In 1963 teenage twin brothers Gerard and John aka Shade Smith formed the high school band The Sapphires with fellow Huntly College fourth formers Ross Hindman and Sjaaki Koolen. They made their first public appearance at a local talent quest in the same year where they won first prize.
Initially the band played just acoustic guitars but desperately wanted to go electric, to play surf music. With the group all still at college the affordability of electric guitars was well beyond their means.
Gerard and Shade’s father Stephen came to the rescue and built the band two electric guitars and an electric bass, which enabled them to change direction and take on more gigs.
They quickly gained considerable local popularity and often played three gigs a week at local dances and social functions.
After leaving high school the group changed their name to The Surfires and started to write their own songs. A local record shop owner arranged for Shade to speak to Eldred Stebbing by phone. Eldred was very polite and impressed that they were writing their own material, telling the group to call in and see him when next in Auckland.
The group packed all their gear onto the trailer the following Saturday morning and took off to Auckland. They arrived at Stebbings mid morning and introduced themselves to a bemused Stebbing who wasn't expecting to see them so soon, if at all.
Stebbing was halfway through a recording session with Max Cryer and the Children, so he invited them back later in the day. Once back in the studio they ran through a few numbers and to their surprise, Eldred decided to record their debut single.
Written by Shade Smith and released during the spring of 1966, ‘I Can't Wait For Summertime’ / ‘Flying Saucers’ was immediately picked up by pirate radio station Radio Hauraki as their theme song for the summer of 1966/67.
The Surfires went on to record two more singles for Zodiac Records during 1967, ‘Friction’ / ‘A True Gentleman’ and ‘Notice Me’ / 'When Will the Seasons Bring', all written by Shade Smith.
The group broke up in late 1967 only to reform 18 months later as The Rumour.
In 2009 Ode Records released the CD The Rumour Collection, which includes The Surfires’ tracks ‘I Can't Wait For Summertime’ and ‘Friction’.