“White Goat as Strong as Ever”
Here is an update on how things are humming along with the new “White Goat” line up after our return back to New Zealnd!! However before I do so, I thought it was about high time I shared with you some history of myself and the “White Goat Band” and where we stand today after some 24 years of performing!!
From Humble beginnings, Sharon (Bass Guitar) & I were taught by a very patient group of teachers at Bream Bay College in Ruakaka, New Zealand. Rose Waerea was the head of the Music Department. Rose was supported by Gordon Lee, Alex Wallace & Terry Toohill as guitar tutors. Sharon and I were quick to learn and were soon performing working gigs with Rose & Gordon’s “RED WING”. We were really enjoying this “playing music & getting paid for it thing!”
In the meantime, we had a bunch of mates that had formed a band at school. Sharon Rowson (Henderson) – Bass Guitar, Douglas Gordon – Guitar, Kayne Slack – Drums and I was Guitar & Vocals. One particular day we were performing at the local shopping center to raise money for some new gear for the schools music department. It was then we were approached by a man from the local Darts Club. We were asked if we would play a gig!!! We were all very excited; however we only had a repertoire of about 8 songs!! The next few weeks we practiced and frantically increased our set list to approx. 60 songs! At this stage we were a band with No name, so the Darts Club held a “Name the Band contest” … we were given the name “4x4”. It was soon apparent that we were on to a good thing here, and we were getting more bookings. We took on the talents of other musicians, Colin Ogle who blew a mean Saxophone & Nicole King (Paterson) – Guitar & Vocals!! We were known as “Six Pack”.
As our school years began to come to a close, the band had changed faces as we all moved on. At this point we were still playing regular gigs, Sharon & I, Colin on Sax and my Dad (Ken Henderson) on Guitar & Vocals. Stepping into the drums was Steve Fraser (Pedro). Colin eventually left and moved on to University.
I felt it was time for something new! I started another group. There was myself on Guitar & Vocals, Barry Murray on Bass Guitar, and Clinton Somner on Drums along with Gina D’Ath Vocals. The band was great fun with some awesome gigs!! This band soon split as we were all very young & had our careers to start.
Sharon had now begun her nursing training and me as a Mechanic. Keen to still play, I was in the need of something different. I Auditioned for a Band Called “Side Winder”. I was hired as the lead guitarist and was wrapped to be playing once again! Jan MacPherson headed the group on Bass & Lead Vocals. Pete Cornes played Guitar and Vocals with Jimmy Donaldson on Drums.
It was at this point Sharon & I were Married. I had been playing with “Side Winder” for some time and had decided to start up another group of my own on the side. I called on “Pedro” (Steve Fraser) for drums, Barry Murray for Bass, and Anthony Logan on Guitar. We called this Group “Kahlua”. We played all over the place and eventually travelled once a month down to the Waikato and performed at the Waihou Tavern. It was on one fateful night after playing at the Waihou Tavern, as a joke, we changed our name to “White Goat”!!! The idea was to take the Piss out of our bass player who was on the hunt for a White Goat in the Main Street of Waihi!! The name stuck!
The band was enjoying great success, and then we took the blow, as Pedro announced that he had to leave the band due to an operation that needed to be carried out on his elbow. I then called upon a good friend, Jimmy Donaldson from “Side Winder” to fill the shoes. We continued to play until Sharon & I decided to leave northland, and make the move down Matamata for work. After settling in to Matamata, I was going stir crazy! I needed to play again! I was a in a new place and new no other musicians in our area. It was a long shot, but I called Barry & Jimmy to see if they would be keen to kick start the band again, even if we lived 4 hours away from each other. The answer was yes! We played numerous gigs but it was just getting too much. Barry decided to leave the group. On the other hand Jimmy & his Family had decided to move to Tauranga! Yay!!!
The time had come for me to call upon Sharon to see if she was prepared to pick up the bass guitar again. However, that was not going to work as she was pregnant with our son Joel!!!
I had been jamming with some musicians from a Band called “Zenith” on and off in Morrinsville and playing the odd gig with them. They introduced me to a kick ass Bass player by the name of Jason Cameron! He was in! The White Goat band was back & kicking! We were playing gigs all over the North Island it was awesome! Later Jason ended up leaving the group to move to Australia. It was then that Sharon was ready to pick up the Bass guitar again! She played like she had never ever been away from it!!! We then called upon my Dad (Ken Henderson) to see if he would be interested in playing again, “White Goat” was now a four piece. Sharon, Jimmy, Ken & I were ready for business!!!
We started playing private functions around Matamata, but I was keen to get into some regular bookings once again. I hit up John Price of The Matamata Club, who was willing to give us a shot! Immediately we picked up regular gigs, word spread, and the crowds were getting bigger with each performance! By the year 2000 Jimmy decided it was time to leave the group. Once again I was on the look out for a drummer who could fill “Jimmy the Hammer’s” big boots. Without a delay Mike McKinley stepped up to the role and we continued the “White Goat” Journey!!
“White Goat” was now Sharon, Mike, Ken & I. And we were in big demand! Weddings, birthdays, Corporate Functions, Pubs & Clubs, We were very busy! Ken eventually backed out of the group leaving us as a 3 piece. In 2006 we made our first home grown CD “Under the Influence”. Then there had to be a decision made to move to Australia due to relocation with my Job. The next thing you know we were all living in Australia. We knew it was going to be hard yards building a fan base again, but we were up for the challenge!
2010 was the release of our 2nd Album “Rehab” and gigs were beginning to flow! Early 2011 we attended our first Tamworth Country Music Festival and were runners up in the Busking Festival. Mike had since given word that he was moving back to New Zealand due to Family commitments. So here I was again looking for another great drummer to fill the shoes!! As fate has it, once again we were blessed by another Great drummer Grant Miles. As an addition to the group we decided to become a four piece group once again and called on the talents of a fantastic singer guitarist Leanne Cryer!!
After many years of functions and party performances ”Grantos” as we called him decided to relocate his family back to Townsville. We were very sad to see Grant go.
The hunt was now on for a new drummer to join the group. As fate would have it I was blessed to find a young lady singing and playing guitar at a local open mic night. I mentioned to the guy running the evening how great she was and how her timing was impeccably good, he said “She should have, she’s actually a drummer!”
After her set, I introduced myself, her name was Julia Bebenek.
I mentioned I was looking for a drummer and would she be interested? The next thing you know we are rehearsing and straight into gigs!
I enjoyed performing many years in the “All girl” line up as they called it, but a new chapter was ahead for 2019 as I was ready to Return back to New Zealand to manage the family orchard.
So here we are again looking to re-invent the White Goat band back On NZ soil! Picking up the reins as drummer for the group will be my talented brother Gerald! So watch this space as we hit the ground running in 2019!!!
As you can see there have been many versions of “White Goat”. You can understand now why our first album was named “Under the Influence”… so it’s not just about the drinking!
I honor each of these musicians that I have had the pleasure of playing with, as they have all had a hand in making what the “White Goat’ band is today!!