Ray Columbus and The Invaders Profile

Murray Cammick
20 Nov 2013

When Christchurch band Ray Columbus And The Invaders chose their name, they could not have envisaged that they would quickly conquer Auckland in 1963, invade Australia in 1964, tour both countries with the Rolling Stones in 1965 and split that same year. They made the impossible look easy, yet staying together was not possible.

Some bands are created in one place and at one time, but Ray Columbus and The Invaders evolved out of an older, established Christchurch dance band called The Downbeats.

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Till We Kissed
Ray Columbus & The Invaders in an Australian teen magazine
Ray Columbus and The Invaders in Palmerston North, 1964: Wally Scott, Billy Kristian, and Ray Columbus
Photo credit: John Yuile collection
The 1965 Now You Shake EP. Sales had started to drop after She's A Mod and this wasn't a massive seller - which makes it extraordinarily rare and very sought after now!
One of the early pre-Invaders bands, with Pete Ward on drums and Dave Russell on guitar (left)
Photo credit: Rob Carpenter collection
Ray and The Drifters
Photo credit: Rob Carpenter collection
Ray and The Drifters, the band that would be renamed Ray Columbus and The Invaders in February 1962
Photo credit: Rob Carpenter collection
Ray Columbus & The Invaders: Wally Scott, Ray Columbus, Jimmy Hill, Billy Kristian and Dave Russell
Photo credit: Jimmy Hill collection
Ray Columbus & The Invaders in Perth, 1964. Wally Scott, Billy Kristian, Ray Columbus, Jimmy Hill, Dave Russell
Ray Columbus & The Invaders
Ray Columbus interviewed by Jeff Smith, 2010 Pt.1
The final single, released late 1965 - the band had already split.
The Australian poster for She's A Mod and Yo Yo
Ray Columbus & The Invaders at MOTAT, Auckland, 1965
She's A Mod - the first pressing
The surviving members of Ray Columbus And The Invaders are inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at Vector Arena in 2009. Dinah Lee stands behind Dave Russell, Billy Kristian and Ray Columbus.
She's A Mod
Dave Russell in Palmerston North with The Invaders in 1964
Photo credit: John Yuile collection
The classic Ray Columbus & The Invaders promo shot, as used on the cover of the 2009 Definitive Collection.
The Downbeats circa 1960, with Ray Columbus out front and Pete Ward on drums. This band would mutate into Ray and The Drifters who in turn would become Ray Columbus and The Invaders
Photo credit: Rob Carpenter collection
The 1965 US release of She's A Mod
Ray Columbus
Ray Columbus and The Invaders in an unknown TV studio c.1964
Ray Columbus & The Invaders, 1964: Wally Scott, Dave Russell, Ray Columbus, Jimmy Hill and Billy Kristian
Original Numbers, the first entirely band-composed New Zealand rock and roll album, released in late 1965. The band had already gone their separate ways when this landmark album was released.
Ray Columbus interviewed by Jeff Smith, 2010 Pt.2
Ray Columbus & The Invaders in Sydney
The Invaders, early 1963. Pete Ward on drums at the back. Front L to R: Puni Solomon, Wally Scott, Dave Russell
Photo credit: Rob Carpenter collection
Leaving on a (turboprop) plane - Ray Columbus & The Invaders head home from Australia, 1964
Ray Columbus fronting The Downbeats, an early, pre-Invaders band in Christchurch.
Photo credit: Rob Carpenter collection
Ray Columbus and The Invaders on Kings Cross, October 1964
The NZ poster for She's A Mod, 1964
Supporting Rob Orbison and The Rolling Stones, Sydney, January 1965
A rare colour shot of Ray Columbus & The Invaders: Jimmy Hill, Dave Russell, Ray Columbus, Wally Scott and Billy Kristian
Ray Columbus with The Invaders in Palmerston North in 1964
Photo credit: John Yuile collection
Ray Columbus & The Invaders: Ray Columbus, Billy Kristian and Dave Russell
Ray Columbus & The Invaders
1965 Ray Columbus publicity shot
Ray Columbus, 1964
The early 1966 advert for All Through Pride, the final Ray Columbus & The Invaders single (issued at the end of 1965), although there's no mention or image of the band on the copy. Ray was being positioned for a solo career, although not with Zodiac and this single seems to have been promoted this way in competition with his debut solo release on the Impact label.
Billy Kristian in Palmerston North with The Invaders in 1964
Photo credit: John Yuile collection
Ray Columbus & The Invaders in 1962. Top: Ray Columbus, Mac Jamieson; Centre: Wally Scott; Bottom: Pete Ward, Dave Russell
Ray Columbus and The Invaders win the 1965 Loxene Golden Disc
Labels:

Zodiac

In the liner notes to Ray Columbus and the Invaders' Original Numbers LP, radio DJ Stewart Macpherson offers a "few words of insufficient appraisal" of the tracks. 
Trivia:

"Yuk" Harrison was very briefly a member of the band after Puni Solomon was fired in October 1963. He appears in the She's A Mod video but not on any recordings and was never regarded as a full member. He would also fill-in, in May 1964 when Billy Kristian was ill.

Puni Solomon was later in The Dynamics in Christchurch, a Wellington Beatles copy band called The Measles (with Bruno Lawrence) and The Keil Isles. He was still playing in Auckland in the late 1970s. Pete Ward was also in The Dynamics.

Ray Columbus and The Invaders win the very first Loxene Golden Disc in 1965
Ray Columbus and the Invaders were inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2009. 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.
Members:

Ray Columbus - vocals

Dave Russell - guitar

Wally Scott - guitar

Billy Kristian - bass

Jimmy Hill - drums

Puni Solomon - bass

Peter Ward - drums

Brian Ringrose - guitar

Mac Jamieson - bass

John "Yuk" Harrison - bass