Swansong for Success’ band

Published on LEUT John Thompson (author), LSIS Christopher Szumlanski (photographer)

Location(s): Sembawang, Singapore

Topic(s): HMAS Success (OR 304), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

HMAS Success ship’s band ‘RASamataz’ plays at the Sembawang Naval Base during a port visit to Sembawang in Singapore as part of INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019. (photo: LSIS Christopher Szumlanski)
HMAS Success ship’s band ‘RASamataz’ plays at the Sembawang Naval Base during a port visit to Sembawang in Singapore as part of INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019.

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Marek Bubna-Litic plays the keyboard in the HMAS Success ship's band ‘RASamataz’ during a port visit to Sembawang in Singapore as part of INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019.

Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Marek Bubna-Litic plays the keyboard in the HMAS Success ship's band ‘RASamataz’ during a port visit to Sembawang in Singapore as part of INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019.

It wasn’t quite a hot August night but it was a very humid night in May as the sounds of RASamataz drifted across the Sembawang Wharves, Singapore, for the last time.

RASamataz is HMAS Success’ touring band, formed early last year by the chaplain on board at that time, Chaplain Andy Thorburn. 

The lead singer was the effervescent and energetic Able Seaman Edwin Reyes.

“It was electrifying being up on stage performing together,” Able Seaman Reyes said.

“There is nothing better than seeing a crowd enjoying themselves, and our music, and getting up on their feet to dance and sing along.”

The band has made a reputation for itself across the world during INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019 (IPE19). It hasn’t quite rocked big city arenas but mostly military vessels at sea. 

Most of RASamataz’s performances happened on Success’ flight deck, and occasionally during replenishments at sea (RAS).

Over time, they’ve also tried to keep their landlocked fans happy, despite being at sea on a regular basis.

“This is the second time we’ve performed in Singapore,” Leading Seaman Justin Parrish, the band’s lead guitarist, said.

“Unfortunately, it’s also our last.”

In a fitting tribute, as the sun set in Singapore, the band performed classics by The Eagles, Cold Chisel and AC/DC.

“It’s been a blast,” drummer and Able Seaman Chris Lloyd said. 

“It can get hard and lonely out here at sea sometimes but music is one thing that brings people together and makes them feel good – it’s been great to be able to bring that enjoyment and happiness to the crew on board.”

IPE19 is Success’ final deployment, alongside HMA Ships Canberra and Newcastle. She will decommission in Sydney on 29 June.