Circa: 1963

Home town: Salisbury

Members: Original line-up:

  • Dave McClelland – Vocal
  • Nick Pickard – Lead guitar & organ
  • Chris Bezuidenhout 
  • Doug Smith – Bass
  • Mel French –
  • Paddy 

The band went through various personnel changes thereafter with the following musicians all being members of the band at one stage or another.:

  • Jerry Barnard – Rhythm guitar (See also BANDITS and FUGITIVES)
  • Jim McDiarmid – Drums & flute (See also the INDIGOES)
  • Mark Robbins – Drums
  • Jack McGroarty – Vocals (See also APACHESCHEQUERSFUGITIVES & STEREOS)
  • Shane Mahoney –
  • Harry Hayden – Lead guitar
  • Additional members:
    • George De Klerk – Vocals
    • Chris – Guitars
    • Joe Le Roux – Guitarist
    • John Davis – Trombone
    • Mark – drums
    • Neil Fox – drums

The DRIFTERS contained a line-up of extremely talented musicians and it was not long after their formation that they recorded their first record.  The ‘A’ side featured Lucille and, the ‘B’, Someone, Someone.  Original vocalist, Dave McClelland, sang on this release.  In due course, and on the crest of their rising popularity, the band were given their own television programme known as the 7.30 Show.  Away from the television set, the band’s followers knew that they’d normally be found playing their regular Sunday gigs at the Mazoe Hotel.  The band won the International Rock Band Competition on two occasions, as well as the Federal Rock Band Competition on another.  In 1964 the band featured on an album called BUNDU BEAT, together with three other participating bands.  Securing a contract in Durban later that year, the band Bundu Beat (Drifters) Recordrook up a residency at the Al Fresco Terrace.  Having such a prominent platform to perform on in one of South Africa’s major cities gave the band exposure to a far wider audience than would have been possible in Rhodesia.  As a result their popularity continued to grow.   During this period they recorded another record – Ode To An Undertaker/Living Above Your Head.  The band then had another good break when they asked to tour South Africa with Peter & Gordon.  Again, this was a valuable experience as, apart from the playing experience, they were able to closely study other musical acts associated with the tour, including Jackie Trent, the Zombies (later Four Jacks & A Jill), the Amazons and the Stereos.   Shortly after this Nick Pickard and Mel French left the band and proceeded to London as a song-and-guitar duo.  Completing a four month engagement in Australia, they returned to England for a time before returning to Rhodesia where they rejoined the DRIFTERS.    The band then became the professional, resident, band at Salisbury’s Le Coq d’Or.  This was followed by yet another period of time in South Africa.  Over the years the band had numerous changes to its line-up but never lost their consistent level of high performance. Recordings: Singles Lucille/Someone, Someone (Vocals – Dave McClelland)  Living Above Your Head/Ode To An Undertaker (Vocals – Jack McGroarty) Albums  BUNDU BEAT With acknowledgements to the SA Rock Digest (www.cd.co.za/legends/60s/drifters).