KEVIN O'CONNOR (R.I.P.)

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First published in July 2012, last updated in April 2013

Kevin O'Connor passed away on the 4th of July 2012

TRIBUTES

I knew Kevin in Timaru (along with the Hobbs boys) and then worked with him at Festival Records in Christchurch during the early 70s.  He was very good to me and helped me find my way at Festival - a lovely man.  I have just come across the news of his death and it is sad news indeed - Jeff Drabble
When Don Colville left Don's Problems, we got him as our manager for "The Trend".  Then a while later, Kevin joined us on drums (I think Don would've clinched that deal) and the band just took off.  His solid drumming really suited a 3-piece backing band.  When we supported The Underdogs at the Downtown Niteclub, Bari Gordon (their manager) sacked them, and took us on our 1st tour.  That was a big step for us, 2 of us doing apprenticeships, Gary Hobbs in clothing retail, and Kevin.. well I'm sure he was working too..  A 3 month tour, based in New Plymouth, I sure have many fine memories.  Sadly Bari died near the end of the tour (at only 22), and we were stranded, out on the street, barely a cent between us.  Fortunately Kevin's dad (Bob) sent us the money so we could limp home.  We ran a  concert at the Downtown shortly after, and raised enough to pay Bob back.  As I recall, the band went their own way not too much later after then, Kevin moving to ChCh, and me to Dunedin to join "Fantasy" (renamed "Odyssey" in 1973.  The Trend was a very young band, I was by far the oldest at 20 (I turned 21 on our tour and Kevin's dad sent me a beer mug, the only 21st pressie I got! - And I never drank then or now!) What memories.. Thanks Kevin, you were fantastic!! - Ronnie Harris
We had an open coffin and Kevie looked absolutely gorgeous in the deep purple satin lined coffin with his deep purple silk shirt on - he would have loved it and looked so proud and would have shown it.  Kev's funeral was a small private one on his Dad's wishes but as we carried him into the church we had none other than Jimi Hendrix "All along the Watchtower" playing. Then later on in the service myself (Nickie) and his sons Hamish and Taylor had brought in some markers so that people could write Kevie a private message and during this we had Pink Floyd "Comfortably Numb" and "Wish you were Here" playing.  Once everyone had signed it everyone had to wait till I had said my goodbyes to my sweetheart and soulmate and gave him one final kiss, then as we carried him out of the church we had Coldplay "Fix You" playing.  Kevie would have loved that but he also liked listening to Dragonforce because of the drumming in it, but it didn't go well with what was happening - I only hope he can forgive me.  Kevie has left behind two gorgeous sons one of which is now hell bent on learning how to play his drums (watch this space for Kevie's second) and the love of his life Nickie I LOVE YOU KEVIE MY OLD HIPPIE - Nickie Syme
Kev played at Nelsonís Little Rock and Victorian Rose in the early 2000ís, the two standout venues.  He was with "Blue Terrain" with Mick Allen, Terry Telford, Jaap Visser and Carlos Gelling, "Locomotive" with Mick, Trev Hunter, Rodger ex USA, and "Funk Junkies" with Noel Clayton, Billy Hunter, Carlos Gelling.  After "Dantes Inferno" (see Gary Sammons tribute below) I worked with Kev in "Tradition" which was a Rock/Covers band, resident at Gladstone in ChCh, many private gigs and out-door council gigs etc.  I played keys in that band, Jay Peters on Bass (currently working in "Flab Four" with Jim Hall), Dave Whiting on guitar ex "5 degrees" (also my old band from í66).  Kev drove that band from the drivers seat.  We were into Bowie - Free - even Gary Glitter (eech!!).  That was around 71/72 when Del Richards ran Festival and Kev later took over from him.  I lost track when I moved to Auckland late 80ís and the next time I saw Kev was to be í99 when I played with a jazz quintet here in Nelson.  I have had many calls re Kev - notably Gray Bartlett, Ray Columbus, Dave Kennedy.  Seems like everyone knew Kev. - Neville Claughton
Played with Kev way back at The Bower, also with us was Annie Whittle.  Think was for about 8 months.  Good solid, no frills drummer.  Got Kev a killer job working with me at the then Hot Bread Shop, Hard graft all day Sat/Sun Sydenham.  An OK guy, I liked him. - Peter Hindmarsh
RIP Kev - Ray Columbus

I first met Kevin ('Kevie', or 'Occy') when I was about 14 and he was about 16.  When Don (Don Colville) left the band "Don's Problems" I joined, playing guitar and singing. We became "The Problems".  The group was Kevie on drums, Bill McLean on guitar, Tony Hoskings on Keyboards, Mick Cavanagh on bass and me on guitar. I moved to Christchurch when I was 16, and Kevin formed a band called "Trend".  Gary Hobbs (bass), Graeme Hobbs (vocals), and Ron Harris (guitar) were his band mates and they were very good and hugely popular.  Kevie then moved up to Christchurch after some persuasion and joined me and my brother, Maurice in "Dante's Inferno".  We did very well in Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin, and even Nelson!  Kevie flatted with me and my soon to be wife, and was, in fact, best man at my wedding.  He left the band for various personal reasons and, in fact, gave up music for a time.  Unfortunately, we lost touch in the seventies and didn't regain contact at all until I returned to Timaru after 24 years in Australia.  Kevie appeared at my office and we caught up at the pub later.  I have to say he was a very special man, and a great drummer!  He and I were a very tight unit and, after many decades of working with session drummers in NZ and Australia, he still remains one of my favourites!  He seemed to know what I was thinking and played accordingly.  That is a very rare talent! - Gary Sammons

(click here to email me your tribute to Kevin and I'll add it in - andy@nzmusos.co.nz)

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