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Category: Musical Notes

Pioneering Rock & Rollers

From Great North Road

Bands & Musicians with Brian Geyser

This is a series of postings taken from the January 2002 GNR message board, in which Elias Georgopoullos and Paudie Coughlan join Brian Geyser, that famous Lusaka musician, in reminiscing about Brian's bands in Northern Rhodesia/Zambia in the 50's, 60's and 70's. (editorial note - sadly, Elias Georgopoullos passed away in April, 2005)

Pioneering Rock & Rollers

Much has been written about pioneering miners, farmers and businessmen, but little has been said about some of our famous musicians. One of the most popular was a young man called Brian Geyser. To us he seemed our equivalent of Chuck Berry or Jimmy Hendrix! Brian first started a band called The Jeanagers with Jim Buchanan and Mike Judd. He then formed the Rebels with Tony van Rooyen on Rhythm, the late Ches Zdyb on Bass, John Decock on drums and Brian playing lead guitar.

Unfortunately this bands popularity was its undoing because of constant fights at their sessions and a serious riot one night at the Scout Hall. This lead to the Northern Rhodesia Police banning them from playing.

The Aces were then formed with Brian on Lead guitar and covering vocals, Geoff Mossop on Bass, Veldin Bekker on Rhythm, Mickey Stagg on Drums. Brian's niece Brenda Petzer (one of our members) on vocals. Cheryl Fleming and John Brown eventually replaced Brenda on vocals. The Aces were a big hit and played all over the country including Salisbury, Bulawayo, Wankie, Gwelo and Blantyre at home they played at Livingstone, Mazabuka, Chilanga, Kafue, Kasama and Choma, Broken Hill, Ndola, Kitwe and Chingola. Their loyal fans travelled hundred of miles listen and dance. I was going to list the places they played at in Lusaka but after counting 17 assorted halls , cinemas, posh hotels and inns I gave up.

When the famous Mickey Most visited Lusaka and played at Central Sports Club, Brian was carried on his fans shoulder to the stage and was allowed to perform with Mickey's guitar and his group. The Aces were also the first group to cut a record in N.R.

Here are a few photos of the bands supplied by Bill Laing with two newspaper cuttings from The Central African Post. Brian also played with the Crusaders a very popular Lusaka Band, managed by my old boss Hans Kunzle, now in Switzerland.

Another popular lady on the club circuit was the late Margaret Mees, Ken Millers mum. Ken will be able to write a lot about her.

Elias Georgopoullos (Posted to GNR 14 Jan 2002 at 12:01)

(From an email posted by Elias Georgopoullos)

These two photos are of the Crusaders playing at Charter Hall, Lusaka when we backed Miram Makeba at one of her shows.

The Kingpins which was the next band after the Aces in Lusaka which I formed in 1964. This group only lasted about a year then I joined the Crusaders.

L to R Brian Geyser on lead guitar and vocals; Geoff Mossop on bass guitar; Doug Donation on rhythm guitar; (not in shot - Mickey Stagg on drums)

Best Regards

Brian Geyser (Posted to GNR January 14, 2002 at 12:01)

(From an email posted by Elias Georgopoullos)

More photos of the Crusaders playing at a private party in Kabulonga.

L to R. Roger Sheard, Me, Kosta Constantino and in the background Manuel Marques

Jim Facey and I practising at Roma Hall Left to right Jim Facey; Me

This is The Crusaders playing at the Lusaka Convent school hall at their year end dance.

Front L to R. Kosta Constantino, Jim Facey, Roger Sheard, then me. Manuel Marques you can just see in the background.

Going back on The Aces history - at a Federal Rock Band championship covering all the rock bands from Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland which was held at the Duthie Hall in Salisbury, Geoff Mossop won best Bass Guitarist and Brenda Petzer best Female Vocalist. These were Federal titles.


Brian Geyser (Posted to GNR January 23, 2002 at 12:13)

(From an email posted by Elias Georgopoullos)

Hi Elias

Attached to this email is a photo of the first Crusaders just before I joined up with them. This photo was sent to me yesterday by Jim Makromallis who was the lead Guitarist of this Group before I joined them. I remember this venue quite clearly as it was a big multi group session at Charter Hall. If you look at the picture in detail at the decor on the wall you will see similar decor on the photo I sent you of the Kingpins.

L to R. Kosta Constantino bass guitar; Jim Mackromallis lead guitar; Manuel Marques drums; and Roger Sheard on rhythm guitar.

We the Kingpins were in the corner of the hall, the Crusaders were on our left and another Group which was a new unknown group at this time on our right. The large dark Fender amp behind Kosta Constantino's grey amplifier was Geoff Mossop's amplifier. This was a very successful session and packed to hilt with the Lusaka teenage population.

