Jenny Morris performs tonight at the Wellington festival. She has come a long way, baby, since being born in Tokoroa. Her 1980 performance of “Tears” with the Crocodiles was stunning (you can see the vid here). The next year the band moved to Australia, eventually split and, going solo, she went on to become a big star there, selling loads of records and winning awards. And this year she received the Order of Australia.
Although she has edited this out of her official bios, always saying that her first band was the all-female Wide Mouthed Frogs in Wellington in 1978, in fact her first band was How’s Your Father in Auckland in 1976. I know this because I was in the band too. Ohmigod that was 34 years ago.
That’s her and me above at rehearsals in Newmarket, Auckland in 1976. The band were regulars at the Globe Tavern: Jenny and I would open as a duo for a few songs, me backing her on semi-acoustic guitar, and then the full band could come on and PLAY VERY LOUD. We were a rough pub-rock band, really, but she was amazing: she could do sweet ballads and then belt out the blues. Plus, in Cactus Kate’s formulation, she was quite hot for a chick her age (20):
That is Jenny on tour in the Kamo Hotel in, I suppose, early 1977, with our hotshot lead guitarist Co Tipping in the background. I have a cassette of one of the nights we played there and despite the terrible racket behind her anyone hearing it would pick that she would one day be a star. All of us who were in the band then will be thrilled that she is.