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Ray Columbus + The Invaders

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Rob Carpenter / Murray Ward Collection

 
 

The Invaders - an early iteration
Mac Jamieson (Bass), Peter Ward (Drums). Ray Columbus (Vocals), Brian Ringrose (Rhythm Guitar) and Dave Russell (Lead Guitar)

 
 

Ray Columbus and The Invaders at The Plainsman, Lichfield Street, Christchurch - early 1963
Puni Solomon (Bass), Wally Scott (Guitar), Dave Russell (Guitar) and Peter Ward (Drums)


Ray Columbus and The Invaders at the Oriental Ballroom, Auckland
Wally Scott, Ray Columbus, Billy Karaitiana, Dave Russell and Jimmy Hill

 
 

By late 1961 The Downbeats had parted company and the younger players (Brian Ringrose, Dave Russell, Mac Jamieson and Peter Ward) briefly changed their name to Ray and The Drifters, moving to a regular full-time gig at The Plainsman in Lichfield Street, Christchurch.  This led on to a four-part Christchurch production which was shown on National TV called Club Columbus, and it provided impetus for the group by shaking out invitations to go to Auckland to work.  In 1962, immediately prior to the move to Auckland, the band was renamed Ray Columbus and The Invaders.  Brian Ringrose was still at school and could not go — he was replaced by Wally Scott.  Bassist Mac Jamieson similarly did not go and was replaced by Puni Solomon.  The resultant line-up is seen in the profile picture above.  Early in 1963 The Invaders returned briefly to Christchurch, and Peter Ward decided to leave the band to get married.  His replacement was Jimmy Hill (all the way from Mataura, just like Wally Scott), and back in Auckland the group took up residency at The Monaco, contemporaneously signing with Zodiac Records (Stebbings).  In preparation for The Invaders' first trip to Australia, Puni Solom was replaced by Embers bass guitarist John "Yuk" Harrison, but Ray had been persuing Billy Karaitiana (who was at that time with Max Merritt and The Meteors), and Billy joined back up with The Invaders just prior to embarking on the Australian Trip in November 1963, where they appeared at Surf City (Sydney's top teen venue).  1964 saw appearances on Australian TV (Bandstand and Sing Sing Sing).  Back in New Zealand in 1965 Ray and The Invaders toured with The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison and The Newbeats, and went on to win the prestigious Loxene Golden Disc Award later that year with Till We Kissed.

 
 

Early Invaders featuring Pete Ward


Ray and The Invaders hamming it up


Signing time at The Plainsman

 
 

Pete Ward


Wally Scott


Billy Karaitiana (Billy Kristian)


Dave Russell


Jimmy Hill