Flying Nun Moments

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  • Paul Rose,

    The first gig of the nationwide Straitjacket (hey I can spell!) Fits and Look Blue Go Purple tour at the Gluepot when the upper North Island was plunged into darkness when the power went out. There goes the cash flow! We managed to get to Dunedin three weeks later, all a bit thinner with a surplus of $21. I loved that tour!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report

  • James Griffin,

    Friday night. Back in December 1979, I think. Hastings. Toy Love on the back of a truck in Heretaunga Street, outside the EMI store.

    It was some kind of market thing going on for Friday night shopping, as I recall. The shopkeepers of dear old Hastings were really getting into the spirit of Christmas and rampant commercialism by hawking their goods on the street. There was a flat-bed truck parked outside EMI and a few bands were playing - some hippies from Palmerston North, if my failing memory is correct - and, in a stroke of perverse genius, Toy Love.

    I was working in a sports store and managed to wangle my dinner break to coincide with Mr Knox et al performing for the late night shoppers. They were probably late starting because I remember thinking 'shit, I need to get back to work' pretty much as they kicked off. What followed, however, was so mesmerizing that all thoughts of selling fishing rods to the good sporting goods consumers of Hawkes Bay buggered right off out of my head.

    To get all kind of wanky and analytical about it, it was the juxtaposition of Toy Love and nice middle-class people trying to get their Christmas shopping done that has made this stick in my memory. I saw Toy Love a couple more times after this, but nothing ever came close to the surreal nature of this gig, this assault on what was considered an acceptable way to behave in Hastings, circa 1979.

    Next door to EMI there was a fish and chip shop. From this shop Chris Knox had purloined a huge bowl of half-cooked chips. In a Jesus-like gesture, he took to sharing this bounty with passing shoppers - sometimes by the handful; sometimes half-chewed and gobbed in their general direction. To this day the image of this little old lady, about three feet tall, pulling her shopping trolley as fast as her little legs would carry her, trying to escape the mad people, with chips raining down on her, is burned into my psyche.

    Being a consummate professional and showman, Chris managed to make the rain of chips last until the last song (I don't even remember what it was but in a moment of serendipity as I'm writing this "I Don't Mind" shuffled onto my iPod so it will forever be that song - even if it wasn't). So there is the last note of the last song ringing out and Chris throws the empty bowl (it was a big bowl too) high into the air. It missed decapitating Alec Bathgate by about an inch.

    Then they all jumped off the truck and I went back to work and almost got fired for being so late back from dinner.

    In a way I wish I had - it would have given the story a much better ending.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report

  • Andre Dromgool,

    The best ever gig by a Flying Nun band has to be The StraightJacklet Fits playing their last ever set at the first Big Day Out in 1994. It is one of the most emotion-laden performances I've ever seen.

    Look Blue Go Purple at the Railway Tavern in Auckland in 1988. Bobbylon from the Hallelujah Picassos dragged me along almost against my wishes at the time as I recall but I'm glad he did.

    Watching The Verlaines in Christchurch at the Dux in 1990.

    Being present at the birth of Loves Ugly Children. They dominated Christchurch's underground scene for years and I think their best creative moments had passed by the time Flying Nun signed them. They never recorded their best (early) songs. But Flying Nun gave them some deserved recognition. One of their first gigs was in my backyard.

    Buying lots of Headless Chickens albums and celebrating when they took to the charts.

    Listening to the soundtrack to Topless Women Talk About their lives and the brilliant ABBA Covers tribute!

