Th' Dudes

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Th' Dudes at the Cricketers' Arms, Wellington, New Zealand. 1980.
Background information
OriginAuckland, New Zealand
Years active1975–1980, 2006-2008
Past membersDave Dobbyn
Ian Morris (deceased)
Peter Urlich
Lez White
Peter Coleman
Bruce Hambling

Th' Dudes were a late 1970s / early 1980s pop/rock band from Auckland, New Zealand. Hits include "Walking in Light", "Right First Time", " Be Mine Tonight" and "Bliss".


  • Dave Dobbyn - vocals, guitars
  • Ian Morris (deceased) - guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Peter Urlich- drums (changing to vocals later)
  • Peter Coleman, (Replaced by Lez White 1978) - bass
  • Bruce Hambling - drums


The band was formed by Morris, Urlich, Coleman and Dobbyn, students at Sacred Heart College in Auckland, which was the same school that Neil (Crowded House and Split Enz) and Tim Finn (Split Enz) went to. The band name derived from the "Lone Groover" comic strip in the English music paper, NME. The band's sound was heavily influenced by the British scene, especially The Beatles, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones, and later by the Punk and New Wave sounds of Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Roxy Music, The Stranglers and The Clash.

Starting off as a covers band that played surf clubs and private parties, Th' Dudes quickly earned a reputation as an energetic and skilful outfit featuring dual guitar work from Dobbyn and Morris, a tight no-nonsense rhythm section (Peter Coleman on bass, later replaced by Lez White, and drummer Bruce Hambling) and charismatic vocalist Urlich. Slowly the repertoire featured more originals and their status rose to the point where Th' Dudes were acclaimed NZ Group of the Year in 1979 (although it took until 2005 for Dave Dobbyn to actually receive his award). They eventually disbanded in mid 1980.

The mid-1990s saw a resurgence of interest in Th' Dudes in New Zealand as "classic hits" and "classic rock" radio became more prevalent, and the compositional, performance and production qualities of the band's records endured. Bliss: 20 Essential New Zealand Classics and other compilations showcased New Zealand post-punk acts which epitomized the Kiwi rock genre. Their song, "Bliss", attained particular popularity and has since established itself as New Zealand's unofficial national drinking song. The song is also commonly played (and sung) following the dismissal of an opposing batsman at New Zealand national cricket games.

In October 2006 Th' Dudes embarked on a tour of New Zealand as part of Radio Hauraki's 40th anniversary celebrations.[1] The original tour was 11 dates, but quickly expanded to 17 shows due to demand. Due to a dispute with the holders of the band's master tapes, Stebbing Studios Ltd (see below), the band was unable to release any product to support the tour. Instead, they compiled a six-track CD of demo and alternate versions of their biggest hits, culled from the band's own collections. This CD was available only at shows on the tour and was called Pubs, Parks, Theatres, Clubs, Church Halls, Gardens, Lounges & Band Rotundas.

In late 2007 Th' Dudes embarked on the "Summer of Love" tour of popular NZ holiday destinations: Mangawhai (28 December 2007); Mount Maunganui (29 December 2007); Coroglen (30 December 2007); Waihi Beach (New Year's Eve, 31 December 2007); Lake Hawea (2 January 2008), Riwaka (4 January 2008); and New Plymouth (5 January 2008). Chances of the band doing more any shows are said to be "very slim".

In 2008 the band sued Stebbing Studios for non-payment of royalties. The band sought to show that they were not paid royalties for sales of their music due to their songs being recorded in downtime at Stebbing, while studio owner Eldred Stebbing claimed production costs had not been met.[2][3] The dispute was resolved to both parties' mutual satisfaction[4] in November 2008.

Ian Morris died suddenly in Napier on 7 October 2010.[5] Prior to his death Morris produced records and wrote advertising music, after having had a brief solo career under the stage name Tex Pistol. Morris is survived by his twin daughters Julia and Maude.


  • National Music Awards 1979 - 'Top Group'
  • National Music Awards 1979 - 'Single Of The Year' for "Be Mine Tonight"
  • Winners, 1976 Battle of the Bands (Auckland)[6]



Date of Release Title Label Charted Certification Catalog Number
June 1979 Right First Time Key 17 -
July 1980 Where Are The Boys? Key - -
1982 So You Wanna Be A Rock'n'Roll Star Key 27 -
1982 So You Wanna Be A Rock'n'Roll Star / Last Chance to Dance reissue with Hello Sailor Key 35 -
August 2001 Where Are the Girls?: Th' Definitive Collection Festival Mushroom Records 31 - DUDES2001
2006 Pubs, Parks, Theatres, Clubs, Church Halls, Gardens, Lounges & Band Rotundas - -
2006 2006 Reunion Tour Live 39 -

Featured appearances[edit]

Th' Dudes' songs have appeared on many compilations in New Zealand. The following is a partial list of these albums:


Year Single Catalogue# Charted Certification
1979 "Be Mine Tonight" / "That Look In Your Eyes" 36[7] -
1979 "Right First Time" / "Tonight Again" Festival K97 34[8] -
1979 "Walking In Light" / "Bad Boy Billy" Festival K100 50[9] -
1979 "Stop Crying" / "On Sunday" -
1980 "Bliss" / "On The Rox" 25[10] -


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Stebbing Walking In Court with Th'Dudes". NZ Musician. 1 March 2008. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ Eames, David (15 March 2008). "Studio says it offered Dudes a share of disputed royalties". NZ Herald. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Eldred Stebbing as remembered by Ian Morris". Radio NZ National Music. 15 December 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  5. ^ Kristy Johnston and Chris Schulz (8 October 2010). "Th'Dudes guitarist Ian Morris dies". with NZPA. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Be Mine Tonight: Charting". Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Right First Time: Charting". Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Walking In Light: Charting". Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Bliss: Charting". Retrieved 21 October 2012.

External links[edit]