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First published in July 2009
DIZZY LIMITS - DIZZY LIMIT - TIMBERJACK
The Dizzy Limits were formed in 1964, changed the name to Dizzy Limit in 1968 and to Timberjack in 1971. After disbanding in late 1971, John Donoghue continued the name, releasing recordings as Timberjack Donoghue from 1972 till 1975.
Prior to 1964, Frits Stigter had been rhythm guitarist with the Wadestown-based Berets
(whose bass player Onny Parun was
torn between a career as a musician and a tennis player), Steve
McDonald had been the drummer for the Miramar-based Strangers (whose lead guitarist was John Donoghue and bass guitarist was Steve’s brother Eddie
McDonald), and Kelvin
Diedrichs and Stu Johnstone were
the lead and bass guitarists respectively for the Hataitai / Kilbirnie-based Pickadors.
joined the Pickadors we had no gigs, so after getting a small repertoire
together Kelvin, my young brother Greg, a drummer named Jeff Turner and I
decided to cold-call the minister of St Aidan’s Anglican Church in Miramar to
ask for a spot playing for the church’s weekly Sunday afternoon youth club
dance. When the minister said, ‘sorry, we only let members of our church play
at the youth club’, our response was ‘no worry, how do we join?’
“The next Sunday
morning four 12 and 13 year-old heathens perched themselves in pews eyeing up
the young females present, after which we lugged our drum kit and tiny amps into
the adjoining hall and started belting out such classics as ‘If I Had a
Hammer’, ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’, ‘Apache’, ‘Bad To Me’
and ‘the Highland Fling’.
“Even though our
amps ranged in size from only 5 watts to 20 watts, our performance that day
ended with one of the few old people there telling us mid-song that we were too
loud then immediately disconnecting our amps from the power supply.”
“I remember when I first started playing in bands.
I was 12 years old playing drums along with my brother and a few friends from
school. Our first gig was for the Railway Shunters’ Ball; a very prestigious
name for a not so prestigious event. We dressed up in Beatles shirts and jackets
along with (plastic) Beatles wigs! (Can you imagine?) We came running on to the
stage and as I reached my drum kit I slipped and went head first into the drums.
They rolled everywhere taking out microphone stands and the bass drum left the
stage and crashed into the supper table knocking sandwiches and cakes onto the
floor. We in the band thought it was hilarious but the faces on the patrons were
faces of shock and dismay. Strangely enough we were never asked back to the
Railway Shunters’ Ball.”
“This was one of The Strangers’ first gigs, just after Steve
Musaphia joined the band. It was held at the old Railway Union Hall just along
from Platform Nine at Wellington Railway Station. It was the first gig we had
ever procured through an agent and the fee was enormous-Twenty Guineas - Wow!
The fee was that fat because they required a floorshow as well.
“So we worked all
our Beatle songs into a tight, seamless Beatles bracket. We
made up matching Beatle suits and bought four plastic Beatle wigs. We finished
it off with a lively and witty Liverpudlian repartee.
“The opening of
the Floorshow was just as Steve describes it and it was all downhill from there.
The hall was packed and everyone had their hands over their ears. We started
with ‘Hard Day’s Night’ and finished with ‘Twist and Shout’. Someone
turned the power to the stage off halfway through ‘Twist and Shout’ and as
the band plunged into silence they all cheered!
“We still got paid
“Stu talks about
the puny amps the Pickadors had. We were green with envy over the
firepower. In those early days of the Strangers I was playing lead guitar
through a five watt Selmer amp, Steve Musaphia had a ten watt Jansen amp and
Eddy played bass through an old pre WWII valve radio we used to call ‘The
“Steve only had a kit built from biscuit tins, but
he was the best drummer around. We would invite someone along to the gig who
owned a real drum kit, let them play the first song, then replace them with
Steve for the rest of the evening.
As second, third and fourth formers at Wellington College (Frits) and Rongotai College (the others), the Dizzy Limits developed a repertoire of songs by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Small Faces, the Kinks, the Animals, the Bee Gees and their contemporaries and set about competing for gigs with the other established bands they looked up to including the Premiers, the Librettos and the Mustangs.
