcock. Former swing bandleader Don Richardson supplied the orchestral arrangement. Bernie Carey remembers that first experience in the studio for the young band members, who were still in their teens, very well.
“That was incredibly scary, because we didn’t know what to expect,” Carey says. “We were from the country. Carl had warned us that Peter Hitchcock was really strict. He’d spent a couple of years working in a studio in the UK [London’s Lansdowne Studios] and his claim to fame was that he’d worked on a Dave Clark Five single. So when he came back here, he ruled with an iron fist. You would be in the middle of a take, everyone had calmed down and you were going brilliantly. Then you’d suddenly see him get up and walk out of the studio, because he was going for his lunch at 12 o’clock. He’d also walk out at 10 o’clock and 3 o’clock for his morning and afternoon tea breaks. We were shitting ourselves. I was terrified.”
“Weren’t we all?” Galbraith adds. “When I first went in there and recorded with Sounds Unlimited, it was a bit overwhelming. I think because of my own experience, I was always keen to try and make younger bands feel at ease. Peter was a great engineer. When I went to work in England, I went to Lansdowne Studios and they worshipped him, there – they thought he was great. But he couldn’t really be bothered with people who wasted his time, which is unfortunate when you’re working with young bands, because you have to allow for that.”
‘I’ll Be Home (In A Day Or So)’ was a finalist in the 1970 Loxene Golden Disc Award.
The band’s second single, ‘What Makes A Man’ backed with ‘Julia’, was released in late 1970. The A-side was a Carey-Taylor composition that sounded quite like The Fourmyula, and Australian Ted Mulry wrote the B-side. Alan Galbraith again handled production duties and Garth Young orchestrated the A-side.
“Even though we weren’t recording a lot of originals, I certainly wanted to record originals and encouraged it wherever I could,” Galbraith says. “‘Let’s do it and see how it comes out. If it comes out as good as the other stuff, let’s go with it, if we can.’”
The second single would be the last with Ian Taylor on vocals. He was replaced by Willie Davidson, from Dunedin, who joined the band in 1971.
“I was in a band with friends,” Davidson says. “We all met at bible class. We called ourselves Marjimbru Plus Two – there were Martin, Jim and Brent, and I was one of the ‘plus twos.’ We played at local dances in Port Chalmers, Ravensbourne and St Leonards. We also played a lot of bible class dances and those sorts of things, before we got a Friday-night residency at a teen club in town.
“We were the support band for The Kal-Q-Lated Risk in Queenstown, one Christmas – it must have been 1970. They were touring the South Island and they were very popular. That’s when I was asked to join the group, because Ian was leaving. He was going off to do military service and then going on to Otago University.”
Taylor, of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāpuhi descent, graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree. He went on to become a TV presenter, and to establish businesses in television production (Taylormade) and computer animation (Animation Research), based in Dunedin.
Davidson’s first single with the band was ‘Angelina’ backed with ‘Love Child’, recorded at HMV – probably on the new 8-track recorder. Neil Innes, of Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Monty Python and Rutles fame, wrote the A-side. The original single was by UK outfit The World, and Slade also covered the song.
The Kal-Q-Lated Risk’s version of ‘Angelina’ sounded every bit the classic pop song.
The Kal-Q-Lated Risk’s version of ‘Angelina’ sounded every bit the classic pop song, propelled by Davidson’s powerful, remarkably accomplished vocals – the original’s cheesy “Ooh, shoo shoo bow” line replaced by the better-fitting “La, la la la.” The single reached No.16 on the national charts and was a finalist in the 1971 Loxene Golden Disc Award.
“We were very big on ‘La las,’” Galbraith says. “It came from The Fourmyula – Wayne Mason did it first! I always liked working with Ian, but Willie brought a different style and he had what it took.”
“I was very excited,” Davidson says. “I thought this was the big time – from Port Chalmers, to be in HMV Studio in Wellington with Alan Galbraith. The other guys had been in the studio before, so they seemed like old hands and they knew Alan well. Alan was a great singer himself, so with the singing, sometimes he would get on the vocals with me.
“I was very proud of it and then all of a sudden the Loxene Golden Disc starts winding up. The record companies all get involved and all of a sudden we were in that as well. It was the kind of thing where you went out and got votes. Everyone was very enthusiastic and we went out and did that. The women running the fan club in Palmerston North did a lot of work, too. It was a bit like the US election, pushing your song and getting votes. It was all hugely exciting.
“The televised final was all lip-synched. It was great, because you were there with all your peers. There were people who had been on television for years and years – Suzanne Lynch and Ray Columbus. So it was all a bit mind-boggling, as far as I was concerned.”
The single’s B-side, ‘Love Child’, was a musically adventurous, slowed-down arrangement of the Diana Ross & The Supremes single. Galbraith captured a really nice sound on the backing vocals.
