Bob Paris Profile

Chris Bourke
9 May 2013

New Zealand’s first rock and roll guitar hero began as a Hawaiian-style steel guitarist. Bob Paris was just 11 years old when he started learning the steel guitar while growing up in the New Lynn area of West Auckland.

He played an acoustic lap steel, learning from his father, and then from the veteran stringed-instrument teacher Walter Smith in the city. Bob was interested in the steel guitar music that was then in vogue, admiring overseas stars such as Sol Ho'opi'i and locals such as Bill Sevesi and Barry Slot.

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The Bob Paris Band: Brian Smith, Bob Paris, Mick Dawson, Keith Graham, Tony Hopkins
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"The Bob Paris Story" as told in hepcat: Joy, 16 February 1959
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The 1958 Bob Paris Combo EP on Zodiac
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Bob Paris in Gisborne
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Bob Paris Band, Onehunga 1959. L to R: Bill Fairs, Brian Smith, Desna, Keith McMillan (behind), Bob Paris, Gene Blazer, Dave MacRae
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Bob Paris in his element, Showtime Spectacular tour, 1961
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