Benny Staples

aka Benny Lee

Born 1963 in Palmerston North to Roger Staples and Marie Stewart, bohemian artists with a love for books and music, Benny Staples is New Zealand’s original funky drummer.

Since building a kit out of paint cans and tambourines in the early 1970s – after seeing Rod Stewart and The Faces live at Western Springs – Benny has been a key member of punky ska/soul beat combo The Newmatics, post-punk leftist collective The Miltown Stowaways, experimental outfit Avant Garage, indie-dance group The Woodentops, and two-man soundclash Lava Lava.

Lava Lava on Mt. Eden, 1997
Benny Staples' Hush Puppy at Leigh Sawmill, April 2014
The Woodentops at London's Town and Country Club in 1986 with Gary Clail and Tackhead
The Newmatics 1981 - Benny Staples, Mark Clare, Simon Clark, Jeff Smith, Sid Pasley
Benny Staples presents Uprising, April 1998 at Cause Celebre/Box, Auckland
Benny Staples
The 2004 T-Son album Combat Sol
The Newmatics: Sid Pasley, Benny Staples, Mark Clare
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
The Miltown Stowaways with soundman Mike Neilsen. Mike and Benny Staples (centre) would later form Lava Lava.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Benny Staples' Fever Collective at Verona, Karanagahape Rd., Auckland, New Year's Eve 2014
Lava Lava on Mt. Eden, 1997
Unsung Records' Iain Watkins and Benny Staples, October 1983
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
The Woodentops 1986 single, Good Thing
Benny Staples and Mark Burgess present Paradise Bomb at Auckland's Khuja Lounge, September 2000
The Newmatics: Sid Pasley, Mark Clare, Benny Staples, Kelly Rogers, Simon Clark, Jeff Smith - 1981, at John's Diner, cnr Albert and Swanson Streets
Photo credit: Photo by John Reynolds
Sistermatic, 1988
The Prime Movers - Benny Staples, Nick Crowther, Kevin Howlett
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Melissa Cole and Benny Staples with Hush Puppy, 2014
Benny Staples as T-Son, 2004
Benny Staples (right) with The Woodentops
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Root
A Woodentops publicity shot from 1986, with Benny Staples on the right
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Benny Staples in the mid-1980s
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Benny Staples with The Woodentops in Paris
The Subterraneans with Nick Kent, Benny Staples and Kelly Rogers, London, 1984
The Miltown Stowaways: Benny Staples, Mark Dansey, Brent "Sid" Pasley, Kelly Rogers, Grant Hughson and, in front, Fiona Anderson
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
The cover of Lava Lava's 1997 CD, Burnt
Photo credit: Design by Philip Kelly
Benny Staples in 2016 at the Matakana Vintage market
Benny Staples at Auckland's Calibre, 1999
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
The Newmatics in 1981, perhaps at a private party? Simon Clark, Sid Pasley, Benny Staples, Mark Clare, Jeff Smith
Miltown Stowaways - Strong And True (1983)
The Woodentops at Glastonbury (with The Chills, 1987)
An Avant Garage programme from 1982
Benny Staples and Cian O'Donnell
The Newmatics taken for the cover of Rip It Up magazine, October 1981: Simon Clark, Brent Pasley, Benny Staples, Jeff Smith, Kelly Rogers and Mark Clare
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
The influential 1998 album, Balearic Beats, featured The Woodentops 'Why Why Why (Live)'
Benny Staples with The Woodentops
Benny Staples and Mike Nielsen, Lava Lava, 1997
The Crackheads (aka The Crackhead Experience) – Benny Staples, Mu and Dallas – Christmas Eve, 1998
The Woodentops - Why Why Why (Live) (1986)
The Newmatics - Riot Squad (1981)
The Woodentops in 1986: Benny Staples, Rolo McGinty, Frank deFreitas, Alice Thompson and Simon Mawby
Da Blitz and The Aliens at St Lukes Hall, Auckland, 1979
Da Blitz were Benny Staples' school punk band, advertised here in 1979 at the Rock Cafe in Auckland's Upper Queen Street.
Benny Staples at age 9
The press release announcing Benny Staples replacing Chris Matthews in The Primer Movers, 1982
Lava Lava on the cover of Lava magazine, April 1997
Sistermatic - Benny Staples, Koi-Ski, Sina Saipaia, Sid Pasley, Mark Clare
Hush Puppy – Benny Staples, Melissa Cole and Dane Edwards – at Leight Sawmill, March 2014
A 1986 Rough Trade Woodentops publicity shot
Photo credit:  
The Miltown Stowaways at Sweetwaters, 1983: Fiona Anderson, Benny Staples, Mark Dansey and Kelly Rogers
Photo credit: Photo by Mike Hartley
Essential Staples in Rhythm magazine, May 1988
Benny Staples circa 1981
The Miltown Stowaways: Grant Hughson, Sid Pasley, Mark Dansey, Kelly Rogers and Benny Staples
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
The Miltown Stowaways – Mark Dansey, Brent 'Sid' Pasley, Benny Staples, Kelly Rogers and Grant Hughson, 1983




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