Alistair Riddell (Rhythm Guitar / Synthesizer / Vocals)
    Tony Rayner (Keyboards)
    Paul Crowther (Drums)
    Paul Wilkinson (Lead Guitar)
    Peter Kershaw (Bass Guitar)

Alistair Riddell had been a member of Original Sun with his brother Ron in the late sixties. He had enrolled at Auckland University and was studying for an anthropology degree when, in 1971, he met keyboardist Tony Rayner and drummer Paul Crowther. With the addition of lead guitarist Paul Wilkinson and bassist Peter Kershaw, they formed a group called Orb. Peter Kershaw had been a member of Original Sun with Alistair, and had also spent a short time with the original Cruise Lane.

Orb were an enthusiastic University band who covered the likes of Genesis, King Crimson, Yes and David Bowie, throwing in some originals as well. Orb was of the post-hippy school, arty types determined to adhere to the Love Generation's values while being careful to not make the same mistakes. All very serious, no mindless hedonism for these boys.

Orb suited the times and Auckland students rallied around, but not in sufficient numbers to sustain the group. They struggled through to 1973, one of New Zealand's few synthesizer bands, with Riddell playing a synth built by electronics whiz Paul Crowther.

Both Rayner and Riddell were confident of the group's ability, and they wanted to take the group to Britain, but the rest of the guys weren't prepared to take the risk of failure, so after their performance at the 1973 Ngaruawahia Music Festival, Orb disbanded.

Alistair Riddell later rose to national fame a few years later as leader of Space Waltz. Rayner, Crowther and Wilkinson all became members of Split Enz.


New Zealand Music