Psychedelic-Rock'n'roll: Chants R&B - Stage Door Witchdoctors (POWERFUL R&B 60s GARAGE NEW ZEALAND 1966)

16 March 2009

Chants R&B - Stage Door Witchdoctors (POWERFUL R&B 60s GARAGE NEW ZEALAND 1966)


The "Chants R&B" were a Rhythm and Blues band from Christchurch, New Zealand, and are considered one best examples of 60s Garage Rhythm and Blues from New Zealand during the 1960s.
The "Chants R&B" are maybe the greatest of all the New Zealand groups - and that's saying something considering the competition ("Bluestars", "La De Das", "Pleazers" and many more).
The first version of Chants originated when "Jim Tomlin" returned from Auckland to Christchurch in 1964, where he had been at art school.
In Christchurch he met up with another art student, "Mike Rudd" and drummer "Trevor Courtney".
"Compton Tothill" (bass guitar) and "Stan Major" (sax) completed the line-up.

chants_Rb,STAGE_DOOR_WITCHDOCTORS,NEIGHBOUR,psychedelic-rocknroll,NEW_ZEALAND,GARAGE,BACCHUS_ARCHIVES,promoBy 1966, when even the edgier New Zealand youth were still in thrall to the Beat group boom, "Chants R&B" were already way ahead, influenced by the heavier sounds from the UK of "The Rolling Stones", Them, and "The Downliners Sect"; along with the soul sounds of Stax and Motown, and the Blues from the South of the USA.

chants_Rb,STAGE_DOOR_WITCHDOCTORS,NEIGHBOUR,psychedelic-rocknroll,NEW_ZEALAND,GARAGE,BACCHUS_ARCHIVES,Early_Chants"Chants R&B" had almost immediate success when they won the 1964 "Battle Of The Bands" contest at Addington Showgrounds.
Their prize was a recording session, which they took up and recorded four songs.
None of these were ever released.
"Chants R&B" only played a few venues, when "Mike Rudd" discovered the "King Bee" club.
It was a cellar off Hereford Lane were "Chants R&B" could play.
Before taking up residency, "Pete Hansen" left and was replaced by "Martin Forrer".
"Chants R&B"'s music now developed into a style like "The Pretty Things", "John Mayall" and "Graham Bond Organization".
In August 1965 the "King Bee" was sold and renamed the "Stage Door".

Their performances rapidly became the talk of the town – from the dimly-lit "Stage Door" came tales of rafter-swinging; headlocks, unconsciousness and triumphant recovery; with the most authentic, powerfully LOUD, Rhythm and Blues on offer anywhere in the city – or perhaps, the country.
They continued to play at the "Stage Door" for about a year before deciding to continue their recording career.
In March 1966 they released their first single on the independent "Action Records".
It was "Otis Redding"'s "I've Been Loving You Too Long" backed with their own "I Want Her".

chants_Rb,STAGE_DOOR_WITCHDOCTORS,NEIGHBOUR,psychedelic-rocknroll,NEW_ZEALAND,GARAGE,BACCHUS_ARCHIVES,1965_stagedoorIt sold well around the Christchurch area.
"Jim Tomlin" decided to leave the band after this single. His replacement was Australian "Max Kelly", also known as "Matt Croke".
"Max Kelly" didn't stay around for too long, but fortunately he had taken part in recording five tracks before returning to Australia.
These tracks were "I'm Your Witchdoctor", "Neighbour Neighbour", "Mystic Eyes", "Come See Me" and "Early In The Morning".
The second single, "John Mayall"'s "I'm Your Witchdoctor" backed with "Neighbour Neighbour", was released in December 1966.
It received good local airplay, but by the time of its release the band had gone to Melbourne, Australia.
After trying to play in Melbourne for a while, the end was not far away.
"Trevor Courtney" was offered and accepted the drummer seat with Campact.

He was replaced by "Tinsley Waterhouse". "Mike Rudd" then left and staying in Australia he eventually joined "Ross Wilson"'s "Party Machine" on bass guitar in June 1967.
In April 1969 "Mike Rudd" formed Spectrum and following its break-up formed Ariel in 1973.

·1964 ~ : "The Chants"
(#1): Mike Rudd (vocals, guitar), Jim Tomlin (lead guitar), Pete Hanson (bass guitar), Trevor Courtney (drums)
·1965/08 ~ : The Chants R&B
(#2): Mike Rudd (vocals, guitar), Jim Tomlin (lead guitar), Martin Forrer (bass guitar), Trevor Courtney (drums)
·1966 ~ : "The Chants R&B"
(#3): Mike Rudd (vocals, guitar), Max Kelly / Matt Croke (lead guitar), Martin Forrer (bass guitar), Trevor Courtney (drums)
·1966 ~ 1967 : "The Chants R&B"
(#4): Mike Rudd (vocals, guitar), Tim Piper (lead guitar), Neil Young (bass guitar), Trevor Courtney (drums).