The underground sound
Gleanings from Rock from the Edge by Keith Newman (add your memories?)
By Keith Newman
In New Zealand in the mid-60s resident nightclub and touring bands were developing their own distinctive hard-edged rock guitar-based sound based around international influences and their own experimentation. Bands including Human Instinct with guitarist Billy T. K, Jigsaw featuring Chas Bourke Kennedy, Ticket with Eddie Hansen, The Underdogs with Harvey Mann and The Brew featuring Doug Jerebine competed for the crowds and much of the attention was on the axemen.
Underdogs guitarist Harvey Mann was
considered guitar supremo. He continued to refine his already accomplished
style and technique working alongside Doug Jerebine in the last days of The
Brew. The Underdogs and Human Instinct pushed each other to cult status,
however the Human
Instinct were the first to record an album in 1969 with guitarist Billy T. K
exhibiting a wild contemporary bluesy style in the tradition of Hendrix. Human Instinct went on a three month working trip to London before returning to New
Zealand to record their first album Burning Up Years in 1969 which was followed
up by Stoned Guitar in 1970 and Pins In It in 1971.
Seven of the songs on those first two albums were written by a
guitarist who called himself Jesse Harper. Among them was Midnight Sun, the Jug-a-jug
Song and Hear the Good News. Jesse Harper was in fact Doug
Jerebine who had
become an important contact for Human Instinct during their brief stint in
The band brewed up and
served an outrageous mixture of jazz, rock and funk. Gillett was drawn to Indian
philosophy and encouraged Jerebine to follow suit. Jerebine was caught up in a new world
where he learned tabla and sitar. When the band dissolved Jerebine moved on to the UK
where he met up with the Human Instinct and provided major inspiration for
their forthcoming albums before taking a group of musicians to Holland. He
became a high ranking krishna monk, disappearing for many years, keeping
contact with only a few selected friends. A more detailed outline of the
Jesse Harper Legend (Doug Jerebine
story), a condensed excerpt from Rock From the Edge by
Keith Newman, has now been included on this site, along with new
But by the end of 1974, Hansen had gone to Sydney to join former La De Das guitarist and vocalist Phil Key in Band of LIght with Billy Williams and Danny Davidson but six months later was back in Christchurch with Williams and Davidson and former Ticket vocalist Trevor Tombleson for a three month stint as Sky Pilot. Meanwhile Harvey Mann had been looking around for likeminded musicians to form a new unit. By mid-1975 the band had a name and a prestigious line-up. Living Force was Murray Partridge on guitar and vocals who been with blues band Freshwater and had some success in Australia, Ivan Thompson a founding member of Dragon on (keyboards?) and Gary Clarke who'd been in Carson (?). Their debut gig was at Maurice Greer's Croft's nightclub in Auckland. Only months later Partridge was replaced by Eddie Hansen.
With two of the country's most proficient guitarists on-board the audience had expectations of what the sound might be delivered but many were disappointed. this wasn't your average progrock band, the sounds were mellifluous and drawn out with extended solos and rambling themes, most often related to their new spiritual walk, and specifically Krishna focused.
According to John Dix in Stranded in Paradise, Radio Hauraki had organised a concert in Auckland's Albert Park. and booked Living Force as one of the acts. After they had meandered along for over half an hour on one song, 90 percent of the 2000 strong crowd decided to leave. All that was left were the jubilant Krishna devotees. The boys in the band didn't seem to notice. Thirty minutes after the scheduled completion time for the concert, they showed no signs of finishing, so the power was cut off. The band staggered on until the mid-1970s with one classic and now very rare album to their name before they dissolved and went their separate ways. Band members dispute this account.
Stebbings memories (2007)
|Images from Bruce Sergent's pages unless otherwise stated. Go to Rock from the Edge|