A Brief History of the GHB
Gary formed the band in August 1996 on his return from Texas with fellow blues men Tony Abbott and Mark Hansen. When Steve Officer joined on acoustic guitar and vocals the band became “The Rippers“.
After gigging with the band and laying down some early recordings at his studio, Steve left to pursue his own career as a solo artist and was replaced by Aaron Carpenter, who played acoustic guitar and harmonica and like Steve Officer was also an accomplished singer and songwriter. The band stayed with this lineup for about 2 years when guitarist Brent Wintle and Reuben Craig on keyboards came on board to expand the sound and forge a new identity. It was time for a name change and Rattlesnake Shake was born. During this time the bands first CD album (Bootleg Boogie) was produced and recorded at Gazelle Studios in Beachhaven.
Around a year later the band was renamed again to Gary Harvey and the Night Owls – mainly to capitalize on Gary’s reputation in the blues scene and saw the release of Bootleg Boogie under the band’s new name.
Reuben left at the end of 1999 along with Mark who was replaced by Ian Thomson on drums.
More changes came with Aaron heading off to Dublin in 2001, to great success playing solo and support gigs throughout Ireland and Europe. Around this time Ian also left, to be replaced by Neil Williamson who had played drums with Gary in the Red House Rockers.
The follow up CD entitled For What It’s Worth was recorded with this line up during the winter of 2003 and followed a similar approach to the previous CD with its mix of mainly original material recorded at Breaker Bay Records in Wellington and four live tracks taken from an appearance at the Jazz Bar in Auckland. Final mixing and one extra track was recorded at Faith Recording Studios in Auckland during the early part of 2004 and the CD was released the following year.
This lineup remained until the middle of 2004 when Brent and Neil departed. Ian Thomson returned to play drums and the band remained a three piece until early 2005 when Murray ”Mo” Patten joined on keyboards. This brought a very different sound and feel to the band and a move away from the purely guitar based sound of previous years.
As with all things nothing remains static for long and this year has seen Murray leave to be replaced on keyboards by Reuben Cutts, recently returned from England. Reuben has played with some great musicians including Ritchie Pickett and Glen Moffatt. Once again this has resulted in a big change to the sound of the band and has brought a much rockier and driving dimension and feel to the music. Tony Abbott remains on guitars and of course Gary Harvey himself on bass and lead vocals.
The band remains busy playing gigs throughout New Zealand and now features at a number of Jazz and Blues festivals throughout New Zealand where their popularity just keeps on growing.