JOHN BILDERBECK

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First published in July 2011

John can be contacted at john.bilderbeck@gmail.com

 

Tiny and I started playing together in a band called “The Playdates” in Wanganui.  We used to wear pink shirts, black ties and brocade waistcoats.  We had a blast playing lots of gigs 3-4 night a week.  Sometimes doing 3 gigs in one day.
 
Mal Logan was in the band.
 
Tiny left for Auckland and we replaced him with Doug Bonner, who had never played guitar or bass.  He bought some gear and I taught him our repertoire in two weeks and we were into it.
 
We played in a club called the Copacabana.  Friday nights was for the oldies... waltzes, foxtrots, gay gordans.  Sat was for the “teen scene”.  We had some great after-hours parties there.  The place had two stages and as resident band we had the best stage with a ‘band’ room above it.  Visiting bands played on the other stage.  Bands visiting were Strange Brew, Underdogs, Fourmyula, Dizzy Limits, Avengers and many more.  Hank and Eddie were funny as and used to hold séances at the parties.  The La De Da’s and the Rebels would play at the Memorial Hall over the road and come to our parties afterwards.  I think our club was probably the best in NZ at the time.
 
Graham Beamsly did the “Dance of the Flaming Arseholes” where he’d drop his dacks and roll up a newspaper and put it between his legs and set fire to both ends.  Tiny and he were great mates.
 
Along the way the club name changed to “the Cauldron”.  Heaps of bands came through.
 
The Playdates broke up.  So we started another band called Velvet Morning.  Tiny was back in town so Rob Davis (drums) and I started up with him and were later joined by Gavin Hall on vocals.
 
While we had started playing Clapton’s Mayall stuff in the Playdates, we carried that on with VM.  Psychedelic was the word.  We built our own light shows and had ultra-violet lights and all that, too.  We have 3 go-go dancers from Palmy that used to stand out front with Gavin.  We used dry-ice to create a smokey stage for our entrance.
 
We did lots of gigs in P.N., with Billy and Maurice at Frank’s club and the Orange Ballroom where you had to put money in the power meter otherwise the power would go off.  I think it was called that.  Long time ago.
 
One night we did a gig for McDonald whats-his-name from Wgtn.  Slow payer.  So next time he was in town Tiny, Gav and I found his nice new Valiant and tied his aerial in a knot and put sugar in his petrol tank.  Not a nice thing to do.  He had his Mum running the show because he didn’t want to meet up with us looking for our money, I’ll bet.
 
Velvet Morning decided to go live in Auck and turn pro.  Went for the Battle of The Bands.  Rob backed out on coming.  So we had to find another drummer.
 
Anyway, that all fell apart.  I came back to Wanganui.  Stayed in touch with Tiny for a while but lost contact until we decided we’d have a Velvet Morning band reunion in 98.
 
Tiny and I stayed fairly close after that and he came down and stayed with us regularly.  His visits became less frequent because of health.
 
I missed his 60th, damn it.  But we visited him a couple of weeks before he passed.
 
Tiny was a great friend and one of those “good sorts”.  He is missed muchly.

 

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