New Zealand Psych

By Greg Watt

with Daniel McGlynn



Abdullah’s Regime

The group led by the song writer and vocalist Mike Dally existed only long enough to record this single and launch the independent label Ode.  The psychedelically inclined A side features substantial phasing and the more subtle B side is a protest against the war in Viet Nam.

Sally I Do/ Silver Ship  (Ode ODE 1)  1968


The Action-A Wellington band who like their English namesakes were influenced by soul and Tamla Motown. In fact they even recorded an Action(UK) cover in Never Ever.

I Can’t Make A Friend/Romeo And Juliet               (Zodiac)     1967


The Avengers-From Wellington, they were possibly one of  New Zealand’s best bands in terms of musicianship and achieved a degree of chart action. Between 1967 and 1969 they released around twelve singles and three albums. They were mostly a pop band that recorded a number of covers, but they did produce some good pop/psych material such as Waterpipe and Love Hate Revenge, the Episode Six track. Members went on to Aust. prog band Bakery.

Only Once In My Life/Waterpipe    (HMV)    1967

Love Hate Revenge/Only Last Year    (HMV)   1968

Days Of Pearly Spencer/Daniel The Postman    (HMV)   1968

I Wouldn’t Do That/Love Is A One Way Ticket    (Columbia)   1969




The Bluestars-Obviously influenced by English RnB bands this Auckland band recorded one of the all time great garage/freakbeat singles not just from downunder, but anywhere in the world. Social End Product is a must hear. They actually sent a tape to Decca in England which was surprisingly accepted. In fact their first single, Please Be A Little Kind/I Can Take It was released in England before it came out in their homeland.

Social End Product/I’m Over Here   (Allied Int.)   1966


The Brew were regarded as New Zealand’s first “Underground” band.  It was put together by Californian Bob Gillet who was a jazz musician living in New Zealand.   He had  decided to form his own band to play a new kind of music  His first recruit was guitarist Doug Jerebine who was fond of experimenting with equipment and sounds.  They only produced one bizarre/experimental single with a distinctive eastern influenced guitar before splitting and going onto other musical endeavours.   Doug Jerebine (aka Jesse Harper) went to England and made a powerful  LP Guitar Absolution in the Shade of a Midnight Sun

Bengal Tiger/Tea for Two     (Allied Int JAR 554)   1967




The Challenge-Still at school when they released their four singles in 1969. Their best known track, The Crunch was written by Ray Columbus in conjunction with Smith’s Crisps, in the hope that it would start a new dance craze.  

Gone Gone Gone /Reflections of Charlie Brown   (Impact 1047)  1969

The Crunch/Now You Shake     (Impact 1049 )   1969


Chants R&B-What a band! Supposedly New Zealand’s answer to the Pretty Things. Not only did they have a wild stage act, with fans supplying gear for them to smash up, swinging from rafters and members feigning death, these guys from Christchurch ran their own nightclub and released two legendary singles. The second contains two covers that are actually more frenetic and raucous than the originals. Their leader Mike Rudd later formed Spectrum when the Chants fell apart in Australia.

I’ve Been Loving You Too Long/I Want Her    (Action)   1966

I’m Your Witchdoctor/Neighbour Neighbour    (Action)   1966



Christchurch group Chapta evolved in 1969 out of the remnants of the Next Move.   They underwent frequent line up changes over their 3 years and  musically covered a diverse range of styles.  Their first Album Chapta One features a couple of psychedelic tracks including the very trippy “Journey to the Sun”

Chapta One  (HMV HSDM 1009)   1971


The Clevedonairs  

Came from Clevedon (hence the name ) and produced a few snappy pop-pop psych singles in New Zealand before moving to Australia and shortening their name to the Cleves. 

He’s Ready / Lost woman    (Impact IR 1019) 1967

Sunny Goodge Street/ Up the Wooden hills of Bedfordshire (Impact IR 1036)  1968


Ray Columbus & The Invaders

Started out in Christchurch as a mainly instrumental band in 1961. They had their biggest hit with She’s A Mod which had a great English sound and captured the mood of the times perfectly. Columbus went solo in1966 and then left for the U.S. where he recorded a masterful piece of freakbeat with the Art Collection called Kick Me.

