Brothers Francis, Laughton, Stuart and Brad Kora formed Kora in 2002, with "token white dude" Dan McGruer. Originally from Whakatane, some of the Koras had played with high school band Aunty Beatrice, which won Rockquest in 1991. Melding reggae, rock, dub, roots, funk and vocal harmonies, Kora released an EP in 2004. Their self-titled debut album entered the charts at number 1 in 2007; 2012's Light Years won acclaim. UK electronic act Cabaret Voltaire released an EP of remixes. Brad and Laughton left Kora in 2013, and formed L.A.B; later Laughton joined Kinetic. Francis also sings in the Modern Māori Quartet.
Ian Morris got his start in the music industry as a recording engineer at Auckland's Stebbings Studio. A guitarist in Th'Dudes, he co-wrote some of the band's biggest hits with Dave Dobbyn (including 'Right First Time" and 'Bliss'). In 1987 he topped the charts as Tex Pistol with his cover of 'The Game of Love' (which he performed, arranged, engineered and produced). 'Nobody Else', a follow-up single with his brother Rikki, went to number one a year later. Morris also composed and recorded soundtracks for TV, film and commercials. He died in October 2010.
Dave Dobbyn formed DD Smash with legendary drummer Peter Warren and others in 1981, following the breakup of Th'Dudes. The new band released their debut album Cool Bananas in 1982. It became the first Kiwi album to debut at number one, and stayed in the NZ charts for 24 weeks. The following year classic single 'Outlook for Thursday' almost equalled that number, with 21 weeks in the chart. DD Smash won many NZ Music Awards and were a popular live act in both NZ and Australia. After the release of third and final DD Smash album The Optimist in 1984, Dobbyn began an extended solo career.
This award-winning Candle Wasters web series mixes A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a teen house party. In the first two episodes, Puck (Meesha Rikk) hits the party in time to witness a showdown, while Lena (Kalisha Wasasala) worries about when to make a romantic move. Then Puck crashes a young activists’ meeting — inspired by the original play's comical Mechanicals — in the bedroom of Petra (Thomasin McKenzie from Leave No Trace). The third Shakespeare adaptation by The Candle Wasters added NZ On Air funding and "token dude" Robbie Nicol to the creative team.
The search for a NZ Spice Girls is underway in the first episode of this pioneering reality series. Manager Peter Urlich (formerly of Th' Dudes) and record company executive Mark Tierney (ex-Strawpeople) hold public auditions to find the all-girl pop group for their record deal and TV series. The good, the bad and the unfortunate are out in full force. Nearly all of the candidates are happy to proclaim their self-belief and desire for stardom, and to be subjected to the exhaustive selection process that could result in them becoming instant celebrities.
The video for Tex Pistol's chart-topping, electro-pop tinged remake of 'The Game of Love' is a stylish triumph for budding teenage director Paul Middleditch - and one of the high points of New Zealand music video making in the 1980s. Tex Pistol, aka former member of Th'Dudes Ian Morris, is dressed in black and white with silver tipped cowboy boots and big red semi-acoustic guitar; while the soundstage, covered in a sheen of water, and blacked out except for a handful of spotlights, is all reflective surfaces for Morris and backing vocalist Callie Blood.
Dave Dobbyn's musical career is legendary, from songs 'Whaling', to 'Loyal'; from his early work in bands Th'Dudes ('Be Mine Tonight', 'Bliss') and DD Smash ('Outlook for Thursday', 'Magic') to a solo career that has encompassed eight albums — plus the soundtrack for Footrot Flats: The Dog's Tale. The iconic singer-songwriter has been pumping out hit songs since the late 1970s. En route he has received countless accolades — including an industry Lifetime Achievement Award — and ten of his songs appeared in New Zealand's Top 100 songs, as voted by music royalties organisation APRA.
Musical brothers Ian and Rikki (Richard) Morris collaborated briefly in the late 80s. A former member of Th’Dudes, Ian had a solo number one hit in 1987 as Tex Pistol with his version of the 60s classic ‘The Game of Love’. The following year, Ian and Rikki topped the charts together when they joined forces to record Rikki’s song ‘Nobody Else’. Ian also engineered and produced Rikki’s debut solo single ‘Heartbroke’. It won Rikki the APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award for 1991 and Ian was named Best Engineer at the NZ Music Awards.
Popstars was a key forerunner of the late 1990s reality television explosion. The series followed the creation and development of an all-girl pop band called TrueBliss (Carly Binding, Keri Harper, Joe Cotton, Megan Alatini and Erika Takacs), who went on to record several NZ chart-topping singles and a platinum-selling album. Also a hit was the series format, which sold around the world and helped inspire Pop Idol/American Idol, the franchise that would dominate reality TV for years to come.
Thomas Sainsbury is a chameleon with an eclectic CV. He is an accomplished playwright, he co-wrote TV series Super City with Madeleine Sami and has collaborated with others on web series Stake Out, Bachelor Pad and The Video Store. As the ‘Snapchat Dude’, he is best known for using wigs and face manipulation to parody people, such as Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett. Image: photo by Andi Crown