TREVOR JUDGE

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First published in May 2011

Trevor can be contacted at fretman@westnet.com.au

I played my first paying gig in the mid-‘60s when I was 16. It was a Christmas social for staff of Hellaby's Freezing Works in South Auckland and, having only played live at a couple of parties previously, we were somewhat nervous before we started.  Our band, The Yetis, had been practicing in a garage since the beginning of the year but now the pressure was on.  It turned out to be a great night with the help of a little ‘Dutch courage’.

My musical journey to this point had begun in the '50s, when I had been taught to play the party instrument of the day, the ukulele.  Then followed school recorder groups, school choirs, cello and violin in the school orchestra and for my 12th birthday I was given an acoustic guitar.  Then the Beatles hit the world and inspired a generation – and me.

Four years later, finished with high school, a couple of friends from back in my earlier school days at Mangere Bridge, Henry Wah and John Tui, and I put The Yetis together, playing a repertoire which included songs from the Beatles, Shadows, Ventures, Loving Spoonful, the Troggs and other Top 40 acts of the mid-60s.  I had started out on guitar (strictly rhythm) and by the time we were playing gigs we had added another guitarist and I had switched to bass, having bought an Eko semi-acoustic bass and a Jansen 50 watt valve amp with a duo cabinet.  During the following year the band played a few more paying gigs but disbanded when I went flatting and moved closer to the city.

My next two musical outings of any note were both bands that had residencies at the Surfside Ballroom, in Auckland’s North Shore suburb of Milford.  Hugo Speman and the Ensigns, a 6-piece, Top 40 and jazz-standards dance-band, with guest female and male vocalists, played every Saturday night and the gig paid £5 a night.  This was my introduction to working in a band with a brass section, and I loved it.  As a part of my audition I sang the then-current Hollies hit, ‘I’m Alive’.  The drummer in this band was Norris Nutsford from Ray Woolf and the Avengers.  Just over a year later I played a fill-in spot for a few months with Bob Wynyard and the Music Method, once again a 6-piece band with brass, and with guest male and female vocalists, playing Top 40 music every Saturday night at the Surfside Ballroom.  The guitarist in this band was Glynn Tucker (from the Embers and the Gremlins).

In 1968 I spent 6 months playing jazz standards and old show tunes with Lou Campbell and the Starlighters at The Masonic Hall in Upper Queen Street, and the following year I had a short stint with a gig band playing jazz standards, The Laurie Dunn Quartet, notable because I was able to bring Yvonne Gray, my partner of the previous 3 years, into the band playing guitar.  Yvonne had been one of the earliest members of Auckland’s all-girl band, The Fair Sect, but had opted out when the rest of the girls decided to relocate to Canada.

Late in 1969 I joined The Blue Souls, whose members were Mo Dawson (later with Rainbow) on vocals, Robert Morse on guitar and vocals, an English drummer called Steve, and yours truly on bass and vocals.  Josie Rikka (also later with Rainbow) on vocals was part of the original band but after she left the band I once again brought in Yvonne on guitar, Vox organ and vocals.  The Blue Souls had a regular 3 nights per week pub residency at The Bellbird Inn (Manurewa) but when the drummer, Steve, got his girlfriend pregnant and skipped back to England, we called it a day.  It was during this time Yvonne and I got married and with the birth of our first child, Tiffany, we didn’t mind the break.

At the beginning of 1971 Yvonne and I formed a 4 piece Top 40 covers band called Topaz with Mark Ducker (Jamestown Union) on guitar, and Jon Drinkwater (Intimate Blues Connection and the Velvet Bubble) on drums.  After six months playing 3 – 4 nights a week, Mark left the band to move to Australia.

We brought Bill Kane into the group and changed the band’s name to Noazark (because we rocked and rolled).  We all sang lead and as well as harmonies and were quite an extrovert group, dressing in Lurex outfits, wearing stage make-up and playing a glam-rock rep from Bowie, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper, The Sweet etc, as well as R & R and Top 40 favourites.

We put together a repertoire and before long we were playing 6 nights a week - 3 nights at the Jolly Farmer Inn at Drury and 3 nights at the White Horse Inn at Pakuranga where the manager introduced us to Johnny Devlin’s manager Dave MacKee, who was the then manager of.  Dave became our manager and we began a pretty full schedule of touring the North Island, playing the bigs and the smalls, headlining our own shows and supporting and backing all the major NZ acts of the day: Johnny Devlin, Tom Sharplin, Angela Ayres, Craig Scott, Bunny Walters, Bart John, Bridgette Allen, The Happen Inn Dancers, Alison Durban, Nash Chase, hypnotist Orchanté (Tom Orchard), Ray Woolf, Mr Lee Grant, Maria Dallas, Yolande Gibson, Frankie Rowles, Rob Guest, Bobby Davis, John Hore, Brent Brodie, Judy Donaldson (The Chicks), and Aussies Normie Rowe and Johnny Farnham.

