Waves (Waves album)

Last updated
Waves New Zealand album cover.jpg
Studio album by Waves
Released October 1975
Recorded Stebbing Studios, Auckland, 7-11 July 1975
Genre Folk rock, progressive folk
Label Direction Records
Producer Peter Dawkins

Waves was the debut album by New Zealand folk-rock band Waves. It was released in 1975 and reached No.7 on the New Zealand album charts. [1] The album, which became a sought-after collectors item on vinyl, was re-released in 2013 on vinyl and CD with a bonus disc, Misfit, a previously unreleased album recorded by the band in 1976. [2]

Waves was a New Zealand folk rock band that recorded a top-selling self-titled album in 1975 before disbanding in 1977. Its lineup emerged from an acoustic trio, Rosewood, which originally included Geoff Chunn, who later joined Split Enz. Despite making only sporadic live appearances—one of which was a double billing shared with Split Enz—their singles gained major airplay on Auckland radio and the Waves album reached No.7 on the New Zealand album charts, later becoming a sought-after collector's item.


Three singles were taken from the album—"The Dolphin Song"/"Letters", "Arrow"/Clock House Shuffle" and "At the Beach"/Waitress".


In 1975 Roger Jarrett, the editor of Auckland music magazine Hot Licks, introduced the band to Kerry Thomas and Guy Morris, co-owners of Direction Records, a chain of stores and a burgeoning independent record label. On 7 July 1975 the band began a five-day recording session for their debut album at Stebbing Studios in Jervois Rd, Ponsonby, across the road from the eight-bedroom colonial villa where Waves members lived.

Auckland Metropolitan area in North Island, New Zealand

Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland is the largest urban area in the country, with an urban population of around 1,628,900. It is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,695,900. A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.

Ponsonby, New Zealand suburb of Auckland City, NZ

Ponsonby is an inner-city suburb of Auckland located 2 km west of the Auckland CBD, in the North Island of New Zealand. The suburb is oriented along a ridge running north-south, which is followed by the main street of the suburb, Ponsonby Road.

Thomas arranged expatriate New Zealand producer Peter Dawkins, then living in Sydney, to return to Auckland to produce the album. Gash said: "Dawkins had five days, and he marshalled us through the procedures in a most efficient fashion. That was his job, and he did it well. He was tough though: one of our friends wasn’t cutting it quickly enough with his solo, and Peter made me go into the studio and fire him on the spot ... We freely availed ourselves of notable contributors. Some—Mike Chunn, Mike Caen, Roy Mason—were personal friends; others—Vic Williams, Murray Grindlay, Mike Harvey, Paul Lee—were introduced to us in the studio." He told The New Zealand Herald: "We were in a world we had dreamed of being in. It was a mix of excitement and terror." [3]

Peter William Dawkins was a New Zealand record producer and musician, best known for his late-1960s to mid-1970s New Zealand hits and his 1970s productions for Australian-based pop artists, including Dragon, Australian Crawl and Air Supply. He won multiple production awards, including the Countdown Producer of the Year. In the late 1980s he developed Parkinson's disease.

Mike Chunn New Zealand musician

Jonathan Michael Chunn is a former member of the New Zealand bands Split Enz and Citizen Band. He performed alongside his brother Geoff Chunn in both bands.

At the end of the week, Dawkins flew back to Sydney with the finished tapes to mix them. "No doubt, in his world this was standard procedure," Gash said. "However what it did was disengage us from the process. When the mixes came back to Auckland, we didn’t understand them. They were not the way we heard ourselves. We voiced our desire to remix the album. Almost miraculously, Kerry Thomas agreed, and gained my gratitude forever. We kept Peter’s mixes of "Waterlady Song" and "Arrow"; the rest the band remixed at Stebbings with (engineer) Phil Yule, and that is what appeared on the album." [2]

The band recorded a second album in 1976 for WEA Records, on which they began to explore a new direction with electric guitars. [2] [3] With recording almost complete, they were told that a WEA executive did not like the result and had ordered the multi-track tapes to be recorded over. [2] [3]

Warner Music Group American global music conglomerate

Warner Music Group Inc. (WMG), also known as Warner Music, is an American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate headquartered in New York City. It is one of the "big three" recording companies and the third largest in the global music industry, after Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment (SME). Formerly part of Time Warner, the company was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange until May 2011, when it announced its privatization and sale to Access Industries, which was completed in July 2011. With a multibillion-dollar annual turnover, WMG employs more than 3,500 people and has operations in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

