DATE: January, 1990
1990-2000: The Exponents January, 1990

In 1990, after four frustrating years in the UK, it was interest from New Zealand that kick started the second phase of the group’s career.

A friend of the band was working for PolyGram in New Zealand and on hearing the UK demos he began talking to David about returning home. Brian had already returned to NZ and thinking that the Dance Exponents were most likely over was working on a new project. With a bit of cajoling from PolyGram and inspired by the opportunity to record Jordan’s new songs, Jordan and David returned home and joined Brian for the Dance Exponents mark II. Chris Sheehan remained in the UK and went on to form The Starlings.

They still needed a drummer and it was Harry who they asked to rejoin the group. He accepted and to mark the re-union of the four original members, the band decided to change their name from the Dance Exponents to “Amplifier”. After a quick New Zealand tour where no-one knew who they were, the band hastily re-named themselves The Exponents and the crowds came flocking.

Thrilled at the warm response from a new generation of fans, the band entered Airforce Studios in Auckland with UK producer Duffy to record their fourth album.

Up until then the plan had been to spell the word ‘Peace’ with the first letters from the album titles: Prayers Be Answered, Expectations, Amplifier… and so it was in March 1992 The Exponents released Something Beginning With C.

The album yielded the group’s biggest hits of their career in Why Does Love Do This To Me and Who Loves Who The Most. The album was a massive success going triple platinum and giving the band their first number 1 record. The album includes some of Jordan’s greatest songs and is marked by simple arrangements and Brian’s vocal harmonies with Jordan. It is widely considered a New Zealand’s classic and it is included in Nick Bollinger’s book “100 Essential New Zealand Albums”.

In 1992 The Exponents signed to Phonogram Records in Australia and relocated to Sydney to record their fifth album Grassy Knoll. Before they began Brian left the band and relocated to the UK. With guitars played by Dave Dobbyn, who was also living in Sydney, and Brent Williams (an old band mate of David Gent’s who went on to join Pop Mechanix), Grassy Knoll was significantly rockier than Something Beginning With C. It delivered the singles House Of Love, Like She Said and Don’t Say Goodbye. New management had come in at PolyGram in New Zealand and were not particularly supportive of the group or the new album. With limited promotion in New Zealand, Grassy Knoll only managed to go gold. The album has a strong reputation to this day, but it could not match Something Beginning With Cs runaway success.

Following the release of Grassy Knoll, the band met Australian Dave “Duck” Barraclough in Sydney in 1994 and he joined them as guitarist and song writing partner to Jordan. His first contribution to the group was his song La La Lulu which was backed by a co-write with Jordan called Summer You Never MeantLa La Lulu returned the band to the singles charts and the two songs featured on the group’s first hits compilation entitled Once Bitten, Twice Bitten – The Singles 1981 – 1995 which was released by Warner Music. The album was a huge success for The Exponents, hitting Number 1 on the New Zealand album charts and selling 5 x Platinum.

In 1996 the group recorded a one off single for Warner Music entitled Do You Feel In Love before moving to Sony Music in 1997 to record their sixth studio album. Produced by former Split Enz keyboard wiz Eddie Rayner with The Exponents, Better Never Than Late featured the singles One In A Lifetime, Close and Change Your Mind and reached number 3 on the album chart.

In 1999, Dave Gent took a break from the group and Steve Simpson was drafted in on bass. Shortly after The Exponents decided to call it quits and went out on a final New Zealand tour in support of their final album Hello, Love You, Goodbye. The record featured Steve on bass with 6 new tracks and 8 live tracks recorded at the Pounamu Hotel in Takapuna in 1999. Following the tour Barraclough returned to Australia and joined Mental As Anything.

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