26 May 2024

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DD Smash


DD Smash was Dave Dobbyn's band after Th' Dudes.

In mid-1981, Dobbyn forged his coup de grace - Dave Dobbyn's Divers. Thankfully a name change eventuated to DD Smash. A guitar-driven four piece, the band settled straight into live work. Auckland venues were at their height and work was plentiful. The fan base fattened by the week.

By late '81, DD Smash signed a recording deal and immediately set about recording their debut album, with Ian Morris in the producer's chair.

DD Smash released their debut album in 1982. Titled 'Cool Bananas' it debuted in the national chart at #1, an historic first. It remained in the chart for 24 weeks and became triple gold. The album's biggest hit was the fantastic 'Devil You Know'. In '82 the 'Top Male Vocalist' award was won by Dobbyn, 'Top Group' went to DD Smash, 'Cool Bananas' won 'Album of the Year', Ian Morris got 'Producer of the Year' for it, and the album even won 'Engineer of the Year' and 'Best Sleeve Design'.

The band toured relentlessly to a strong response and in mid-82 journeyed to Australia for an investigative trip. They worked regularly and Dobbyn continued to write. They returned to NZ in October and Dobbyn quickly recruited a brass section. A new sound fell into place.

A new single was recorded in Auckland in 1983 and released shortly after. 'Outlook for Thursday' crashed into the national chart and peaked at #3, spending 23 weeks in the chart. The nation was enthralled with the new brassy DD Smash, and the quirky video which played week after week on Ready To Roll. The single achieved gold status.

Radio with Pictures devoted a live TV special to DD Smash, which was subsequently released as the album 'Live: Deep in the Heart of Taxes'. The band monopolised the annual record awards for the second year in a row. The 'Top Male Vocalist' award was again won by Dobbyn, 'Top Group' went to DD Smash for the second year running. 'Outlook for Thursday' was 'Single of the Year', and 'Live: Deep in the Heart of Taxes' was voted 'Album of the Year'. DD Smash was 'Most Popular Band', and 'Video of the Year' went to... 'Outlook for Thursday'.

Dobbyn and his band moved to Sydney to record their second studio album, and world domination seemed imminent. He finished 1983 by getting married.

This time the producer was Charles Fisher. Released in 1984, 'The Optimist' was an unqualified success spawning two hit singles 'Whaling'. and 'Magic (What She Do)'. It eventually outsold its predecessor. The album's sophisticated production and eclectic repertoire were a marked contrast to the twin-guitar elementary tenor of 'Cool Bananas'. Touring continued with Dobbyn's by-now line-up of principally Australian musicians.

The quirky, infectious pop songs seemed to come naturally ('Outlook for Thursday', 'Magic (What She Do)'). But the purity of a classic songwriter was always there. On stage with DD Smash, he would take time out for 'Guilty', his torch song debut. 'Whaling' is a timeless sea-shanty, written on a beer mat one lonely night and now an unofficial national anthem.

A celebration of the beginning of the 1984 summer turned into mayhem - thanks to the combination of the crowd drinking all afternoon in the hot sun, and over-enthusiastic riot police. Dobbyn tried to calm things down from the stage, but the words he used were badly chosen. Dobbyn subsequently found himself charged with inciting the riot.

There was no point touring to support an album called 'The Optimist'. Dobbyn laughs now, but then, after two years as the most popular musician in the country, there was a sense of betrayal.

Band Members:
Peter 'Rooda' Warren (drums, vocals, percussion)
Rob 'Revox' Guy (guitar)
Lisle Kinney (bass)
Dave Dobbyn (guitar, vocals, keyboards)



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