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Story songs, acoustic music


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Mal McCallum


1976 The Things We Need vinyl (WEA)NZ only

1978  Naked To The Sky vinyl & cassette (CBS) Aust and NZ

1980 Victim In Paradise Vinyl and cassette (CBS)Aust and NZ

1988 K.1.W.1. single nz only vinyl (EMI) duet with Mark Williams

2000 Stepping Stones (indie) self release

2006 above the wires ( indie) self release

 2019 Hearts & Crafts  

2019 The Things We Need - digital re release  Warners NZ



This is the long read... Began playing in public Palmerston North about 1973, STRAITE toured around NZ on the Lion brewery circuit, did some Buck a Head concerts in Wellington with Rockinghorse. When we formed a great motivating force for us was Paul Clayton, who played with the band in the early stages, got us writing and thinking about original songs, he later played for The Quincy Conserve in Wellington. Migrated to Auckland around 1974-75, playing places like The Windsor Castle in Parnell, The Ranch House out in Glenfield for Barbara Doyle, Grandpa's and Grandma's clubs in Durham Lane downtown Auckland for Tommy Adderly, doing TV shows like The Grunt Machine, and some Hauraki Buckahead concerts in Albert Park where we  played a support for 'Hush' from Australia. The band recorded some tracks for Glyn Tucker and Dave Hurley in Mandrill Studios in Parnell, which weren't released, and then Mal did some solo demos at Harlequin,with Doug Rogers and Mike Dodds  which led to his recording his first solo LP The Things We Need in 1976 for Tim Murdoch at WEA, with the great keyboard player arranger Julian Lee producing. This has now been released digitally by Warners NZ

STRAITE personnel was Andy Burns keybds vox, Stanley John Mitchell Drums vox Kit Panting Guitar vox Mal McCallum Bass and most lead Vox. Mike Dodds (R.I.P.) PA construction and sound mix. Roger Nevatt assisted as well on construction.

Mal recorded some solo demos at Mandrill including The Big Romance with the idea of releasing a single, which Stu Rubin at Polygram NZ was keen on doing, but then Mal was offered a contract to go to Australia to record with producer Alan Galbraith at CBS Records. He went to Melbourne at the start of 1978, and recorded Naked To The Sky with the help of several of The Little River Band, who were in between having finished recording Sleeper Catcher, and heading off to a tour in the US. Drummer Derek Pellici, bassist George McArdle, and ex LRB guitarist Ric Formosa played on the album, with Ric doing arrangements for many tracks, along with some backing vocals from 'Cheetah' a guitar solo from Phil Manning and keys from great NZ piano player Dave Fraser (R.I.P.) This album was mixed in Sydney at EMI 301 with Gerry Nixon and Glen Philmister engineering  

Mal shifted to Sydney in August 1978, and did a NSW tour as support act for John English (R.I.P.) and then formed the Malcolm McCallum Band, with a steady lineup of Richard Harvey (R.I.P) on drums, the late Ian ('Narra') Belton (R.I.P.) on Bass, and Mark McEntee (who later formed The Divynls) on guitars. this band was the nucleus for the second album, 'Victim In Paradise', recorded in Sydney at EMI 301 Studios in 1979/80. Co-produced with Mike Harvey and Rod Coe, with Mike adding some great keyboard parts and string arrangements.   Other live band players later included Bob Howlett on keys, Rex Goh (ex Air Supply)on guitar, Brenton White on guitar, Mark Punch on guitar, Sunil de Silva on percussion, and a few others.

The band played a lot around Sydney, especially in the Rocks at The Orient and The Governors Pleasure, and Bondi Junction as well as many other hotels around Sydney and elsewhere, including trips to the Gold Coast and Melbourne from time to time, and also a very fun filled trip to Goroka in the New Guinea Highlands to open the new aero club building. 

Mal played a lot of solo gigs from 1981 to 1991 in Sydney, including a 5 year stint at Jacksons On George, also often at The Woloomooloo Bay Hotel. He did a support tour for Ralph McTell with  Pat Drummond, which was part of a long and enjoyable friendship,  a support gig for Joni Mitchell at The Sydney Opera House in 1981 as well as a lot of vocal session work for most of Sydney's music producers, such as Les Gock, Pat Aulton, Jimmy and Mathew Sloggett, Geoff and Jenny Ayling at Wam, Rod Tamlyn, Andrew Wilson at Transistor, John Guillard and others. Mal did a lot of songwriting and his own jingle writing in these years, but the only track released was 'K.1.W.1.' in NZ in 1988, a duet with Mark Williams.

Mal shifted back to Auckland with his family in early 1991.

Mal was in a band with Tina Cross, Suzanne Lynch and Peter Morgan called 'Tux de Lux' along with a top band backing lineup, doing tight 4 part harmony around 1991 -93.

As well as writing and producing a lot of radio jingles, such 'Waitemata Back Care Beds' and other radio 'gems', Mal did production for a lot of other performers including:

* Roy Phillipps formerly from 'The Peddlers' on his song for the Commonwealth Games

* Maruia, who was the top female singer in Tahiti for a few years, around 1995.  Mal produced two LP's for her and her producer, Teva Tetuanui (R.I.P.) , and toured in Tahiti backing her with a NZ Band. 

* Billy TK Junior who Mal co wrote with and helped make demo tracks for Billy to secure his American deal at that time in Texas. Mal also toured with Billy around the North Island.

Mal did many live shows on keybds and as second guitarist (with Mike Farrell (R.I.P.) or Gary Verberne on Gat) with The New Zealand Blues Brother Show, starring Ted Clarke and Marty Free, swapping with Steve Larkins when he was overseas with Midge Marsden. This included the launching of the Steinlager Blue beer.

Mal has done numerous shows with Suzanne Lynch up and down the whole of NZ, including many gigs in Arrowtown, and internationally at conferences in Australia, Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia.

In 2006 and again in 2017, Mal won the MLT Songwriting Awards with his original songs, Hangin By A Thread and After The Storm as well as making the finals in several other years. These are both on the Hearts & Crafts album.

Mal released 3 CD's, 'Stepping Stones' in 2000, and 'above the wires' in 2006 (check the audio page to hear or download tracks) and 'Hearts & Crafts" in 2019

In Nov 2016 Mal commenced a residency at a new exciting venue in the heart of Auckland, performing 2 nights a week at Dr Rudis with his eldest son Lewis McCallum on sax, flute, keys, beats and vocals, and Mal on keys /bass  drum machine and vocals, mixing old school repertoire with more modern textures, jams and ideas. They finished playing Wednesday nights there at the end of March 2019

In 2017 and 2018 Mal was part of the 'Lost Icons' showband performing in The Square in Palmerston North on New Years Eve to a crowd of about 13-15000 people. He also joined this show again  for New Year 2020.

Solo gigs around Auckland and occasionally elsewhere.

New album HEARTS & CRAFTS recorded in Auckland through the last few months of 2018 and mixed in Sydney with his son in law richie b, at Free Energy Device studios, and  released March 2019 . 
Mal has many new songs , and with his house renovation almost completed will be launching into more recording into 2023… why stop now !!