Peter Blake Profile

Lee Borrie
9 Dec 2019

Peter Blake’s place in New Zealand music history is assured through his television work in the 1970s and 1980s alone, where he coordinated shows like Grunt Machine, Ready To Roll, and Radio With Pictures. But his contribution to New Zealand music goes far beyond his helming of TVNZ’s “Rock Unit”; indeed, television to him was “just a day job”.

Blake’s “real work” lies as a gigging and studio musician, producer, and especially composer. The latter work includes some of the country’s best-known television, film, and political campaign compositions. 

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South Sound 72, a festival held in Gore with Arkastra, Third Chapter and others, December 1972.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Set list for Arkastra featuring Peter Blake as keyboardist, c. 1971. Songs include hits by Elton John, the Rolling Stones, John Sebastian and Humble Pie.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Peter Blake in the 1860 Band, venue is likely to be the St James, Wellington late 1978.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Peter Blake, 2013.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Peter Blake, 1987.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Night of the Red Hunter - 1989 telefeature, music by Peter Blake
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Quincy Conserve on the Brian Edwards-hosted television show Edwards On Saturday, March 1976.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Radio Hauraki presents Father Time and Quincy Conserve at His Majesty's Theatre.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Peter Blake recording piano improv for YouTube at Tsunami recording studios, 2017.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Peter Blake: on making music (NZ On Screen)
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Peter Blake in Rip It Up’s “band file” feature, while in The 1860 Band; September 1979.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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A Quincy Conserve image from the mid-1970s: Paul Clayton, Murray Loveridge, Tom Swainson (front), Peter Blake (behind Tom), Rodger Fox, Richard Holden (manager of NZ Breweries music circuit), Bill Brown, Geoffrey Culverwell, Billy's son with Malcolm Hayman in the front.
Photo credit: Jackie Matthews collection
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Peter Blake on keyboards with Quincy Conserve for the Brian Edwards-hosted television show Edwards On Saturday, March 1976.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Lawless - excerpts from 1999 TVNZ tele-movie
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Peter Blake on keyboards with Quincy Conserve for the Brian Edwards-hosted television show Edwards On Saturday, March 1976.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Arkastra, Blerta, Olibet, and Mammal perform at the closing gigs of Lucifer's, Wellington, February 1973, after a double-bill by Blerta and Mammal at the Union Hall, Victoria University (later known as the Hunter Lounge venue).
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Peter Blake's home studio, Wellington, 2000.
Photo credit: Peter Blake
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The 1860 Band. At back, from left: Geoff Culverwell, Martin Winch, Rob Winch, Rodger Fox; in front: Billy Brown, Peter Blake. 
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Arkastra, about to play the South Sound 72 festival in Gore, December 1972. Note the posters for the Ngaruawahia rock festival to be held a month later. 
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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The Rodger Fox Big Band's The New York Tapes (1981). The band line-up included 1860 Band members Rodger Fox (bandleader, trombone), Rob Winch (bass), Peter Blake (keyboards), Geoff Culverwell (trumpet) with Mike Booth from Collision on trumpet and Ross Burge on drums.
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Quincy Conserve performing on TV's Grunt Machine. Malcolm Hayman on vocals, Peter Blake on keyboards. 
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Joyful Soul was the band Peter Blake played in just after leaving school, c. 1969. He recalls: "The band lasted about a year and was headed by a Maori Fender Stratocaster guitar player/lead vocalist character called Johnny Johnson. His forte was Jimi Hendix ... This particular gig ended in a good beer bottle throwing audience fight, mainly consisting seasonal tobacco pickers from the pub across the road. Johnny was fending of bottles with his guitar while I hid behind my organ."
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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The 1860 Band's sole album, from 1978. They are photographed performing at Sydney’s infamous Basement jazz club.
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Peter Blake on keyboards with Quincy Conserve for the Brian Edwards-hosted television show Edwards On Saturday, March 1976.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Peter Blake in the 1860 Band: "Minimoog atop my Hammond B3 organ, Leslie 147, Rhodes piano through an Ibanez flanger and US Fender Twin Reverb amp at the 1860 tavern in Lambton Quay, Wellington."
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Arkastra: Peter Blake, Denys Mason, Harry Leki, Andy Anderson, Tom Swainson and Paul Read, performing at the Opera House, Wellington, 1 October 1972
Photo credit: Andy Anderson collection
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Arkastra in Wellington behind Lucifers nightclub, just off Manners Street, c. 1972. From left: Harry Leki, Andy Anderson, Tom Swainson, Peter Blake, Paul Reid and Denys Mason.
Photo credit: Andy Anderson collection
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Peter Blake (top right) in a sketch of the 1860 Band, by Wellington artist Norman Levido, late 1970s.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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World Air Games, 2007 - music by Peter Blake
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New Zealand, Kainga Tuturu: music Peter Blake, vocal Rob Winch
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From left: Rob Winch, Peter Blake, Billy Lang, at Blake's Wadestown home, early 1980s.
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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Arkastra in the All Star Summer Rock Concert at Wellington's Opera House, alongside Corben Simpson, Desna Sisarich, Mammal, Tamburlaine and Sharon O'Neill, 1 October 1972. 
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
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The Knobz - Culture? (1980, music produced by Peter Blake)
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The Marching Girls (1987 - NZ On Screen)
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The advert for The Knobz single Culture?, produced by Peter Blake.
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Quincy Conserve in 1973. Left to right at rear: Billy Brown, Peter Blake, Rodger Fox, Geoff Culverwell, Murray Loveridge. Front: Malcolm Hayman, Paul Clayton
Photo credit: Murray Loveridge collection
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Arkastra at Lucifer's, Wellington, c. 1972
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A review of Arkastra and others including Sam Hunt, Tamburlaine, Desna Sisarich, Corben Simpson, and Sharon O'Neill performing in the All-Star Summer Rock Concert at the State Opera House, Wellington, 1 October 1972.
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