“The arrangement would have been the band’s,” Galbraith says. “I think it’s something I heard in their live set and thought, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ They were probably more experimental than they were given credit for. Around that time, HMV put their first harmonisers into the studio, which means you could do automatic double tracking. So you could throw that machine onto your vocal backing and immediately thicken it up and get almost a chorus-like effect on it. When HMV bought a new piece of equipment, you’d hear it on everything for the next three months – then we lost interest!”
“It was quite different,” Davidson says of ‘Love Child’. “A lot of people said good things about it.”
“You could slow stuff down in the studio,” Carey says. “It was just a method of trying to find a new slant or a new sound. You could copy a record on to a reel-to-reel tape, like Diana Ross & The Supremes, play it backwards, and you got a melody back… and you got all these funky rhythms. We tried that and I think that’s the one song we did do it with. But because I was classically trained, I started saying, ‘Hey, listen. This isn’t real music. We have to be more original and think of our own melodies, and put more soul into it.’ We were all into writing original material, which was wonderful.”
Follow-up single, later in 1971, was ‘Looking Through The Eyes Of A Beautiful Girl’ backed with ‘Pixie Rock’. Irishman Tommy Swarbrigg wrote the A-side and the B-side was a jazz-tinged group composition. The original version of the A-side was released in 1970 by Swarbrigg’s Irish showband, The Times. Australian groups Autumn and The Strangers also released covers, in 1970.
“I was scouring the publishing catalogues from those pop writers,” Galbraith says. “They were all writing good, solid pop songs. But, after a while, they all started to sound a bit the same.”
The song’s easy-listening melody was accompanied on The Kal-Q-Lated Risk’s version by an orchestrated backing arranged by Garth Young. The song rose to No.14 on the national charts, helped by a light-hearted promotional video.
“That was done in Dunedin, up by the university and going up to the Botanic Garden,” Davidson says. “We were down this way, touring and it was filmed by Stewart Macpherson. It was all done within a day. The lead singer was to do the main acting with the girl. They had a car and I was to drive the car with the girl, but I had to say, ‘I don’t have my licence.’ So it was all done on a bus. We just flagged down a bus, said we’re filming, and the bus driver said, ‘Oh, hop on.’ So it was all done on public transport!”
“There was always tons of energy. We were leaping around ... and our clothes were over-the-top. The crowds loved it” –vocalist Willie Davidson
In April 1971, The Kal-Q-Lated Risk had headlined an outdoor concert in Peka Peka, north of Wellington – Creation and Highway were also on the bill. “It made the news, because the Mongrel Mob and Satan’s Slaves decided to have a ‘get-together’ in front of the stage,” Hope says.
“These two gangs marched on the hill with their flags,” Davidson says. “Then they came down and caused havoc – right up on to the stage. It was terrifying. Phil met a guy at a party who was in one of the gangs. He said, ‘I remember you being on stage – threatening you.’”
A few minutes of grainy film of The Kal-Q-Lated Risk’s performance that day, taken from the side of the stage, show a band that really put on a show and played with great energy.
“Yes, there was always tons of energy,” Davidson says. “The band was very much a visual thing. We were moving around and leaping around. Bernie would come somersaulting over his Hammond organ. So it was very visual and our clothes were over-the-top. The crowds loved it.”
Bass player Dave Cameron left the band to study dentistry at Otago University – he now practises in Invercargill. He played a Hofner violin bass in the band, à la Paul McCartney. “It was great fun and I still love playing,” says Cameron, who eventually traded in the Hofner for a Fender Jazz bass.
Bob Coulter, from Wellington, replaced Cameron. Coulter had played rhythm guitar on Abdullah’s Regime’s ‘Sally, I Do’, the first single released on Ode Records, in November 1968.
“A guy called Mark Dalley wrote that song,” Coulter says. “We were mates from college. He lived about three doors down the road from me. I used to go down to his place and was always incredibly impressed that he wrote his own songs. I don’t think he ever actually did anything after that – that was about it, for him. He asked me to play guitar on it. The chords in the song were about the only chords I knew. It was fairly down-home rhythm guitar.”
Coulter had spent four years working at the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.
“I got a job at Broadcasting in Bowen Street – at the NZBC, as it was grandly called then,” Coulter recalls. “It was a government corporation and it acted like one, although there were some really interesting people. I worked alongside Midge Marsden and Tony Backhouse. We were what you would now call a producer, but we weren’t anything like that – we were Programme Officers, grade 1. But, of course, we got to work with music every day and I wrote a few radio documentaries, which was sort of unheard of, in the day. They got played and sponsored, and I just became more and more in love with music, generally.