“Through his early teens, Kelvin struggled with a pesky “cow-lick”
that refused to cooperate with his attempts to cultivate a Beatles-type
hairstyle, and I think he was extremely grateful when the Bee Gees eventually
made the big time with songs like “Massachusetts” and with hairstyles that
featured cow-licks; not unlike his own. This was also possibly a factor in
Kelvin’s decision to develop his falsetto voice to handle the high voice parts
in our covers of various Bee Gee songs that became a feature of our
“When the Dizzies first started we
rehearsed in Stu’s bedroom... too small to swing a cat. We had one
small amp, which Kelvin and I played through. Stu had a semi acoustic bass guitar and Steve would tap /
hit anything available.
mainly went over harmonies and debated what were the right chords; e.g
the opening chord for ‘Hard Day’s Night’. Stu would take the low harmony, Kelvin always fancied the
high falsetto parts, Steve took the high full voice and I took the mids, with
either Steve or myself on lead vocal. It was really hard keeping a straight
face and there was always lots of laughter and humour.
night around Guy Fawkes Steve and I decided to play a prank on Stu and timed a
Mighty Cannon to go off as he opened the door to let us in for
practice. That night unfortunately his father opened the door just as the
cracker exploded under his feet. Stu’s dad nearly had a heart attack!
Steve copped most of the blame and was never forgiven. After that episode we
rehearsed in Kelvin’s parents’ garage as quietly as possible.”
Over the next few years the Dizzy Limits progressed from Sunday youth club and school dances to score regular gigs at nightclubs like the Place, Ali Babas and the Sunday afternoon dances in the Lower Hutt Horticultural Hall. The band also ventured further from home with frequent forays to places like Rotorua, Napier, Palmerston North, the Wairarapa, and occasionally south to Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin. Over those years the bands they shared stages with included the Avengers, Tom Thumb, Bari and the Breakaways, the Fourmyula and numerous out-of-town bands visiting Wellington.
“One night when we were playing at the Place, some ‘mods’ (as
distinct from ‘rockers’, being the other ‘cult look’ that teenagers
adopted at the time) stood directly in front of Kelvin while he played and sang,
hassling him throughout the set.
“When one of them obstructed his step down from the
stage, Kelvin eye-balled him and within seconds they were pushing each other and
a couple of punches were thrown.
“Having attended karate classes for a couple of
years, young Steve leapt from the stage, still wearing his
black ‘drumming gloves’, adopted a karate warrior pose and let out a
blood-curdling war cry.
“The mods immediately froze and the dance floor
cleared of regular patrons as Frits and I, buoyed by the apparent success of
Steve’s heroics, jumped down to join the fray.
“Presumably in response to Steve’s war cry and a
desire not to be upstaged, in ran the Place’s feared bouncers, the aptly named
Billy-the-Boot and his professional wrestler cohort Martin Joiner. The two of
them quickly bundled the four of us and the five or six mods through the
Montmartre coffee bar that adjoined the Place and out into Willis Street.
“They then lined us up and spat out a string of
threats that if effected would have hospitalised all of us and left us banned
from the Place for what remained of our miserable lives.
“To our amazement, the stupidest (obviously) of the
mods answered one of them back and this resulted in him being smashed to the
pavement in a shower of (his) teeth and blood while the other mods ran off.
“After a brief ‘Don’t let it happen again!’
speech we were rescued by the Place manager and told to get back on stage and
“Steve’s dad allowed us to use his
company van...a small Morris Minor. Our gear expanded and one particular
Saturday afternoon while loading, the van overflowed and we couldn’t fit
everything in. The solution was to cut the p.a. speakers in half, then drill
holes in one end and glue doweling in
the other...very creative! These puny columns had five x 8 inch Pye
speakers in each. They served us well for a few years. Hard to imagine now!”
“I have some particularly crisp memories of spending time with you
Steve in your father's Morris Minor van. The coolest (or rather coldest) was
when we ran out of petrol outside the closed petrol station in Waiouru at
midnight in mid winter, and with no door linings and no jacket, by morning you
had hypothermia and pneumonia!”