Our bread and butter gigs during these times were residencies at The White Horse Inn, the Thunderbird Valley Inn in Glenfield, the Papakura Town and Country Tavern, The Jolly Farmer Inn and Sunday nights at the Panmure Ice Rink.  We appeared on TVNZ’s ‘Happen Inn’ in 1972 with a rock and roll ‘shoo-bee doo-wap’ style original song, ‘Payroll Rock’, that I had written and which we recorded at Peter Posa’s studio in Henderson.  Later in 1972 we went into Stebbing’s Recording Studio in Ponsonby to record ‘Money’s Made To Burn’, a hit that missed!  The flipside was a dreamy, psychedelic-feeling song written by our guitarist Bill Kane, ironically called ‘Broken Dreams’.

While Yvonne and I took some time off from Noazark for the arrival of our second child, Derek, I had the opportunity to play with Merv Thomas on trombone and Allan Quennel (Tommy Adderley’s Headband) on guitar and Frank Conway on drums when I filled in on bass with their band at their Westhaven Trillo’s residency for a couple of months.  Lots of humour – these guys were so funny.

1974 was a year for personnel changes with our drummer Jon Drinkwater leaving, Renton Brown joining then leaving, Jon coming back, Bill Kane leaving and, after a reasonably smooth transition through two guitar players, first Mike Caen and then Dave Walker, we were joined by Glen White on guitar, slide guitar, harmonica, and vocals, all the while continuing to work the pub circuits.  Late 1975 Jon Drinkwater again left the band and his replacement was Paul Fenton, and this final line-up of Noazark settled into a 15 month, 4 nights per week residency at the Wiri Trust Hotel (later known as the Manukau Arms).  Finally, in April 1976, Noazark was disbanded.

I formed Kashmir in May 1976, with Bill Beare from Wellington's Heartbreakers on guitar and vocals, John Parker also on guitar and vocals, and John Butler on drums.  We played at the Wiri Trust for a few months before moving to the Thoroughbred Tavern in Takanini, and scoring some regular late-night bookings at The Crypt nightclub in the heart of the city.  The band split up in January 1977.

I joined Swayed in April 1977 and found another harmony band right up my alley.  Paul Town-Treweek on lead vocals, electric violin, electric mandolin and percussion, Jim Joll on guitar, keyboards, flute and vocals (and electronics), Jim’s brother Gordon Joll (who was with Rod McCauley’s South Auckland band Hot Ash) on drums and percussion (and the occasional vocals), and me on my usual bass and vocals.

Our first 6 months together was spent as the resident band at the Toby Jug Restaurant in Titirangi and, after a short transition through the Royal George Hotel in Newmarket, we changed the band’s name to Rock Candy, added John Parker on guitar to the line-up, and, in April 1978, began a 6-night-a-week (later cut back to 5 nights) 10pm to 3am residency at Aladdin’s Nightclub (under the Civic Theatre) that was to last almost 5 years.

During our time together we made numerous TV appearances including a regular Telethon contribution, Radio With Pictures, Andy Shaw’s Starzone, a two hour Top 40-countdown television New Year's Eve Spectacular 'Pop Encounters' at the end of ’79, and were flown to TV1’s Avalon Studios in Wellington for a performance on Rock Around the Clock.

Some of the local artists' albums Gordon Joll and I played on in the studio include: 'Stealer of Hearts' - Wayne Roland Brown; 'The Man, The Music, The Legend' - Prince Tui Teka; 'Drinkin' Them Beers' - Noel Parlane; 'Starblaze' - a high-school rock-opera by Shade Smith; 'Just For the Record' - Murray Hancox; 'Shades of Gray' and 'Guitar By Candlelight' - Gray Bartlett.  Gordon and I also played in the TVNZ Radio Theatre backing band for the TV shows '12 Bar Rhythm'n'Shoes' and were in the band of the 'live to tape' 'The Suzanne Lee Show'.

Early in 1979, John Parker left the band to join Larry Morris’s Shotgun, and we were very pleased to get Kevin Furey (Quincey Conserve) to replace him.  At the beginning of 1980 the club’s owner and manager, John Tabla, gave us the go-ahead to add a female vocalist to the line-up and we brought Jan McCauley (now Jan Posa) into the band.

In October 1981, two of Rock Candy's founding members left the band to follow new directions, Paul Town-Treweek returning to teaching and Jim Joll forming his own four-piece band, Rock Squad, with Nigel Lee.  Ben Grubb (The Gremlins) came in to RC on keyboards and our new vocalist was Barry Wetini, who had shared lead vocals with Peter Morgan in Auckland band Charisma.

The following year, 1982, saw further changes in personnel of the band.  Our female vocalist, Jan McCauley left the band in June to get married and raise some little singers.  Jan's replacement was Mary-Anne HemeraBen Grubb left in November and was replaced by keyboardist Richard Hall.

