Mantis Profile

Teneti Ririnui
7 Oct 2014

Already well-respected musicians before they arrived in Wellington in the early 1970s, Fijian band Mantis left behind some memorable shows and one brilliant, much sought after Pacific psych-rock-funk album.

The origins of the band go back to the late 1960s and the nightclub scene in Suva. With more relaxed licensing laws than New Zealand at the time, live music thrived almost every night of the week in Suva’s nightclubs. All the clubs had their own house bands that played three or four sets a night.

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The 1973 single Night And Day (originally released by the US band The Wackers in 1972). It was a double A-side with cover version of Booker T & The MGs' Time is Tight, both produced by Ed Morris.
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Mantis as the house band at Suva's Golden Dragon nightclub
Photo credit: Photo by Bharat Jamnadas
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Mantis in Wellington, 1973
Photo credit: Bharat Jamnadas collection
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The 1973 Mantis album Turn Onto Music. Produced by Ed Morris at EMI Studios in Wellington and engineered by Mike Grafton-Green, original copies are now selling for many hundreds of dollars worldwide.
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Members:

Waisea Vatuwaqa - guitar, vocals

Joe Heritage - bass, vocals

Paul Stephen - drums

Ronnie Sammuel - keyboards

Reuben Davui - guitar, vocals

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Labels:

Vertigo