May is New Zealand Music Month

By TBHS | Posted: Tuesday May 2, 2023

In today's Music Month Mentoring gathering Jed and Hera led the motivation to start song writing.

What is NZ Music Month?

The purpose of NZ Music Month is to celebrate music from New Zealand, and the people who make it. The aim is to boost the visibility and success of New Zealand music.

Gabriel Atkinson — Image by: .

Gabriel Atkinson - From RockQuest to Rock Career 

From playing at Rockquest, to touring with and supporting Soundgarden and the Foo Fighters with Kiwi band Weta, and playing festivals in front of 20,000 fans with Aussie Rockers Grinspoon, TBHS old boy Gabriel Atkinson has been living the Rock and Roll dream. It all started with RockQuest and here he talks about his time representing Timaru Boys at the RockQuest regional finals;

"The rock band was called Caliber. I was 14 years old and the others had already turned 15. It was a Five piece band. Drums, Bass, Two Guitars and Lead Singer. For whatever reason it was left to me to write the 2 original songs required to enter the Dunedin qualifying round. Caliber already had a bunch of covers we rehearsed so it wasn’t hard to get the new originals together quickly. On the day to qualify we jumped in my Father’s 8 seater van with our guitars and drove to Dunedin. There was another band from TBHS who were 7th formers and we thought they would definitely get through cause they had swagger and confidence. So it was our turn to perform and we got through both songs with no hiccups and were told we would get notice next week. To our surprise both TBHS bands had been accepted for the Dunedin RockQuest. Caliber continued to practise the songs leading up to the competition. The Dunedin Rock Quest was held at Sammy’s Bar. Sammy’s was an old theatre that I would say held about 800 people. And it was packed for the event. I think every Parent, family members and friends of the local Dunedin bands were there. All the bands had a small area behind the main stage curtain to leave their gear. It became apparent to us that the performance of the bands was alphabetical. We were on second out of about 15 bands. I think our Bass player remarked “We should have named ourselves Zebras!” Our performance was really good and we played both songs really well. It was my first experience playing to a full house of that size. We did not place for the next round but seeing some of the other bands with more experience having played Rock Quest definitely was eye opening. It was later published a Wellington band had won the National Finals. The band Pride and Joy was led by guitarist Aaron Tokona. I saw a picture of him in the RockQuest magazine and read the praise of his skills on guitar. It would be 7 years later that 14 year old boy sitting in class at TBHS would meet Aaron Tokona and be asked to join another band called Weta."

Weta was a much loved and highly respected Kiwi band, formed from RockQuest veterans, who produced a brilliant debut album ‘Geographica’ which went platinum in Aotearoa and provided a timeless single ‘Calling On’ which charted in NZ. Check it out.

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