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New Zealand's Katchafire began as a Bob Marley covers band named after Catch a Fire, the debut album by the Wailers. They found success with their own songs, however, creating their own brand of sunny ska and reggae.
In 1997 Katchafire was a five-piece jamming in a garage in their hometown of Hamilton, the band consisting of frontman Logan Bell (guitar, lead vocals), his brother Jordan Bell (drums), Thompson Hohepa (guitar, vocals), Tere Ngarua (bass), and Haani Totorewa (keyboards, vocals). It wasn't until 2002 that they tentatively released one of their original compositions, "Giddy Up," as a single. It became the highest-selling single of the year, and the album that followed, Revival, went double platinum.
Managed by Grenville Bell, father of bandmembers Logan and Jordan, they embarked on a grueling touring schedule. Added to the lineup were Leon Davey (percussion, vocals) and Jamey Ferguson (saxophone, keyboards, vocals), with Ara Adams-Tamatea brought in to replace Tere Ngarua. A horn section, consisting of members of French band Mr Gang, was brought in to expand the band's big sound even further for the recording of their 2004 album Slow Burning.
With the group still touring almost constantly, Adams-Tamatea chose to quit performing to become their booking agent, and Tere Ngarua was brought back to fill his old position on bass. Hohepa also left the group, to be replaced by their manager, Grenville Bell. This lineup then recorded the 2007 album Say What You're Thinking, traveling from Hamilton to Auckland to use the facilities of York Studios. ~ Jody Macgregor
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