She’s A Mod/Poison Ivy     (Zodiac)   1964

Yo Yo/She’s Gone    (Zodiac)   1964

We Want A Beat/I’ve Been There Baby    (Impact)   1966

Kick Me/  She’s A Mod                             (  Colstar 1001  )           1967




The Dedikation came from Upper Hutt and enjoyed some fame in New Zealand as their second single ( a cover of Wait for me Mary Anne replete with phasing) hit number two in the singles charts.  However they also released a self titled album which features a range of pop, rock and psychedelic songs.

Dedikation    (Phillips BY 843088)     1969


The Dizzy Limits

A Wellington band containing  John “Timberjack” Donoghue.  Their first single contained two original numbers but after that flopped they tried covers.  They had a minor hit in New Zealand with a Beatles cover of Golden Slumbers.  But of main interest to us here is the B side to their debut single "Mare Tranquility" which was written about the Apollo 11 moon landing, the title coming from the projected landing site. A copy was even sent to NASA headquarters. It's a great track, mostly instrumental with repeated lyrics and plenty of phasing.

Alone/Mare Tranquility  (Ode ODE4) 1969


John Donoghue:

After the Dizzy Limits renamed itself Timberjack and released one controversial single, he reverted to his name.  His first single was of particular interest as it featured Johns Sitar playing.  It took a prominent role on this eastern flavoured song he based on his time with the Dizzy Limits.

Dahli Mohammed / Song for Vanda  ( Ode ODE 29)   1972




The Four Fours-Started out as an instrumental and beat band first recording in 1963.Their better moments came when they signed to the Zodiac label in 1966.They supported the Rolling Stones in NZ in 1966 and then tried the cruise ship route to England where they changed their name to Human Instinct gaining a recording deal with the Deram label, releasing some now highly sort after singles and then returning to NZ in 1968 where they released some also highly sort after heavy prog albums.

Go-Go/Don’t Print My Memories            (Zodiac)   1966

One Track Mind/Hawaii                           (Zodiac)   1967


The Fourmyula-After a number of names and  personnel changes they settled on the name Fourmyula in 1967.They enjoyed a string of hits between 1968 and 1971 with their mainly pop or popsike material. They also tried their luck in England for six months in 1969.

Come With Me/Honey Chile           (HMV  HR 331)   1968

Alice is There /I dig your Act          (HMV  HR 334)   1968

I Know Why/ Its only make believe (HMV  HR 335) 1968

I’ll Sing You A Song/Millstream     (HMV  HR 374)   1969

Nature/Home                                    (HMV  HR 380)   1969


40 Watt Banana

Their one and only single went to #2 in Fiji!!!! Don’t think this sent them into the realms of superstardom though. Actually it’s a great little track with an Eastern influence courtesy of some nice sitar work. Definite psych sounds here and it certainly has a lot earlier sound than its actual release date.

Nirvana/Fire And Rain                                                                         (HMV)     1971





The Gremlins-An Auckland band that recorded for three different labels between 1966 and 1968.Mostly power pop, but they had one single (Blast Off 1970)with psych sound effects.  Their final single was their most adventurous, the A side was planned to be a central part of a mystical concept album but plans fell through and only the single remained

Blast Off 1970/Sunday Breeze       (Zodiac Z45 1310)   1967

Kingsforth Hemmingseen/ Don’t just stand there.  (Zodiac Z45 1338)  1968


The Group-Recorded two singles for the small Tree label with the one mentioned below having been comped. Although released in 1969 it sounds as if it was from a couple of years earlier.

People In The Night/Colour Blind       (Tree)    1969




Hi-Revving Tongues-Supposedly released the first psychedelic single in NZ. Tropic Of Capricorn is a great piece of pop/psych. After leaving them in 1968, it was thought that John Walmsley, their bass player went to the U.S. where he became a member of  The Lemon Pipers.  Sad to say this is an urban legend as  actually that was another New Zealander with the same name.   