In the mid-1960s, keyboards became a necessity for pop cover bands, so Stu (who had learnt classical piano from the age of five) switched to keyboards and Frits switched to bass guitar. About the same time, they dropped the “s” from the Dizzy Limits name.
On their trips away from Wellington the band provided the backings for such notable acts of the time as Alison Durban, the Chicks, Shane and Larry Morris.
In January 1968 the Dizzy Limit took on a residency (previously held by Tony and the Initials) at the Caltex Lounge in Taranaki Street, which included providing the backing for vocalist Colleen Bowden, who Kelvin married in 1969.
In April 1968 the Dizzy Limit entered and won the Wellington regional final of the Battle of the Bands, opening with an a cappella four part harmony version of a Four Tops hit of the time, followed by an eclectic set of songs including the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody”, the Tremolos’ “Silence is Golden” and the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”. A few months later they lost in the Auckland grand finale to the Dallas Four, who had a major falling out that evening leading to their disbandment and the promoters refusing to award the return trip to the UK to either them or the second placed Dizzy Limit.
The band signed with Terence O’Neil-Joyce’s Ode Record label in 1969 and recorded the singles “Alone” / “Mare Tranquillity” in July 1969, then the Beatle’s “Golden Slumbers - Carry That Weight“ / “Be My Friend, Be My Lover”, which enjoyed several weeks on the Top 10 charts from October 1969. The regular radio airplay led to appearances on the weekly television shows “C’mon” and “Happen Inn”, which required weekend trips to Auckland and gigs around that city.
“Those recordings in 1969 were at New Zealand’s leading edge HMV
recording studio that then boasted only a four track recording system. The
sessions involved laying down the guitar, keyboards, bass and drums on one
track, the lead vocals on the second, vocal harmonies on the third and maybe a
guitar solo on the fourth.
“Like other New Zealand bands of the 1960s, we were totally dependent on the sound engineers and producers determining the balance between instruments, and with limited budgets and very few takes, it was largely impossible to achieve the quality of recordings that were coming out of the multi-track studios in other countries.”
The band’s reaction to the disappointment of not winning the overseas trip was to approach and negotiate their own return trip to the United Kingdom in mid-1970, playing on Shaw Saville’s Northern Star and Southern Cross liners. The deal was that they had to play for one hour every evening except when in port or the day after leaving port, and they had to back Christchurch jazz vocalist Malcolm McNeil and British comedian Hugh Lloyd (from his and Terry Scott’s hit TV comedy series “Hugh and I”).
“Malcolm only sang one song with us. It was ‘Moondance’, the night
before we berthed in Southampton. They had forgotten that he was on board and
consequently he was never asked to perform. At the last minute his conscience
got the better of him and he felt that he should play at least one song to
earn his trip.”
Kelvin, who decided against making the trip, left the band in late 1969 and John Donoghue was recruited to replace him. In April 1970 the new line-up recorded and released “Wrote a Song for Everyone” /“Good Golly Miss Molly”. A video clip produced to support the release, was shown once on TV1 but after complaints from the public, it was never aired again.
JOHN: “The video clip was a Beatlesque / Keystone Cop / fast action montage which included the band chasing a train out of Wellington Station, clowning around on a playground at Kilbirnie, clambering over a monument on Mt Victoria, and ended with us stealing a couple of dinghies at Evans Bay.
“It’s single showing on TV prompted an irate letter to the
editor complaining about the band climbing over the Byrd Memorial up Mt Vic. The
clip was consequently immediately removed from broadcast.
“Curiously, no-one complained about us stealing their dinghies.”
“I recall a gig we did
when John’s sister decided we should all wear matching white bell bottoms to
improve our stage appearance. She had them made all more or less the same size,
which was fine for Stu and Steve, but a different story for John and myself who
were still struggling to get into them minutes before going on stage, unable to
do up the flies etc and get them past our waists. The show went on with the help
of safety pins and easing seams etc. I think we only wore them once. “
“They were based around designs
the Human Instinct used to wear. We got around the one-size thing by putting
lace-up gussets in them. The trousers went down to the floor and were split up
the front to allow them to fall around our platform shoes. Seriously cool
The band left Auckland on 6 July 1970, spent three months in London playing occasional gigs, played in a major New Zealand festival in Plymouth, Devon (in the South of England), which also featured Kiri Te Kanawa and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
JOHN: “The Northern Star’s first
overseas port of call was Rarotonga. A large contingent of Cook Islanders had
joined the ship at Auckland on their way home for Constitution Week festivities.
