aka The Section

For a few short years in the 1970s Redeye was one of the busiest live and recording bands in New Zealand, providing the backing on albums by Mark Williams and John “Timberjack” Donoghue, appearing on television shows Grunt Machine and Ready To Roll, and in 1977 releasing their own self-titled album for EMI.

The Wellington-based band formed in August 1974 when saxophonist Denys Mason (ex-Quincy Conserve and Arkastra) joined forces with bassist Frits Stigter (another Quincy Conserve alumnus, ex-Dizzy Limits/Timberjack) and guitarist John O’Connor (Supernatural Blues Band). Initially they performed together as The Section with pianist Rufus Rehu (also of Quincy Conserve) and drummer Chris Fox, and in the early days of the group they opened for BB King, Osibisa, and The Jackson Five. 

Side 2 label of the self-titled Redeye album, EMI, 1977.
Redeye - Little Miss Lonely Heart, written/sung by Bob Smith (EMI, 1977)
Redeye at an Entertainers Club party, c 1974. From left to right: Denys Mason, Tom Swainson, Frits Stigter, John O'Connor. (Bob Smith possibly obscured by Mason)
The cover of Mark’s 1975 debut, designed by Kevin Dunkley with photography by Michael Baigent. The first of a very successful three album collaboration with producer Alan Galbraith. EMI label-mates Redeye and Rockinghorse provided the backing.
Redeye at the Cabin, Wellington, c 1974. From left to right: Denys Mason, John O'Connor, Tom Swainson, Frits Stigter, Bob Smith.
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
Redeye at Te Mata Hotel, Havelock North.
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
Insert from the 1977 Redeye album, produced by Rick White.
Redeye's self-titled album, produced by Rick White, EMI, 1977. Art work by Max Tilley.
Bob Smith in Redeye, 1977.
Photo credit: Publicity photo
Redeye pictured with John Donoghue, from the back of the 1975 Timberjack-Donoghue album (Ode). From left to right: John O'Connor, John Donoghue, Tom Swainson, Bob Smith (standing), Frits Stigter, Denys Mason.
Timberjack-Donoghue's 1975 album Donoghue (Ode). Produced by Terence O'Neill-Joyce and backed by Redeye with the Yandall Sisters on BVs.
Denys Mason in Redeye, 1977.
Photo credit: Publicity photo
Mark Williams' third album Taking It All In Stride, EMI, 1977, produced by Alan Galbraith, and backed for the most part by Wellington soul-funk band Redeye, with arrangements by Dave Fraser. Other players include Alan Galbraith, Dave Fraser, Kevin Bayley, Beaver, Sharon O'Neill and Mike Booth.
Redeye at Ray Johns' club The Cabin, Wellington, c 1974. Clockwise from top left: Bob Smith, John O'Connor, Tom Swainson, Denys Mason, Frits Stigter.
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
Bo Diddley backed by Redeye at Slack Alice, Wellington, 1976.
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
Redeye's John O'Connor and Frits Stigter on television show Grunt Machine, 1975.
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
Redeye in 1977, with Wellington media and EMI staff at the publicity launch of their album at EMI's offices in Lower Hutt. Back row: Tom Swainson, unidentified, 2ZM's Jimmy Stewart, Denys Mason, DJ Mike Dee, Bob Smith, Frits Stigter. In front are Noel Muller (EMI), Kelvin Dick (radio), Louise Warren (EMI), Dave Ginnane (EMI engineer), Danny Ryan (EMI A&R), John O'Connor, and an unidentified radio DJ.
Photo credit: Louise Warren Collection
Redeye, from left to right: John O'Connor, Frits Stigter, Tom Swainson, Denys Mason, Bob Smith.
Photo credit: Publicity photo
A Spot On presenter's notes for an interview with Denys Mason about the Redeye album release, 1977.
Photo credit: Steven Shaw collection
Redeye - He's My Man, written/sung by Denys Mason (EMI, 1977)
Redeye's bio promoting the release of their 1977 album.
Advertisement for a Buck a Head concert with Redeye and the Country Fliers [sic], Opera House, Wellington, May 1975.
Photo credit: Bob Smith collection
Side 1 label of the self-titled Redeye album, EMI, 1977.
Redeye - I Wish You Well, a Bill Withers cover sung by Denys Mason (EMI Australia, 1976)
Back cover of the 1977 Redeye album (EMI). Photography by Catherine Palethorpe.

Denys Mason - vocals, saxophone, percussion, congas

Bob Smith - vocals, keyboards, guitar

John O'Connor - guitar, vocals

Frits Stigter - bass, vocals

Tom Swainson - drums, vocals




Redeye, from top to bottom: Denys Mason, Bob Smith, Tom Swainson, John O'Connor, Frits Stigter. Photos by Catherine Palethorpe from the back cover of the self-titled 1977 Redeye album, produced by Rick White and released by EMI.

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