Friday, March 12, 2010

In praise of Jenny Morris

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.


Beauty Christchurch said...

Some decades have fashion that is so distinctive that you would know right off the bat when you see a photograph taken in that era. The photo is just so nostalgic,

Paul said...

That is quite a story.

Dave Hillier said...

'quite hot for a chick her age'?

She was smokin'. And still is, I reckon.

Unknown said...

She has amazing talent and I believe she has a lot more yet to offer the music industry. I look forward to seeing her more on television and playing at big concerts in Australia and beyond!!!

Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember the band at the Globe. Hello Sailor used to play there too. Who else was in it?

Stephen Stratford said...

"Who else was in it?"

Apart from Jenny and me there was Co Tipping, who is in the second photo above and lives in Melbourne now; on bass was Peter White who changed his name to Les White when he joined Th' Dudes; and on drums was John Schilt, who is a designer in Titirangi, I think.

After Jenny left we were joined - I can't remember for how long, maybe a year, probably less - by Brent Parlane who was a friend of mine from school and who had released a couple of singles, maybe more. He was great, a good singer with fresh material, and took us in a more country direction. Like Co he is in Melbourne now: more info at