A member of both Naked Spots Dance and The Newmatics, musician and filmmaker Jeff Smith was also the man behind the lens for the acclaimed 2011 Chants R&B documentary Rumble & Bang. (The complete Rumble & Bang can be viewed from the AudioCulture page Christchurch Underground, 1964-69.)
Jeff has been interviewing New Zealand musicians and music industry players for over a decade and has amassed a library of some 40 important interviews. AudioCulture is featuring a selection of these, beginning with Ray Columbus.
Ray Columbus, Matakana 2010
At the start of 2010 I made a documentary about a 1960's Christchurch garage band Chants R&B. As part of the research I interviewed Ray Columbus to get some background on the Christchurch music scene in the early 1960s from one of its main exponents.
Ray was very generous with his time and is an excellent raconteur. You could feel his passion and commitment for music still intact after more than five decades in the business. The footage is pretty raw and was never intended to be watched like this however I think it rewards you with a real glimpse into Ray the man and the richness of his musical career.
The Chants R&B interviews
For a band that really only ever played in a small cellar club for a couple of years, the Chants sure left a pretty big legacy.
At the reunion shows I was able to experience first hand the effect this band had on a generation of kids who grew up in 1960’s Christchurch. It was with envy that I was regaled with stories and shown photos and clippings by these same kids, now all in their sixties.
For me the Chants epitomise the New Zealand DIY ethic beautifully, from making slide guitars, amps, and fuzz boxes to creating a small but fervent scene based out of the Stage Door club and having their own record label.
Then there is the music, only two singles released at the time, glorious slabs of R&B played with such abandon they still stand up today.
The interviews are rough but I hope they give some idea into what makes them so special.