The Bands Bio
2019 was a successful year for the 8 members of Tauranga based rock band Electric Universe with the release of their self titled debut album and 5 music videos to date. The group is committed to bringing their dynamic live rock show to the people of New Zealand and beyond, and are anticipating a number of large shows ahead of them.
The origin of the band stems back a number of years to a time when popular rockers Black Rose were top of the Tauranga music scene. The lineup then featured vocalist Shane Davies, guitarist Michael ‘Mutt’ Furness, Patrick Hawkins on bass and Jeff Nilson on drums. This musical fraternity remained connected over the years ahead, and formed the core lineup of what eventually became Electric Universe.
From the start of their music careers each of those members have been busy in a number of lineups – In 2016 Mutt had been recruited as rhythm guitarist for Phil Rudd’s (ex AC/DC) ‘The Phil Rudd Band’ for their 2017 ‘Back on the Beat’ European Tour. Jeff took over the drum throne of Brian Downey (Thin Lizzy) and recorded an album in London with Baby Snakes, which was produced by Dave Goodman (who worked with The Sex Pistols) before he left the band, being replaced by The Cult drummer Nigel Preston. Patrick had played and recorded in a number of both covers and original acts, and Shane had also been a prolific recording artist and currently manages Soundtree Studio in Tauranga.
In early 2018 guitarist Baz Mantis, who had recorded two earlier albums, wandered into Soundtree and heard the bands demos for the first time, and became an immediate fan. “These tracks, each one was a hit waiting to happen – so diverse yet with the band’s unique style and sound. It was immediately accessible and I was hooked from the first listen.” Mantis was offered an audition on the spot for the role of second guitarist and a couple of weeks later joined the band.
The plan at that stage was also to bring in two female backing vocalists. Patrick’s daughter Jana Rose Hawkins was already establishing herself as an up and coming singer, and she joined the band in mid 2018. Jana is also known for her other group The Sweetleaf Trio, in which she performs next to her father Patrick and Brilleaux guitarist Bruce Rolands.
Mantis’s new partner Marilyn Collins-Smith had already heard the demos and became a fan of the band before she was asked to audition as a backing vocalist. With over 30 years of theatre, band and directing experience behind her, she became the obvious choice to be selected.
Power, passion, diversity and experience is what each member brings with them and this defines the band’s trademark sound, which deftly weaves from classic hard edged rock to pop and funk rock, delivering everything from soul infused power ballad soundscapes to driving upbeat energetic rock gems which kick the dance floor into overdrive whenever they take the stage – a veritable tour de force of songwriting and production, this is one New Zealand bands not to miss!
Shane Davies – Vocals
Michael “Mutt” Furness – Guitar
Baz Mantis – Guitar
Nigel Masters – Keyboard
Patrick Hawkins – Bass
Jeff Nilson – Drums
Jana Rose – Backing Vocals
Marilyn Collins-Smith – Backing Vocals
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