They couldn’t wait until they got there so we had Hula parties every night on
the top deck after the Tavern Bar shut.
“After leaving Rarotonga the Band and passengers
slowly began to get their sea legs and a few days later we berthed in Tahiti. We
arrived to find the entire island in party mode, as it was July 14th,
SOUTH PACIFIC BALL
“Two days after leaving Tahiti, the first large
function was held on the ship. This was the ‘South Pacific Ball’, held in
the ballroom. The Ship’s resident band was handling the gig and the Tavern bar
was closed for the night, so we were given the evening off.
“It was a fancy dress ball and we entered right
into the spirit of the thing. I was
dressed as a Sailor, Frits as a Chinese Coolie and Steve was fully decked out as
a Japanese Warrior. Stu was dressed as Baby Huey, naked except for a white
baby’s nappy held in place with a giant safety pin. His only other apparel was
a large rubber dummy stuck in his mouth.
“We had the night off so helped ourselves to the
free punch from the giant punchbowl on the banquet table. It turned out that the
crew had laced the punch with something, possibly a mescaline-based Tequila, for
their own amusement.
“As we were dredging out the bottom of the
punchbowl we were suddenly informed by the Purser’s Mate that our instructions
were wrong and in fact we were to play that night on the main stage in
the Ballroom itself.
“We began setting the gear up but the crew’s
super-punch was beginning to kick in. By the time we eventually started playing
there were only Frits and myself left. Stu had passed out face down on his keyboard and Steve’s
drum stool (with Steve still on it) had toppled off the back of the stage and
“The band never even completed the first set. The
effects of the punch made it impossible, and we gave up.
“We carried Stu off the stage and put him to bed.
Frits called it a night and I went looking for Steve. I found him up in the
“We were standing there wondering what to do next
when suddenly the Captain’s entourage came through the door.
“The Captain was dressed to the nines in full
Captain’s regalia. He was followed closely by two high-ranking officers in
starched white. Tagging along behind them was the rag tag bunch of regulars from
the Captain’s Table. The Captain looked like he had downed even more of the
punch than we had. He demanded to know why the bar wasn’t open and why our
band wasn’t playing. Steve began explaining to him how we had been given the
“The Captain looked Steve’s Japanese outfit up
and down before suddenly spitting out, ‘So you want to play Ninjas do you?’
and slapped Steve across the face. Faster than you could blink Steve lashed back
knocking him off his feet. The Captain was caught by the two officers standing
behind him, just before he hit the floor. They stood him up again and he was
“He started yelling at us. He told us that he was
going to put our band off at the next port of call and that we would never work
for a shipping line again. Then he spun on his heel and marched out the door
with the entourage in tow.
“This sobered us up pretty quickly and we went to
wake the others up with the bad news. We looked at the ship’s itinerary. Next
port of call was Acapulco, Mexico. This gave us a sleepless night.
“Early next morning there was a knock on the door.
It was the Sergeant-At-Arms. He informed us that he had orders to escort us to
the Captain’s cabin. We were marched up to ‘A’ Deck and the Captain
appeared at his door again dressed in full uniform.
“I thought we were going to be court-martialed but
instead the Captain gave a big, long
‘let us all forgive and forget’ speech. As a peace offering the Captain had
laid an enormous breakfast feast on for us, complete with two uniformed
Stewards. We couldn’t believe our luck.
“We tucked into the
feast the Captain before excused himself and left.
Then the Stewards left as well. As soon as they were gone we stuffed all the
food and goodies we could carry up our jerseys and into our pants then waddled
off back to our cabin.
“It was a huge relief sailing on to Acapulco
knowing we were not going to be stranded there.”
STU: “We arrived in Acapulco late in the afternoon and decided to
check out the popular La Perla tourist spot where young guys dive off the top of
a cliff towards a rocky inlet beneath them, timing their dives so that they
arrive at the same time as a wave breaks over the rocks that would (but for the
waves) cause their certain demise.