“In the latter stages of my working there, when private radio started, suddenly we had to up the ante. I used to work on 2ZM and interview groups. I’d interview passing celebrities and edit my voice out. The Kal-Q-Lated Risk guys came in. We clicked and I got to know them really well. It was just a friendship – it was nothing to do with musical ability. But, two things happened. Dave Cameron was leaving to become a dentist, so they were looking around for a new bass player and they also knew they probably needed to write their own material.
“I had started writing songs in the confines of my bedroom that were pretty modest and pretty ordinary. So when they invited me up to the Wairarapa, we were plunking about and I had the acoustic guitar. I said I had a couple of little ideas and played them something. I was surprised how impressed they were. Bernie, who was the default leader of the band, said, ‘Why don’t you join us and play bass?’
“I said, ‘I would absolutely love to. Just a small but significant fact: I’ve never picked up a bass guitar in my life.’
“He went, ‘Well, how hard can it be? It’s only got four strings!’
“So, I did. I threw in my job at Broadcasting. I was about 20, which was quite late to be just starting – having never been in a band before. And I jumped straight into what was quite a successful group. They were working around the country and were well paid. I was certainly earning a lot more than I earned at Broadcasting. I was hopeless, initially – unbelievably hopeless. But, something you do every day, you get better at.”
Time for an album
The year 1972 would prove to be a prolific one for the band, with four singles and an album being released. The first single with Coulter on board was ‘Touching Me Touching You’ backed with ‘Hold On’. UK songwriters Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett penned the A-side, and the B-side was written by Coulter. Alan Galbraith produced the A-side.
“I always looked at Fletcher and Flett’s songs, because they always had something interesting,” Galbraith says. “It was a good song and it suited the band.”
“I enjoyed ‘Touching Me Touching You’, Davidson says. “It was just a nice melody. I really loved singing that song. It was very poppy, as was ‘Looking Through The Eyes Of A Beautiful Girl’. I always quite liked the melody in that, too.”
The album, Holding Our Own, was recorded at HMV with engineer Peter Hitchcock and producer Mike Le Petit.
The album, Holding Our Own, was recorded at HMV with engineer Peter Hitchcock and producer Mike Le Petit. Alan Galbraith was in the UK at the time, in a third-party repertoire role – working with labels licensed to EMI, including Mickie Most’s RAK Records.
“Both Alan and Mike were phenomenal musicians,” Davidson says. “Mike was a wonderful pianist. We hadn’t heard anyone play the piano like him. So we realised he was a guy with a very strong musical background and strong technique as a pianist, whereas Alan was a singer and guitarist. We felt very pleased to be working with Mike – just the things we were learning from him. And he was very much learning, too, I think, being in a studio. He was an unassuming sort of man, but he had a fantastic capacity as a musician.”
Barry Rushton played drums on seven of the album’s numbers. A new drummer, Steve Hudson, joined the band and played on the remaining five songs. Rushton had got married in December 1971, and he and wife Vicky found out soon after that Vicky was pregnant.
“That’s when I thought I needed to do something else to provide for family,” Rushton says. “I left the band to get a real job and bought a house in Palmerston North.”
Rushton went on to become a Doctor of Chiropractic, studying in the United States. He would continue to play in bands – both here and in the States. He was the drummer in a popular Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons cover band while in the US, and continues to play with his 1970s friends The Rumour – also featuring Judy Hindman [née Donaldson] from The Chicks. Rushton reviews movies and music on television’s long-running baby-boomer chat show The Beat Goes On.
“We’d seen Steve play down in Dunedin, and because Willie was from Dunedin, Willie knew him better than us,” Carey says.
Steve Hudson left his group Hudson to join The Kal-Q-Lated Risk in March 1972. “Within a week, I would have a shave, a haircut and a nice shirt,” Hudson recalls. Also within a week, he would be in the studio, recording with his new band.
The album was somewhat transitional, musically. It contained a mix of pop songs and more rock-orientated material. About half the material on the album is original.
“It was just in that era when we considered ourselves to be slightly serious musicians,” Coulter says. “I think even Holding Our Own was regarded as a slightly edgy kind of thing to call something. But HMV wanted to position us as pop stars – like The Partridge Family, or something. So there are a lot of things like ‘favourite food’ on the back cover of the album. But it’s way past its embarrassment date and it’s like an old photograph – you look at it quite kindly and with bemusement, now.”
Carey’s favourite track on the album is ‘Mama Don’t Cry’.
“It was a bit like The Doors,” Carey says. “It was in a minor key and it just flowed naturally. It was something I really liked playing.”
The next single, complete with picture sleeve, was ‘Lady One And Only’ backed with ‘Misty Eyes’ – both were numbers from the album. The A-side had been released as a single in 1970 by UK singer Bobby Sansom. It’s a song that neither Davidson nor Carey cared much for. Carey and Coulter wrote the B-side.
