Down The Road Of Life ....

Starting at the beginning ...
I was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 1947 - the only child of Ron and Margaret Campbell.  My parents remained in Christchurch all their lives until their deaths in 1972.  My paternal grandfather Archibald came to New Zealand from Greenock, Scotland, and married a local lass Margaret Greig Foster, while my maternal grandfather Charles was from Leigh in Lancashire, England and he too came to New Zealand and married a kiwi girl, Jessie Lydia Tate from Gisborne.
John and his Mum
A young John in the studio with blocks .... During my early years ...
I was afforded the usual dotage which attaches to being an only child, but I was fortunate to have a number of aunts and uncles on both sides of the family, and latterly cousins that I became quite close to.  It's fair to say these early years were relatively uneventful, and of course one has limited recollections to draw upon.  Suffice it to say that my pre-school life was orderly and very happy.
The guitar shop's this way Nana ...
I was lucky to have had a devoted maternal grandmother (Nana) who liked nothing better than to take me to town whenever she could.  Here we are (circa 1950) walking in Christchurch's Cathedral Square. Ironically this picture was taken just outside the main doors to Christchurch Cathedral, a place that was to play a major part in my life and to provide me with a strong musical background.  It is interesting to note the tramcar in the background.  Trams had been absent from Christchurch since the late 50's, but have recently reappeared as a tourist attraction.
This way Nana
Unbelievably angelic ...
At the age of seven I joined the Christchurch Cathedral Choir, and attended the official choir school - Cathedral Grammar School.  For the next six years I was privileged to be taught and mented by C. Foster Browne who was the Cathedral choirmaster as well as being an English teacher at Cathedral Grammar School.
Johnno a choirboy! This fertile musical environment has left it's mark on me, and I still get goose bumps when I hear the sound of the Great Organ in full voice.  Next to the Shadows it's hard to beat a good Johann Sebastian Bach Toccata and Fugue, or the Toccata from The Suite Gothique by Leon Boellmann.
Johnno a choirboy! Cathedral Grammar School ...
Cathedral Grammar was a primary school, and was set up to be a feeder environment for Christ's College (Christchurch's major anglican boys' secondary school).  Being choir oriented, the school offered a 3rd form (Senior Division) year predominently for choristers, who could remain active in the choir if their voices had not as yet broken.  This picture showns me with "Foz" in my 3rd form year at Cathedral Grammer School.
Secondary school days ...
On leaving Cathedral Grammar School I attended the then very young Shirley Boys' High School.  My first year there (1961) was the first year Shirley Boys' had an Upper 6th Form (now known as the 7th Form).  In my case as a chorister, I had done my 3rd form year at Cathedral Grammer School, and I was thus a 4th former.
Johnno at SBHS Shirley Boys' High School was a great school to attend, and I made many life-long friends in that environment.  It had an excellent academic record, and was also very sport oriented.  The school dance band (of which I was part) used to regularly perfom "items" at daily school assemblies, and these were very popular with the pupils - despite raising some teachers' eyebrows !.
I wish I still owned my original '62 Strat !!!
Something happened to me in 1960 when I first heard "Apache", and to this day I still listen to it with awe.  The picture to the right shows me in my last year at Shirley Boys' High School, performing at the school leavers' dance.  A JVC Nivico Reverb unit is just visible.  Overseas funds were required to import a tape echo unit -- but that would come later ... !
Johnno + '62 Strat
Early Detours Johnny Campbell and The Detours ...
Originally five-piece, but soon to be four. We were popular - even had a Fan Club!  Not surprisingly we became a lot more popular after local heroes Max Merritt and The Meteors moved on to greater things in Auckland and beyond!  The high-point of our career was opening Rolling Stones Christchurch show in 1965.   This picture was taken outside the Carlyle Street youth club which was run by Max's Mum and Dad (that's Max's Dad, Jim standing in the doorway in the background).