“Lorraine, Belinda and the band squeezed into a
taxi (that cost ten times what we would have paid for one in Wellington),
entered the café-bar, ordered some drinks and settled down in the prime seats
overlooking the diving action.
“When we were about to leave, the waiter fronted
with a bill that stretched our combined resources to breaking point. In an
attempt to get some equity out of the situation we sent one band member to
settle up, while the rest of us filled our pockets and bags with all of the
fancy La Perla ash trays within reach.
“We then hurried out and hailed a cab, but just
about had collective heart failure as three police cars with sirens blazing and
lights flashing came screaming towards us. To our huge relief they flew past us
and headed on to deal with an even more serious crime or situation.”
THE PIG AND WHISTLE
“One evening as we crossed the Atlantic we were contacted by the Purser
to ask whether we would be willing to perform for a crew party / dance down in
the crew’s quarters an hour after we finished playing for the passengers.
“When we finished our last set, some stewards and
security guys packed up our amps and relocated them to the crew’s social room
“At the appointed hour we were escorted down and
took the stage in a small dimly lit hall and started blasting out the songs that
we’d been pumping out on Main Deck for the previous 20 or so days.
“As we looked out around the 100 or so crew members
assembled to watch and listen to the first song, we quickly came to the
realization that there weren’t a hell of a lot of women on the pay roll; an
off the cuff count being something like one purser’s assistant, two guest
receptions, two hairdressers and two child minders.
“While our first reaction was that there probably
wouldn’t be a lot of dancing, this was quickly dispelled as 20 or 30 heavily
made up drag queens in flimsy frocks (including the macho looking guy by day
whose job included cleaning our cabin) appeared and took to the floor with their
“Having previously thought that guys-in-drag were
figments of people’s imaginations, we clambered back up to the guest decks a
few hours later after witnessing all sorts of goings-on including just about the
full range of man-love from cheek-to-cheek dancing through to pairs of legs
protruding from behind tatty curtains that hung down the sides of bunks lining
the crew dormitories.”
“What I remember most about this gig (before things got blurry) is how the crew kept sliding endless pints of beer
onto the stage at our feet. That was their way of showing
appreciation. They knew that the gig was outside our brief. I noticed a positive
change in their attitude toward us following this night. Before, it had felt
like they viewed us with a bit of suspicion.”
STEVE: “I remember that night. They actually loved us playing for them. Their bar was called ‘The Pig & Whistle’. They also had boxing fights going on as well with heinously pissed crew way too drunk to hurt themselves.”
LONDON AND PLYMOUTH
“When we arrived in London, Lorraine and I (and five month old Belinda)
went directly to New Zealand House in search of guidance about finding
affordable accommodation in London for a few months and we happened across a Sri
Lankan employee there named Vim, who took a liking to little Belinda and invited
us to board with her and her husband Kumar in Preston Road near Wembley Stadium.
We also registered our interest in getting gigs for the Dizzies if they heard of
weeks into our stay we got a call from New Zealand House offering us an
opportunity to play at a ‘New Zealand Festival’ in Plymouth, Devon for five
days. The deal was that we would be paid 50 pounds each and accommodation and
train fares would be provided, in exchange for us playing a couple of half hour
spots each afternoon or evening in the foyer of the Plymouth Town Hall outside
the main auditorium where Kiri Te Kanawa and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
would be performing.
“We accepted the gig and the following week we
loaded all our gear onto a train and headed for Plymouth.
“We were told that the Town Hall was close to the
railway station so heaved our gear outside to the station entrance and sought
directions from an elderly gentleman who, from his tweed sports coat and cap,
looked obviously to be a local. We were right, but weren’t expecting the
response that we’d joked about on the trip down.
“He came out with something like, ‘Iiii Aaarr
Yrrrr goo loooong theeeeere, n rooooun theeeere
an jus oooer theeeere’, as we collapsed with laughter, not knowing what the
hell he was on about. We did find the Town Hall though and enjoyed the gig.
