KEVIN MCNEIL's BIOGRAPHY

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First published in March 2009, updated February 2011

Kevin can be contacted at kpmktg@xtra.co.nz

 

Click here to visit Kevin's (and the Mods) Website

 

Kevin McNeil – Soloist/Presenter 

Kevin was one of the original members of well known New Zealand 60’s band The Mods formed in 1964. During that period he toured New Zealand with the band and recorded two singles that made the NZ Charts.

In 1989 Kevin re-formed the Band with some of the original members and from 1990 until 1999, appeared in concerts around the country, many as support for major overseas artists such as “Canned Heat”, “The Little River Band” (1995) and Roy Phillips from the “Peddlers”. Local artists such as Ray Columbus, Susanne Lynch, Ray Woolf and Shane were amongst the acts that worked with Kevin and the “Mods” over that period.

In the 80’s and 90’s Kevin also worked as a sports announcer for Radio Waikato, Radio Pacific and ZH FM in Hamilton and was club captain at the Lochiel Golf Club 1994/95, running a number of Pro-am and charity Golf tournaments.

Over the past 6 years he has been working as a Solo Artist, Presenter and his fun band “The Buddys” with old mates Neil Reynolds and Peter Matthews.

His latest project is the production of a solo album called “Anthology” featuring self penned songs along with covers of some his favorites and a collection of recordings he has made since 1965. This  is due out late 2009.

Kevin’s skills and knowledge of the music and sports environment enables him to communicate well with audiences and ensures the client a complete and successful function.

                                                          

A Duo with Ray Columbus                                                                  Solo (2008)

 

The Mods - The story so far - 1964 - 2011

The Band was originally formed from the remnants of “Wayne Reynolds and the Surf boys in December 1963, and from early 64 they performed as Wayne Reynolds and the Mods, the lineup was Wayne and Brother Neil along with Kevin McNeil and Mike Griffin.

When Mike decided to leave a few months later Guitarist John Bisset joined and so began the original Mods.



The Mods established themselves through the Waikato and Auckland Area as one of the leading 4 piece Groups.  It was about this time that news got through to Stebbing Studios (Zodiac Records) in Auckland of the Bands popularity and a recording deal was offered. From the first session came “Love,Love,Love/It’s in Her Kiss", which made number 5 on the NZ Charts and gave the band a leg into major clubs in both Auckland and Wellington as well as offers to back Top Solo artists, including Ray Columbus (who in 1965 had split with the Invaders) along with the Chicks, Dinah Lee, Shane, Tommy Adderley, Sandy Edmonds and Alison Durbin.  They recorded another single in early 66’, “Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble” (a cover of the Manfred Mann song) b/w a John Bisset original “I’ll be on My Way”, not a bad intro to song writing from the then 16 year old John.

In late 65 Clive Coulson joined the band (from the Auckland group “The Rayders”) as lead Vocalist and they travelled to Wellington for a six month tour of the Night Clubs and Sunday Clubs and it was during this period they formed a friendship with Midge Marsden and The Breakaways. (Originally Barry & The Breakaways).

They traveled the country playing top Night Spots in Auckland and Wellington and became recognised as one of New Zealand’s leading groups. 

In 1966 they were booked to play support for the “Sonny & Cher” but due to differing tastes in music the band members decided to go their separate ways. John moved to Auckland to join “The Action”, Kevin McNeil to the Auckland “Rayders” and Wayne & Neil the “Ways and Means”. Clive moved to Australia and then to England and eventually ended up on the road with “Led Zeplin” first as a road Manager and then later into sound and Management.

In 1987 John, Wayne, Kevin and Neil got back together for a brief period, this was to become the start of “The Mods 2”, a combination of at least 2 of the originals playing at any one time, the common denominator being vocalist/bassist Kevin McNeil, who has played with every line-up of the Band since 1964.

Other Mods have included: Dean Adamson, Rob Port, Graham Dukeson, Peter Matthews, Jeff Downey and Liam Ryan (from “The Narcs”, along with Morris Taylor, Athol Ryan, Denis Newby, and Steve Crossland.

In 1989 “The Mods” recorded 6 track mini album featuring covers and 3 originals from John Bisset.

The Original 5 members got back together in 2004 for their 40th Anniversary, sadly in 2005 Clive Coulson passed away suddenly and as a tribute to him, Wayne, Neil and Kevin had one more re-union this being their 45th.

The Mods have been one of the most underwritten Bands on the New Zealand scene especially by authors of Compellations covering the 60s NZ music scene and they are one of the few 60s groups (worldwide) who can currently perform with the original four members.

Most of the top soloists of the 60s at some time were supported or backed by the “Mods”, and all held them in high regard as musicians and entertainers.  Their greatest supporter over the years has been Ray Columbus who played many gigs with the Band.

The Recording session at Stebbing Studios in Saratoga Avenue 1965/66

The Mods went into the Studio in 1965 when it was located in Saratoga Avenue in the basement of Eldred Stebbing’s House.  They had been approached by a representative of Zodiac whilst they were playing at a Dance in the Catholic Hall in Te Aroha who said that they had heard of us through the grapevine and would we be interested in making a record.

Of course 4 teenagers from Hamilton jumped at the offer and within a short period of time an acetate of the song that Stebbings had picked arrived, it was “Love Love Love”, they were given the opportunity of selecting their own B side which was “It’s in Her Kiss” (The Shoop Shoop Song by Betty Everit) a version they had heard the “Searchers” play on one of their tours of NZ.

The making of “Love Love Love” was unique in that it featured the use of a Fuzz Tone unit designed and built by Eldred’s son Robert who was starting to show an interest in the electronics of the time.  Thus the distorted guitar you hear on the song was Wayne Reynolds playing through the unit.

A humorous side to the visit was that the guys had heard about the famous groups going into Studios overseas and consuming copious quantities of alcohol during sessions, so the boys turned up with a crate of beer and were promptly told to get rid of it by the engineer, John Hawkens.  They redeemed ourselves by recording the backing tracks for “It’s in Her kiss” in one take.  The whole session took a single day as was the case in the 60s.  The single had its fair share of airplay on the local charts and helped set “The Mods” up for national recognition.  Another bonus was that Zodiac Recording Artists all got to play at Eldred Stebbing’s Night Club, the Galaxy Ballroom which was a great way to get known around Auckland.

In 1966 we went back into the studio and recorded a cover of Manfred Mann’s “ Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble” b/w I’ll be on my way”.

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