Go to the Johnny Campbell and The Detours Official Website  Go to the Johnny Campbell and The Detours Official Website
1965 Vauxhall Viva Deluxe ...
She was born in 1965, slightly customised, with a sports camshaft, twin-choke downdraft Weber carburettor, ported and relieved head, competition clutch, and power assisted brakes.  Add to that extensive chroming, lowering, SP tyres and constant TLC.  Here she is at the first "Autorama" Show in 1967.  The show was organised by the Kustom Car Club, of which I was an original member.  I did however, resist the temptation to do the "Guinea Hot-up" - two Ford Cortina GT badges at 10/6p each !!
John's 1965 Viva Deluxe
Johnno + Dr Jetyll Dr Jetyll ...
My first boat-building experience was with a GlassCraft 1200 gull-wing hull, a marinised Ford Granada V6 motor, and a Hamilton 2-stage jet unit.  Aptly named "Dr Jetyll", there was no mystery about this craft, which was a great social tool in the late 60s.  Many a happy day was spent water skiing in and around Christchurch, Banks Peninsula and the South Island Lakes, behind this snappy little beast.  It was capable of 60 miles per hour, but was compact and easily handled – an ideal boat for the times.
Territorial training ...
In the 1960s, New Zealand used to employ a birth-date-based ballot system to select candidates for National Service Army Training.  I was "lucky" enough to have my birthday drawn out of the hat – and I subsequently spent 14 weeks in the New Zealand Army !
Johnno doing National Service army training Training was in two parts — 6 weeks of Basic (at Burham, near Christchurch), and 8 weeks of Core (at Waiouru, in the central North Island), overall a very worthwhile experience, and one which should be compulsory.  The picture to the right shows me shortly after arrival at Waiouru, ridiculously dressed in pieces of the kit we were issued with - in this case, a cap comforter, tie, braces, and trousers .... hmmmJohnno wears some kit inappropriately ...
Johnno as a rep for Townson and Mercer Takin' Care of Business ...
My working life began as a technical representative with Townson and Mercer (NZ) Limited, selling Scientific Instrumentation and Fine Chemicals.  This subsequently led to the establishment of my own Scientific Instrumentation manufacturing business, and shortly thereafter (due to local tariff adjustments) into the distribution of Data Acquisition and Storage Devices in the then foetal computer industry.  I've been delighted to witness the coming together of computer and music technologies, and I fully understand that MIDI was not the successor to mini ....
Johnno at work
Show SOLSTAT Retro Scientific InstrumentationSOLSTAT EPM-1000 3½ Digit pH/mV Meter
John Campbell with Hank Marvin 1989 Guess who I met in 1989? ...
I was fortunate to meet my guitar hero Hank B. Marvin (and The Shadows) backstage at the Christchurch Town Hall in 1989.  Hank's influence on my musical tastes has always been absolute, and this was the realisation of an ambition born in the mind of a ukelele-playing schoolboy.  Amazingly, in 2005 I was walking down the main street of Reykjavik (Iceland) on the morning of one of the European "Final Tour" concerts, and guess who I met ... ??
John Campbell with Hank Marvin 2015 And subsequently ...
Hank returned to New Zealand on the Final Reunion Tour of Cliff and The Shads in 2010.  In 2013 he was back doing a 9-gig tour with a new group known as "Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz".  They returned for one concert as part of the Christchurch Jazz Festival in April 2015, and were back once again in November 2015 as part of an Austalia and New Zealand Tour, this time featuring Hank, Nunzio Mondia (Accordian), Gary Taylor (Rhythm Guitar) and Peter Jeavons (Double Bass) and I was lucky to accompany them throughout New Zealand.
5 .. 4 .. 3 .. 2 .. 1 .. Bungee! ...
We all do something stupid in our lives, but this has probably got to rank with some of the MOST STUPID things one can possibly do -- jump off a bridge over 200ft above a river -- but what a buzz!  For those of you who don't know; a bungee is a rather large (and very elaborately conceived) elastic cord which is tied around one's ankles, thus enabling one to leap from high structures with a modicom of impunity!  Having once made this leap of faith it's not hard to dissuade oneself from repeat performances at future weak moments.
Bungee why not!Way to go!
Our MGTF 1500 Our MGBGT Our MGC
Our MGF All ready to go ...
