Red Hewitt and the Buccaneers

    Alan "Red" Hewitt (Rhythm Guitar / Vocals)
    Johnny Willetts (Lead Guitar)
    Gary Daverne (Piano / Saxophone)
    Peter Cox (Bass Guitar)
    George Jones (Drums)

The above line-up was the best known of the Buccaneers, and this line-up existed between 1958 and 1961. The Buccaneers originally formed around 1956 and the line-up then had Dick Rogers on lead guitar, Red on guitar, Ian Bull on rhythm guitar, Bill Edlam on bass, Brian McCrystal on rhythm guitar and tea-chest bass, Brian Murray on drums and Veronica Tierney on piano.

In 1956, rock and roll was just starting to make an entrance into New Zealand. Already with a strong foothold at the dance halls were the big band and jazz groups, but rock and roll posed a threat. Most of the dance halls started introducing rock and roll bands, as this is what the majority of teenagers wanted to dance to. One of the first and best bands was the Buccaneers, who made the North Shore Youth Club in Auckland their base, before moving to the Jive Centre.

During the first two years there were a number of line-up changes, with eventually all of them going except Red, who continued on to better things with the above line-up. Allan Hodgson was the drummer for a while during the early times. Brian McCrystal formed his own skiffle band on the North Shore called the Scorpions.

With the 1958 line-up, Peter Cox originally played rhythm guitar before switching to bass. In 1959 they recorded their first single for Zodiac called "The Girl In The Teddy Bear Coat"/"Betty Lou's Got A New Pair Of Shoes". After this they came to the attention of a couple of university students who had set up a recording company and releasing records under the Audion label. The first signing to Audion was Clyde Scott.

Red Hewitt and the Buccaneers released three singles on the Audion label in 1960. They were "Pretend"/"Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You", "Robbin' The Cradle"/"DJ Blues" and "Tennessee Waltz"/"I Believe". None of these really did much for the group so they moved back to Zodiac and during the rest of 1960 and 1961 produced five more Zodiac singles. These were "Midnight Special"/"Beatnik Fly", "Boston"/"Blues Stay Away From Me", "Down Yonder"/"Goofus", "Dreamin"/"Is A Bluebird Blue" and "Girl With A Story In Her Eyes"/"I Don't Care".

In 1961 another single came out on HMV called "Travelin' Man"/"Half Breed" and released as Red Hewitt and the Commodores.

Late in 1961 Red decided to terminate the band and move to Australia. Johnny Willetts, Peter Cox and Allan Hodgson were later to appear in Terry Dean and the Nitebeats.

Gary Daverne went on to set up his own record label, Viscount and produced records for the Sierras, Cathy Howe and the Gremlins. He is also a composer and has conducted the Auckland Symphony Orchestra.

Red did come back to New Zealand and still plays with his band around the Auckland area. In 1972 he released a solo single called "No Use Sittin' Around"/"Robbin' The Cradle" on the Krisella label.


New Zealand Music