    Ponsonby, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report

  • jane Doe,

    My favourite Flying Nun moments were too numerous to mention – the life blood, the breath of fresh air in our otherwise dull suburban lives… mostly happening in MAINSTREET – the now defunct (demolished) live venue near the top of Queen Street and K Road…
    The stand out memory – after a Tall Dwarfs gig (?) or were they then the Enemy? Or was it another Flying Nun band altogether… (Geez… sorry), it was one of those very early 80’s hot, humid Auckland nights when I’d been smoking too much dope and drinking too many Black Russians ( I know, crap drink but I was barely 16 and we had bluffed our way in and didn’t have much imagination) – and as the bands were changing over and the house music came up for a moment, two beautiful K-Rd transvestites took to the stage – the first one with long flowing black hair dressed in strips of black leather with a metre long whip, the other - with long dramatic white blonde hair, a g-string, and a pair of stiletto thigh-high white leather boots and a submissive attitude, screamed dramatically as she was chased around the stage in a mock sado-masochistic whipping routine ( to the sounds of much cheering and appreciative whistling from the audience…) As she lay finally, after five energetic minutes, on the stage, straddled by her black leather oppressor, who was thrusting and grinding a stiletto heel firmly up her arsehole… the house staff, only at that point, intervened to stop the play… imagine that happening in Auckland these days ae? Flying Nun... we loved you. You made stuff happen. Big Kiss.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh wow. My box set just arrived by courier.

    Skipped past 'Point That Thing', because I'm always playing that bugger, to the Gordons' 'Coalminers' Song'. That record still sounds incredible.

    Then to 'Needles and Plastic' and 'Randolph' at the end of disc 1. Yay!

    I buy a lot more music as files rather than CDs these days, but this thing really is gorgeous.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Andrew Barton,

    I worshipped the early Flying Nun bands from Dunedin, and as a pimply-faced and extremely callow 15-year-old I would sneak into the Union Hall at Otago University at the weekends in the early mid-80s to watch the likes of The Stones, Sneaky Feelings, The Verlaines and The Chills. Discussions in the fifth form common room at Otago Boys' would revolve around the latest EP releases from the Flying Nun stable, with particular awe reserved for the issue of the famous Dunedin EP and the artwork on The Clean's Boodle, Boodle, Boodle. In those days all pocket money was hoarded for weeks on end to cover the outrageous $8.99 required for the purchase of the latest LP from EMI Records on Princes St. In my late teens I would hang out at said record store just to get a glimpse of one the girls from the Look Blue Go Purple line-up who happened to work there in those days.

    Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during what would have been my 7th form year if I hadn't attempted very ungainful employment as a nurse aid (the only advantage being that I could doss down on someone's bed to ease the effects of the previous night's bender when the matron wasn't looking) were spent prowling the music venues at The Empire, The Oriental and some bunker-like place at the bottom of Stafford St. I always felt a certain amount of affinity with Martin Phillips because as a son of the Presbyterian manse myself I kidded my father that I would similarly include his backing instrumentals and vocals on a future album of mine. Only I never got beyond the bluster, my third guitar chord and my ingrained and ongoing indolence.

    In my first year at university residing alternately at The Gardens Tavern and in a student flat at 472 Leith St that these days would be condemned by any visiting environmental health officials, I came closest to living the life vicariously of a local rock 'n' roll star. That was when a couple friends and I took on a couple new flatmates from Auckland who turned out to be Mark Petersen and Kevin Fielden, lead guitarist and drummer respectively of Work With Walt. That was the band of a very intense and earnest young Rob Hellriegel, brother of Jan Hellriegel. Okay, they released an EP called The Prophet on Jayrem and not Flying Nun, but let's not split hairs. I got occasional free entry into the Ori when they were playing and I got to gawp at Jan (I was such a vacuous and star-struck yoof that I don't think I ever said more than two words to her), and that's what counted. More importantly though for the purposes of this thread, we were visited on an almost daily basis by David Wood, who at that time was the bassist for Working With Walt, but of course would later join Straight Jacket Fits. A bloody nice guy, too. And that eventually led to a solitary sighting of a scowling Shayne Carter in our humble abode striding down the mildew-laden hallway one night - perhaps even the very evening that he poached Mr Wood away from his then current band (which I believe broke up anyhow when Mark buggered off back to Auckland one day not long after putting a minimal deposit on a shiny new Rickenbacker (sp?) guitar).

