In 2006, Th’ Dudes reformed after 26 years. This documentary follows them on a national tour as members Peter Urlich, Dave Dobbyn, Ian Morris, Lez White and Bruce Hambling reflect on their former lives as late 70s pop stars. Encouraged to behave like stars, they didn’t disappoint. There are frank discussions about sex, drugs, an obscene t-shirt, on-stage nudity and other bad behaviour — but also the stories behind classic songs like ‘Bliss’, ‘Right First Time’ and ‘Be Mine Tonight’, which still captivate adoring, if aging, audiences a quarter of a century later.
Th’ Dudes formed in 1976 — around a nucleus of Peter Urlich, Dave Dobbyn and Ian Morris (later Tex Pistol) — all fresh out of Auckland’s Sacred Heart College. Propelled by the accomplished songwriting of Dobbyn and Morris, Th’ Dudes followed in the footsteps of Hello Sailor and helped Kiwi rock’n’roll shake off its mid-70s lethargy. The band released two albums and a number of classic singles — including ‘Be Mine Tonight’, ‘Right First Time’ and ‘Bliss’. Baulking at the grind needed to make an impact in Australia, Th' Dudes split in 1980. In 2006 they reunited for a tour, and documentary Th' Dudes - Right Second Time.
It's the holidays: time to let your hair down, have a swim, give in to your appetite...and have a boogie. From Kings to The Clean, from 'Ten Guitars' to 'Trippin', let NZ On Screen supply the music, with this epic playlist of classic Kiwi party songs. In the backgrounder, music fan and publicity maestro Nicky Harrop takes us through the tracks, before bidding adieu to NZ On Screen.
After three years of playing live, the first single from Th’ Dudes was this classic, chiming piece of pop written by Dave Dobbyn. The video was made at TVNZ’s Manchester St Studios in Christchurch. With Dobbyn taking lead vocal, there was no onstage role for Peter Urlich — so he sits at a table in the foreground of the empty nightclub set. Assistant floor manager Peter Bain-Hogg plucked a passerby off the street to play the waitress. The song would become an enduring Kiwi classic — three decades later, it closed out the final episode of Outrageous Fortune.
This slow-burning Ian Morris/Dave Dobbyn song was the B-side of Th’Dudes first single ‘Be Mine Tonight’. Music videos for both songs were shot in a day at TVNZ’s Christchurch studios, in the era before the music video boom – back when, as Dave Dobbyn puts it, “the state made your videos”. A relatively straightforward performance piece, with some outsized masks for visual relief, it has the band largely entering into the spirit of things — with the exception of Dobbyn who shows up at one point with a strange spot on his forehead, before managing a manic stare.
With a chorus to do any football terrace proud, the final single from Th’ Dudes (featuring Dave Dobbyn, Peter Urlich and Ian Morris) has become one of the great Kiwi drinking songs — though it was written in Sydney to parody hard-drinking pub crowds, and the lyrics namecheck local landmarks (The Coogee, The Cross) and luxuries unavailable back in NZ (Spanish shoes, falafel). The video, shot in the booze-barn like Cricketers’ Arms in Wellington, captures the raw essence of the song as it showcases the excitement of the band’s live show, and offers a snapshot of bar culture in early 80s New Zealand.
This episode of C4's music series Homegrown Profiles looks at the 30 year career of singer/songwriter Dave Dobbyn, whose songs are mainstays of the Aotearoa soundscape. Dobbyn talks about nerve-wracking early days with th' Dudes, where the name for band DD Smash originated, and his long solo career. In a wide-ranging and thoughtful interview, Dobbyn discusses the highs and lows of a life in music, including the mayhem and causes of the 1984 Aotea Square riot, being told his best album was unreleasable, and the satisfaction of writing the Footrot Flats soundtrack.
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.
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'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.