Crosswinds, which formed in 1974, is reforming for what they are calling their "Almost 40th Anniversary tour" in the town that gave them so much support in their early days.
They will deliver what could be their final two live performances - one family-oriented session at Pukekura Park and a second much bigger gig at The Mayfair.
"Everything's the same, we're all just a bit older," band spokesman Ross Halliday says.
The band's heyday of the 1970s saw them frequenting local watering holes The Ngamotu Tavern (now the Life Advance Church), White Hart Hotel, and the Bell Block Hotel (now Maida Vale Rest Home).
Halliday recalls the 1970s when Taranaki, and particularly New Plymouth, became a hotbed for musical development, and local musicians were influenced by the burgeoning popularity of rock and blues-based music emanating from the United States and Europe.
He says it was from this pool of local musicians that Crosswinds was formed, influenced by such artists of the time as Steely Dan, Average White Band, Santana, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Guess Who and Little Feat.
"We had a really staunch following back in the 70s.
"We travelled New Zealand in a psychedelically painted bus and made appearances on TV1's Grunt Machine.
"We often performed to packed houses, three to four nights weekly in those days, not too much of a challenge as closing time was 11pm.
"It's complex music, yet popular."
And it seems that popularity has stood the test of time - Crosswinds reunited in 2001 for the Taranaki Arts Festival and sold out two shows.
The band comprises Ross Halliday (vocals/guitar), John Eriwata (vocals/percussion), Wayne Cavaney (vocals/guitar), Alan Smith (vocals/keyboards), Gary Childs (vocals/drums), Richard Ciechanowski (bass) and Kent Aston (vocals/guitar) who was unable to make the week's rehearsal but may attend the Mayfair show.
Halliday says most of the band were still involved in music, including teaching and playing in other bands.
The band has kept in contact over the years despite four members living in Australia.
Halliday says the band's separation would not affect the quality of the performance.
"We all had material to learn. When everyone arrives we've got a week to rehearse.
"We have to cram it, but I'm sure it will work out."
Halliday says Crosswinds will cater to all ages with their two shows.
"The Hatchery Lawn performance is just for families to come along and listen. The Mayfair show will be twice as long with guests, and a horn section to embellish much of the night's performance."
Crosswinds will be supported at the Mayfair show by Anna Brown and Ron Sewell of the Frantic Fossils, a popular New Plymouth band in the 1980s.
Taranaki film-maker Kirsty Richards will film the band at the Mayfair for a documentary being made by a Melbourne writer/ producer Sandy Martin.
The documentary will explore the view that Crosswinds put Steely Dan on the map in New Zealand, Halliday said.
"The aim is to get Steely Dan involved in the concept, and ultimately get the two groups of musicians together for a performance in Taranaki."
The band are pictured next to their bus in 1974, but Halliday says they want to keep audiences guessing about their current look.
"The fascinating question is what the heck do they look like now?"
And this might be the last time New Plymouth can see and hear the locally grown talent live.
"We might be able to manage it (another show) but you never know your luck."
Ticket pre-sales are available at: The Mayfair 06 759 2088 and Vinyl Countdown 06 758 0064
Friday, January 25
Saturday, January 26
- Taranaki Daily News
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