Stephen Davey



Greg Webster


Kevin Govet


Edward "Ted" Skewes


Geoffrey Stapleton





Three songs recorded at Peppers Recording Studio - Melbourne St. North Adelaide - 1974








"They are giving audiences new concepts, new sights and sounds. The show is not something that can be explained, it has to be seen." THE SUNDAY MAIL 7-1-75


Formed in 1972 in Adelaide South Australia, OVA created a show for the mind as well as the body.

In fact they created two shows running for forty-five minutes a piece. Each one had a unique repertoire, individual costuming, choreography and lighting. The lighting technician, Chris Theodoras, was considered a sixth member.

They spent two years creating and rehearsing the shows at a place called Ginger Workshop at Arthur Street, Unley. They incorporated theatre, choreography, lighting and a repertoire of surprisingly simple songs.

I say surprisingly, because the songs were wrapped in dense and complex musical stuctures, and ended up sounding anything but simple. With no song under seven minutes, they incorporated timing changes, musical left turns and a plethora of styles and influences.


Kevin Govet in full flight

Kevin Govet and Stephen Davey were the main songwriters. Kevin would go on to co-write singer Wendy Matthews' classic jazz ballad of urban alienation, "SQUARE MOON", which appeared on her debut gold album of 1990 "Emigre".

At this stage he was responsible for gritty songs like "METAPALET" and the delicate "MANIFOLD FLOWER", themselves tales of alienation. On the other hand, Stephen crafted such surreal classics as "PLASTIC MORN" and the opening song to show one, "CLOUDY".

Stephen Davey at the upright

Stephen's piano arrangements were concise and lyrical and helped to create an almost "classical" overtone. He would only play an acoustic piano. (Loading in for gigs was not the most eagerly anticipated of events!)


Greg Webster's guitar virtuosity

If Kevin's dance routines and outrageous performances gave the band it's theatre, it was Greg Webster's guitar virtuosity that lent the proceedings some real musical credibility. Greg also contributed much to the writing, for although he hadn't penned as many "songs" per se, it was his compositional contribution that tied it all together.


Edward "Ted" Skewes - bass on the tracks

Ted's bass was like a train leaving from platform 17/8 and not stopping until it reached the end, having passed through many spetacular twists and turns, not to mention the odd dark tunnel along the way. His hair of course was quite simply - spectacular!


Geoffrey Stapleton played drums and glockenspiel



The band hadn't performed live, but they were already being talked about in the South Australian press. THE SUNDAY MAIL put it this way on 7-1-75,

"OVA, the band tipped by many rock pundits as the best to come out of Adelaide in a long, long time, makes it's official debut on Tuesday get there early, or you might find yourself out on the footpath"

The band built up a solid following, helped along by a month long residency of Tuesday nights at the Tivoli Hotel in Pirie Street, Adelaide, that culminated in full houses and standing room only.

Mike Safe from the Sunday Mail was the first to bring the band to wider public attention with this piece from THE SUNDAY MAIL on 19-1-75....



"Ova is emerging as the hottest band Adelaide has produced in a long, long time. It has only played a few engagements - a couple of Tuesday nights at the Tivoli Hotel and a Super Session - but has packed houses.

And what's more, it has been producing encores - almost unheard of for a local band! Ova's act consists of totally original material - two fully choreographed 45 minute programs and synchronised lighting. The lights are operated by Chris Theodoras who has worked with the band since its beginnings more than a year ago.

They are giving audiences new concepts, new sights and sounds. The music has classical overtones and is played in all sorts of weird times - 9/8 and 7/8. The show is not something that can be explained, it has to be seen.

An indication of the music industry's faith in OVA is that the group was booked for Sunbury '75 before they had appeared in public. Along with groups like FLASH and COLD CHISEL, OVA is keeping the spark of progressive rock burning in Adelaide."


"Adelaide's most outrageous act ever!"

"In one advertisement for their appearance at a popular local venue they bore the somewhat dubious mantle of Adelaide's most outrageous act ever!"


NB. Robert James, guitarist and bookend to Geoffrey Stapleton in GANGgajang for decades, was the guitarist for IRON KNOB!

There was interstate management as early as 1974. The Sunday Mail interviewed Ray Hearn representing " Spirit-Sphere Progressive Management" based in Melbourne...

"Hearn said he planned to push worthwhile local bands interstate. Two he has under management already are IRON KNOB, a hard-working and competent group,and OVA, a new band combining theatre and even dance with rock."





Mr. Murdoch's newspaper "The News", had this to say on 21-1-75...

"Highlight will be the exclusive appearance of English hard rock group "DEEP PURPLE"...who along with "Led Zepplin" are recognised as the chief exponents of "heavy metal" music.

Three Adelaide groups - OVA, One Man's Band and the Keystone Angels* - will be on the bill. OVA, a new band who have only played in public on four occassions, have caused quite a stir in Melbourne.

The band is regarded as one of the most promising groups in Australia with in the music industry, but some Melbourne acts have been put out because such a new group has been booked ahead of them for Sunbury.

SCRUTINY - Adrian Barker, of Spirit Talent Co-ordination, OVA's Melbourne managers, said:" The group is going to be under very close scrutiny at the festival. With all the talk they have generated around Melbourne, this is their chance of making it in a spectacular way, or blowing it for always.

Sunbury is the real acid test - it has catapulted many bands to stardom in past years. This is OVA's first interstate appearance. They can do it - I hope everyone in Adelaide is behind them this weekend."

*NB. Sunbury '75 was very good for the THE KEYSTONE ANGELS. They went on to become the hugely successful THE ANGELS with Chris Bailey and Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup, who later recruited Geoffrey Stapleton for GANGgajang.



Chris White from the music magazine "STAGES" had this to say about OVA's Sunbury performance in his review of the festival...

"The first day's music started at around seven o'clock with a little known band that weren't very good anyway and then came OVA.

When they came on the crowd really sat up and took notice and it was remarkable how they captured the imagination of everyone who saw them. They deserved the appreciation they got from the enthusiastic crowd. "


Greg's Shoes Too Far Away

With all of the agony involved in the elaborate costuming, it was crucial that everything was "just so" for the band to feel comfortable on stage. This was the most important gig of all. There were record companies like R.C.A sniffing around. Meticulous planning had gone into "the look".

Now the Sunbury Festival was actually a very long way from their hotel in Melbourne, which is why it was too late to go back for the magnificent stage shoes Greg discovered had been left behind, a short while before stepping up on to the stage.

He did the show barefoot. Not really ideal. To add insult to injury, as he was coming off stage, a cab driver came over inquiring as to who owned these magnificent stage shoes he'd been asked to bring out all the way from Melbourne. A big fare, that one. Very big indeed.


In the early days, the band would rehearse at Stephen Davey's house in Dulwich. His beautiful baby daughter would inevitably be around the place, crawling amongst the instruments and leads and what not as we rehearsed. Her name was Cloudy, like Stephen's song.

Fast forward almost thirty years and Geoff Stapleton is walking through Rymil Park, Adelaide with his wife and daughter. They are stopped in their tracks by a stunning performance from a wonderful singer/guitarist who is singing her heart out across the water from a stage on the little island. It 's Cloudy Davey.

"It's so much like a manifold flower...

manifold flower...
manifold flow-er... "