The Official Geisha Website

History - The Geisha Story

Geisha was formed in the Melbourne, Australia in 1983. Originally a 5-piece outfit, the initial line-up of the group comprised Chris Doheny (vocals, guitar), Ken Sheppard (guitar), John Nyman (keyboards), Donoghue Doheny (bass) and Peter Robertson (drums).

Geisha Original LineupHaving grown up through the sixties and seventies, Chris had previously played in a number of bands, driven by his love of music and the inspiration he gained from listening to the Beatles and other popular acts of the sixties and seventies. With the formation of Geisha, a distinct shift towards the "new romantic" movement so prevalent in the late seventies and early eighties helped shape the group's image and led to their popular success. Often compared to international acts such as Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, and to local rivals Pseudo Echo and Kids In the Kitchen, Geisha were to become hugely successful on the Australian music scene.

Soon after their formation, the band was signed by EMI and in April 1985 released their first single "Fool's Way". Bouyed by airplay of this and by their success on the Melbourne live circuit, two further singles followed in that same year with the releases of "Rainy Day" in July and "Kabuki" in September, the latter reaching number 1 on the Melbourne Charts towards the end of that same year. As well as the three singles, their first album (simply entitled "Geisha") was also released by EMI in 1985.

Geisha's First (self-titled) Album

EMI released "repackaged" versions of "Rainy Day" in early 1986 but the band was busy producing their next single. In August, the hit single "Part Time Love Affair" was released giving the band their first National Top 10 hit (peaking at #3 on the Melbourne charts). Constant touring and promotional tasks continued throughout the year.

In late 1986-early 1987, the band was undergoing some internal reorganisation. The band changed its structure from a 5-piece outfit to a 3-piece outfit with Chris Doheny (vocals, bass) and Ken Sheppard (guitar) being joined by Brett Luton (drums). The change forced the band to try and break away from the "eighties" mold set by so many acts of the time allowing their new songs, which now were to be more guitar-based, to take on a harder, rock edge.

Whilst enabling a different 'style' of music to emerge, the ammended (and reduced) line-up made it somewhat difficult to deliver their entire Geisha repertoir in a live situation. So, in 1987, Chris put together a completely revamped line-up comprising Rob Dean (guitar - formerly of the English group "Japan"), Laurence Maddick (keyboards), Steve Carter (bass) and Tommy Hosie (drums) who had previously played with James Freud in Berlin.

Normal People CoverAgain, success followed later that year with the release of the second Geisha album "Midnight To Dawn". Three singles were spawned from this album - "Calling Your Name", "Normal People" and "Never Tell You Why" and further touring and media appearances ensued for the remainder of the year and into 1988.

Geisha ultimately disbanded in April 1988 after having ridden the wave of Australian Chart success for just on 5 years. Their legacy includes the two albums and the related singles, as well as the success of several National tours and a place in Australian eighties popular music culture.

In 1998, the original Geisha line-up (C & D Doheny, Sheppard, Nyman and Robinson) reformed for a gig commemorating the 10th anniversary of the band's breakup. This event coincided with the EMI release of "The Very Best Of Geisha" CD.

Geisha Today!In 2006 Chris released the third studio album for Geisha "No Second Prize", an unfinished album recorded in 1988 while Rob Dean was playing guitar in the band. Chris salvaged safety copies of the unmixed collection of tracks from his own archives and digitized and completed the album for release.

In the same year he also completed and released a brand new album for Geisha titled "Acoustic Memoirs Of Geisha", a collection of the band's singles re-recorded in an acoustic format and promoted the release with an American tour at summer festivals throughout the mid west.

In 2007 guitarist Joe Matera joined Geisha and played a handful of shows around Melbourne. The line up at this time was a four piece version of Geisha with Chris on guitar and bass, Joe on guitar, Alby Stefani keyboards and bass and the drummer position filled by both original 80's member Tom Hosie and newcomer Jeremy Watt.

Together they recorded a number of singles "Birthday", "Mystery Writer", and covers "Tin Soldier" (the small faces song) and "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band". These all appeared on the 2010 release of the album "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow".

At the end of 2010 Joe left to pursue a solo career and asked Chris to produce his first single "Travelling West".

2011 sees Chris is in his new studio "Blue Door Audio" with Alby and Tom recording a new Geisha album to be titled "Dysphasia". The first single "Sailing" released July 2011 to positive support across the board.

The History of Geisha in Pictures


Before Geisha came "Geisha History"
Chris Doheny assembled this original group, but they did not last
too much longer after this picture was taken in early 1983.

From left-to-right: Joe Calderazzo (guitar), Slav Hodinj (bass), Chris Tabone (drums),
Chris Doheny (lead vocals) and, at front, Mark Calderazzo (keyboards)

The Original Geisha Line-Up

Geisha 1985
This is a 1985 photo of the original Geisha line-up after they had been signed up by EMI.
This line-up was assembled in 1983 and would last until late 1986.

From left-to-right: John Nyman (keyboards), Donny Doheny (bass), Peter Robinson (drums),
Ken Sheppard (guitar) and, at front, Chris Doheny (lead vocals).

From Five to Three

Geisha 1987
From late 1986 and through 1987, Geisha changed from a 5-piece group to a 3-piece unit.

From left-to-right: Ken Sheppard (guitar), Bret Luton (drums) and Chris Doheny (lead vocals & bass)

Two Depart - Three Arrive

Geisha 1988
Between late 1987 and into 1988, Geisha consisted of a new 4-piece line-up.

From left-to-right: Laury Maddy (keyboards), Chris Doheny (lead vocal & bass),
Tom Hosie (drums), Rob Dean (guitar)

Geisha 2010!

With a new album in the making, the re-release of many classic Geisha tracks
in a new acoustic format, the distribution of demo recordings and
the 'lost' 3rd album, and live appearances throughout 2008,
the Geisha history continues!

Geisha 2011!


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