Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Right Note - 3 CLOUD

Individual pics of the Tauranga band CLOUD
circa 1972

From Top to bottom
Dave Watson Vocals, harmonica and Flute. Grant Friars, Bass, Trevor Braunias, Guitar.

Before I got in to playing music, and while I was still at school, weekends were spent with my best mate Stephen Spinks, Chasing girls, and listening to an old transistor radio, tuned in to the BBC programme Top Of The Pops. The reception was terrible, but you could hear the very latest songs months before they made it to New Zealand, so the lack of sound quality was a small price to pay for an exciting preview of what was to follow in the months ahead.

Now, I dont know how we managed it because we didn’t have tickets, but somehow we managed to get in to the Holy Grail of school Socials - the Girls College ball!
I could not have been particularly lucky on this occasion for the simple reason that all I can remember about it was seeing a real live band for the first time.

What was so memorable about it was that I knew the lead singer.

He was a wicked English guy that I played football with, and his name was Steve Bennet.
I even remember one of the songs he sang.

It was called “My Pretty Girl,”
I didn’t know who it was by until recently when I “Googled-it” only to find out it is a song by John Mayall.

I didnt know who he was back then, but it must have had some impression on me to stick in my mind all those years! Steve was one of those guys everybody wanted to be like, - the guy that everybody else hung around - and from the moment I saw him on stage, I knew I wanted to have a go at doing that!

I didn’t see Steve again after that gig, and I later found out that he had left New Zealand to become a roadie for legendary Irish rock band Thin Lizzy, along with his best mate Garry Lee, and who later became their tour manager.

I do have a funny story concerning Steve, because that was not the last time I saw him. 20-odd years later I was sitting on a bench with my grown-up children at the mount, enjoying the summer sun, when a particularly attractive, heavilly made-up, over-dressed young lady came walking past. As I was unashamedly, checking her out, the guy she was with - who was her father - walked straight up to me.

I didn’t think I had been that obvious, but it looked like he was going to have a piece of me, when he said in a broad Cockney accent “ere! are you Graham Clark?” I’m Steve Bennet and I used to play football with you!
He was on a round-the-world cruise with his family, and they had a stop-over at the Mount.

After I got over the shock, (not to mention the relief) we had a good catch up, and then he took off again, never to be seen since.

Anyway, it must have been about 1972, I remember watching another local band, this time at an Otumoetai College social.

The band was called “Cloud,” who consisted of an amazing young guitarist by the name of Trevor Braunius, Grant Friars on Bass, Denny Price on drums, and a very charismatic front man who had black hair like ravens flowing over his shoulders(!), who also played flute and harmonica by the name of Dave Watson, who I just found out is the big brother of Carol Storey of Torch Songs.

I have it on good authority that at that time, Otumoetai college refused to allow rock bands play at their socials until a teacher by the name of Bob Addison - who was particularly passionate about music and the arts - talked the headmaster into letting the students have something a bit more modern.
Perhaps he hadn’t heard that Cloud had recently played at the Matamata high school social, and were shut down by the headmaster because the music was “too way out!” This action of course incited the kids to riot (fancy that!)

Cloud were playing Hendrix, Cream and Santana covers at the time.


Post a Comment

<< Home