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Ray Columbus & The Art Collection



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In July, 1966, a young Australasian pop star, Ray Columbus, disembarked from his New Zealand - San Francisco flight. The first newspaper headline that caught his eye was the tragic tale of a young student who plummeted from a 20th storey window, while out of his gourd on LSD. He was on his way to Europe.

Drug-free Columbus seizes on the headline, Student Flies Out of Window on LSD. “What? Pounds, shillings and pence?“ (whose abbreviations resemble the letters LSD), wonders Ray.

He’ll soon wise up: acid was just about to hit the San Francisco Bay Area wholesale and soon everyone he knew in the biz would be on it.

The incident inspired Ray’s best post-Invaders record, the fuzz propelled Kick Me, flip-side of his U.S version of Australasian hit, She’s A Mod, released on Columbus’s own American label, Colstar Records, and backed by one of the Bay area’s many Stones/ Who inspired white R & B bands, The Art Collection.

What’s Columbus doing in San Francisco and where are The Invaders? Social End Product talks to Ray about his little reported American sojourn and the break up of Ray Columbus and The Invaders.

Flashback to Auckland - August 1965 - Ray Columbus and The Invaders have just split up, leaving a trail of hit records and fans throughout Australia and New Zealand. The break up has been building for a while its seed planted two years earlier in a performing contract ex-pat Kiwi promoter Harry M. Miller had offered Columbus.

Miller wanted only Columbus. It mattered little to him who The Invaders were. Columbus disagreed. The band was one of the best around and a vital part of the hit sound. He’d known Billy Kristian and Dave Russell since they were fourteen. The band would carry on as the contracts kept getting better and more tempting.

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