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Peter Urlich and his perfect match with wife Danielle

Proving he was always a smart dude, Kiwi muso Peter Urlich knew when he'd found The One

By Catherine Milford
He's been a staple of our music scene for four decades, as a DJ, radio host, singer, MC, former lead singer of Th'Dudes, band manager and nightclub founder. His '80s hit Bliss is a New Zealand anthem and he wrote the Warriors' 2001 victory chant that fans now sing to. He was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2019 and this year he performed on Coronet Peak at Synthony in the Snow to a screaming crowd. Is there nothing Peter Urlich can't do?
"Work with me!" laughs Peter's wife Danielle Beh, with whom he has two children, Joe, 21, and Stan, 17. "We worked together once when I was getting back into work after having kids, but after about three weeks, we both said, 'That's the last time we'll ever do that!'"
Jokes Peter, 65, "I wouldn't want her in my band. We're great as a family, but we work in completely opposite ways. She's logical and works everything out. I'll go, 'What's the quickest way to do this? Someone else can do the rest.'"
The pair tying the knot in 2010.
"It drives me nuts!" counters advertising, marketing and retail specialist Danielle, 52.
"But opposites attract. Peter is very successful, so it clearly works for him, but our brains are fundamentally different. I think our kids have an interesting perspective, though. They get Peter's creativity – a little absent-minded and gregarious – and from me, they get balance and logic."
"Danny's strict – big on grammar and spelling, a little bit of a schoolteacher," explains Peter. "She'll research something to the nth degree and look at ways it could be better. But somehow we've stuck together."
Peter is clearly proud of Danielle, who he married in an outdoor ceremony in 2010. The pair met almost three decades ago – although they can't agree where!
"We met a few times at various clubs," says Danielle.
Adds Peter, "She played hard to get, which I found funny. So I just bided my time…"
"Is that what happened? That's not how I remember it!" says Danielle, and the pair crack up.
"I was a confirmed bachelor…" says Peter.
"You were 40."
"Is that all? Fine, I was 40," he relents. "I was having fun. I wasn't really facing the future – it was always one day at a time. But my subconscious said, 'This woman is fabulous.' We had fantastic times, but she was more than a party girl. I thought, 'Peter, you've got the chance to get a bit of stability.'"
Th'Dudes got it Right First Time.
At 25, 13 years Peter's junior, Danielle wasn't so sure.
"I don't remember ever making the decision to take him on!" she laughs. "We always had a brilliant time. We had a great group of friends, the bars were open all night… It was just fantastic."
Says Peter, "There were so many bars and nightclubs to go to – jazz clubs, live bands.Nice'n'Urlich [Peter's club and DJ business with partner Bevan Keys] was taking off and the social life was fabulous."
It was a defining moment on the New Zealand social scene, and Peter and Danielle loved every minute – almost. "We broke up for a time, but we got back together…"
"It could easily have gone west," reflects Peter. "I mean that. I was frivolous, but I realised I didn't want to let this one go."
"Even when we were apart, we'd end up together," agrees Danielle. "Wherever we were, we'd gravitate to each other. I had something with Peter that I couldn't find anywhere else."
With sons Joe (left) and Stan at their wedding.
Marriage and two kids – who only now realise their dad is a Kiwi legend – later, the pair's success lies in knowing their differences. They both still love partying, but Peter will often work late, while Danielle's happy curled up on the couch watching Netflix.
"I like to kick on a bit when I finish work, whereas Danny gets up early, exercises and works hard at her job," says Peter. "She's not out as much as me, but I'm often wishing my wife was here."
Does Peter ever see himself donning a robe and slippers and retiring?
"Hell, no!" he retorts. "I'll sing for as long as my voice lets me – and DJ as long as people keep booking me."
Says Danielle, "Peter does such a variety, in so many genres – I've always been amazed and impressed by his intuitive ability to know what gigs to agree to."
"In a small industry like New Zealand, it's easy to become a tired act," says Peter. "I think I've managed to survive because I still feel such passion for it.
"Th'Dudes started as a group of friends from school and the band only lasted two years, but that was just the beginning. There's been much more since then and it's getting a new lease of life."
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