The Dabs Profile

Dave Smith
13 Nov 2015

A chance meeting in a dingy room created one of Auckland’s great 1980s power pop trios, The Dabs.

The Dabs began life in the dressing room of Auckland’s XS Cafe after an Ainsworths gig in June 1981. Each member had a pedigree: Rowan Shedden (ex Class Of 81 band The Killjoys) was playing guitar with The Ainsworths, Geoff Hayden was on bass in The Regulators and Steve Thorpe was drumming for Small Torque. Together in that pokey room they decided they'd each had enough of their own bands and wanted to do something a bit different.

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Steve Thorpe at Sweetwaters, 1982
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
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The late Steve Thorpe
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Steve Thorpe and Geoff Hayden, Sweetwaters 1982
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
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The Dabs on tour 
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Geoff Hayden at Sweetwaters, 1982
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
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The Dabs: Steve Thorpe, Geoff Hayden and Rowan Shedden
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The Dabs - Steve Thorpe, Geoff Hayden and Rowan Shedden
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The Dabs at Auckland's Mainstreet
Photo credit: Photo by Nick Crowther
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The Dabs supporting Blam Blam Blam, April 1982
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The Dabs and The Mockers head out on tour, 1982. The two bands shared a manager, Ian Kingsford, and when The Dabs split in 1983, Steve Thorpe and Geoff Hayden joined The Mockers after Kingsford and Fagan effectively fired the rest of the original band.
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Rowan Shedden at Sweetwaters, 1982
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
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The Dabs' final tour, with The Mockers. The advert mentions the unreleased final single.
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The Dabs at Auckland's Mainstreet
Photo credit: Photo by Nick  Crowther
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The Dabs in the Propeller Records office: Rowan Shedden, Steve Thorpe and Geoff Hayden
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Rowan Shedden at Sweetwaters, 1982
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
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Rowan Shedden and Steve Thorpe at Auckland's Globe Hotel
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The Dabs with their road crew: Sandy Fielding, Steve Thorpe, Geoff Hayden and Rowan Shedden, with Neil Hayden in front
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The Dabs: Geoff Hayden, Steve Thorpe and Rowan Shedden
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Steve Thorpe, Rowan Shedden and Geoff Hayden
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Actor to be Rena Owen, former Newmatics vocalist Mark Clare and The Dabs drummer Steve Thorpe at Sweetwaters 1983
Photo credit: Rowan Shedden collection
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Rowan Shedden, Sweetwaters
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A photo taken as a get-well card to Tim Mahon when Blam Blam Blam had their almost-tragic van crash in mid-1982. L to R: in the back - Bryan Staff (Ripper Records), Kevin Howlett (The Prime Movers), Simon Clark (ex-Newmatics), Paul Rose (Propeller Records); mid row - Nick Crowther (The Prime Movers), John Quigly (The Bongos) and Neil Hayden (The Dabs crew); front - Sandy Fielding (The Dabs road crew) and Benny Staples (ex-Newmatics and now The Prime Movers).
Photo credit: Photo by Bryan Staff
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On the right Ian Kingsford, manager of The Mockers and The Dabs, in the New Music Management offices
Photo credit: Simon Elton collection
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The Dabs - Love The Army (1982, Radio With Pictures)
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The Dabs: Steve Thorpe, Geoff Hayden and Rowan Shedden
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Labels:

Furtive


Propeller

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Members:

Rowan Shedden - vocals, guitar

Geoff Hayden - vocals, bass

Steve Thorpe - drums, vocals

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Trivia:

Rowan Shedden had a day job with Air New Zealand. One of the perks was hugely discounted travel which made it almost a criminal offense not to fly to London, L.A. or New York and visit the clubs the rest of us could only read about - The Marquee, The Whiskey A GoGo and CBGBs. On one such foray to New York he purchased a 1959 Rickenbacker and Marshall amp. This would be his signature guitar in The Dabs. It came with a pedigree: it once belonged to Richard Lloyd of New York band Television.

Rowan used some of his UK visits to supply The Screaming Meemees with shoes.

Steve Thorpe is one of the extras in the Dance Exponents video for Airways Spies.

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