Bruno Lawrence Profile

Gary Steel
12 May 2013

Ask the average New Zealander and they’ll tell you Bruno Lawrence was that bald guy from Smash Palace. But while Bruno was a successful actor, his abiding legacy is as one of our most valuable music legends.

Okay, the word "legend" is over-used, but at the least, Lawrence was larger than life, and one of those characters about whom stories run rife.

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Bruno Lawrence and Geoff Murphy on the set of The Quiet Earth, 1984
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
Quincy Conserve in 1970: Left to right, top to bottom: Rufus Rehu, Denys Mason, Johnny McCormick, Bruno Lawrence, Kevin Furey, Malcolm Hayman, Dave Orams
The Crocodiles - Tears
The Crocodiles - Any Day Of The Week
From left, singer Mary Larkin, drummer Bruno Lawrence, Garth Young and bassist Slim Dorward - at the Pines, Wellington early 1960s
Shane and Zonk! come clean - with Bruno Lawrence in the middle
David Charles "Bruno" Lawrence, flanked by Hymie Levin, left, and Slim Dorwood: at the Pines, Wellington, early 1960s. 
Photo credit: Don Peat
Bruno Lawrence in Quiet Earth
Rochelle Vinsen and band performing at Librettos guitarist Lou Parun’s 21st birthday party. Bruno Lawrence is on drums and Garth Young on piano.
Bruno receives a NZ music award on behalf of Sharon O'Neill for the Best Soundtrack album, 1983
Bruno Lawrence teaches Garth Young the bongos - the Pines, Wellington, early 1960s
Photo credit: Don Peat
Tommy Adderley at the Pines, Wellington, early 1960s. From left: Mary Larkin, Slim Dorward, Hymie Levin, Bruno Lawrence, Tommy Adderley and Garth Young. 
Photo credit: Don and Beatrice Peat/Garth Young collection
Bruno Lawrence, Jools Topp and Tama Renata
BLERTA with Fane Flaws on the roof and Bruno on drums
Photo credit: Fane Flaws collection
Bruno Lawrence singing and drumming with BLERTA
Photo credit: Photo by Robin White




For many years Blerta-associated families like those of Bruno and Geoff Murphy lived together in a commune, but at the time of Bruno’s death, he had become estranged from Murphy, who did not attend his funeral.

In 1970 HMV banned Bruno from their studios, thus preventing him drumming on Shane Hales' Straight, Straight, Straight album. Producer Alan Galbraith used Richard Burgess instead.