I have been fortunate for the last three weeks to be on tour in Australia/ New Zealand and have had plenty of time for some epic record digging, arming myself with a bevy of OZ beat 45's. The similarities between Australia and my California home are striking, and I felt very much at home in the cities of Melbourne, Auckland and Perth, especially. As I was thinking about going home the day after tomorrow, it only made sense to feature this record with its New Zealand/ Australia/ California connection.
Ray Columbus was the first rocker to have a hit outside of New Zealand with his crack band the Invaders (his "She's A Mod" cracked the top of the Australian charts in 1964). A number of hits followed, and Ray & The Invaders were at the top of their game down under. Ray wished more than anything to get the band to the US, but was never able to get a work permit.
However, around 1966 he married a California woman and ended up in San Francisco and local mods the Art Collection (featuring none other than Richard Frost, heard a few weeks ago with "She's Got Love") became his backing group. I was fortunate enough to talk to Richard at the end of 2010, and he explained that the bay area had no idea what to do with this outlandish, extroverted New Zealand mod wildman! Ray self-released this record (with a re-recording of "She's A Mod" as the flip) and there is a very rare clip of the band performing this song in an SF teen club and they were incredibly powerful as a live act.
The song itself is an incredible, fuzzed out stomper of the highest order.
RAY COLUMBUS & THE ART COLLECTION - KICK ME (I THINK I'M DREAMING)