“HMV picked the songs that we had to do, because we weren’t writing songs they liked enough,” Carey says. “But we insisted on putting one of our originals on the back. That’s the best we could do.”
For the next single off the album, ‘Waiting On You’ backed with ‘Down Inside Me’, the band was billed as Willie Davidson And The Kal-Q-Lated Risk. Unusually, the A-side was an original, written by Carey and Coulter, and the B-side was a Leon Russell song.
“It was for the Loxene Golden Disc Award,” Davidson recalls. “HMV didn’t feel that The Kal-Q-Lated Risk song they were putting in was a strong song. I think it was done that way, just to have two fingers in the pie. And Peter Sinclair had suggested I go up to Auckland and do a solo thing on Happen Inn. I was taken aback by that and then the record company was saying, ‘Why don’t we do this single?’ But I never did the solo thing. I just stayed with the band. We loved ‘Down Inside Me’ – it was a song we played a lot, after that. I always liked it and I still do.”
The fourth single in 1972 was ‘Lazy River’ backed with ‘Rock ’n Roll Gypsies’. Neither song was on the album. The A-side, a cover of a song by ex-Easybeats members Harry Vanda and George Young, was a finalist in the 1972 Loxene Golden Disc Award – the third straight year the band had made the finals. The B-side was written by Roger Tillison and first recorded by Tillison’s band Gypsy Trips, in 1965 – arranged and produced by Leon Russell. Vinegar Joe, with Elkie Brooks on vocals, also released a version in 1972.
“The banjo player from The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band played banjo on ‘Lazy River’,” Carey says. “He was brilliant, but you couldn’t perform it on stage unless you had him. I could never understand why we did that.”
From dance halls to hotels
The band parted company with manager Perry Lennon.
“Perry decided he wanted to do other things, because there was talk that maybe we would go to the UK, just following on from The Fourmyula,” Davidson says. “It just seemed to be our destiny to do whatever they did. Perry had been to the UK with The Fourmyula, but I think he thought, ‘No, no, no. I’ve been there, done that.’
“Up until Perry left, we just played dances on a Friday or Saturday night. We’d rehearse all week and then go and play at a dance somewhere. Perry would organise the hall and posters, and we’d arrive to a hall full of people who were really keen to see us. When Perry left, Bernie Carey had good management skills … and Bob Coulter, too. They came together and said, ‘We can do this, ourselves.’ So off we went, and it just got bigger and better from there, really.
The band members got $1.50 a week. The rest of the money went into a kitty to pay all expenses.
“When I first joined the band, I was told I’d get $1.50 a week – that’s the pay that everyone got. The money just went into a big pool, which would pay for dry cleaning, petrol, meals and accommodation. That was all paid for and you didn’t need much money. A lot of the guys were still at home, and I boarded with Phil Hope and his parents. And then we were paying for Perry. So there was never a great deal of money, but it paid for everything. But after Perry left, it was a whole new era, with Bernie managing – with Bob, with us making decisions and voting and that kind of stuff.”
New liquor licensing laws had allowed hotels to stay open into the evening. In 1971, Lion Breweries appointed an entertainment manager, Richard Holden, who set up a national pub touring circuit.
“We were one of the first groups to go into touring in hotels,” Davidson says. “So we went from organising local dances all around the Wairarapa and places like that, to moving into Lion Breweries hotels.”
“Bernie was a very good negotiator,” Coulter says. “He and I went to talk to Lion Breweries and I think we became the first or one of the first bands that was offered a professional contract with them. So we would only play in Lion pubs and be told where to play. We went to Palmerston North and had a residency at the Awapuni Hotel [playing four nights a week]. It was a huge room. On a good Friday or Saturday night, we could pack 1,000 people into that place – there was no cover charge, or anything.”
“There were big booze barns all over the country,” Hope says. “But the Awapuni was a good one. You could partition it off. So if it were a small crowd, they’d all be in the front bit. On a Saturday night, they’d open the other bits when it got really busy. It wasn’t the biggest – The Grand in Rotorua was huge.”
“Every six weeks or two months, we would move away from the Awapuni and tour Lion’s hotels, up through Hastings, Napier, Gisborne, Auckland and Wellington,” Davidson says. “We were one of the first wave of bands doing that. Other bands around at the time, like BLERTA or Quincy Conserve, didn’t do that. They all played clubs. But we were being well paid by Lion Breweries and we did that for two or two-and-a-half years.”
“Life was idyllic,” Coulter says. “We used to practise a couple of times a week, during the day. We’d learn some new songs – either original stuff or covers of stuff that was popular. What we found really interesting was that a lot of the original songs we did were as popular as any of the other songs we did by famous artists – which was encouraging for us, to continue to work on our own stuff.”