Taranaki group Washed Out Willie and the Wasted Westerners plan a trip down memory lane this week for a friendly reunion gig.
Washed out Willie, The Bald Eagles, and remnants of the Wasted Westerners will reunite this Friday at Decanta, many moons after they collaborated on album Skidmarks on the Soul in the mid 1980s.
The album was made up of original songs written by Neil Cleaver (Willie), while brother Jeff Cleaver, and Peter Hickey also contributed, as did The Bald Eagles members Charlie Winter, Bruce Sutton, Graham "Pidge" Pidgeon and Mark Corbett.
Connections go a long way back in the lineup, with all but two of the seven men meeting as students at Spotswood College.
Winter said they thought it was about time the lads got together for a jam in their home town.
"We've all played in bands off and on for years and we thought it would be good to get together."
However, it won't be for the first time, with most of the lads joining for a jam at Neil Cleaver's 65th birthday celebration in Hawke's Bay recently.
Unfortunately, Winter missed the gig after suffering a heart attack the night before.
"They wouldn't let me out of intensive care, which was pretty mean I reckon - I felt OK.
"So, I'm looking forward to this one."
The idea to play together in New Plymouth was born at that very birthday.
"The general consensus was that too much fun was had not to get together again, so a plan was hatched to do a one- off gig in New Plymouth," said Cleaver.
The group will play a selection of Cleaver's originals, while a Bald Eagles spin will be put on the rest of the show.
"Because of the era we were brought up in we'll be doing quite a bit of old 60s rock'n'roll," Winter said.
Cleaver said it was those early to mid 60s bands that formed the pathways for the original blues, country, folk and soul music artists.
'The fact is that in the early 60s in New Plymouth, you couldn't get records by people like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Leadbelly, but you saw the song credits on cover versions by bands such as Manfred Mann and The Animals," Cleaver said.
"So it was through those versions that the songs became well-known and in turn copied by local musicians."
Winter said the whole setup between the group was a "fairly loose arrangement", however it wasn't short of fun.
"We try and be as professional as we can in the background, but it's just so amateurish that people love it."
"If we try to be serious, it ends up being more of a laugh."
There is only one thing that concerns the group.
"We're worried about getting a crowd there because we're all in our 60s you know, so it might be a challenge," said Winter.
Audience numbers aside, the group plan to play a good four hours of original Kiwi folk, 50s rockabilly, 60s R'n'B, a taste of country and no doubt a few Bob Dylan covers.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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