Benny Staples Profile

aka Benny Lee
Lewis Tennant
12 May 2017

Born 1963 in Palmerston North to Roger Staples and Marie Stewart, bohemian artists with a love for books and music, Benny Staples is New Zealand’s original funky drummer.

Since building a kit out of paint cans and tambourines in the early 1970s – after seeing Rod Stewart and The Faces live at Western Springs – Benny has been a key member of punky ska/soul beat combo The Newmatics, post-punk leftist collective The Miltown Stowaways, experimental outfit Avant Garage, indie-dance group The Woodentops, and two-man soundclash Lava Lava.

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The Woodentops 1986 single, Good Thing
Da Blitz were Benny Staples' school punk band, advertised here in 1979 at the Rock Cafe in Auckland's Upper Queen Street.
Lava Lava on Mt. Eden, 1997
An Avant Garage programme from 1982
The 2004 T-Son album Combat Sol
The Prime Movers - Benny Staples, Nick Crowther, Kevin Howlett
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Miltown Stowaways - Strong And True (1983)
The Crackheads (aka The Crackhead Experience) – Benny Staples, Mu and Dallas – Christmas Eve, 1998
The press release announcing Benny Staples replacing Chris Matthews in The Primer Movers, 1982
Hush Puppy – Benny Staples, Melissa Cole and Dane Edwards – at Leight Sawmill, March 2014
The Miltown Stowaways – Mark Dansey, Brent 'Sid' Pasley, Benny Staples, Kelly Rogers and Grant Hughson, 1983
The Newmatics: Sid Pasley, Mark Clare, Benny Staples, Kelly Rogers, Simon Clark, Jeff Smith - 1981, at John's Diner, cnr Albert and Swanson Streets
Photo credit: Photo by John Reynolds
Benny Staples as T-Son, 2004
Melissa Cole and Benny Staples with Hush Puppy, 2014
The cover of Lava Lava's 1997 CD, Burnt
Photo credit: Design by Philip Kelly
Benny Staples in 2016 at the Matakana Vintage market
Benny Staples at Auckland's Calibre, 1999
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Benny Staples with The Woodentops
The Woodentops at London's Town and Country Club in 1986 with Gary Clail and Tackhead
Benny Staples' Fever Collective at Verona, Karanagahape Rd., Auckland, New Year's Eve 2014
The Newmatics taken for the cover of Rip It Up magazine, October 1981: Simon Clark, Brent Pasley, Benny Staples, Jeff Smith, Kelly Rogers and Mark Clare
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Benny Staples (right) with The Woodentops
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Root
Benny Staples presents Uprising, April 1998 at Cause Celebre/Box, Auckland
Benny Staples at age 9
Benny Staples in the mid-1980s
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
The Subterraneans with Nick Kent, Benny Staples and Kelly Rogers, London, 1984
The Woodentops - Why Why Why (Live) (1986)
The Miltown Stowaways: Grant Hughson, Sid Pasley, Mark Dansey, Kelly Rogers and Benny Staples
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
The Newmatics - Riot Squad (1981)
The Miltown Stowaways: Benny Staples, Mark Dansey, Brent "Sid" Pasley, Kelly Rogers, Grant Hughson and, in front, Fiona Anderson
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
The Woodentops at Glastonbury (with The Chills, 1987)
The Miltown Stowaways with soundman Mike Neilsen. Mike and Benny Staples (centre) would later form Lava Lava.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Benny Staples
Unsung Records' Iain Watkins and Benny Staples, October 1983
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Lava Lava on Mt. Eden, 1997
Benny Staples and Mark Burgess present Paradise Bomb at Auckland's Khuja Lounge, September 2000
Benny Staples with The Woodentops in Paris
Benny Staples' Hush Puppy at Leigh Sawmill, April 2014
A Woodentops publicity shot from 1986, with Benny Staples on the right
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Sistermatic, 1988
The influential 1998 album, Balearic Beats, featured The Woodentops 'Why Why Why (Live)'
Da Blitz and The Aliens at St Lukes Hall, Auckland, 1979
Lava Lava on the cover of Lava magazine, April 1997
Benny Staples circa 1981
Benny Staples and Cian O'Donnell
The Newmatics: Sid Pasley, Benny Staples, Mark Clare
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
The Newmatics in 1981, perhaps at a private party? Simon Clark, Sid Pasley, Benny Staples, Mark Clare, Jeff Smith
The Woodentops in 1986: Benny Staples, Rolo McGinty, Frank deFreitas, Alice Thompson and Simon Mawby
The Miltown Stowaways at Sweetwaters, 1983: Fiona Anderson, Benny Staples, Mark Dansey and Kelly Rogers
Photo credit: Photo by Mike Hartley
Benny Staples and Mike Nielsen, Lava Lava, 1997
The Newmatics 1981 - Benny Staples, Mark Clare, Simon Clark, Jeff Smith, Sid Pasley
Essential Staples in Rhythm magazine, May 1988
Sistermatic - Benny Staples, Koi-Ski, Sina Saipaia, Sid Pasley, Mark Clare
A 1986 Rough Trade Woodentops publicity shot
Photo credit:  




Rough Trade



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