    That's it then. Nothing startling. Just lots of hanging about listening to great bands, including those that may not have received a mention in this thread so far, e.g. Alpaca Brothers, Jean-Paul Satre Experience and others...Spent most of the next 10-15 years overseas (yeah, saw Chris Knox in London, too), but I made sure I took with me as many cassettes as possible of those Flying Nun bands from Dunedin. Still have them all, too. Of course, there came the moment when I got a bit sick of the garage sound and began to think that the whole era was represented by poor recording quality and amateurish musicianship, but I was quickly disabused of those thoughts when I returned in 2002 and saw The Bats and The Verlaines live in concert for the first time since the 1980s. Thought Graeme Downes was absolutely brilliant and played better than he ever had.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 1 posts Report

  • Crunchy Weta,

    HI janedoe ...I think the gig you refer to may have been the final one by a band called Lip Service (the drummer Rooder(?) went on to play with Dave Dobbyn.

    Mamaku • Since Nov 2006 • 35 posts Report

  • Bruce Stirling,

    By Jeeves you are right.I have heard "Saskatchewan" 3x on the radio this week.What a powerful vibe!Who would've thought the female in SUPERETTE was responsible for driving this great track to its logical conclusion.I am listening to it now---a song devoid of any obvious crashes & bangs.There's a lesson....for us males.John Bonham's influence transposed to the 90's.! ! !
    This Flying Nun thing has got me going---better watch that Syd Barrett dvd before i realise which other aural delights have passed me by.

    Invercargill • Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report

  • Richard Kyle,

    A few moments ...seeing LBGP in 84 and saying jeez they're a bit butch just as the song finished and knowing from the glance up on stage that they had heard ...I still go red.

    ...buying Tall Dwarfs album 'that's the long and short of it' in 85 and carrying it very carefully on a homosexual law reform march and sharing it all with mates, the insert, cover art etc.

    Finally not being allowed in to the Pulse to hear the Double Happys due to age but listening to the whole show from the pavement below ...all crisp clear moments

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report

  • jane Doe,

    I don't know Glenn... (aka Crunchy Weta...) sounds a bit "pop/rock" for me... never was much of a DD fan... but like I say, the memories blurrrr... I can remember for instance seeing Nick Cave at Mainstreet with about (only) 60 people in one of his first gigs ... he ripped half his clothes off onstage and was generally very entertaining... singing his songs horizontally from the stage floor... (I've got still got photographs... somewhere... pls of a lot of other bands at Mainstreet... I didn't take a pic in "daylight" for about two years... ) but yeah, who's to say, I didn't have my camera with me that night! You may well be right...

    But still, it doesn't sound like something I would have turned up for...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report

  • paul reifel,

    The Clean, The Chills, The Gordons, The 3Ds, The Bats (why were they all "The"?)...all great, all NZ, all still sounding like they should.

    But I can never forget the first time i put on Somebody Ate My Planet and heard BAGPIPES in a pop song. And this wasn't The Proclaimers it was those wonderful slightly askew NZ pop Able Tasmans. CD stayed on my player for about 3 weeks I coudn't take it off. Unique amazing unmistakable and could only be ours...

    Never met anyone from the label, the bands, the helpers. Hell I didn't even see enough gigs, but somehow my music life would not be the same without them all.

    Thanks Flying Nun.

    Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report

  • David Maclennan,

    At a Toy Love gig in Wellington sometime in mid-1979, Chris Knox introduced a song by saying "This song is respectfully dedicated to The Clean, who are worth waiting for."

    Two years later, we found out why.

    The first Clean gig in Wellington, on 24 September 1981 , was one of the most eagerly anticipated events in what was a barren year for Wellington's punk and post-punk community. The middle of 1981 had truly been the winter of our discontent, thanks to a combination of increasing violence instigated by the growing skinhead/bootboy tribe, and of course the Springbok tour. This, plus a lack of suitable venues for bands, meant that Wellington's vibrant underground music scene of the previous couple of years had dissipated somewhat by late 1981.

