Circa: 1966
Home Town:  Bulawayo

  • Byron Mathias – Lead vocalist
  • Richard Darlow – Lead guitar
  • Rudi Goema – Rhythm guitar & vocals
  • Murray Hammond – Bass guitar & vocals
  • Ronnie “Bungi” Robshaw – Drums & vocals


FORMULA was something of an overnight event, forming in June, 1966, and disbanding at the end of the same year.  They practiced in a church hall on the corner of Matopos Road/23rd Avenue and taped most of the music they covered from LM Radio.  It says something for the talent that existed in the band’s line-up as, despite their short tenure together, they excelled in being placed second to the RAMBLERS at a Bulawayo Rock Band Contest held at the Large City Hall in September of that year.  This led to them securing a four-week spot on an RTV pop show on Sunday evenings, hosted by Mike Westcott and produced by Val Lunn.  It is thought that Beverly Lyn-Taylor was the leader of the dance group which also appearFormulav3ed regularly on the show.

For regular gigs, the band hired the Small City Hall for Friday evenings.  Gigs would always be followed by “chow” at Fritz Drive-In Takeaways.  Other venues which hosted the band included the Queens Sports Club and BAC.  They also appeared on the Mayor’s Christmas Show and did Callies Club on New Year’s Eve.

In 1967 decisioFormulav1n time had arrived for the band, however, and the question of going professional was begging.  This ultimately led to their break-up with Byron, Rudi and Richard deciding against this option.  Bungi and Murray decided to do so and relocated to Durban in South Africa where they teamed up with Rupert Mellor (keyboard) and Dave Ridgeway (lead) and formed a group called HELL’S DISCIPLES.  This landed them a residency at the well known Durban venue, Smuggler’s Inn. 

Left – Right: Murray Hammond (bass), Dave Ridgeway (lead), Byron Mathias (vocals) and Rupert Mellor (keys) rocking the smugglers!

In due course Byron returned to Bulawayo whilst Bungi moved on to Johannesburg and, in 1981, Murray relocated with his wife, Lorraine, and three children, to Queensland, Australia.