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Pops Ultimate Star

Graham Brazier - Guest judge

In Hello Sailor's early days, Graham Brazier was New Zealand's ultimate bad-boy rocker - a swaggering rockstar with a penchant for the fast life and tight black leather trousers.

Hello Sailor is still alive and well and playing gigs like supporting Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders earlier this year and a reunion tour with Th' Dudes and Hammond Gamble - but the off-stage Graham enjoys much quieter pastimes than his rockstar persona would have you believe.

Like poetry, painting, collecting first edition books (William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac are favourites), and running a second-hand bookshop in Dominion Road with his 91-year-old mum (who proudly regales customers with stories about her son when he isn't around). Graham grew up above the shop and has taken a bigger role in recent years, although his mother is refusing to retire. 

He also paints, and two of his watercolours feature on the cover of Hello Sailor's 2006 acoustic album When Your Lights Are Out.

The stripped-down acoustic album is one that Graham is particularly proud of - and it came almost 30 years after the band's first album, called simply Hello Sailor (1977). That debut album was an outstanding success, spawing three top 10 singles - Gutter Black, Blue Lady, and Lyin' in the Sand. In particular Gutter Black has become a Kiwi classic and is enjoying a huge revival as the theme tune of TV's Outrageous Fortune.

In 1978 the band released second album Pacifica Armour and, full of confidence, headed off to LA to crack the US market. That trip, and another one the next year to Australia, didn't work out as planned and the band finally called it a day in 1980.

After the split, Graham formed The Legionnaires - another musical success - then Hello Sailor reformed in 1985 to release albums including Shipshape and Bristol Fashion and The Album. 

Along the way Graham's also enjoyed success with his solo releases, with albums Inside Out, Brazier, and - most recently, East of Eden, and singles including Six Piece Chamber, Billy Bold, and Long Gone, For Good.

He also toured a Doors tribute show on and off for years, to the delight of audiences and critics alike.