Max Thompson, Brian Layton, Roger Skinner and Kevin Walsh.

    Roger Skinner (Lead Guitar / Vocals)
    Brian Layton (Rhythm Guitar / Vocals)
    Kevin Walsh (Bass Guitar / Vocals)
    Max Thompson (Drums)

Roger Skinner had served his apprenticeship well, by the time he formed the Pleasers in January 1964. Roger began his career back in 1957 with a skiffle group he formed, called the Kool Kats. With him in that group were Jimmy Elliot, later of the Premiers and the Dallas Four, Peter White on tea-chest bass and Lance Whittington on drums.

After the Kool Kats, Roger formed the Top Hats, who consisted of Graham Gibson, Geoff Land, Neville Findlay, Ian Goldwater, Neil Harvey and Roger. They used to play at RSA dances for several months until Goldwater and Harvey left. This was in 1960 and the remaining members renamed themselves the Versatones. Basing themselves as a Shadows type band, they secured regular paying gigs on the social circuits of Auckland City, playing regularly until disbanding at the end of 1963.

The Pleasers was his next outing, formed with Brian, Kevin and Max. They were inspired by the Beatles and managed to get a residency at the Beatle Inn, taking over from the Merseymen. Building their own group of fans, they were also giving a guest spot on television's "In The Groove", where they came to the attention of the producers of the Wellington based TV music show "Let's Go". They were offered a contract to be the shows resident band until the end of 1964.

This required a move to Wellington, and as soon as they got there they were also offered residencies at Teenarama and at the Petone Youth Club. The Pleasers replaced the Librettos at Teenarama and also as resident band on "Let's Go", after they had gone to Australia.

A recording contract was also secured with Red Rooster, a subsidiary of Viking Records. Their first single was "Ain't Gonna Kiss You"/"Move It". It was a cover of the Searchers song and when released in 1964, the Pleasers used the TV show to help promote it. The follow-up single is their best known one, "Yes My Darling"/"For Ever". It also came out in 1964 and was included on an EP called "The Pleasers" and an album called "Let's Go with Pete Sinclair and the Pleasers" that was released in early 1965. Their third single was "Lovely Lovely"/"Let's Go" and was actually cut with host Pete Sinclair.

Pete Sinclair, Kevin Walsh, Max Thompson, Brian Layton and Roger Skinner.

They were one of the most visible pop groups in the country, working steadily on the club circuit as well. In 1965 they took the support role on the Dave Clark Five tour along with Lew Pryme and Ray Columbus and the Invaders. During 1965 they returned to Auckland and its club scene, making frequent appearances on the TV music show "Teen Scene".

A second EP called "The Pleasers Again" was released along with one final single, "Justine"/"I Saw You There", before the group disbanded in 1966.

Roger Skinner joined the last Keil Isles line-up for their residency on the "C'Mon" TV show before forming yet another band in 1968 called Motivation.


New Zealand Music