“One other particularly memorable character there
was the event organiser, who arrived daily with a totally different look. The
first day he was totally bald, the second he had a straight-haired light-brown
toupee, the third he had a cap over black curly hair, the fourth he was bald
“Frits, Steve and I got a small flat in Cricklewood, on the Edgeware
road and scored some gigs for the band at the local Pub, the “Cricklewood
Castle”. We didn’t have a vehicle, so we would have to carry all our
equipment by hand in repeated treks down the Edgeware Road, through all the
pedestrians and Friday night shoppers.
“One Saturday Frits and Steve turned up at the flat
with Carl Everson, of the Fourmyla. They had run into him on Edgeware Road, and
it turned out the Fourmyla were living within walking distance of our place.
They had a house in Willsden Green, and we saw a lot of them after that. They
were as poor as we were. But somehow their life seemed more glamorous.
“They turned us on to a lot of new music, as they
had all the latest records. We were too poor to buy records, but the record
companies used to put out compilations called Samplers, which were quite cheap.
“One day Steve bought home a CBS sampler which had
a song on it called ‘Come to the Sabbat’, by an English Band called ‘Black
Widow’. It was a standout track
on the album and instantly we started learning it to play in the band.”
“Our last month in London coincided with a strike by rubbish workers,
which left smelly garbage lined along all streets throughout the city. Through
much of this period I took a day job in the London office of the company I had
worked for in Wellington, earning enough for our boarding commitments and the
expected expenses of our homeward voyage.
“Being decades before the introduction of internet
banking and on-line money transfers, I (like everyone else) was paid monthly in
cash in a small brown envelope, and after signing out for my last day’s work,
took my hard earned hundred or so pounds home where I settled up with the people
we were boarding with and placed the envelope containing the balance on the
“The next morning to our despair, we realized that
the envelope had been thrown out with the other household rubbish and that as
(bad) luck would have it, the strike had finally ended overnight, and all our
garbage and money had been collected!
“We negotiated a small gratuitous reimbursement
from our landlords then set off in a taxi from Wembley on a 30 day trip to
Wellington, via King’s Cross Station and Southampton, with 40 pounds to our
“After paying for the taxi, uplifting my band gear
from the King’s Cross left luggage office and purchasing train tickets to
Southampton we were down to one pound two and sixpence, and we still had to pay
for the band gear to be allowed onto the train.
“Our first tactic of trying to trolley everything
through the normal passenger gate and to plead poverty, was turned back by an
ugly unsympathetic ticket collector.
“However we found success with our fall-back tactic
of wheeling our gear along the security fence till we spotted a small gap,
waiting till there was a crowd of people obscuring security’s view, then
heaving all the gear, baby Belinda and ourselves through the gap and through an
open door into an already crowded carriage; much to the surprise and annoyance
of the other affected passengers.
“As the train chugged out towards Southampton, we
thought we’d cleared the last hurdle.
“Another challenge was waiting for us at
Southampton, when we went to load my amplifier, keyboard and other gear on board
the Southern Cross. This took the form of a wharfies’ picket line and a demand
for ten quid to allow my gear to cross it.
“After trying and failing again with my poverty
tale, I was left with the only choice I could think of; namely to walk straight
through them laden with gear and suffer the consequences. To my relief I made it
aboard and was reunited with the other Dizzies.
“It was with some satisfaction that Lorraine,
Belinda and I arrived in Wellington with the same one pound two and sixpence
that we had when we left King’s Cross Station, having enjoyed three good meals
per day on the ship and drinks shouted to us every evening by lonely passengers
in appreciation of a dancing partner (Lorraine) and miscellaneous dancers (me
and the other Dizzies) in consideration for us playing their song requests.”
had no money at all. We would play awful songs really badly until the passengers
clicked that the only way they could make it stop was to buy us drinks.
THE SOUTHERN CROSS
“We left Southampton on the Southern Cross late in a November evening
to a forecast of storm warnings and ventured out into the English Channel.
“By midnight when I went to bed, the ship was
really ducking and diving and there were some very green faced people running
between the cabins and the public ablutions facilities.