    So when we all converged on Thistle Hall in upper Cuba St that spring evening, we were well up for it, having been already primed by the "Tally Ho" single and the "Boodle" EP. We were soooo hanging out to hear "Point that Thing" live*

    The gig began well, but before long several cops came upstairs and closed it down. The reason? Some aggro outside between bootboys and some local Rastas (Thistle Hall was located in Nomad gang turf, y'understand). Everything was fine inside, but the cops, still a bit baton-happy after the Springbok tour protests, would have none of it.

    What to do? Before long it was decided, in true showbiz fashion, that the show must go on. So The Clean, aided by willing locals, loaded their gear into the van, and everyone headed for the infamous 212 The Terrace, focal point for the so-called "Terrace Scene" that included the likes of The Wallsockets (defunct by that stage), Naked Spots Dance, Beat Rhythm Fashion, and Life in the Fridge Exists.

    212 had a ginormous living room, so The Clean set their gear up at one end, and the gig resumed. There was no PA system, so David Kilgour's amp did double-duty as a vocal PA. The sound, predictably, was pretty rough, but nobody cared * and I'll tell ya what, although I've seen The Clean many times since then, I don't think I ever enjoyed one of their gigs as much as that one. This was a gig true to the original spirit of punk.

    Did they play "Point That Thing"? Can't remember - sure they did though!

    (And I still have my ultra-rare stand-up press kit for "Boodle"...)

    - David Maclennan

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report

  • Adam Pope,

    It's not the the Knoxian guitars or the catchy tune that brings a tear to my eye each time I listen to it, but the heartfelt personal emotion in the poetry of 'It's not given lightly'. Much as the song moves me, surely the Flying Nun moment must go to when John and Lisa's mother first had Chris play it to her?

    Brixton squat • Since Dec 2006 • 1 posts Report

  • tillakaratne,

    How about melting moments and not lovely choclately ones either. The not so great encounters with Flying Nun luminaries where a young FN obsessive (and co-desperado) attempt to get closer by shamelessly asking them for stuff.

    Ahem, here are a few of these encounters:
    * Gingerly asking Shayne Carter, Robert Scott, most of JPSE, Chris Knox, Roger Shepherd (and others probably) in a meek and simpering tone for autographs on the just released 'Pink Flying Saucer over the Southern Alps' compilation at the now demised Truetone records in Newmarket (they all generously and gracefully obliged).
    * Assisting Mathew and Alice to carry their gear out to the car in thanks for a shiny new autograph on their new EP after a great Dribbling Darts of Love performance at the Gluepot (Alice recognised my friend and I the following week and acknowledged us and everything!)
    * Asking David Kilgour for his guitar pick at the end of a solo performance at Warners Pub in Christchurch and joyously receiving a chewed up grey thing - thrashed beyond repair.
    * Receiving a heavy black slab for my 21st, which turned out to be a guitar pick somehow obtained from those scary Bailter Space guys by my co-desperado in Christchurch. What a gift!
    * Boldly bounding backstage at the Gluepot to demand a pick from the Able Tasmans (they may have had body builders at this show?). I was denied a pick but fortunately put out of my misery quickly (rather surprisingly considering) by being offered a swig of the group's whiskey. At least I think it was whisky because the bottle was concealed in a brown paper bag.

    Alas, the list could go on. The point being that at least for me, these people made a huge impact and the allure too great that I lost any integrity I might have had at the time (which might not be saying much). Thankfully, the musicians were kind and obliging and a little surprised (and probably concerned) to be approached like this by someone so desperate.

    So thanks.

    P.S. I miss the Gluepot.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report

  • jimi kumara,

    A few insider or ‘behind the scenes’ moments here.
    And there really are so many ‘moments’ , either of my own, or gleaned from Nun mates, I could write a book about them.
    They mostly relate to the time our band (The Bird Nest Roys) arrived in the South Island for the first time supporting the Chills on Tour.

    Flying Nun were DYI in those days in the smelliest possible way and offered a hotel service for all the bands who came through on tour. As our band was described by someone at the time as “more of a party than a band” this possibly stretched the traditional concept of hospitality. But then again, very few of the Nun personnel were adverse to a good time.