I was next to leave.  On Saturday, November 20th, 1982 I played my last gig at Aladdin’s with the group I helped create almost 5 years earlier, and went to Sydney with just my bass, a few suitcases, and my fiancé.

During the 15 months I lived and worked in Sydney, I joined an ex-pat Kiwi, keyboardist Susan Dalzell, playing in her trio for almost a year; played with Angela Ayres’s band Ayres and Graces; and had a regular Tuesday night residency at the All Nations Club in King’s Cross with a band I had put together with a couple of previous collaborators, Paul Fenton and John Parker.  In the December of ‘83 my fiancé Deena and I made a quick return visit to Auckland to get married.

By March 1984 I was back in Auckland in a group called Databand, playing a five night residency at Club 21 (formerly Aladdin’s) with 2 ex-Rock Candy players, Jim Joll on guitar, keyboards, flute and vocals; Gordon Joll on drums and percussion, along with Ramon Domiellio, Jim's former drummer from Rock Squad, on lead vocals and percussion and Kit Panting on guitar with a Roland GR 700 guitar synth.  We were also using sequencers on stage (drum, keyboard and bass) to get the New Wave sounds and feels.

A year later, March 1985, Jim, Gordon and I downsized to a 3 piece, Livewire, taking a 3 night residency at Charlie’s Nightclub in Henderson and playing every Sunday night at the Casablanca (a.k.a. Catchawanka) where we also backed the club’s resident female vocalist, Sandy Cairns, who subsequently joined the band.  Early in 1986, after a year at Charlie’s where the punters would sit down for our Top 40 sets and get up and dance to the DJs sets, Livewire had had enough of the suburban atmosphere and headed back into downtown Auckland city to take up a three-night-a-week residency at Macey’s Tavern, continuing to play at Casablanca on Sunday nights.  Not long after taking the residency, our drummer Gordon left to join Satellite Spies.  Our new drummer was Mike (Tich) Walsh (from Larry Morris's Shotgun).  Around this time my wife Deena and I celebrated the arrival of our daughter, Amelia.

In 1987, with the break-up of Livewire, Tich and I joined up with keyboardist Murray Hancox to form Murray Hancox and the Flames, playing a residency at the Birkenhead Trust Hotel, touring extensively and performing as guitarist Gray Bartlett’s band.  We played on a few of Gray’s albums, appeared on Radio With Pictures and the 1988 Telethon and were support for Cliff Richard, Don McClean, the ‘original’ Coasters and the Crickets on various tours.  For larger shows we included a guitar player in the line-up – generally Peter Bayliss or Dean Kerr.  Our final gig together was a month at the Twin Towns RSL Club in Tweed Heads, on the Gold Coast, in April 1989.

I made the switch to being a solo act in the winter of ’89, buying a Roland sequencer, keyboard and sound module and putting together a sound system.  Playing at Cosy clubs, RSAs, pubs, Skotel Ski Resort at Mt Ruapehu, on top of shelves at Big Fresh supermarkets, up and down the North Island playing for weddings, 21sts and parties all kept me very busy.  During this time I also put together a duo with Jodi Vaughn (called Jodi and the Judge) for some of the club gigs.  But it was playing on the outdoor stage at the Victoria Park Markets in the middle of winter that made me think it would be good to live in a warmer climate.

I arrived on the Gold Coast, Queensland, in January 1993 and slipped straight into a 3 month, 2 gigs a week residency at the Twin Towns RSL Club.  By the October I was so busy, some weeks playing (and singing) 5 to 6 gigs a week, I decided to find a female vocalist to share the load.  I found great singer and friend in Leone Sakey (now Leone Sakey-Gouley), an ex-pat Kiwi from Te Atatu, and, calling ourselves Foreign Affair, we were soon a very busy duo.  We had a one-night-a-week residency at Jupiter’s Casino; we played at pubs, clubs, resorts, nightclubs, bandstands in council parks, caravan parks, bandstands in shopping malls, and at the Treasury Casino in Brisbane; we played for weddings and other private functions, company and corporate functions at all of the major resorts on the Gold Coast and some in Brisbane.

When Foreign Affair was offered a Friday, Saturday night and Sunday lunch residency in the Parkview Restaurant at the Royal Pines Resort (Gold Coast) we jumped at it.  One of the perks of the job was that we had free access to the seafood buffet (and the red wine).  In May 1998, Leone finished up with Foreign Affair, getting married to an Australian who lived in London - a bit too far to commute.

I changed the name of the duo to Affinity and, with a new singer or two, continued to work on the Gold Coast, still with the weekly Jupiter’s Casino residency, until 2004, when my partner and I moved north to Hervey Bay.  With a population of about 65,000, Hervey Bay doesn’t have a huge nightlife scene but I currently play one or two solo gigs a week.  The rest of my time is spent sailing our 10m catamaran in the pristine waters surrounding Fraser Island, and drinking the odd red wine. 

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