Rick Bryant and The Jive Bombers were co-founded in 1983 by Kiwi soul man Bryant and ex Top Scientist (and Rip It Up co-creator) Alistair Dougal. The Bombers played a mix of originals and classic funk and soul covers, becoming pub favourites as big bands flared briefly in the mid 80s. Album When I'm With You (1984) mixed studio and live songs, and spawned single 'When I'm With You'/'Got To Have It'. Reuniting in the 90s, the band released two more albums. Bryant passed away in December 2019.
The sweat is dripping and the horns aren’t holding back in this characteristically fervent Jive Bombers rendition of James Brown’s 1979 R&B classic ‘It’s Too Funky in Here'. Kiwi soulman Rick Bryant belts out the instruction — “say it again” — to a willing audience at Auckland’s (now demolished) Mainstreet cabaret on Queen Street, and the band follow suit. The trumpeter has sunnies on, and choreographed stage moves signal The Jive Bombers' intent to bring the funk. The band flared briefly but brightly on the mid-80s pub circuit. The song is from 1984 album When I’m With You.
“You get the impression that Wellington wants an audience but doesn’t want to be seen to be trying too hard to get one”. This report surveys 1982's local music scene, framing tensions between an energetic politically-conscious underground, and commercial rock and pop (i.e. Auckland). Not all is positive, with complaints about lack of venues and promotion, and violence at gigs. Interviewees include Mocker Andrew Fagan, Nino Birch (Beat Rhythm Fashion), Dennis O’Brien, Ian Morris, promoter Graeme Nesbitt (in Radio Windy sweatshirt) and punk singer Void (Riot 111).
Roving reporter Simon Morris talks to music movers and shakers in this special report from the 1980s cult music rock show. Auckland is on the cusp of the club boom and live music is waning. A youthful club promoter Russ Le Roq (aka Russell Crowe) flies the flag for the kids, Colin Hogg is unimpressed and a fresh faced Graeme Humphreys (aka Graeme Hill) fronts the Able Tasmans. Meanwhile, local acts are in short supply in Wellington. The live scene is healthier but radio certainly isn’t. The Pelicans (with a young Nick Bollinger) and Strikemaster perform.
The Neighbours were formed around the pairing of Ponsonby’s Sam Ford-led country rockers Local Heroes and Wellington musician Rick Bryant. The band toured extensively and went through numerous line-ups, winning fans for their grunty R&B sound. EP The Only One You Need was followed by sole album Vocal at the Local, recorded live at the band's base, The Gluepot. Trudi Green took lead vocals. Sax man Bryant left in mid-83 to form Rick Bryant and the Jive Bombers, and focus on a soul-inspired sound.
In the era of Live Aid and Band Aid, Don McGlashan, Chris Knox and Rick Bryant fronted this one off project voicing opposition to the proposed 1985 All Black tour of South Africa — the first contact with the Springboks since 1981. The result was a 12” single (catalogue number STOP 15) which went to No.2 in the charts; but it was a court injunction that led to the cancellation of the tour. The All Blacks didn’t play South Africa again during the apartheid era (although 28 players selected for the 1985 tour later went to South Africa as the Cavaliers).
In the vein of 'We are the World' and 'Do They Know It’s Christmas', 'Don’t Go' rallied NZ musicians to express their opposition to the proposed 1985 All Black tour of South Africa. Don McGlashan, Chris Knox and Rick Bryant were the front row for this one-off single: a catchy number written by McGlashan, Frank Stark and Geoff Chapple. The video — directed by Alison Maclean and shot by Stuart Dryburgh — never attempts to get in the way of the message, placing the ensemble cast in front of red, white and black backdrops (interspersed with rugby imagery).
The Neighbours were formed when Wellingtonian Rick Bryant packed his saxophone and headed north to jam with Sam Ford-led Ponsonby outfit Local Heroes. The band toured their sweaty soul sound extensively from their Gluepot Tavern base. ‘The Only One You Need’ was from the 1982 EP of the same name. Directed by Gaylene Preston, the Keystone Cops-style video has Bryant (somewhat slyly) playing a police constable under the spell of vocalist Trudi Green; Green foils Bryant’s bar raid and his efforts to guard a Greymouth bank. Bryant later formed the Jive Bombers.
After a run of hit short films involving creatures on the run, Chicken marked the feature debut of director Grant Lahood. Brit Bryan Marshall stars as Dwight, a fading pop star who fakes his own death as a career move. Meanwhile a crazed fowl rights-activist (Cliff Curtis), angered at Dwight's promotions for fried chicken, plots revenge. Though the romantic black comedy tanked at the box office, the story and performances did receive some positive notice, with Metro reviewer and musician Rick Bryant finding it "very funny ... very enjoyable".
Canadian-born to New Zealand parents, writer and director Alison Maclean helmed one of the most successful NZ Film Commission-funded short films of all time, Kitchen Sink, which debuted at Cannes and won eight international awards. A graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts, she has directed feature films Crush (which she also wrote) and Jesus’ Son. A director of commercials and television series including Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, Maclean divides her time between New York, Canada and New Zealand, and she is developing several feature films.