Neil Chilton’s musical career began when as a 15-year-old he got his first paying gig in a school band. The band was a hit and Chilton and his colleagues were in demand playing most weekends at various school functions and dances.
Four years later, Chilton was on the road, and for the next 18 months he and his band lived out of a suitcase touring from one end of New Zealand to the other in an old Bedford library bus.
In 1980, the band, which was known as Air Strike, moved to Sydney, Australia with Chilton having a publishing deal for his original songs. A recording deal with Polygram records soon followed. While waiting to record the first of the three singles, Chilton went on tour with a star cast performing the hit show "Jesus Christ Superstar" 80 shows in total.
In 1982, Chilton recorded "He will sleep" which he wrote with keyboard player Neil Sutherland and the band, "KAMSHA". The song was launched on the air waves and on tour “KAMSHA” became the support band for such artists as rock music icons Dragon and Australian Crawl to the most soulfull Renee Geyer and Ice house.
Three singles, four years and countless live performances later, Chilton felt ham strung and frustrated by the bands record contract and the politics that went along with it.
Chilton flew home to New Zealand to start a family and get a "real job" as he puts it. It wasn't long before he was back into the music teaming up with Dave Baker forming the very successful duo "The Baker Boys". Cruising from gig to gig in the Red Roded 1947 Ford Jail Bar. "The Baker Boys" entertained the south for 13 years.
Then in 1998, Chilton released his very own CD “OBSESSION”, which was written and recorded in his own studio. "OBSESSION". can be purchased at Play it again music stores in Invercargill and Queenstown.
Also that same year, Neil was voted Southland Entertainer of the Year.
Neil’s next move was the formation of the very popular duo "The Thunderbirds", where Chilton teamed up with the highly talented Craig Allott. They were to play together for the next five years appearing everywhere from the Bluff Oyster festival to a conference on the top of Deer Park Heights. The twosome also regularly entertained skiers on the skifields and at Sky City Casino.
Neil and Craig also teamed up with the Invercargill Caledonian Pipe Band. Allott was the musical director and Chilton as the lead vocalist. Concerts at Stadium Southland Opening night and for the Queenstown Winter Festival were sellout performances. The duo also recorded a CD with Pipin' Hot which was released in the summer of 2004, the same time Chilton decided to go solo.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Chilton is always looking at ways to improve his product in order to keep up with demand of today’s audiences. Talented musicians the likes of Neil Chilton have to be heard to be appreciated.