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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From the APRA archives - Bic Runga with the award for Most Performed Work in 1997 (Sway), standing with Bill Sevesi.
Ronnie Sundin with Bill Sevesi and his band, circa 1960
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.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg Collection
Auckland Bandleaders at the Oriental Ballroom, Symonds Street, early 1960s. From left: Bernie Allen, Al Patchett, Bill Sevesi and Merv Thomas
Bill Sevesi (at right) and His Islanders, 1958
Photo credit: Gordon Spittle Collection
Eddie Rayner, Neil Finn and Dave Dobbyn with Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Bill Sevesi applauds Peter Posa at the 1999 APRA Silver Scroll Awards
Bill Wolfgramm and Bill Sevesi
Photo credit: Chris Bourke Collection
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
Photo credit: Phil Warren Collection
Bill Sevesi and The Islanders' 'I'm Polynesian', a 1965 EP that features as guests Freddie Keil, Lin Peyroux and steel guitarist Trevor Edmondson
A trio of Polynesian stars at the Orange Ballroom, Auckland, in the early 1960s. From left: Daphne Walker, George Tumahai and Bill Sevesi, with drummer Merv Herdson and guitarist Ricky Santos.
Photo credit: Bill Sevesi archive
Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Bill Sevesi performing with a band at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Bill Sevesi's Dream
Bill Sevesi Group, Orange Ballroom, 1959-60: Joe Brandon third from left (saxophone), Ben Tawhiti first left (lead guitar), Bill Sevesi second left
Photo credit: Geoff Bolton Collection
2013 reissue of Bill Sevesi's Hawaiian themed releases for Viking
Bill Sevesi's Induction into the NZ Music Hall of Fame at the 2015 APRA Silver Scroll Awards
Bill Sevesi announces his own record label, Armar, with 'I'm Polynesian', a 1965 EP with his band The Islanders that features as guests Freddie Keil, Lin Peyroux and steel guitarist Trevor Edmondson
Bill Sevesi at the True Colours Festival, St. James, Auckland, 2002
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Roach
Labels:

Tanza


Armar


Viking

Bill Sevesi was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2015. The Hall of Fame is an initiative of Recorded Music NZ and the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), whose support of AudioCulture enables the site to stream music content.