Luck making sure he comes home

Ready to rock . . . The Jordan Luck Band set to return to Timaru next month is (from left) Bryan Bell, Daniel Pooley (Beaver), Jordan Luck, Rich Mixture, and Joe Walsh. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

To celebrate New Zealand Music Month The Courier has caught up with some of New Zealand’s biggest musical maestros as well as some of South Canterbury’s own homegrown talent. In this week’s edition reporter Connor Haley talks with the inaugural inductee into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame, Geraldine’s own Jordan Luck.

A triumphant return to Timaru is once again on the cards for legendary Kiwi musician Jordan Luck, after he had to say goodbye (even though he was blue) to performing in the region last year.

Born in Canada but bred in Geraldine, the musician was a staple of the 1970s South Canterbury music scene with his high school band Basement, but would reach national stardom with The Exponents (formerly The Dance Exponents) in the 1980s.

Widely regarded as the hardest-working man in the industry, Luck still spends the majority of the year roaming the length and width of the country with the Jordan Luck Band.

Next month he will be stopping in at his old stomping grounds as part of his latest winter tour.

The band is set to perform at the Speight’s Ale House on June 21 after having to miss out Timaru last year.

Luck said it was great to be returning again.

‘‘We’re very excited to be coming to Timaru, especially after missing out completely last year.

‘‘It’s always a place that I make sure to put on the map.’’

He said he still had fond memories of the early South Canterbury music scene.

‘‘The whole beginning of our school band Basement was travelling from Geraldine to the Scottish Hall, a punk band was playing there and I thought ‘wow, that’s amazing’.

‘‘They were called Dawn Patrol with guys like Paul Scott who went into Pop Mechanix. That’s also where I met Brian Jones who became a Dance Exponent.

‘‘That whole scene was really good. I was going ‘this is really good fun’ so I was off grabbing an instrument and seeing if there were any guys at school who wanted to play and there were.’’

Now residing at Little River near Akaroa, Luck said he still travels through the region quite often while visiting Geraldine.

He said it was interesting to notice the changes in Timaru each time he passed through.

‘‘My reading of Timaru this time is how quiet it seems to have got, especially Stafford St.

‘‘I think up until Covid it was all freshly painted and busy but on the left-hand side coming from Waimate it’s now all boarded up and for lease.

‘‘It’s a lot more quiet down that way than I remember.’’

Luck, who will embark on his latest nationwide tour at the end of the month, said touring was still what he enjoyed the most about being a musician.

‘‘For me the studio stuff is interesting to a degree but it’s just kind of samey whereas live it’s just every night, it’s exciting and you look forward to the songs.

‘‘It’s always been about touring for me and getting to see the countryside.

‘‘I think one of things now for me is it actually keeps me really fit; it’s also part of my health regime to actually be performing live.

‘‘I put on too much weight when I sit about.’’

Despite the complications and disruptions Covid had on the music industry, he believed the Kiwi music scene was bouncing back strongly.

‘‘New Zealand is really pretty lucky. Overseas there were people who couldn’t play live for about two years whereas our longest break was towards the end when things were opening up but you could only hold 200 and simply that was impossible.

‘‘Then all of a sudden people were just coming out and venues were putting on live music that hadn’t done it for 15-20 years.

‘‘At the moment it’s actually quite a healthy time, I think, for live music.’’

Entering the 23rd year of New Zealand Music Month, Luck said he still believed it was a massively important initiative and the industry as a whole was doing well.

‘‘It’s especially important with radio, having them put on special events or special shows.

‘‘Heaps of artists still get involved.

‘‘I think one of the best ones we did was in 2010 when we played every day in May.

‘‘That was a phenomenal tour, that one.

‘‘I’m still trying to do my part when it comes to radio or anything else that is popping up.

‘‘It’s still really good to have that month that says hey, this is from New Zealand.

‘‘We’ve got people like Kaylee Bell touring, [Hello] Sailor and Dragon still going, there’s a healthy theatre scene as well as pub and club so it’s pretty good.”

He promised Timaru audiences that the upcoming gig should not be missed.

‘‘Expect the unexpected and don’t leave your ears at home.

‘‘It’ll be fierce, it’ll be frantic.

‘‘I just guarantee it.’’