Top Secret

Lead Guitar: Barry Arthur
Bass Guitar: Gavin Burgess
Vocals: Scott Morpeth
Drums: Grant Boddington

"Top Secret" 1990 - Based in Wanganui - Initially comprised Scott Morpeth (Vocals), Grant Boddington (Drums), Barry Arthur (Guitar), Gavin Burgess (Bass Guitar). Beginning in ‘89 with a repertoire of basic covers, Top Secret’s first performances were at various workingmen's clubs and the occasional community event.

Quickly tiring of this market they began dressing up in bizarre costumes, added a show aspect to their performances, heavied up their sound, put together a repertoire of cut down rock standards (which they termed ‘Goodtime Rock’), and established themselves on a regular circuit around the lower North Island. They played venues from New Plymouth to Wellington on a monthly rotation gigging up to four times a week and made side trips through Hawkes Bay, the volcanic plateau, and Hamilton.

With their bizarre stage act, Morpeth’s natural ability to draw in even the most reluctant audience, and a repertoire of relatively recognisable covers the band became increasingly popular with the punters, and with venue owners who appreciated their businesslike approach. The band was unashamedly more interested in entertaining their audience than in producing a performance of consistent musical quality – an approach which often brought them scorn from other musicians, but which proved a hit with audiences.

By late ’90 the four had formed their own management company, quit their day jobs, and taken to the road full-time. They also began writing and recording their own material. Several singles were pulled from the band’s original repertoire, including ‘Guesswork’, which received significant regional radio play and airtime on national radio.

In ’92 Arthur departed to establish the short lived Arthur Brothers Blues Band. The remainder auditioned potential replacements but Burgess’ resignation a few months later signalled the end of Top Secret Mk1. The band continued as a three piece with Ken Channing replacing Burgess and Morpeth taking on lead guitar duties. Channing’s stint with the band proved brief and he was replaced by Mike Squire. This line-up persevered for several years, dropping the original material and focussing on covers for the pub market.

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