Herbs to Tour with UB40
INNER CITY NELOS 12 JULY 1983
Herbs to Tour with UB40
By Simon Johnson
Reggae band Herbs may tour with the English group UB4O later this year.
Herb’s manager Will Ilolahia says UB40 wants the Auckland-based band as its support group when ‘it tours Europe in November.
“But whether we can go hinges on finance,” says Will. “If we can get it organised,we’ll be off.” This year has been an exciting one for Herbs. Following hot on the heels of the UB40 request, is an Announcement from the Department of Foreign Affairs that Herbs has been chosen to represent New Zealand in the Asian Arts Festival.
Hong Kong is hosting this year’s festival in late October. Herb’s appearanee in Hong Kong will follow close behind their Pacific tour. The group is leaving for the Pacific on August 25 where it is scheduled to visit six Islands, ending with performances in Tahiti.
“We can’t wait to get up there,” says Ilolahia. “They think we’re all country musicians down here. They’ve only ever seen Brendan Dugan.”
Ilolahia believes the climax of the tour will be the band’s visit to Tahiti.
“We’re especially keen to get there so we can say what we feel about nuclear bombs on our doorstep and the burying of nuclear waste,” he says. “They say there’s no danger from this but talk to anyone up there.
They know it’s having effects.”
Polynesian Airlines are sponsoring Herb’s Pacific tour but the group still has to raise the money needed to freight its equipment. To help raise this money and to finance the tour with UB40, Herbs is launching a support club. For an annual subscription of $6, the club offers members a free copy of Herb’s next single “Meteli”, and the chance to buy the band’s future records and promotion products at cost price.
“We’d like to see Herbs supporters get right behind us and help,” says Ilolahia. “They’ll be helping the whole New Zealand music industry.”
Ilohia says Herbs has been dedicated to developing a unique New Zealand sound in a Pacific context.
“Our melodies, guitar riffs and drumming styles are truly Polynesian,” he says. The group is now receiving strong interest from overseas publishers and recording companies but, ironically, is still having trouble drawing the audiences it so badly needs back home.
Herbs is competing with bands prepared to pay $10,000, for the privilege of touring with UB40. Herbs are actually being paid $100 each time they perform with the English group. Herbs and UB40 met
at last year’s Sweetwaters Festival and Ilolahia says they immediately established a strong affinity with one another.
He says UB40 saw Herbs struggling with similar problems: the fight for finance and the difficulty of creating its own authentic Pacific reggae sound.