The 1970s are often sneered at as a dire period for New Zealand music, when covers bands played beer barns and dodgy nightclubs. Yes, that was the world that dominated live, local music – but many great musicians served their apprenticeships in those scenes.
If Chants R&B are now heralded as the great Christchurch 1960s beat band after Max and Ray left town with their Fenders, who took over in the 1970s?
For evidence we can turn to a wonderful photo archive that has just been put up on the web. Kevin Hill was a music fan and tireless photographer who covered the band scene in Christchurch right through the 1970s and into the 1980s. Among those he captured before they started shaving are Barry Saunders of the Warratahs, Steve Gilpin and Kevin Stanton of Fragments of Time (evolving into Misex), Brent Parlane, Jim Hall, Rob Winch and Sharon O’Neill. Bands included such lost names as Beech, Link, the In Betweens, Shannon, Inspiration and the Newz.
The pictures of Dave Kennedy remind me of the Invercargill scrapbook music history 45 South in Concert that Neil McKelvie put together for the Southland Musicians’ Club in 2006. A few years back I suggested an equivalent was needed for Christchurch.
Have a look at Kevin Hill’s photos and wonder at the high-waisted jeans, the loon flares, the tight T-shirts and all that long, greasy hair. This advertisement is just a teaser to the Aladdin’s cave that is Hill’s photo collection.