Sundog blues

Kokomo frontman Derek Jacombs. Photo: John Borren.

NZ’s Music Month is a good time to tune into local bands and musicians, staying ahead of the winter blues with a fresh dose of new as well as much-loved and nostalgic Kiwi music.

The five members of Tauranga blues and roots band Kokomo thought so too.

After putting out a request across social media in March, they managed to rope in a virtual pile of doggy photos under the theme of their newly released single ‘Sundog’.

Videos of both an acoustic and electronica version of the song were released on their Facebook page and YouTube at the beginning of May and both are packed full of dog photos.

“NZ Music Month seemed like a good time. But that was really a coincidence,” says Kokomo frontman Derek Jacombs. “The last three singles we’ve put out as electronica and acoustic versions.

“We’re leading towards a couple of albums eventually.”

Also coincidentally this is the 30th year the band has been playing, having sprung into life after a gig at the Tauranga National Jazz Festival in 1991. Back then they played ‘Dust My Broom’ and ‘No way To Get Along’ to much enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Getting along together led them on to making their first album ‘The Old Original Kokomo Blues’. There’s been quite a few albums and gigs since then by members Derek, Nigel Masters, Grant Bullot, Sonia Bullot and Ian Gilpin. More than quite a few.

Ideas for songs spark from all sorts of places.

“Earlier this year, Nigel from the Boatshed, he used to have dogs, but he hasn’t for a while now,” says Derek. “I was looking at the pictures of some of his dogs on the wall actually… he had lovely big collies… and it just came into my mind… Sundog… just seemed like a really good word. You see a picture of a dog lying in the sun. It’s good.”

Music Month in Tauranga is also an opportunity to head to The Jam Factory for live shows by The Artist RED, Chris Thompson & The Dirt Band, Miles Calder, Yaw Asamadu & Ozi Ozaa, The Gitbox Rebellion, Derek Toner, Satellite Sessions, and local college bands. Also head to Totara Street or Jack Dusty’s for more live music. If country music is your thing, Operatunity will be performing Tennessee Waltz at Holy Trinity next week. And head online to watch L.A.B. as they frequently go live on Facebook in their recording studio.

Less than 48 hours from posting the request for dog photos on their Kokomo Facebook page, Derek had to put out a second message, as he’d already received nearly 200 photos.

“They arrived within a day and a half and I thought bloody hell we can’t put that many in a video.

“I’m not sure how many we ended up with in the end. The first acoustic video there are about 40 dogs; the second one we tried to get in as many as possible, about 160.”

He’s also included a photo of Snoop Dog.

Some people added the names of their dogs, with Poncho from Seattle, Bella from California, and even a dog named Kokomo.

“The parents are big Kokomo fans. Lovely dog too. It’s fantastic. We’ve been absolutely knocked out by the reaction from people. Just being reminded of the bond people have with their dogs - it makes your heart happy.”

To hear Kokomo’s new single ‘Sundog’ go to: or Kokomo's Youtube channel


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