Genie Driscoll, herself a songwriter, has these childhood memories of her father, Trig Tregaskis, a close friend of Nic Pickard’s, to relate:
Genie’s father, Trig Tregaskis, was well known as a record salesman at Radio Ltd. in the 60’s, as well as a presenter on Radio Jacaranda for 10 years. Aside from these activities, he also did commercials for Air Rhodesia on RTV and was best friends at school with Nic Pickard. He later went on to become the manager of Teal Record Company in Durban in the 80’s.
When Nic played with the DRIFTERS, the recording studio the band used for 2 years was Trig’s garage. As Genie recalls, with this development “every single girl at school and in my neighbourhood suddenly wanted me as their best friend!” Trig, much to his spouse’s annoyance, converted her art studio in the garden into a full-on music studio for Nic and his band. Genie got to know all the band members well and would often assist in delivering tea and scones, homemade by mom, to the garden studio after 3:00 pm. Nic subsequently taught Genie how to play the keyboards and guitar and she nagged her parents endlessly to buy her a piano. When these pleas fell on deaf ears, she practiced on Nic’s equipment when the band were not making use of it.
At some stage during this period, Nic asked Trig to become the band’s manager in a quest to find venues other than Le Coq D’Or to perform at. Trig duly took these responsibilities on and succeeded in expanding the list of venues and functions the band were gigging at. On occasions, the band would “gatecrash” weddings on Saturday afternoons and, much to the delight of the guests, provide live entertainment. Trig would have an Akai reel-to-reel tape recorder at his side and would record the entire gig.
Genie accompanied her dad on these outings so that she was on hand to change the tapes over when required. The food at these functions was also an attraction, Genie is happy to admit. A big advantage she had, in her role as an “assistant”, was that she knew the band’s repertoire as well as anyone else, having attended many of their practices in the garden studio.
In 1972, whilst on military service, Nic took a week’s leave and, together with her family, Nic, his wife and daughter, Nicole, they enjoyed a wonderful week’s holiday in Beira, Mozambique. On their return journey, and having taken a shortcut through Gorongosa National Park, they were chased by a bull elephant before they encountered a flat tyre which they had to change “in the middle of a pride of lion”. She recalls that, every time one of the lions raised its head, Nic and Trig would leap into the car at a speed rarely seen!
Trig was still in the military in 1974 when Nic left for Johannesburg. He then went busking overseas for a period before returning to Jo’burg where he opened a recording studio he named ‘Memphis’ and started to record jingles. It was during this period that Genie Driscoll composed a song for family members and friends who were sailing the world in a yacht called ‘Sayonara Sea Witch’. Wanting to record this work, Trig contacted Nic to ask for his assistance. With Nic having agreed to participate, Genie travelled to Johannesburg where they completed the production of the song.
When the final song was given to the family, they advised that they communicated with Nic as it was their intention to produce a movie based on their voyages around the world – they required his permission to use the track, ‘Sayonara Sea Witch’ as the movie’s theme tune. His reply was that Genie had written the song so her’s was the only permission that was required. The movie, ‘Blue Water Odyssey’ was duly completed.
As can be imagined, Nic’s passing in 2009 was felt very deeply by the Tregaskis family, particularly his old pal, Trig.
The only copy of the song, ‘Sayonara Sea Witch’, that is available for listening is on the soundtrack to the film and can be heard, and watched, on YouTube.