Once upon a time ... we had to have a barn-full of MGs.  Top left is our TF1500 - a pristine example which had been fully restored to it's original glory.  Although a little "agricultural" by comparison with more modern cars, it was nevertheless always a show-stopper.  Others in the stable were an MGBGT (1,795cc 4-cylinder), an MGC (3-litre 6-cylinder), and latterly a modern MG — a lovely little MGF (1800cc 4-cylinder VVC).
The family My Wife and Son - Robyn and Alex ...
Robyn and I were late starters on the ski-field.  This shot was taken on our very first ever day skiing at Mount Dobson, and it was Robyn's first attempt at any extreme activity after having broken her neck in a very serious car accident two years before, and subsequently spending several months in halo traction.  After such trauma, we were very happy that she was able to get back to a good level of normality after recuperating.  At the time of the accident, we were heading down to Lake Tekapo with the intention of skiing, but that was to be the year the Round Hill field closed.
The family The family The family
Cagney and Lacey ...
Sisters and simply inseparable  These two were seldom to be seen apart from one another.  Lacey (on the left) was attacked by a dog when she was a kitten, and she had to have a steel pin in her femur to restore her to full mobility.  Thankfully, she suffered little or no ill effects and she was a normal active pussy-cat.  Lacey was the first of the pair to die, near the age of twelve.
Cagney and Lacey
Boris and Cagney Boris and Cagney ...
Not always the most compatible these two.  Occasionally Cagney could tolerate Boris in very close proximity for more than a couple of nanoseconds, but I must have been there at exactly the right moment to snap this picture !  Unfortunately Cagney is no longer with us.  She was almost 15 when she died.
Super Boris Boris (what more can be said) ...
Weimaraners are often portayed as dopey showoffs, and I can't help but agree to a certain extent - however, it has to be said that one would be hard pressed to find a more caring and faithful friend than a Grey Ghost like our Boris.  He knew he was on to a good thing when he chose us to be his family!  The day we brought him home, he never as much as looked back, and he became central to our family unit.  Unfortunately time caught up with Boris late in 2005, at age 14 - a very good innings for a big dog.
Super Boris

1962 Cooper T-59 Formula Jumior 1962 Cooper T-59 Formula Junior ...
This was the elder statesman of my stable, and was an absolute delight to drive.  It ran a 1097cc Ford engine and performed superbly.  We were the winners of the last ever Waimate 50 - a very famous New Zealand race held in the South Canterbury town of Waimate from 1959 to 1999.  Here is a nice picture of  Sir Stirling Moss sitting in it at Whenuapai (Auckland).
Click here for pix of the 1962 Cooper T-59 and the 1973 Lola T-340 ......
1973 Lola T-340 Formula Ford ...
Next to sounding like Hank, there's nothing much better than pretending to be a racing driver!  This very special Lola T-340, bearing Chassis No. "1", was the development vehicle for the 340/342 project under Frank Gardner.  It won UK and USA championships before coming to NZ in 1974, and with different owners, it won three separate NZ Formula Ford titles over ten years, and was highly successful latterly as in classic events.
1973 Lola T-340 Formula Ford
Alexander Telecaster 'phone for you Alex! ...
When you're a teenager it's important to stay in touch ... with the world ... and so let's not knock communications - how much more interesting is this Shadows' world, thanks to the power of the Internet?  The image to the right shows Alex with the pinnacle of New Zealand domestic rugby - The Ranfurly Shield (colloquially know as The Log o'Wood) - which was proudly reclaimed by the Canterbury Rugby Team in 1993.
Alex with the Ranfurly Shield - 1993
Detouring back into town ...
For my 50th birthday in 1997 I got The Detours back together - after all it had only been about 32 years .... We quickly found some old magic, and eventually called it quits after 4:00am.  Even bigger bashes are planned for my 75th and 100th birthdays.  The picture shows (left to right): Larry McKay, Trevor Wright, John Clinton, John Campbell (doing his Sergeant Pepper impression because he could), and Jim Phillips.
Go to the Johnny Campbell and The Detours Official Website  Go to the Johnny Campbell and The Detours Official Website
Detours at Johnno's 50th

Jump to the Top of this Page