27 Sep 2022

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John Michaelz and the Black Brothers Band


John Michaelz: Vocals / Rhythm Guitar

Nominated for a New Zealand Tui Award in 2010 for his Gospel album, Walk on Water, with ten albums to his credit and known for his high-octane stage performances, fronting rock bands Hard To Handle, The Stone Babies and Kosher, John Michaelz’ latest work combines his love of Reggae and his prowess for writing a great song.

John’s albums include fine contributions from the likes of Shona Laing, Rodger Fox, Ritchie Pickett, Gordon Joll (Herbs, Hello Sailor), Alan Norman (The Warratahs, The Rag Poets), Liam Ryan (The Narcs) to mention a few.

John has toured with Renee Geyer, American blues men Robert Penn and Junior Medlow.
Born in Motueka, Aotearoa and raised in Iceland for seventeen years, John returned to New
Zealand in 1987, furthering a lifetime career in music.

Mike Kirk : Guitars

Known for his versatility as a guitarist, stalwart of the Bay of Plenty NZ music scene, Mike Kirk has been a key member of many bands over the decades, as well as the 1970’s country-
rock band The Rodents during his two-year stint in Manchester, UK. More recently, Mike
has played with Human Instinct (Maurice Greer) and In Orbit (Corben Simpson} It has been said that once you’ve worked with Mike, there’s something missing, if he’s not in the band.

The Black Brothers

Gary Black : Bass guitar and BVs
Wayne Black : Drums and BVs

The Black Brothers have been in the music biz for over 50 years. They grew up listening to
the likes of Tex Morton and Rusty Greaves playing in their living room, before going on to work with countless Kiwi music artists, including Prince Tui Teka, Dalvanius Prime, Brendan Dugan, Eddie Low, Frankie Stevens, Ritchie Pickett, Corben Simpson, Human Instinct and The Bad News Band.

Band Members:
John Michaelz (vocals, rhythm guitar)
Mike Kirk (guitar)
Wayne Black (drums, backing vocals)
Gary Black (bass, backing vocals)
Dylan Israel (keyboards)
Nick Ririnui (percussion)
Porina Whetu McLeod (backing vocals)


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Joined: 22/10/21
Posts: 1
Location: Bay of Plenty
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Debut CD EP release. Limited Edition. By Winston Watusi Music Plus
Posted: Sat Sep 10, 2022 5:34 pm
This EP collects the band's three singles to date as well as four dub versions created by singer/songwriter John Michaelz's son Dylan Israel [ Summer Thieves ]
This is the latest direction for John, who has previously fronted such bands as Hard To Handle, The Stone Babies, and Kosher, and been nominated for a Tui Award for his gospel album “Walk On Water”. Now he turns to stripped-back old-school Marley/Tosh-style reggae, with the able assistance of bass guitarist Gary Black and drummer Wayne Black.
The Black Brothers are something like legends on the New Zealand music scene, where they have worked with everyone from Prince Tui Teka to Dalvanius Prime, from Brendan Dugan and Eddie Low to Frankie Stevens and Ritchie Pickett. They are a fantastic rhythm section and contribute great harmony vocals (and no one in the biz has a bad word to say about them!).
Completing the line-up is Mike Kirk, until 2020 guitarist with Kokomo and B-Side Band, who adds impeccable guitar flourishes, Dylan on keyboards, Nick Ririnui on percussion and Porina Whetu McLeod, whose lovely vocals make her into the band's very own I-Threes.
The songs are concise and to the point, three straightforward, catchy, grooves with positive lyrical sentiments. Perhaps the strongest is the latest, “Jah Face”, which emphasises the commonality of the human race and preaches unity. The production is warm and welcoming and the band's mix is filled with subtle detail and clever touches.
I must confess dub mixes are not an area of speciality for me and I'm not sure I exactly understand their function. They are chill instrumentals with odd snippets of vocals and emphasis on heavy reverb and delay. All four here seem very pleasant.
As is my habit, I played this to everyone visiting. Spreading the local vibe, as you do. And the general reaction has been very positive. The only reservation from a couple of people was at the adoption of “Rastafarian slang”. Lyrics such as the grammatically-challenged “Jah give I inspiration”. Is this some sort of cultural appropriation, or just the language you use in a Rastafarian song? I have no idea.
The closest I've come to such reggae arguments is when Adele got it in the neck a while back for wearing dreadlocks. Turns out that even the term “dreadlocks” is offensive - it should now be just “locs” - and it's okay for Adele because she comes from Tottenham. Who knew? It's a tricky world culturally...Anyway, if you fancy a little reggae, check out John Michaelz and the Black Brothers Band.


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