Benny Staples Profile

aka Benny Lee
Lewis Tennant
12 May 2017

Born 1963 in Palmerston North to Roger Staples and Marie Stewart, bohemian artists with a love for books and music, Benny Staples is New Zealand’s original funky drummer.

Since building a kit out of paint cans and tambourines in the early 1970s – after seeing Rod Stewart and The Faces live at Western Springs – Benny has been a key member of punky ska/soul beat combo The Newmatics, post-punk leftist collective The Miltown Stowaways, experimental outfit Avant Garage, indie-dance group The Woodentops, and two-man soundclash Lava Lava.

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Benny Staples with The Woodentops in Paris
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The Woodentops - Why Why Why (Live) (1986)
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Benny Staples (right) with The Woodentops
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Root
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The Miltown Stowaways: Benny Staples, Mark Dansey, Brent "Sid" Pasley, Kelly Rogers, Grant Hughson and, in front, Fiona Anderson
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Benny Staples' Fever Collective at Verona, Karanagahape Rd., Auckland, New Year's Eve 2014
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Benny Staples and Cian O'Donnell
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The Newmatics: Sid Pasley, Mark Clare, Benny Staples, Kelly Rogers, Simon Clark, Jeff Smith - 1981, at John's Diner, cnr Albert and Swanson Streets
Photo credit: Photo by John Reynolds
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Da Blitz and The Aliens at St Lukes Hall, Auckland, 1979
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The Newmatics 1981 - Benny Staples, Mark Clare, Simon Clark, Jeff Smith, Sid Pasley
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The Crackheads (aka The Crackhead Experience) – Benny Staples, Mu and Dallas – Christmas Eve, 1998
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The Prime Movers - Benny Staples, Nick Crowther, Kevin Howlett
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
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Lava Lava on Mt. Eden, 1997
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Hush Puppy – Benny Staples, Melissa Cole and Dane Edwards – at Leight Sawmill, March 2014
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Lava Lava on the cover of Lava magazine, April 1997
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The influential 1998 album, Balearic Beats, featured The Woodentops 'Why Why Why (Live)'
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Benny Staples and Mark Burgess present Paradise Bomb at Auckland's Khuja Lounge, September 2000
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Benny Staples as T-Son, 2004
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The Miltown Stowaways at Sweetwaters, 1983: Fiona Anderson, Benny Staples, Mark Dansey and Kelly Rogers
Photo credit: Photo by Mike Hartley
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The press release announcing Benny Staples replacing Chris Matthews in The Primer Movers, 1982
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A 1986 Rough Trade Woodentops publicity shot
Photo credit:  
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Benny Staples presents Uprising, April 1998 at Cause Celebre/Box, Auckland
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Sistermatic - Benny Staples, Koi-Ski, Sina Saipaia, Sid Pasley, Mark Clare
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The Miltown Stowaways – Mark Dansey, Brent 'Sid' Pasley, Benny Staples, Kelly Rogers and Grant Hughson, 1983
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A Woodentops publicity shot from 1986, with Benny Staples on the right
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Benny Staples and Mike Nielsen, Lava Lava, 1997
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The Newmatics in 1981, perhaps at a private party? Simon Clark, Sid Pasley, Benny Staples, Mark Clare, Jeff Smith
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The Subterraneans with Nick Kent, Benny Staples and Kelly Rogers, London, 1984
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Melissa Cole and Benny Staples with Hush Puppy, 2014
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Miltown Stowaways - Strong And True (1983)
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Benny Staples at age 9
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The Newmatics taken for the cover of Rip It Up magazine, October 1981: Simon Clark, Brent Pasley, Benny Staples, Jeff Smith, Kelly Rogers and Mark Clare
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
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Benny Staples in 2016 at the Matakana Vintage market
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The Miltown Stowaways with soundman Mike Neilsen. Mike and Benny Staples (centre) would later form Lava Lava.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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The Woodentops at Glastonbury (with The Chills, 1987)
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The Woodentops 1986 single, Good Thing
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The Newmatics: Sid Pasley, Benny Staples, Mark Clare
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
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The Woodentops at London's Town and Country Club in 1986 with Gary Clail and Tackhead
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Benny Staples
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Benny Staples in the mid-1980s
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
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Sistermatic, 1988
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The Newmatics - Riot Squad (1981)
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Lava Lava on Mt. Eden, 1997
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Benny Staples' Hush Puppy at Leigh Sawmill, April 2014
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Benny Staples at Auckland's Calibre, 1999
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Essential Staples in Rhythm magazine, May 1988
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The cover of Lava Lava's 1997 CD, Burnt
Photo credit: Design by Philip Kelly
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The 2004 T-Son album Combat Sol
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Benny Staples with The Woodentops
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The Miltown Stowaways: Grant Hughson, Sid Pasley, Mark Dansey, Kelly Rogers and Benny Staples
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Da Blitz were Benny Staples' school punk band, advertised here in 1979 at the Rock Cafe in Auckland's Upper Queen Street.
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Unsung Records' Iain Watkins and Benny Staples, October 1983
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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An Avant Garage programme from 1982
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Benny Staples circa 1981
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The Woodentops in 1986: Benny Staples, Rolo McGinty, Frank deFreitas, Alice Thompson and Simon Mawby
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Furtive


Huh!


Honeydipped


Rough Trade


Propeller


Unsung


Hit Singles