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by Claire Allison

Last year’s reunion gigs were so successful, Basement has decided to do it again.

Emerging from the classrooms of Geraldine High School, and spawning one of New Zealand’s most well-known bands, The Exponents, Basement was a hit on the hall and pub circuits in South Canterbury in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Beginning as a four-piece band performing original songs and a few covers, Basement originally comprised Jordan Luck, Michael Jones, Gary Bruce and Miles Richardson. It eventually expanded to include Steve Jones, freeing up Luck to concentrate on writing and lead vocals.

There were the usual line-up changes over the years – Gary Bruce moved to Wellington and was replaced by Brian Jones – and about six months later, Luck and Jones decided they wanted to pursue a professional music career.

Guitarist Steve Jones said the pair asked all band members to join them, but for various reasons, they decided not to. So Luck and Jones moved to Christchurch and “the rest is New Zealand music history”.

“After that last year, we thought that was probably it, but we had a little bit of a yarn with each other, everyone seemed to be really keen to do it again.” – Basement band member Steve Jones

Three band members, Michael Jones, Steve Jones and Richardson – along with Rodney Hewson and Kieran Scott – formed another Timaru band, Nursery Crimes, which lasted about 12 months.

“When that died, I think that was when Miles and Michael stopped playing. But I continued on in all sorts of things for many, many years,” Steve Jones said.

The band burst back on to the stage last year after a 35-year hiatus, for a series of six live and unrehearsed gigs.

They had a blast and so did the punters, so they are doing it again for Rocktober.

“When we called up the reunion in 2016, Michael hadn’t played for 30 years. He was keen as, so he got back into it, and performed exceedingly well. Miles wasn’t well enough, so the replacement bass player for the reunion was Dave Gent from the Exponents.

“After that last year, we thought that was probably it, but we had a little bit of a yarn with each other, everyone seemed to be really keen to do it again. So that’s what we are doing.”

Basement members Steve Jones, Brian Jones, Michael Jones and Gary Bruce are joined by Exponents’ Jordan Luck, Dave Gent and Chris Pierson for the five gigs.

Basement will play at the Speight’s Ale House tonight, Temuka’s Empire Hotel tomorrow, the Woodbury Hall on Saturday, and the Otematata Events Centre on Sunday.

Steve Jones said the Woodbury Hall was a particularly special venue for the band. Luck lived in the area, and the band often practised and played there.

“So that’s going to be a special gig. There’ll be a continuous supper, and we’re raising funds for the Geraldine Fire Service.”

He said the band was really excited about getting back together again.

“We better do it as often as we possibly can while we are still alive and the arthritis hasn’t affected the hands too much.”