2013 re-release

In early 2013 the band was contacted by Roger Marbeck of Ode Records and music enthusiast and archivist Grant Gillanders to reissue the 1975 Waves album—by then a collectors' item fetching high prices—on CD and vinyl for Record Store Day in April, with the release launched by a live performance at the Real Groovy record store in Auckland. [4] Informed for the first time of the existence of a second album, albeit in a rudimentary form, Marbeck decided to release them both as a double CD. [2] Only then was it discovered the original master tapes for the Waves album had vanished with the collapse in the 1970s of Direction Records. [5]

Record Store Day annual event in April to celebrate independently-owned record stores

Record Store Day is an annual event inaugurated in 2008 and held on one Saturday every April and every Black Friday in November to "celebrate the culture of the independently owned record store". The day brings together fans, artists, and thousands of independent record stores across the world. A number of records are pressed specifically for Record Store Day, with a list of releases for each country, and are only distributed to shops participating in the event. The event began in the United States and remains headquartered there. Record Store Day has official international organizers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Spain, and Poland.

"With the Waves album, we have never been able to find any tapes, so it came down to the small number of unplayed vinyls I had stashed away under the bed for the last 38 years," Gash said. "They were old, but mint, and I took them to Stebbings, where we ran them on a very high-end turntable and transferred it all to digital files. It worked superbly. We then mastered it there for vinyl with Steve McGough, pulling in the original engineer, Phil Yule, to listen as well. I then redid all the cover art and designed a new insert for photos and info, Kevin did a take on the original Direction label, and we sent it all off for cutting, pressing and packaging to United Record Pressing in Nashville." [2] He said: "It actually sounds good, if not better, than the original." [5]

For the previously unreleased 1976 album, McGough also took the single tape that existed of the unmixed recordings and transferred it to digital, while Marbeck succeeded in locating the multi-track tapes of "Vegas", the final song Waves recorded, in July 1977. Gash said: "They are the only multi-tracks we have of any of our material, and therefore the only song we had the opportunity to do an actual mix on." [2] The end result was the Waves album, remastered for both vinyl and CD, plus a bonus disc, Misfit, containing nine of the original 12 songs of the previously unheard second album. [2] [4] Five hundred copies of the vinyl album were pressed and 1000 copies of the double CD package. The band played at Real Groovy and signed copies of the new releases.

Track listing

Side one

  1. "Clock House Shuffle" (David Marshall) – 2:29
  2. "Wornout Rocker" (Graeme Gash) – 4:29
  3. "Thoughts From Venus" (Marshall) – 2:29
  4. "Waterlady Song" (Marshall) – 3:37
  5. "Letters" (Gash) – 2:02
  6. "The Dolphin Song" (Gash) – 3:58

Side two

  1. "Arrow" (Kevin Wildman) – 2:54
  2. "Ocean/Neon Song" (Marshall) – 3:05
  3. "Elouise" (Gash) – 3:48
  4. "At the Beach" (Gash) – 2:55
  5. "Waitress" (Marshall) – 2:38
  6. "Castle Gates" (Gash) — 3:47

2013 Reissue

Disc one

  1. "Clock House Shuffle" (David Marshall) – 2:30
  2. "Wornout Rocker" (Graeme Gash) – 4:23
  3. "Thoughts From Venus" (Marshall) – 2:26
  4. "Waterlady Song" (Marshall) – 3:31
  5. "Letters" (Gash) – 1:57
  6. "The Dolphin Song" (Gash) – 3:55
  7. "Arrow" (Kevin Wildman) – 2:54
  8. "Ocean/Neon Song" (Marshall) – 2:56
  9. "Elouise" (Gash) – 3:44
  10. "At the Beach" (Gash) – 2:50
  11. "Waitress" (Marshall) – 2:35
  12. "Castle Gates" (Gash) — 3:48

Disc two

  1. "Misfit" (Marshall) — 2:37
  2. "The Way They Smile" (Gash) — 5:09
  3. "Life Wrecks" (Marshall) — 1:37
  4. "Mrs X" (Gash, Marshall) — 7:18
  5. "Vegas" (Gash) — 3:42
  6. "Head Full of Stars" — 3:45
  7. "Cold Palisade" (Marshall) — 3:32
  8. "Schooners" (Gash) — 5:36
  9. "Jacob and El Tornado" (Marshall) — 7:14


Additional musicians

Technical personnel

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  1. Sergent, Bruce. "Waves". New Zealand Music. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Reekie, Trevor. "Moments Like These: Graeme Gash". NZ Musician. 17, No.6 (April/May 2013). Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 Kara, Scott (13 April 2013). "70s band Waves set to gain new generation of fans". The New Zealand Herald. Auckland. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  4. 1 2 Reid, Graham (4 October 2013). "On the crest of new waves". Elsewhere website. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  5. 1 2 Street, Danielle (19 April 2013), "Waves of vinyl roll in from the 70s", Auckland City Harbour News, retrieved 17 June 2014