22 May 2015
Formed in late 1965 as "The Board City Blues" in Brisbane which they moved to Sydney, "Steve and The Board" - "Steve Kipner" (guitar, lead vocals), "Carl 'Keats' Groszman" (lead guitar, vocals), "Alex Hill" (guitar), "Denis Neville" (bass guitar) and "Colin Petersen" (drums) - was unusually one of the very few young Australian Beat band to be allowed the indulgence of an album without a string of chart hits behind them.
This situation may be attributable to the fact that Steve's dad just happened to be the boss of "Spin Records", producer, songwriter and entrepreneur "Nat Kipner", who had previously been one of the partners in "Ivan Dayman"'s Sunshine label.
"Nat Kipner" had formed a close relationship with "The Bee Gees". In 1966 he saved them from being dropped from the Leedon label by "Festival Records", persuading the company to transfer them to the "Spin Records" and co-produced most of their last Australian recordings with "Ozzie Byrne" at his "St Clair" studio in Hurstville a suburb in Sydney.
Through his father, "Steve and The Board" became good mates with the Gibb brothers. "Colin Petersen" drummed on many of "The Bee Gees" Spin recording in 1966, and "Carl 'Keats' Groszman" is also probably the only person to have ever written a song specifically for "The Bee Gees", "Lonely Winter" in 1966.
"Steve and The Board" returned the favour by covering Barry's "Little Miss Rhythm And Blues" on their "...And the Giggle Eyed Goo" LP.
The album was recorded at the end of 1966 with "Colin Petersen", but he quit immediately after the sessions and went to "The Bee Gees" which he played on the early international hits until 1969.
"Colin Petersen"'s replacement was "Geoff Bridgford", a solid player who went on to join Melbourne soul stylists "The Groove". "Geoff Bridgford" played on "Steve and The Board"'s final single, "Sally Was a Good Old Girl" / "Good for Nothing Sue" (Spin Records EK-1570, January 1967), but the group broke up soon afterwards, in May 1967.
"...And the Giggle Eyed Goo" album (Spin Records EL-31,997, 1966) was released in 1966, but did not chart. It's an great album with great songs.
They were an energetic, slightly above-average British Invasion-inspired band, leaning closer to "The Beatles" and the Mersey Sound than raving R&B.
"I'm to Blame" is a nice, innocuous mating of the Mersey Sound and "The Byrds", while "Margot" goes more into the harder-charging sounds of mid-'60s Mod Rock, and "I Want" will probably be favored by all 60s Garage fans for its high, droning, distorted guitar riff.
Steve and The Board: The Giggle Eyed Goo / Rosalyn / Margot / Rosemarie, EP Spin Records EX 11,134, Australia 1966
"I Call My Woman Hinges 'Cause She's Something To Adore" is certainly one of the more oddball song titles of the era, and is like several of their other songs, a respectable midpoint between the R&B and pop wings of the British-influenced sound. The highlight, though, is the brooding, sublimely melodic ballad "Lonely Winter", which, was recorded by "The Bee Gees" around the same time.
When the band dissolved "Steve Kipner" moved to the USA in the early 70s and become one of the music industry's most prominent writer-producers, with credits including "Olivia Newton-John" with "Physical" worldwide smash hit, Chicago, "Stevie Nicks", "Sharon O'Neill", "Sheena Easton", "Wilson-Phillips" and more recently, top female singing star "Christina Aguilera".
He is recognised as one of the most successful songwriters in the music business.