Red McKelvie

Red McKelvie’s guitar and pedal steel guitar have appeared on a multitude of New Zealand recordings from John Hanlon, Larry Morris, DD Smash, Hello Sailor and Sneaky Feelings to country music acts Patsy Riggir, John Hore Grenell, Gray Bartlett and Brendan Dugan.

He began his career in blues bands in Auckland before moving to Australia, falling in love with The Byrds, becoming a country rock pioneer in Sydney and providing the riffs for the huge Richard Clapton hit ‘Girls On The Avenue’. He became a permanent fixture at Stebbing Recording Studios from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s.

Red McKelvie in Lariat - She's So Fine (GTK, 1971)
Red McKelvie at Mandrill Recording Studios, 1981
Photo credit: Pat Mahoney collection
Red McKelvie's first band The Crescendoes. Left to right: Graeme McNickel, Kevin Loughlin, Red McKelvie, Nicholas Keily.
Photo credit: Red McKelvie collection
Cruise Lane on stage at De Bretts, High Street, Auckland, August 1973. Left to right, Red McKelvie, Brett Neilsen, Mike Wilson, Murray Grindlay, Paul Hewson.
Ridin' On Trains - Songs Of New Zealand and Australia was released in 2007 on Neil Hannan's SDL Music label
Red McKelvie in Third Union Band - Act Naturally (GTK 1972)
Richard Clapton Band. Left to right, Ernie McInerney, Brian Bethell, Red McKelvie, Stuart West, Richard Clapton.
Photo credit: Red McKelvie collection
Red McKelvie in full voice at Mumbo Gumbo's debut gig, The Gluepot, October 1992.
Photo credit: Photo by Alan Fon
The Chelsea Beats. Left to right, George Brownrigg, Peter Ford, Red McKelvie, Peter Savidan, Graeme Regan.
Photo credit: Red McKelvie collection
A welcome back concert at the Riccarton Club, 2000, with a band that included John ‘Red’ McKelvie
Photo credit: Val Elliott collection
Al Hunter - I Don't Want To Go To Work Today (feat Red McKelvie)
Red McKelvie and Chris Parfitt
Mumbo Gumbo, c. 1993. From left: Alastair Dougal, Red McKelvie, Glen Moffatt, Ian Thomson, Jono Lonie. Photograph by Alan Fon
Photo credit: Alan Fon
The Starving Wild Dogs on stage, Sydney, late 1960s. Left to right, Red McKelvie, Wally Wyld, Ace Follington, Paul Wyld.
Photo credit: Photo by Wayne Doull
A version of the Al Hunter Band assembled for an Auckland gig, c. 1994. From left: Cath Newhook, Al Hunter, Glenn R Campbell, Alastair Dougal, Red McKelvie; in front, drummer Ian Thomson.
Mumbo Gumbo at Kitty O'Brien's, Auckland, 1993. Left to right: Red McKelvie, Neil Hannan, Glen Moffatt, Jono Lonie. Out of shot Ian Thomson.
Photo credit: Photo by Alan Fon
In the late 1980s the Al Hunter Band takes shape in the Shakespeare Tavern, Auckland. From 1989, with Bruce King on drums, they would hold court at the King's Arms. From left: Cath Newhook, Alastair Dougal, Red McKelvie (front) and Al Hunter.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Red McKelvie in the late 1970s. Photo by Bruce King.
Photo credit: Bruce King
Red McKelvie
Red McKelvie Third Union Band - Hyway Ryder (GTK, 1972)
The Flying Circus. Left to right, Terry Wilkins, Colin Walker, Doug Rowe, Red McKelvie, Jim Wynne.
Lister and McClellan with Red McKelvie - Some Other Sunrise (GTK, 1971)
A 1969 Go-Set article on Red McKelvie's band Quill
Third Union Band. Left to right, Red McKelvie, Harry Brus, Grahame Lister, Dave Ovenden.
Photo credit: Red McKelvie collection
Sneaky Feelings - Wouldn't Cry (feat. Red McKelvie)
The Dark Ages. Left to right: Mick Sibley, Clive Coulson, Vaughan Stephens, Red McKelvie, Ian Thomson.
Photo credit: Ian Thomson collection
Cast, musicians and crew of the first series of That’s Country, 1980. Red McKelvie (far left) waves, host Ray Columbus (brown jacket) is flanked by Suzanne Lynch (left) and Jodi Vaughan.
Photo credit: Gary Sammons collection
During its short life in the early 1990s the Albany-based radio station FM Country was supportive of local artists. A note of thanks to the Red McKelvie Band, 1992. 
Red McKelvie at the pedal steel guitar, 2001
A fur-coated Clive Coulson in Harrowby Street, London, with his former Dark Ages bandmate Red McKelvie and friends in 1969. McKelvie had just given a bag lady five quid for the coat which he gifted to Coulson after he took a liking to it. Left to right: Englishman Stuart West, Australian friend Leonie Reid, McKelvie and Coulson.
Photo credit: Red McKelvie collection
Red McKelvie performing Gore, an original, at Caroline Bay Carnival
Mike McClellan, feat Red McKelvie - Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues


SDL Music

Sun Pacific


In the 1990s, McKelvie’s son, Chris McKelvie, was a guitarist in The Greg Johnson Set, appearing on Everyday Distortions and Johnson’s solo album Vine Street Stories.

McKelvie’s Third Union Band cohort Grahame Lister co-wrote the UK and New Zealand 1987 No.1 novelty song ‘Star Trekkin'.

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