There were never really any groupies that followed the Spines – or not that I knew of. I put it down to the fact that we were pretty intense and through the times in the eighties that I was single we always had women in the band itself. There was one period there though, after Caroline left to join Beat Rhythm Fashion, replaced by Tim Robinson and before Wendy replaced Rob on bass, when it was just the three of us guys. This was the line-up that played at the Cabana in Napier in 1982. We had a harder-edged sound and moved away from the ska feels to a more bombastic rock thing
When we hit town, for a three night stint at the Cabana, we went around town putting up our posters as we did in Wellington – only someone complained and the police made us take them all down again. The gigs went down well though (a lot of drunken foreign sailors there as I recall) and Charlie, who ran the venue made us feel very welcome – she was a real character and after our last night told me that a young lady wanted to meet me.
Her name was Karen and was very strong – she lifted weights and was a wrestler. She told me she loved my songs and me and asked me to dance. We wound up writing letters to each other for a few months after I got back to Wellington and she sent me some laminated Spines stickers she had had made up – she was a genuine fan and I wonder what ever happened to her.
So after our Masterton gig the other week we headed back
there with Les at the wheel and Hannah and I slightly worse for wear – I had a sore wrist and leg and Hannah wanted us to stop at the Tui factory so she could pay her respects. Simon had made his own way there for family reasons.
I had always liked Napier for family reasons of my own but hadn’t been back to the Cabana for all those years – it was a lot like how I remembered it there was even a reminder of our earlier time there in the men’s toilet.
It turned out to be a fantastic gig – we were nicely warmed from the previous night and had a great onstage sound so we really let rip. Again not a huge audience but those that came got a powerful glimpse of the Spines at their best. It was only Simon’s second ever time playing live with us and he nailed it – hitting those drums so hard it reminded me of Tim all those years ago and I got to push my guitar solos out to that sonic level that I relish.
Again we partied on into the night afterwards – it was a great little tour and a big thank you to Julie Lamb for putting it all together.
Next morning I met Roy, the owner of the Cabana and we talked about the late Ian Morris and what a wonderful,
talented and generous man he had been – how he’d re-energized the venue and produced the Spines second record in 1982.
So thanks Simon for fitting right in to our Spines family for the weekend. We are all grateful and I know I made the right choice for our fill in drummer.
It turns out that on the night between these gigs Hannah had been bitten on the nose by a spider – around the same time I had my fall.