Rick Bryant started the Jive Bombers in 1983 "because I wasn't having enough fun."

"I'd been touring up and down the country for several years in several bands trying to sell people original songs that one way or another they were not generally ready for. I wanted to have a bit more fun, and I had an idea that a repertoire of soul standards, ancient and modern, might go well.

"Which it did, not just for me, either. A couple of years later a couple of actors got the idea, hence the Blues Brothers, Commitments, more Blues Brothers, the NZ Blues Brothers, in fact, like the blues, the blues revival goes on and on."

Nowadays, though, there only has to be a handful of covers in a JB's set.

"I sing mainly my own songs nowadays, but for a good few years I considered myself an interpreter of other people's songs, and although I'd write one occasionally, it wasn't all that important to me. I knew that the serious money was in writing, but you have to sell a lot of records, and I didn't really expect to do that.

"I never expected more than moderate success or popularity because I knew the kind of music I liked and wanted to play was never really likely to get played much on commercial radio in New Zealand - unless it originated offshore. Then they'd play it."

But things changed gradually. Although, ironically but not surprisingly, the Jive Bombers were strikingly successful in 1983 and 84, Rick found success just as stressful and exhausting as the serial near-miss drama that had preceded it.

"I could handle being frontman, leader, writer, manager, promoter, accountant, head roadie, truck-driver, and breakfast cook, .... well, I handled it for a while.

"Then I realized I could have as much fun doing ten good gigs a year, as ten good gigs and two hundred others that weren't financially viable. I mean, breaking even but not breaking records. We only broke records sometimes. And you can have a few good gigs that don't make money, but only a few."

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