Amber MkII

Guitar/Vocals: Tony de Jong
Bass Guitar/Vocals: David Read
Tenor Saxophone: John Bain
Drums/Vocals: Ken Andrew
Trumpet: Rob Gillies

Above:Amber MKII playing at the Henderson & Pollard Christmas social, 23 November 1974.

If this band had a name other than Amber it has been forgotten, but it is quite probable that Amber was used as their adopted name because certain music-industry people were familiar with it..

After the break-up of the original Amber 1970 -1973 comprising of Tony de Jong, Bruce Beesley, Rick Warren, Tony de Jong was approached by David Read, who lived nearby, about the possibility of starting a new 3-piece group and possibly adding a fourth member later. At least 2 other musicians had been and gone during the band's formative stage until the line-up in the photographs here had become stable enough for the band to be able to accept regular work. A fifth band member Rob Gillies (right) was absent from the gig represented here.

The line-up shown is, left to right: David Read - bass/vocals, Kenny Andrew - drums/vocals, John Bain - tenor saxophone, Tony de Jong - guitar/vocals. Absent is Rob Gillies - trumpet.

Amber (Mark 2?) pl

Tony... "Rob once asked me if the band was able to play without him because he had been asked to help out with another band, something he had done a couple of times before. Since the band had no set musical arrangements in place for his instrument, they were able to play without him, but the point was, you're either in the band or you're not in the band. He realised this and apologised saying that he wouldn't do it if I didn't agree. I asked what band wanted him to play with them and he replied, "Split Enz".I said OK; they were famous, and it was both a privilege as well as in his best interests for him to play with them (which he had been doing between 1973-'74. He ended up joining Split Enz on a more permanent basis (1975-'77) and they traveled to the UK in search of greater fame."

Gillies and fellow Split Enz musician Noel Crombie often collaborated on their band's early stage-production and music videos, including the London-shot video of 'My Mistake' and 'Bold as Brass' (1977).Gillies features on the Split Enz album Dizrythmia (1977) and Second Thoughts (1976-'77).In 1978 Rob Gillies joined the design team at the new second channel, South Pacific Television, and while working in the light entertainment department, he found himself designing sets for the entertainers Prince Tui Teka and Billy T James in the retro-themed TV series 'Radio Times'.In 1984 he left television to design his first movie, 'Other Halves', and other movies followed.After doing art direction on a number of commercials, Gillies began six years of creating castles, ruins, and villages for the TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (launched in 1995) and then the spin-off series Xena: Warrior Princess. He won awards for both shows.Gillies, as a production designer, recreated "America" on Auckland soil for the film 'Boogeyman', and he was involved with the 2012 remake of The Evil Dead. He designed the TV series Legend of the Seeker and Jack of All Trades, for which he received another award.Feature films he has worked on include 'The World's Fastest Indian', 'Bridge to Terabithia' and director Peter Jackson's 'The Lord of the Rings' film trilogy.