    In Dunedin we stayed at various Look Blue Go Purple houses or at the house of whoever had the party the night before, which was usually the Look Blue Go Purple people anyway.

    Mind you, many, many parties were at Shayne place above the Robbie Burns on George Street.

    At least that’s the way it seems now. But maybe there was just one, really good party, that seemed like a lot of them.

    While much has been made of the Flying Nun football team I could make a case for the early nun sport being that stupid game everyone would play at Shayne’s place throwing themselves backwards off his mantelpiece into the waiting crowd.
    My first extremely precise ‘moment’ is therefore the point where I had hurled myself backwards off that mantelpiece into an uncertain future.
    Waiting behind me were my new best friends from Flying Nun royalty.
    Sure these guys had written some of my favourite songs ever, but could they be trusted to catch a belligerent, reverse flying drunkard.

    In the end, there hands were, of course, true and steady.

    They caught me, and welcomed me, our band, and Auckland bands to follow like “Goblin Mix” into the huge Flying Nun ‘fellowship’ like we were their long lost mates.
    …and in a way we were.

    We had a couple of key things in common;
    1 a love of music
    2. a love of crapping on about music.

    Moment 2

    In Christchurch we mostly stayed at label head Roger Shepards own, very well positioned and stocked house (full of Gary’s cult videos).
    One night Roger planned a night in with a lady friend.
    The wine. Chilled.
    The ambience. . well.. ambient.
    In the VCR (for younger readers this was an ancient device used to watch movies on) the film “du jour” for the discerning hipster - Wim Wendering his way through the desert with his camera to Ry Cooders guitar in “Paris Texas”.
    That is until we come back from the pub with the entire pub in tow.
    Well, not the entire pub because the barman couldn’t really close up and abandon his post.

    There where some of those delicious moments when a drunken person sits down and tries to appreciate an art film;
    ”this bit’s trippy!”
    But I think ‘the man who started it all’ eventually gave up the ghost and abandoned the movie.
    From what I remember Roger was incredibly gracious and I think he would have been well within his rights storming off to the bathroom to play with his frog.

    All this sleeping on the floor of the music mogul would eventually lead to something (imagine it in the voice of David Attenborough) – “extremely rare and quite remarkable”

    We were paid.
    With money.
    By Flying Nun.

    David “don’t ever lend him your amp” Mitchell and me were stranded at the house with no money until doleday.
    Suddenly Thursday seemed a long way off to Roger and Gary and a cheque book was dusted off and a couple cheques issued.
    This was so unlikely at the time when I told people in other FN bands they said things like;
    ”Get the fuck outta here!”
    ”you’re a lair mate.”

    Finally, the best Flying Nun moment ever, is still whenever The Clean plays.
    And I would say the following phrases are theirs and theirs alone;

    Effortlessly cool
    Hypnotic Drumming
    Where’s the other guitarist?


    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 1 posts Report

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Using a commaless sentence by Mr Campbell over here as a starting point, I came up with this, composed mainly on the bus home from work today. Oh, it's been ages since I've written performance poetry.



    CHRIST THE CLEAN WERE A BRILLIANT BAND. Cos they were there. They did it. They recorded that one song that started it all. Boodle Boodle Boodle. (Whatever that means, but say it again and make your own definition.) Boodle, boodle, boodle, boodle, boodle.

    DAMN THE SKEPTICS WERE AWESOME. I knew this guy who liked them so I pretended to like them too and then I realised that I really did like them because they sounded like nothing else that had come before and nothing that will ever come again. But no one believes me.

    JESÚS THE 3Ds ROCKED. But they also popped. They could do pop better than most of the top 40 at the time. And how could such aural violence (I see hate rising daily) and such sweet tenderness (I said, I stroke your pubic hairs) be simultaneously contained in one band?

    FUCK KING LOSER. No, really, fuck 'em. Stairway To Heaven was great, as was Surf Lost, but everything else was rubbish. Consider my heart broken.


    MAN GARAGELAND WERE COOL. They were like my friends, just some kids with guitars, writing and playing jangly, jangly, jangly pop-pop. If pop is like a drug, then you wanna be using the good stuff, right? And it doesn't taste that bad.

