Rudy & The Crystals

A casual association forged at church with Octagon Records boss John Ewan saw Auckland rock and roll band Rudy & The Crystals become one of that label’s most used backing bands as well as a recording act in their own right.

They put out their own surf instrumentals and appeared on 45s and EPs by pop singers The Sheratons and Lew Pryme and country music newcomer Ken Lemon in the early part of the 1960s before splitting a few years later.

The headstock of Rudy Spemann’s handmade guitar, named the “Reindeer” after the band’s short-lived original moniker Rudy’s Reindeer Rhythm.
The Sheratons, with Ruby And The Crystals, 'Where Are You Going Little Boy?' (Octagon EP, 1963). It was producer John Ewan's idea to record an EP of cover versions ('Bo Diddley' and 'Peanuts' among them). The group was initially sceptical, but say in the liner notes that the sessions recording "numbers we sing on the way to shows" were relaxed and fun. "We were wrong." Engineered by Bruce Barton.
Rudy and the Crystals - Southern Rora (Octagon, 1962)
The guitar Rudy Spemann built when Rudy & The Crystals formed with three guitarists and only two guitars
An Octagon publicity shot of Rudy & The Crystals. Left to right, Hugo Spemann, Bruce Fuller, Neil Johnson, Jason Hiko, Brian Prout, Rudy Spemann.
Ronnie Sundin's only longplayer, issued in 1960 by Viking Records. Left to right, Hugo Spemann, Sundin, Rudy Spemann, Bill Sevesi, Don Stacey, Alex Patchett. Bass player Malu Natapu was obscured behind Sundin when his image was enlarged.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg Collection
81-year-old Rudy Spemann in 2015 with the guitar he built when Rudy & The Crystals formed with three guitarists and only two guitars. Without the means to buy another, Spemann built this one.
Rudy and the Crystals - Raincloud (Octagon, 1963)
The Samoan Surf Riders - Mauga Ole Atuolo
The Samoan Surf Riders' Let Me Hear You Whisper album (Viking, 1964).

Rudy Spemann - piano

Hugo Spemann - guitar

Neil Johnson - bass

Jason Hiko - vocals, guitar

Brian Prout - guitar

Bruce Fuller - drums


When Rudy & The Crystals formed, they were short one guitar and didn’t have the resources to buy one. Undeterred, Rudy Spemann built one.

Rudy Spemann sold the printing business he left Rudy & The Crystals to start, True Print, after only three years and ended up going back to work there for the new owner.




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