“I awoke to 8-month-old Belinda’s “I’m
hungry” cries at about 6.30am, and took her up through vomit-stained but
deserted corridors to the main deck and read on the Purser’s notice board that
we were in the middle of a force 9 storm. Overnight the Captain had made the
decision to withdraw the stabilizers, and to head directly into on-coming waves
to avoid the risk of a large wave flipping the ship.
“I took Belinda up to the crèche and fed her while
the child-care lady fed the other nippers deposited there by sea-sick parents.
As Belinda was finishing her feed, the lady said she felt ill and I agreed to
hang around for 10 minutes while she tried to clear her head (and stomach).
However, before she’d even got out of earshot there was an all-mighty
bang as a book shelf came crashing down from the crèche wall only just missing
a couple of littlies. With that I recalled Ms Sick and took off with Belinda for
my own breakfast.
“Down in the breakfast dining room that could seat
200 or so, I sat with a couple at the sole occupied table and ordered poached
eggs on toast. We were soon joined by the Captain who ordered assorted fries.
The only waiter on duty took our orders and returned with them five minutes or
so later in a John Cleese-type lurching gallop, dry-reaching all the way.
“After breakfast I checked in on Lorraine who was
in no state to surface, then took Belinda up to the concert hall where our band
gear was set up, with the intention of trying out the grand piano that was
fastened to the stage by a vertical chain from its underbelly to the floor.
“Just as I sat down to play, the ship took a
particularly severe nose dip causing the piano chain to snap and the piano to
start rolling at speed around the stage, narrowly missing the three foot drop
down to the dance floor.
“I swooped little Belinda up off the floor and then darted around the stage with her under one arm, all the time mimicking a matador being charged at by a bull shaped like a grand piano that was being chased by heavy-breathing picadors in the shape of JD, who had come up to check on our gear, and a couple of burly crewmen, who happened to be passing through the hall at the time and came to our rescue. Somehow they found a way to hog-tie the piano and secure it in a storage cupboard!”
Upon their return to Wellington in December 1970, they renamed the band Timberjack and recorded and released a cover of Black Widow’s “Come to the Sabbat”, which became a finalist in the 1971 Loxene Golden Disk Awards.
"The promoters of the Awards choreographed and organised the filming of a
blood-thirsty video of the band carrying out a ritual stabbing of a naked woman,
and this was played on Television New Zealand then banned (twice). On both
occasions, the video was played on TV1 in ad’ breaks during the prime time
evening news. The first airing led to the TV1 switchboard being jammed with
complaints and a bunch of critical letters to the editors of newspapers
nationally. To our surprise the clip was rescreened a week later, this time in
negative (with the blacks and whites reversed out), making it look even more
unsavoury and leading to a second outcry and a total ban.
was not the first time we were banned on TV. The Dizzy Limit video for ‘Carry
that Weight’ was also shown only
once before being banned outright for NZ television viewing...”
Timberjack had run its course by the end of 1971 and its members went in different directions to pursue their musical and other interests.
John joined Auckland’s Human Instinct but carried on recording for Ode as Timberjack-Donoghue and in 1972 released the single "Dahli Mohammed"/"Song For Vanda", which was a finalist in the 1972 Loxene Golden Disc Awards. He followed this up with another single under his own name as well as an album called "The Spirit of Pelorus Jack”, which won the New Zealand album of the year award for 1973. In 1974 another single was released as Timberjack-Donoghue and then in 1975 a single and one final album under that name.
Steve (vocals and synthesizer) ( www.stevemcdonaldfanclub.com) subsequently developed a solo vocals / synthesizer act, performing in Australia and New Zealand and established himself as an international recording artist specialising in his own style of Celtic music.
Frits continues to be an active performer and session musician in Wellington where he plays bass and sings in popular covers band Livewire (www.livewire-band.co.nz ).
Stu plays double bass and bass guitar in Auckland jazz bands (www.prohibitionbigband.co.nz).
John plays guitar and sings in the far North (www.puha.co.nz).
Kelvin played in Wellington bands until the early 2000s, before moving to Australia. He passed away in August 2007 after a long illness.
The original Dizzy Limit line-up had its last performance in Bruce Warwick’s Wellington 1996 60’s Band Reunion on 30 June 1996.
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