I have been looking at the GNR with great interest and I am please to see that your posting of my bands has sparked off some more musicians to post messages etc also good memories are being revived and interesting discussions are taking place.

One posting from Paudie Coughlan on the 21.01.02 mentions Pete Coterell. I remember playing guitar with Pete Coterell at my house when I was living in Kitwe. And with Jock Hampton, Gary Tayler, Tom Caine, and Roy Darvell I formed a group called Instant Karma in the 70's when I lived in Chingola.

I look forward to seeing the next posting you make covering the Crusaders as I was with this group for many years. All the group members, Manuel in the UK, Roger in Harare Zimbabwe, and Kosta in Benoni SA are looking at the GNR site with great interest.


Brian Geyser (Posted to GNR January 24, 2002

Elias Georgopoullos

The Lusaka musicians asked about, Jim Macromalis and Costas Constantinou, I didn't know of but John Costopoullos may have . I did know the name Manual Marques, but in connection with Lusaka band Triads Flute I think. I know Brian Geyser's name in connection with bands, but I don't think I ever actually met him. He mentions a Chingola band with Jock Hampton called "Instant Karma" which I knew of and heard play, so if Brian was in it, then I've obviously heard and seen him play. Of the other names Brian mentions, I remember Gary Taylor, a local Chingola guy who played drums with one or more of Jock's bands. Also Tom Caine, who was an English expat (ex Liverpool I think), and who played bass, again for one or more of Jock's bands. Brian Geyser mentions what sounded like an audition for Pete Coterell. I don't know if Brian remembers but Pete's style would have been too "heavy" and "up-front" for the strictly commercial ( and very successful ) style of band Jock was known for.

If you're interested in another Greek connection, there was a Chris Charambedis (spelling?) who played drums with The Ramblers, The Thyngs, and several other Copperbelt bands in the 60's/early 70's. I think at one stage he gave the young John Costopoullos drum lessons, and he helped us out with contacts for gigs, and also the loan of drum accessories and the like.

If you want to take Greek connections a step further, when John, myself, Alistair and Des were struggling as lighties to get band equipment in Muf circa 1968, we were short of money to buy the minimum we needed. John Costopoullos approached a local businessman about the problem. The businessman eventually decided that in the furtherance of musical entertainment for Mufulira's lighties ( and the not-so-lighties), and rather than give us money, he would donate a set of drums, to be owned by John. It saved the day. The businessman was Sammy Samaras, of Olympic Milling in Muf. We were eternally grateful for that particular Greek connection.


Paudie Coughlan (Posted to GNR January 26, 2002 at 12:54)

(from an email posted by Elias Georgopoullos)

Paudie Coughlan

I am sure Brian won't mind me posting this email I received from him.

Hi Elias

I have read the posting done by Paudie Coughlan and found it to be most interesting as the facts he has mentioned of the band members of Instant Karma are 100% accurate. He has a good memory. As I said before Jock Hampton and I formed this group when I was ransferred from Lusaka to Chingola as his lead guitarist, Aleck Shaw, was returning to the UK. Manuel Marques formed Traids flute as the Crusaders broke up when I left Lusaka to go to Chingola. Kosta Constantino and Roger Sheard were also with him in this band. Some years later I got a new job and moved to Kitwe. It was shortly after I moved to Kitwe that Instant Karma Broke up and Jock then formed another Group.

I remember Jock Hampton always talking about Chris Charambedis and Kevin Mason, but I cannot remember meeting them. Aleck Shaw was a expat and Jocks lead Guitarist before I took over from him. The Ramblers was also another of Jocks previous bands in which I am sure he said Kevin Mason was in.

In Kitwe I met Pete Coterell at my house in Parklands. It was with Mike Thomas my vocalist and we just played music (a bit of Doobie Bros etc jamming we used to call it) together for some hours. Yes once again Paudie's description of Pete's playing is correct. He was on the, as he put it, "Heavy up-front side". He was an excellent guitarist in this field but he could also manage a bit of commercial music very well.

If you require any further on my past bands please let me know.


Brian Geyser (Posted to GNR January 28, 2002 at 06:01)

Text & photo contributions by:

Brian Geyser.

Elias Georgopoullos.

Paudie Coughlan.

Photos of the bands supplied by Bill Laing with two newspaper cuttings from The Central African Post

Retrieved from "http://www.greatnorthroad.org/boma/Pioneering_Rock_%26_Rollers"

This page has been accessed 19,360 times. This page was last modified 21:29, 30 October 2007.


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