The Juvenolians

Auckland band the Juvenolians are remembered as the group that little Frank Gibson Jr was in as rock’n’roll took over from jazz in the dances at clubs and halls. Rodger Curtice, a founding member of the band, recalls the 1950s and their years together as the youngest band in town.

A few years before the Juvenolians started playing together, young Rodger Curtice would accompany his father’s club-swinging gymnastic routine on accordion, entertaining at hospitals and old people’s homes. His father’s musician friends would decamp to the Curtice house after performing. “We had a piano at home, when they finished they used to come around and party all night.”

Rodger Curtice receiving his Queen's Service Medal from Governor General Jerry Mateparae, 2016.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians - playing fundraisers at the Trades Hall, Auckland Town Hall and the Capitol Theatre, Balmoral, mid-1950s.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians' show diary as kept by band manager Frank Gibson Sr, 1955-56. "Didn't win anything but received the most applause and had moral victory. Was later told by a judge that Frank [Jr] had been placed 1st but couldn't give him prize on account of whole group had entered."
Photo credit: Dennis Huggard collection
The Juvenolians' Frank Gibson Jr - Frank went without a bicycle and saved his performance fees to get his first drum kit.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians "jazz it up in fine style', 8 May 1956.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians billed as open talent quest winners, Bayswater Carnival Dance, 1956.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians with UK bandleader Ted Heath. From left: Rodger Curtice (piano accordion), Bob Williams (piano), Ted Heath, Denis Duval (trumpet). Frank Gibson Jr. is in front of Heath, who said to Frank Gibson Sr that if he brought the band to the UK, a gig at the London Palladium would be organised.
Photo credit: Frank Gibson Jr. collection
A 10-year-old Frank Gibson Jr. with his band, The Juvenolians. From left: Rodger Curtice (piano accordion), Frank Gibson Jr, Bob Williams (piano), Denis Duval (trumpet).
Photo credit: Frank Gibson Jr. collection
"Okay fellas? Six beats and we're in." The Juvenolians find the real groove, 1955.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
The Juvenolians, from left: "Little Frankie" Gibson, Bob Williams, Denis Duval, and Rodger Curtice. 
The Juvenolians, 8 May 1956.
Photo credit: Rodger Curtice Collection
Rodger Curtice at home in Piha, 2016.
Photo credit: Cindy Baxter
The Juvenolians appear alongside veterans such as comedian Barry Linehan, the Stardusters, and Nancy Harrie at the 1/4 Deck: a Milford Beach nightspot with a lavish menu. 
World Enterprises proudly present their rock-around-the-clock jazz concert. The Juvenolians appear at a crucial concert during the transition, 16 February 1956. 

Rodger Curtice - accordion

Frank Gibson Jr - drums

Bob Williams - piano

Denis Duvall - trumpet


A longtime resident of Piha, Rodger Curtice has always kept music in his heart. “I played parties at the surf club, and at the Rathole, we’d sing along up there all night. I played down the old Piha Surf Club a lot. I played with Billy T James, and twice with young David Curtis, the Studio One songwriting winner. With Billy T – at that stage I was running the [rescue] helicopter – all it cost me was a ride in the helicopter and in the jetboat and we played until four in the morning.”

In the 1970s Curtice concentrated on his horticulture career, taking on landscape architecture contracts. A co-founder of the rescue helicopter service at Piha, Rodger has saved over 3000 lives in the surf and helped to fundraise over $50 million for surf lifesaving. In April 2016, Rodger Curtice was honoured with a QSM for services to surf lifesaving.

The Juvenolians appear on the second night of the Big Talent Quest, at the Avon Theatre on Symonds Street, Auckland. Second in a previous heat was Toko Pompey, who became a star in the Maori showband era
The Juvenolians appear alongside much older jazz veterans, Auckland, 16 February 1956. The quartet's combined ages was 45 years. 
"Terrific!, Exceptional! Marvellous!" The Juvenolians win the Avon Theatre talent quest, early 1956.
Eddie Hegan hosts the Top o' the Talent show at Western Springs during the Auckland carnival, c. 1957. Among the attractions are the Juvenolians, magician Frank Quinn, crooner Austin Moon, and drag act Noel McKay. 
"Don't be confused" by the title of the Rock-a-Round the Clock jazz concert, 16 February 1956. Among the many top artists on the bill are The Juvenolians.

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