    GOD STRAITJACKET FITS WERE ROCK GODS. They passed me by for so long, but then one day I realised how dirty and sexy and fun their music was. I kicked myself for having taken so long, but then I realised:

    All that matters is the songs (, man). They were there, and they are still here.

    Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report

  • Gabor Toth,

    During the early days of my O.E in the late 1980s, I found myself working in a pub on the outskirts of Oxford at the start of a gloomy British winter. I was 20 years old and homesick as hell with no friends or family in the UK. My great travelling adventure was off to a rocky start. Once I had got over the stunning architecture, I quickly became aware of the centuries-old schism that exists between the local population and the university (“town and gown”). To me this was best illustrated by the dozens of bills that would be posted on boards throughout the central city promoting the various plays, reviews and classical concerts which were constantly being performed by students at the various colleges. At the bottom of each (often stunningly designed) poster would be the stern warning: “University members and invited guests only” - if you weren’t a student or a staff member of Oxford University you were excluded from attending any of these events. One evening I was walking through town when I experienced that uncanny sense that many Kiwis seem to develop when travelling overseas – the ability to spot an “N” close to a “Z” at 50 paces. My eye was suddenly caught by a (non-university) poster different from the others: “The Chills (New Zealand) – Jericho Tavern” – they were playing the following night! So with a small audience (a handful of whom were Kiwis – never before had I found Kiwi accents to be so heart-warming) I saw The Chills front-up at this legendary Oxford venue. The band members had apparently had a heated argument that day and were thoroughly pissed-off with each other. However rather than being all glum, everything seemed to get cranked up to “11” as the tension between the band members seemed to be released through their music. The audience were totally blown away and it was for me the finest gig I ever saw The Chills play. I walked home through the ancient streets of Oxford with my ears ringing, grinning like an idiot and feeling deeply proud that such a band came from New Zealand.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 137 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    one of my Flying Nun moments would have to be when it all coalesced into a purely nz thang - culminating in
    the vegetable cricket match at Sweetwaters eartly '80s
    with the denizens of the Flying Nun/Rip It up caravan
    against allcomers - with a team consisting of Roger Shepherd, Doug Hood, Russell Brown, Harry Ratbag/Russell, Paul Rose, amongst others - much summer fun between bands - until the WEA people nursemaiding Talking Heads demanded it stop as their stars were worried by the cabbages that kept hitting their super duper luxury caravan - technically a six in those confines!
    - my how times have changed...
    (and probably my memories have been addled as well)

    another would be sitting on the door at a blinding magical gig by the Verlaines at Cosgroves in wellington, with a small crowd in and just thinking how lucky anyone here was, to be transported thusly (unfortunately the Sneakies who followed them had an abysmal night - c'est la vie - that's rock n roll)

    great times, great people, greart community

    long my the spirit last
    Ian Dalziel
    Abnormally puny roadie

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    one of my Flying Nun moments would have to be when it all coalesced into a purely nz thang - culminating in the vegetable cricket match at Sweetwaters early '80s
    with the denizens of the Flying Nun/Rip It up caravan
    against allcomers - with a team consisting of Roger Shepherd, Doug Hood, Russell Brown, Harry Ratbag/Russell, Paul Rose, amongst others - much summer fun between bands -

    I remember that. In particular, I recall sending an absolute scorcher through the defences of one Malcolm Black. One of the best balls I ever bowled, even if it was a vegetable.

    (Cue joke here about whether the real vegetables were the things being used as balls, or the idiots attempting to play.)

    I know what you're saying about the Verlaines. When they were "on", they were just spellbinding. I have a mental image of Graeme Downes, drenched with sweat in one of his untucked white shirts, just commanding the moment one night at the Windsor, like there was nothing else in the room but the song.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Jeremy Matthews,

    I really wish I had some Flying Nun memories of my own, but I don't due to spending a large amount of time growing up in the wopwops (with no tv/radio/outsideworld) and being too young for when FN was really big. It's great reading all of the ones that have been posted though.

