Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Pleazers -Definitely Definitive (1965-1966)

Originally an Australian band from Brisbane, known as 'Johnny Gray and The G Men'. They were hired to as a backing band for 'The London Brothers', Billy Bacon and Bob Cooper back in 1964. At that time the band cosisted of, Jimmy Cerezo, lead guitar, Peter Newing, rhythm guitar, Bruce Robinson, bass guitar and me on drums.

Band Members:

Billy London (Vocals)
Bob Cooper (Vocals)
Bruce Robinson (Lead Guitar)
Peter Newing (Rhythm Guitar)
Ronnie Peel (Bass)
Dennis Gilmore (Drums)

They were joined by Bob Cooper and decided to change their name to the Pleazers. They then went professional and at this point Vince Lipton decided to leave and was replaced by Bruce Robinson (Bass). The band moved to Sydney, losing Jim Cerezo on the way, so Robinson moved to lead guitar and Ronnie Peel joined on bass.
It was while playing in Sydney that they were noticed by Zodiac owner, Eldred Stebbing, who brought them to New Zealand in 1964, with a promise of guaranteed work and unlimited studio time. They started playing at the Shiralee and also appeared on the TV show Let's Go. They looked to be set to take the nation by storm, but fell out with TV producers and were subsequently banned from the airwaves. They started looking scruffier and seemed more comfortable with this image.

Their first single, 'Last Night'/'Poor Girl', got minor response. It wasn't until they released their follow-up song, a cover of Them's 'Gloria', with 'That Lonely Feeling' on the reverse, in February 1965, that saw them get any action on the charts. Seven singles, one EP called 'Midnight Rave', and one album called 'Definitely Pleazers' were released on the Zodiac label. The other singles were 'Like Columbus Did', 'Sometimes', 'Is It Over Baby', 'Hurtin' All Over', 'Guilty', 'Can't Pretend', 'Here Today', 'La La Lies' and 'Three Cool Cats', 'Security'.

Eldred Stebbing took over the Shiralee in 1966 and renamed it the Galaxie. He installed as resident bands, two of the raunchiest R&B groups around, The La De Da's and the Pleazers. The La De Da's fitted in well with the image of the club, but the Pleazers wanted to continue their rough looking image and Bob Cooper was soon replaced by Shane Hales. Cooper showed up with Hubb Kapp and the Wheels. Ronnie Peel left the group in 1966 and was replaced by Gus Fenwick from the Layabouts. The Pleazers went back to Australia in June 1966, but returned in March 1967, without Peter Newing, only to split up 6 months later.

They were one of the premier groups on the New Zealand scene, but their behaviour was far from acceptable in a staid New Zealand society. Peel spent a brief period with The La De Da's before moving to the UK and a stint with Thunderclap Newman. He later changed his name to Rockwell T James and performed well in Australia. Gus Fenwick also continued his career in Australia, before joining Shane Hales in the Shane Group, which evolved into the Apple. In Australia Gus was a member of the Bootleg Family Band, Healing Force, Nightflyer and Swanee.

Shane Hales had a short stint with Jamestown Union, before forming the Shane Group, and after that had a very successful solo career, while Bruce Robinson went on to join Troubled Mind, then Flinders and Rockinghorse.
1. The Pleazers - Baby Jane (1:57)

2. The Pleazers - Thou Shalt Not Steal (1:57)

3. The Pleazers - I'm Movin' On (2:13)

4. The Pleazers - Bald Headed Woman (2:48)

5. The Pleazers - Don't Gimme No Lip Child (2:16)

6. The Pleazers - Last Night (2:09)

7. The Pleazers - That Lonely Feeling (2:29)

8. The Pleazers - Gloria (2:38)

9. The Pleazers - Like Columbus Did (2:10)

10. The Pleazers - Is It Over Baby (2:31)

11. The Pleazers - Hurtin' All Over (2:42)

12. The Pleazers - Guilty (2:24)

13. The Pleazers - Here Today (2:55)

14. The Pleazers - La La Lies (2:11)

15. The Pleazers - Three Cool Cats (2:28)

16. The Pleazers - Security (2:14)

17. The Pleazers - Land Of A Thousand Dances (2:39)

18. The Pleazers - A Love Like Yours (2:54)

19. The Pleazers - Sometimes (2:33)

20. The Pleazers - Can't Pretend (2:07)

21. The Pleazers - Da Doo Ron Ron (2:26)

22. 22 - Dancing In The Streets

23. 23 - Without You

24. 24 - House Of The Rising Sun

25. 25 - Be My Baby

26. 26 - 175

27. 27 - Poor Girl

28. 28 - I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore
In the mid-'60s, the Pleazers were one of the only New Zealand groups competently playing tough, British Invasion/R&B-styled rock & roll; they were probably only second to the La-De-Da's in their homeland in this regard. They managed to record about half a dozen singles, an LP, and an EP, gaining a few hits in New Zealand and playing some stints in Australia during their brief life. Mixing typical covers of the time with fairly strong original material, the Pleazers were not an extraordinary band; in the United States or Britain, they would have been just another decent regional act. Tough rock bands were still a rarity in New Zealand, though, and so the Pleazers are still remembered there as trailblazers of sorts.
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