Dave Miller and the Byrds
L to R: Brian Ringrose, Graeme Miller, Dave Miller, Chris Collier and Al Dunster.
Dave Miller (Vocals)
Al Dunster (Rhythm Guitar)
Chris Collier (Bass)
Graeme Miller (Drums)
Brian Ringrose (Lead Guitar)
Dave Miller and the Byrds came from Christchurch, before moving to Auckland in 1965. They were one of the best R&B cover acts to appear in the early sixties, faithfully reproducing all manner of Chuck Berry and Chicago blues originals on stage.
Brian Ringrose was the original lead guitarist for the Invaders, but did not stay with them when they went professional, as he was still at school. He joined a group called the Downbeats, and continued to play around Christchurch. The Downbeats featured Phil Garland and Diane Jacobs as lead vocalists. In 1962 Phil Garland formed the Playboys.
This early version of the Playboys was made up of Graeme Miller, Mark Graham, Brian Ringrose, Dave Martin, Phil Garland and Diane Jacobs.
Playboys 1962 L to R: Graeme Miller, Mark Graham, Brian Ringrose, Dave Martin and Phil Garland. Diane Jacobs in front.
Diane eventually left the group becoming a very successful solo artist under the name Dinah Lee. A later version of the Playboys consisted of Graeme Miller, John O'Neill, Kevin O'Neill, Brian Ringrose, Phil Garland and Dave Miller.
Playboys Back L to R: Graeme Miller, John O'Neill, Kevin O'Neill and Brian Ringrose. Front Phil Garland and Dave Miller.
Phil left the group and with Dave Miller as the lead singer, and a couple of more personnel changes, they very shortly afterwards renamed themselves Dave Miller and the Byrds. Al Dunster had previously been with the Dallas Four.
After arriving in Auckland, they soon became a top attraction on the club scene. The group came to the attention of Eldred Stebbing and he soon had them into his studio to do some recordings. "Bright Lights, Big City", a cover from the Pretty Things, was their first single on Zodiac in 1965, backed with "Little Lover", and it performed quite well on the local charts. The single actually had the group name spelt "The Birds". They recorded two other singles in 1965, "How You've Changed"/"Wake Up Little Susie" and "No Time"/"Love Is All I Need". There was also an EP released, called "Dave Miller and the Byrds".
In 1967, Brian Ringrose went back to Christchurch and Al Dunster departed after a personal tragedy, so the rest of the group renamed themselves the Dave Miller Set and moved to Australia. Chris Collier joined the Rayders in Hamilton.
New Zealand Music