(The Psychedelic) Illusion/Hate To Go           (Allied Int)     1967

Tropic Of  Capricorn/Baby I Need Your Loving       (Philips)    1968


House Of  Nimrod-A short lived Auckland band who released two singles well regarded by psych collectors. As they had no other material when their first single came out they were unable to play live which obviously hampered their progress.  

Slightly-Delic/Reflection Of Our Time          (Festival)    1967

Psychothantic/Ragged Patch                           (Festival)    1968


Human Instinct-Started out as the Four Fours but changed their name on route to England. Supported many of the big names of the time and their two Deram singles are excellent psych double siders typical of the English sound of the era. Renaissance Fair is a great cover of The Byrds track. On their return to NZ they underwent numerous line up changes and developed into a much harder guitar based band who released a number of now very rare albums.

A Day In  My Mind’s Mind/Death Of The Seaside        (Deram)     1967

Renaissance Fair/Pink Dawn                                           (Deram)     1968




La De Da’s- Probably the most well known and the best NZ 60’s band. They released a series of great singles and albums. They certainly took the UK influences to heart both visually and musically with some of their releases matching anything else available anywhere in the world at the time. Like a lot of other NZ bands they headed to Aust. in 1967 and although well accepted they never really cracked the “big time”. They then tried their luck in England but also without success. They could never be accused of continually recording the same type of material and were one of the first bands to release a concept album in “The Happy Prince” .After returning from England they split up but reformed in 1971 becoming a hard rock and blues band showcasing the guitar work of Kevin Borich.

Little Girl/Ever Since That Night                        (Talent City)    1965

How Is The Air Up There/Pied Piper                                          (Philips)   1966

Don’t You Stand In My Way/I Take What I Want                     (Philips)   1966

On Top Of The World/Hey Girl                                                  (Philips)   1966

Hey Baby/Other Love                                                                 (Philips)    1967

All Purpose Low/My Girl                                                           (Philips)    1967

Rosalie/Find Us a Way                                                               (Philips)    1967

Come Fly With Me/Swallow Little Swallow                              (Columbia)   1969

Come Together/Here is Love                                                        (Parlophone) 1969



Find Us A Way                                                                            (Philips)    1967

The Happy Prince                                                                         (HMV)     1969



Larry’s Rebels

Experienced great success and chart action with a number of their approx. fifteen singles between 1965 and 1969.They were more of a clean cut pop band than R & B recording a number of good cover versions.

I Feel Good/Whatcha Gonna do About It                                     (Impact)     1966

Painter Man/You’re On My Mind                                                (Impact)     1967

Dreamtime/I’ll Make You Happy                                                 (Impact)     1967

Fantasy/Coloured Flowers                                                            (Impact)     1968



Bruno Lawrence

Bruno Lawrence was to find his way into many influential bands in the psychedelic era – Quincy Conserve, Littlejohn and Blerta.  His first single was a borderline inclusion as it is not really psych, more eccentric pop, but fans of UK styled Pop/pop-psych would find it irresistible.


Mandy Jones/I Don’t Care                                                           (HMV)    1967 




Music Convention

Formed in Hamilton their recordings were a mix of pop or popsike   However their main fame for inclusion here came from their sitar laden psychedelic –surf crossover songs that appeared on the film “Children of the Sun”   The group were approached to write the soundtrack, which they did.  The 4 tunes they did for this were also released on their rare EP.

Country Boy/Footprints On My Mind                                          (RCA)         1967

Children Of The Sun (e.p.)                                                           (RCA)         1968




No 1 Conversation Piece

The folk Trio the Yeomen had one last fling before breaking up, changing their name to record a “Hip” self penned tune to reflect the times, complete with backwards sound effects.  This single is so obscure I have yet to find it listed.

I Can’t find a Way                                                                                      1968




Gene Pierson

See My Way/Teach me how to Fly                                              (infinity) 1970

Gene Pierson’s real name was Giancarlo Salverstrin who emigrated from Australia to avoid conscription to Vietnam, and in an interesting story ended up hiding from the authorities by the unusual route of becoming a pop star.  While most of his music was in the pop vein, his most psychedelic moment came back in Australia in his version of “Teach me how to fly” which was more out there than the more successful version by Jeff St John released at the same time. 



