Bill Sevesi Profile

aka Will Jess
Chris Bourke
9 May 2013

Looking back on his career in 1999, Bill Sevesi tapped his lap steel guitar and said, “I’ve seen a lot, I’ve done a lot. If I had my life over, I’ll do it all over again.”

Sevesi was then 76, still playing every day and using his home studio to record himself or some young talent he was nurturing. He had earned his status as the godfather of the lap steel guitar in New Zealand through hard work, longevity and generosity.

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Bill Sevesi applauds Peter Posa at the 1999 APRA Silver Scroll Awards
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Bill Sevesi Group, 1959-60: Joe Brandon third from left (saxophone), Ben Tawhiti first left (lead guitar), Bill Sevesi second left
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2013 reissue of Bill Sevesi's Hawaiian themed releases for Viking
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Ronnie Sundin's only longplayer, issued in 1960 by Viking Records. Left to right, Hugo Spemann, Sundin, Rudy Spemann, Bill Sevesi, Don Stacey, Alex Patchett. Bass player Malu Natapu was obscured behind Sundin when his image was enlarged.
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Bill Sevesi (at right) and His Islanders, 1958
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Bill Sevesi performing with a band at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
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Auckland Bandleaders at the Oriental Ballroom, Symonds Street, early 1960s. From left: Bernie Allen, Al Patchett, Bill Sevesi and Merv Thomas
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Four Auckland bandleaders ready for their residencies at the Oriental Ballroom, Symonds Street, early 1960s. From left: Bernie Allen, Bill Sevesi, Merv Thomas and Al Patchett
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Eddie Rayner, Neil Finn and Dave Dobbyn with Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
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From the APRA archives - Bic Runga with the award for Most Performed Work in 1997 (Sway), standing with Bill Sevesi.
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Bill Wolfgramm and Bill Sevesi
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Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
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Bill Sevesi's Induction into the NZ Music Hall of Fame at the 2015 APRA Silver Scroll Awards
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Bill Sevesi's Dream
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Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
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