Dave Russell

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      Award presented 2007  

Dave Russell

David Russell was born in Christchurch, and as a stylish 16-year-old, impressed Ray Columbus by his guitar playing ability.  Dave told the NZ Herald on October 8th, 2009 — "Ray was a few years older than me - the singer in a real band and I was still at school".  In teen-terms, Ray was an old guy, and he was as professional then as he always was, and Dave was impressed!  By late 1961, all the former members of the original Saints dance band had departed and the younger players briefly changed their name to Ray and The Drifters.  A new guitarist, Brian Ringrose, joined the instrumental line-up of Dave Russell (Guitar), Mac Jamieson (Bass) and Peter Ward (Drums).  Dave Russell recalls — "We originally came up with Ray Columbus and The Discoverers, as in Christopher Columbus, but we decided the name should be a little tougher and changed it to The Invaders".  The half-hour show, Club Columbus was broadcast in Christchurch in February 1962 and was then distributed to the NZBC TV Stations in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.  In a lengthy interview with Ray Columbus for Real Groove magazine's April 2001 issue, Ray recalled "In our transition period from The Saints into The Invaders, we became more and more pop/R'n'B.  The music was danceable and that was what I particularly loved to do with the group.  The songs we wrote like Yo Yo and Now You Shake reflected that".....


Dave recalled their days of touring the great Australian continent — "we had this Holden and trailer to get us from town to town, and we were driving through Wop Wop Valley and Ray said to Jimmy, are they your drums bouncing along the road beside us?" and Jimmy replied, "Dunno, are they Ludwig?".  Yeah, we got to the next town and telegraphed Eldred Stebbing to wire through some money for a new kit, which he did, he was very good like that.  Jimmy Hill told Grant Gillanders in 1994 that breaking Australia was not without a cost for Columbus when touring and his honeymoon clashed.  Ray's relationship with Zodiac and his new wife would never be the same again.  The Stebbings did not want him to take his bride over to Australia to join the band because they thought it would ruin their careers.


Ray Columbus and The Invaders
a 1960s publicity shot

Dave Russell, Billy Karaitiana, Ray Columbus, Wally Scott and Jimmy Hill

Ray Columbus and The Invaders
receiving their NZ Music Hall Of Fame award


After touring with The Searchers, the group went on the road for a six week tour co-headlining with Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, sharing the billing and all good friends - and they used to flat together.  Their manager John [Surf City] Harrigan wanted to manage The Invaders, but the group refused to sign his contract, and when they went to board the big DC6 in Perth he wouldn't let them on the plane and said, "You've got no tickets!", so Billy Kristian and Wally Scott, both being students of martial arts, started to pull some muscle and they got as far as Adelaide where the band was stranded.  After that incident Ray used to say, "I won't go to the toilet without return tickets because, I learned the hard way".  In 1965 Ray and The Invaders did The Rolling Stones tour of Australasia - 52 concerts, a bit bigger than The Searchers tour!  They got a fair fee and stayed in first class accommodation with all of the stars on the bill.  In a 1986 interview Columbus said, "Of course we had to do it for peanuts, but we owed him one".  Billy Kristian recently said, "I would have paid them to be on that tour".  When The Rolling Stones toured in 1965 they were still playing cover versions of blues and R'n'B songs.  The only set list seen from 1965 has only one original, their first self-written single Heart Of Stone, in the eight-song set.  A year later on their 1966 Australian tour they had a half original set including Satisfaction, 19th Nervous Breakdown and Get Off My Cloud.  In 1965, on a good night, The Invaders almost certainly would have had more original compositions in their set than the headliners.


The Invaders
Dave Russell, Jimmy Hill, Billy Karaitiana and Wally Scott

Ray Columbus and The Invaders
Jimmy Hill, Dave Russell, Billy Karaitiana and Wally Scott