Actually going against the usual trend of NZ bands relocating to Aust. these guys did the opposite. They were from Brisbane but moved to and recorded in Auckland. They were apparently a wild bunch who took the British R & B sounds and style of bands such as the Pretty Things to heart. A lot of their output was raucous covers such as Gloria and Security. They pre empted the Sex Pistols by having their original singer Bobby London getting himself into trouble and consequently sacked by swearing during the taping of a television show. Quite radical for the staid outlook of things down under in the mid 60’s. They returned to Aust. in early 1967 but only lasted a few more months before breaking up.

Last Night/Poor Girl                                                                  (Zodiac)    1965

Is It Over Baby/Hurtin’ All Over                                              (Zodiac)    1966


Lew Pryme

Gracious Lady Alice Dee/Computerised existence                     (Festival)  1968

Was a popular pop singer in New Zealand mid 60s scene with his bleached blonde hair.  Bryce Peterson from the House of Nimrod composed a controversial song "Gracious Lady Alice Dee" for Lew. He released it with "Computerised Existence" on the reverse for Festival in 1968. The song was banned by some radio stations, because of its subtle (or maybe less than subtle) references to the drug LSD.  




Quincy Conserve

The Quincy Conserve was formed in Wellington in late 1967 by singer Malcolm Hayman. Malcolm was an extremely talented musician who had already been on the music scene for twelve years by that stage. He began to recruit other musicians from other groups.  They became one of the most talented and professional groups to appear on the New Zealand music scene in the late sixties. They were Wellington's first 'supergroup'  They included Bruno Lawrence as well as members of the Underdogs, Top Shelf and Sounds Unlimited to mention just 3 of interest to collectors.  The group changed members a number of times and broke up and then reformed.  They always had a mild jazz influence in their music but covered a range of styles with ease.  Their psych material can be found scattered on their first two albums, “Listen to the band” and the prematurely named “Epitaph”  They released numerous singles, but the two below would be of interest to psych collectors.

Ride The Rain/Feel Good                                                           HMV 1970

Everyone has their Way/Purple Frustrations                              HMV 1970




Random Thoughts

Formed in 1968 they used borrowed equipment until 1969 when they finally got their own equipment in time to record their two singles.  Their first was the only one that had a psychedelic edge to it. 

The Trouble /Out of your mind                                             (Tree)   1969



Wellington based pop group around for a very short time in 1969. Phil Pritchard had spent the later part of the sixties in Australia and when he returned to his hometown, Wellington in late-1969, he joined up with Simple Image vocalist Barry Leef and played in this mainly covers band, before deciding to form an underground band, Highway, to play original material.  They only released one single during their short time. 

 "If You Think You're Groovy"/"Morning Dew"                    ( HMV)   1969.


The Rumour evolved from the pop group the Surfires and while never bona fide psych they did produce a couple of pop sike flavoured songs amidst their more pop/MOR orientated songs

Garden of your smile/ We can’t know the Reason                          (Polydor) 1970





Originated in Christchurch and released the one single on the obscure Ventura label, the b-side being a cover of the Byrds track.

I’d Rather Be Asleep/Why?                                                       (Ventura)     1969


Shane Hales first outing in New Zealand music was when he became a member of the Pleazers in 1966 as a replacement for Bob Cooper in their line-up. He stayed with them until they broke up in June 1967, by which time he already had ideas of his own about setting up a band he wanted to call the Shane Group.   Shane convinced Eldred Stebbing of Zodiac Records to record him with a Bee Gees song called "The Town Of Tuxley Toymaker" of which there are a number of interesting versions, Shane’s upbeat version possibly the best of them.  After this he went into a solo career, more pop based as he became a teen idol.  Much of his work was geared towards the pop market but he still did a few interesting recordings more in a psych pop vein, such as “St Paul”  and he also did more interesting experimental material such as “Black Snow” from his LP “A Natural Man” 

The Town Of Tuxley Toymaker"/ Breaking My Heart"      (Zodiac)  1967.

Saint Paul"/"Too Late For Years                                          (HMV)   1969


Simple Image

Basically a pop band formed in Wellington in 1967. Their track Spinning Spinning Spinning is a sunshine pop  number reminiscent of some of the US bands associated with Curt Boettcher and the like. It was a number one hit in NZ.

