ROD DERRETT (R.I.P.)

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First published January 2011, last updated August 2013

 Rod Derrett passed away on the 20th December 2010, aged 80, after a 2 year battle with cancer.

(The following notes are by Grant Gillanders)

After leaving NZ in 1974 Rod relocated to Sydney where he taught music until his retirement after leaving us with a truckload of whimsical gems of kiwiana, firstly on Zodiac from 1960-63 before finding bigger success on HMV with" Rugby Racing & Beer" and "Puha & Pakeha" between 1964-66.

His observations on kiwi culture were always spot on as evidenced on tracks like "The 6 O'Clock Swill'

" From 9 in the morning till 5 ish at night
the pubs are wide open with no one in sight
the bars are so crowded by quarter past 5
it's a wonder how we all get out alive
shoulder to shoulder like pigs at a trough,
as glass after glass we knock off
froth on our noses, the floor, everywhere
the bar is a wash but we simply don't care
plod on regardless, down the brown slime
one eye on our glass and one eye on the time".

Rod seemed to be drawing on his own experiences in his ode to the great "Kiwi Hotel"

"Race to the dining room, there goes the gong
first in first serve, they're not open for long
thick soup and entre, main course and a sweet
2 cups of coffee that gently repeats
back to your bedroom, much colder by now
the basin tap drips, you can't turn it off
and the gent in the room next to your's has a cough
ahhh silence at last, then some drunk slams a door
and the gent with the cough decides to snore
well you drop off to sleep at 20 to 3
and then a parrot (chambermaid) bursts in screeching, "morning sir...Tea ?"
dawn is just breaking, you doze sitting up and half an hour
later...CRASH...she's back for the cup
run to the bathroom, a very quick dash,
too late the maid's seen you and she's in like a flash
and when you return you find that she's fled
with the sheets and your socks that you took off in bed".

TRIBUTES

For a short time I worked with Rod in the Alan Jones Band at the Dee Why RSL Club north of Sydney. Rod was Bass Guitar & Vocals. Not only was he an impeccable musician and singer but was a true gentleman. I was sorry to hear of his passing. R.I.P.  - Bob Barcham
This is sad to me, as once more a real icon of NZ music passes away.  I worked and recorded with Rod on a couple of his recordings that were part of NZ music history.  My sympathies go out to his family and relatives. Sincerely - Gray Bartlett MBE
Pleasant memories from my youth - Garry Miller
I still have the EP.  Sadly missed...  - Pete Grattan
RIP Rod.  Sad news. - Larry Morris
(email me your tribute to Rod and I'll add it in - andy@nzmusos.co.nz)

 

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