About Herbs

A trailblazing Pacific reggae band from New Zealand, Herbs made their debut in 1981 and peaked in popularity during the latter half of the decade. Founded in 1979, the band is comprised of Dilworth Karaka (vocals, guitar), Morrie Watene (vocals, saxophone), Tama Lundon (vocals, keyboards), Thom Nepia (vocals, percussion), Tama Renata (vocals, guitar), Ryan Monga (drums), and Ryan Monga, Jr. (bass). Karaka is the only remaining founding member. Herbs made their debut in 1981 with the six-track mini-album Whats' Be Happen? on the Warrior label. A year later they scored their first hit single with "French Letter," an anti-nukes song that nearly made the Top Ten of the New Zealand singles chart. The song was included on the band's full-length debut album, Light of the Pacific (1983). Subsequent albums released during the 1980s include Long Ago (1984) and Sensitive to a Smile (1987), the latter of which was especially popular, including the singles "Sensitive to a Smile," "Rust in Dust," "Listen," and "No Nukes (The Second Letter)." Herbs' greatest success came in 1986 with "Slice of Heaven," a collaboration with New Zealand singer/songwriter Dave Dobbyn that was a chart-topping smash hit single in Australia as well as New Zealand. Herbs had another collaborative hit a few years later in 1989 with "Parihaka," a Top Ten single by New Zealand singer/songwriter Tim Finn featuring the band. Herbs were only sporadically active during the 1990s, releasing the album Homegrown (1990), the greatest-hits collection 13 Years of Herbs (1993), and the one-off Top Ten single "French Letter '95" (1995). Subsequent releases include the compilations Listen: The Very Best of Herbs (2002) and Lights of the Pacific: The Very Best of Herbs (2008). ~ Jason Birchmeier

    New Zealand

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