Spinning Spinning Spinning/Shy Boy                                       (HMV)     1968



Recorded two singles, the first of which is a great little double sider written by their hot guitarist Brett Tauri. He had spent the early 60’s in the US and it shows on No More Now, as although it was released in 1967 it has a somewhat US garage feel to it with plenty of fuzz guitar.

Never Trust Another Woman/No More Now                                (RCA)     1967


Sounds Unlimited

This pop/rock band went through a few line up changes over the mid 60s, than the group got the chance to go overseas in 1967 where they played at the Tiles Club in the UK- all the while observing the new scene around them.  They returned to Wellington and became the premier psychedelic group in the City playing at the Psychedelic Id.  Sadly they only released one single in this last incarnation before splitting up.  But this rare single is a very collectable item now.

Lollipop Train/Your way of Life                                                     (HMV) 1967


Space Farm

The group was based around ex Underdogs guitarist Harvey Mann.  The group played more hard rock and progressive sounds but their LP has a couple of more progressive/psych numbers that could justify their inclusion.  Their debut album was largely ignored by the public, but Space Farm continued to pull crowds and they remained at the forefront of the underground movement until their demise in 1973. By this time there had been drastic changes within. Harvey began to forego drugs and alcohol and these changes were reflected in his song writing and ultimately led to the end of the group.

Space Farm                                                                             Zodiac   1972





In 1971 they scored a hit with a cover of the atmospheric litany "Come to the Sabbat" backed with "Epilogue". It was a Loxene Golden Disc finalist, and a controversial one at that.  The publicity and sales from the record was not capitalised on.  Timberjack (the band) did not record again.  The single was also the swansong for the group.

Come to the Sabbat/Epiloge                                                  (Ode) 1971


Tom Thumb

From Wellington this band went through an incredible fifteen members in their four or so years together. I imagine that this contributed to the wide range of material they recorded, most of which were covers. Some of these covers were quite standard but others such as their 13th Floor Elevator and Fairport Convention covers were very good. A great pounding double sider which was possibly out of date by its release in 1967 was their original I Need You coupled with the excellent cover Got Love. In 1970 they released for mine the best psych. track to come out of NZ in Ludgate Hill. It’s a tale of the Great Fire Of London spread over nearly ten minutes, complete with all the psych effects of the time. Similar to Russell Morris’s- The Real Thing in the way that everything including the kitchen sink is thrown in, all to good effect. A classic.

What’cha Gonna Do’Bout It/You’re Gonna Miss Me                       (La Gloria)    1967

I Need You/Got Love                                                                         (La Gloria)    1967

Witchy Tai To/Meet On The Ledge                                                      (HMV)     1969

Ludgate Hill –prelude, destruction, dawning, tomorrow (e.p.)             (HMV)     1970


Top Shelf

From Wanganui where their one and only single sold very well, but if you’ve ever been there you would realise this would not result in a huge amount of sales and money for the band. They relocated to Wellington and took up residency at one of the local night clubs. Two members were drafted into the military in 1969 which caused the band to split up.

Baby The World Really Turns/Time Beyond                                     (HMV)     1969


Troubled Mind

Originally from Napier they relocated to New Zealands largest city, Auckland.  Played regularly around the place with an English R&B style. Numerous line up changes probably didn’t help their chances, although their “I’m good for you” single listed below got to # 20 on the charts.  Dispite their three singles their best work, especially from a psychedelic perspective, was left on the cutting room floor – check out their unreleased tracks on the “Day in My Minds Mind” Compilation for confirmation of this. 

Under my Thumb/Child                                                                      (Zodiac)   1969 I’m Good For You/Troubled Mind                                                    (Festival)     1969





The underdogs were a Blues band and most of their work had little to do with psychedelia. They split up and the two ex members Mann and Edwards got together with Glen Absolom on drums in 1970 and released the 1971 album "Wasting Our Time" as Pig Mann and Edwards.  This is less blues based than their earlier work, a mix of harder rock with some slight psychedelic elements. 

Wasting Our Time                                                                      (Pye) 1971