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First published in August 2008, last updated September 2008

Photos & Memorabilia - Devils, Tornados


The Tornados were formed in Titahi Bay in 1958 and comprised Bob Taylor on Keyboards, Kevin McKeefry on Drums, Scott Arnold on Rhythm Guitar, Ian Hughes on Bass Guitar and Barry Coupland on Lead Guitar. Throughout the inevitable personnel changes as the Tornados became the Kiwi Four and then the Devils, Bob was without peer in the group with his ability to read, write, score and arrange music. This was to become critical in latter days in the clubs, pubs, recording studios and television stations of NSW; when the resident bands were required to work "sight unseen" with live guest artist's charts, and or programmed musical arrangements. Bob was the only one able to "sight read" the score as he played - the rest of us "got by" by reading piano chords over his shoulder, or having him call the chord progressions as the number progressed. Typically it worked very well.  
In March 2008 the above five, along with Pat Southee on Keyboards (Supersonics), Brian Gunson on Guitar and Saxophone (Skyrockets) and Colin Lock (Skyrockets, Kiwi Four, Devils) assembled at Barry Coupland's home in rural Horowhenua for a four day reunion, to celebrate 50 years of the original formation in Titahi Bay. The event was a huge success, and in particular Bob was eagerly looking forward to repeating the venue in March 2009. Sadly, Bob will not be with us this time, but if only as a tribute to him, the unanimous resolve of all is to press on with the 2009 event. There is no doubt that that is what he would've wanted us to do.
Bob's funeral is in Mooree NSW next Tuesday August 26, 2008; and there is to be a tribute memorial service to him in Sydney in the near future. at time of writing, Kevin McKeefry and I are intending to attend the Sydney function.
There is no doubt that we have lost a life long friend and musician, but the memories of Bob will endure for as long as we have the will to remember him, and convene at least annual reunions - now significantly, in his honour. - Barry Coupland

I'll always remember Bob as a bloke who smiled a lot ....&......he never bagged anybody . Bob was a gentleman who could be rather forthright when necessary. I recall a surf club gig Bob and I did with Mac Walker on guitar in Coogee somewhere . The Paddo boys stacked on a blue, and punches were being thrown, chairs are flying about, it was on for young and old. We all ducked behind the stage . Bob actually stood on the stage and kicked at the heads of the brawling louts on the dance floor....he connected a couple of times too ..No one but no one was going to get near his new ( I think ) VOX Keyboard . That was one of the few times I saw Bob angry. Any one else remember one? - Max Hyde
Bob was an amazing musician,,, I picked him up at Auck airport in March this year and we drove South to the reunion... stopping at Cambridge for the night..I know that Bob felt intense pleasure at being present at the reunion and later we drove to Titahi Bay where we had all got together originally, and we visited the old community hall where the youth club was host to us.. and where ultimately our fan club was formed, and all our homes where we grew up and practiced... a wonderful day exploring our pasts...and the reveries and memories we shared...I am so glad that we were able to share was a beautiful day and I know that Bob loved that... I have to say that I was in awe of the talent this guy bestowed on us.... - Scottie Arnold
Bob Taylor and I went through primary school together at Titahi Bay in the early 50's.  A few in our class learnt music but he and I were the only ones to make it a lifelong practice. We each had different piano teachers and would endeavor to impress each other, after our weekly lesson ,with our newly acquired knowledge, even to the point of lying.(on my part anyway).  In our early teens we immersed ourselves in rock n roll music and became members of local bands the Tornados and Supersonics.  The rivalry was still there and although our band enjoyed some success I remember being a tad green with envy when the Tornados made it over to Australia as Johnny Devlins band.  At a Tornados re-union in March this year the rivalry had diminished greatly but the passion for music had increased.  God speed Bob and may your songs and music go with you. - Pat Southee
I first met Bob when he was living at Burwood - that would be mid to late 70's, where he helped me catch that incurable disease of "record collecting"!  Eventually replaced of course by CD collecting.  After Bob moved to Moree we kept in touch by phone, and then eventually replaced by email.  We were also posting each other CDs of our little "finds".  Bob often came to stay with us while he was in Sydney - the last time was after the March reunion where he stopped with us overnight - just long enough for us to catch a quick Thai meal.  He was back on the train the next morning - on his way to Armidale for his weekend of choral music.  There were also many of us that got funny/strange/peculiar & interesting emails covering many subjects.  Bob was a very special friend and I will miss him terribly. - John Pickworth
F*%ken 'ell!  That is very, very sad indeed!  He is and was a top bloke and all-round, good guy.  You could not hope to meet a nicer, more genuine man if you tried.  I still have fond memories of the time my sister and I spent with him in Australia and his real love & passion for all things that are music. It is a real shame that I never got the opportunity to travel down to Moree to catch up with him.  He is a man who I have the utmost respect for and I am sure I am not alone in saying that he will be sorely missed.  We all loved you, Bob. May you rest in peace. - Alan Coupland
From memory I met Bob in Sydney about 27 years ago as a wide-eyed 8 year old.  I was in awe of this man who could play anything and everything on his big piano in his lounge surrounded by walls covered in records, records and more records!  It was a wet day and Bob was left in charge of my brother and I while Mum and Dad were out.  On their return, we put on a concert playing the songs we had practiced all day and recorded our efforts, which will be my one and only live, unplugged performance!  We performed numbers ranging from my solo of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (what patience he must have had!) to Some Girls by Racey, Yesterday by the Beatles and my favourite being Bob singing Cabaret.  Catching up with him again at the reunion in March was fantastic and we had a great chat about that day.  Thankfully we all had the chance to hang out and sing with him again and we are all grateful to have the footage of him over that weekend.  Love you Bob xxx - Gina Roberts (nee Coupland)
The "Sydney Morning Herald" tribute to Bob Taylor <click here>

(click here to email me your tribute to Bob and I'll add it in -

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