Whero Music

James “Red” McLeod, aka Red Whero, is best know for his visual arts. But unbeknown to many Whero Films clients, Mr Whero has been recording and composing the music to many of the videos produced by Whero Films.

Musicly inspired in the late ’80s by his father, David B McLeod, and his extensive Neil Young record collection. Red began formal training of the classical guitar through Napier guitarist Dave Boston.

Red Whero Gibson SG Plum live

James McLeod aka. Red Whero – featured with his favourite electric guitar “Plum”: A rare Gibson SG purchased in 1998 from the boot of an ex-Gibson’s Rep’s station wagon.

“Plum” turns 20 years old this year. And doesn’t look a day older then 40. The solid-body electric was returned to the old Hawkes Bay Gibson agent, Direct Importers, after a customer complained that the headstock lacquer looked slightly cracked (a common “problem” with Gibson’s nitrocellulose finish in the New Zealand environment). By then the distribution of Gibson guitars had moved out of New Zealand to ship from Australia.


Plum’s best-ugly headstock after 20 years of deterioration.

For some time the Plum SG was homeless in Hastings. Until an ex-Gibson agent heard about an 18 year old ginger-kid looking for a new Les Paul. After hours the ex-agent, friend-of-a-friend pulled up on the sidewalk of Red’s home with two guitars in the back of their station wagon. A sun-burst Les Paul ’59 replica (for $1500) and a Plum SG special (for $800). Needless to say the SG was purchased.


I kept correcting people when they commented on the colour of the old SG “Its Plum!” and the name stuck. Otherwise she may look a bit like the devil, but she sounds like an angel. – Red.


Check out Red’s recent artist page redwhero.com to hear more tracks using Plum, including this recent collaboration with Seymore, on the single Why I Drive. Plum can be heard playing the intro and rhythm section of the song (to be fair a Gibson 339 is voicing the lead guitar). Enjoy.

Currently Red is writing and collaboration with local New Zealand artists on a collection of car and travel “love songs” for a television series due out later in the year.

Whero Yamaha 12 string guitar

1984 Yamaha FG612 S played by guitarist James McLeod aka. Red Whero

Check out RedWhero.com

Update – According to Guitar Dater Plum’s birthday isn’t actually until October later this year:

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