TORNADOS PHOTOS & MEMORABILIA

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First published in March 2008

Tornados Reunion - March 2008 (by Pat Southee)

A reunion took place recently of the Tornados, a rock group formed in 1958 at Titahi Bay. 

The Tornados original line up were, Barry Coupland, Scott Arnold, Bob Taylor, Kevin McKeefry and Ian (Lemmie) Hughes.  They enjoyed moderate success locally including several recordings released by H.M.V.(E.M.I.)  After a very popular season around Nelson and Motueka they made critical career choices and moved to Australia where their decision was quickly justified.  Johnny Devlin adopted them as his own and gave them the new name, Devils (a description which still applies!).  They were also known as the Kiwi Four in Australia and were very popular especially in the many leagues clubs there.  Inevitably, a few shuffles occurred which saw, among others, the inclusion of Colin Lock, ex Skyrockets, into the band.

The re-union was held at Barry 's home in Horowhenua and went from 6-11 March 2008.  All the original Tornados were there i.e. Barry, Scott, Ian, Bob and Kevin.  Colin, who was not an original, arrived Sunday and stayed over night.  Boy, that guy still rocks too!  He does solo work (guitar/vocal) at surf clubs etc. over in Oz.  He and Max Hyde were also Devils and later became the very successful duo, The Napier Brothers.  Max, unfortunately, couldn't make the re-union.  Old Friends, Brian Gunson (Skyrockets) and Pat Southee (Supersonics) joined them for a few days.  

I was rather sceptical about a group of rockers from the fifties gathering for five days to do what??  Surely not play music, for nearly a week!  Well they did just that and as a (partaking) observer they did it with the same energy as the teenagers they were in 1958.  In fact I found myself cursing my body as the need for sleep hit me, I would happily have rocked on through the night.  Most of the guys hadn't played for 20 or 30 years but after a few rehearsals their old sound returned.  

It has to be said that the success of the reunion was largely due to the huge impact the music of those days had on us all.  No wonder our musically inclined grandkids thrive on it still. 

These days the Tornados are rather widespread,  Bob and Colin live in Oz, Kevin at Papakowhai, Ian resides in Christchurch and Scotty in Auckland.  The event was made more of a success by the very skillful organising capabilities of Barry's wife, Pauline, ably assisted by Barbara Mullen and Pat Gunson who enjoyed and endured the music and made sure appetites were adequately looked after.  I'm fairly sure this event will happen again and I will be back next time even if I have to gatecrash!

Pat Southee / March 2008

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