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Turn Onto Music

Release Notes
  • Exact reproduction of original cover and label art
  • Transferred from original master tapes by Steve McGough at Stebbing Studio
  • Four page insert with Mantis story, ephemera, and photos from the Mantis archive from Suva to Wellington.
  • Produced for re-issue by John Baker
  • Limited to 300 copies worldwide
  • Essential for that late night kava party
  • The first official reissue of any Fijian sixties / seventies rock band

PLAY THIS ALBUM MANTISSIMO (That means loud baby).” So it says on the back of one of the rarest NZ pressed albums, by the greatest Fijian rock band ever. Mantis recorded the legendary Turn On To Music LP during a four month visit to Wellington, New Zealand in 1973.

Some serious FIJIAN funk with a garagey-Santana feel , and sometimes almost Stooge-like in parts, the album was released in NZ only on local Vertigo in a limited run of 300 copies. Lead guitarist was famed albino Fijian guitar hero Waisea ‘Wise’ Vatuwaga who had cut his teeth in the Suva rock scene of the sixties.

Originally named The Dragon Swingers, they were the in-house band at Suva’s Golden Dragon night club run by Ken Janson who still owns the establishment to this day. In 1973 they took up a casual offer from a NZ film crew to make the three hour flight back to Wellington. Snapping up the invitation they were hosted by renown NZ producer Eddie O’Strange who secured them live work at his nightclub Ziggys. He also got them signed to Polygram NZ. O’Strange would produce their Pacific blend of funk and super hard rock for their only album Turn On To Music. While side one was live favourites, including a bone crunching rendition of Mississippi Queen, and a sacrophiliac scrunching version of Jo Jo Gunne’s Shake That Fat, it was on side two where MANTIS literally brings the noise. Three out-of-control, percussive instrumentals ! All clocking in at over six minutes with strong lashings of fuzz, wah wah and dominating power chords of violent volcanic proportions . Eddie would add insane theramin like action with an ARP synthesizer while the band replicated the sound of the hurricanes that would regularly batter their tiny islands. The three instrumentals are sonic interpretations of modern Fijian culture of the time from the tiny Pacific nation that had only recently gained independence.
This is the first official re-issue of the album from master tapes.