    Now I love in the city though, whenever I'm listening to an FN album my stepdad always seems to have a story about being at their concerts, or having played music with them before (he played bass for Expendables/Breathing Cage). I guess what I should be doing is hassling him to put up a story.

    Christchurch, New Zealand… • Since Nov 2006 • 29 posts Report

  • Simon Grigg,

    And here is an ironic giggle. NZ 's official tourism web site still has FN listed as with Warners in Newton, as per the time of their fairly disastrous initial liaison with the company back in the eighties. The PO Box and the fax number are WEA's

    Since 1981 the typically New Zealand sound of bands such as The Verlaines, The Chills, The Clean, The Headless Chickens, Straitjacket Fits and Chris Knox have been taken to the world by independent record label Flying Nun. Flying Nun was formed by Roger Shepherd in Christchurch, in typical kiwi DIY (Do It Yourself) fashion. The label’s second release was the single ‘Tally Ho’ by The Clean,.......snip...... When CD technology began, Flying Nun teamed up with WEA records to enter the digital age and the record company is still going strong today, .... Flying Nun is now based in Auckland, but its heart remains in Christchurch and Dunedin.
    Further Information

    Flying Nun Records
    PO Box 677
    New Zealand
    Fax +64 9 376 1859

    And I guess Doug Hood and John Pitcairn are still down the hall...

    How odd...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3284 posts Report

  • Michael Ribas,

    I'm an American who in 1989 chanced upon a used cassette of Bird-Dog and in very short order became obsessed with the Verlaines, with the other Dunedin bands, and with Flying Nun in general. That lead to two trips to your fair country, which resulted in any number of amazing moments: meeting with Doug Hood at FN HQ and subsequently posing as him to use airling ticket to fly down to see the Chills in Dunedin; tracking down people like Denise Roughan and Martin Kean *at their places of work* to chat with them; partying at Martin Phillipps' parents' house and two years later interviewing Martin at the same place; having Roi Colbert and his lovely wife as hosts the second time I was in Dunedin; driving with a bunch of people I didn't know to a Peter Jefferies gig somewhere in a podunk town way outside Auckland; even mentioning to someone that Straitjacket Fits were my least favorite of the Flying Nun bands, only to have him tell me he was their bass player! (Hope this last bit doesn't disqualify me!)

    But the best Flying Nun moment of all was this: Dunedin, Winter 1994. The Terminals are about to play a rare gig outside of Christchurch and before the show, I'm introduced to Stephen Cogle. Being fairly drunk, and let's face it, American, I feel no shame in gushing fan-boy style at him. I even ask if they could do VDB's Native Waiter, but he replies that they can't because they don't all know how to play it. I tried to be gracious about it, but I guess my disappointment must have shown, because after an absolutely rocking set, they launched into a brutal version of Native Waiter. I was even drunker by that point, but absolute rapture cut through the alcohol haze. I was in heaven. Thank you New Zealand, thank you Flying Nun, thank you Terminals, thank you Stephen Cogle!

    Pasadena, CA, USA • Since Dec 2006 • 6 posts Report

  • tillakaratne,

    Terminals, thank you Stephen Cogle!

    I had a similar experience with Stephen Cogle with just as good an outcome. The Terminals played at the Gluepot in Auckland with The Puddle (maybe a year or two earlier). This was an incredibly rare event and I'm still not sure how this unlikely combination came about. Anyhow, I too approached Stephen Cogle at the bar in a state of disrepair to ask why 'Uncoffined' was not played because it was one of my favs (pretty cheeky really considering it was an excellent show). I mentioned that I would be in Hamilton to see the show the next night and would it be possible for them to play it then.

    Cue the following night and they played it almost immediately. It would have been perfect too if Brian Crook hadn't broken a string just as it begun.

    It should be said that Stephen Cogle still has the most fantastic, booming voice that still creates chills everytime. Don't take my word for it, listen to 'Native Waiter' by the VDB, lovingly included on the fancy new boxed set.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    It should be said that Stephen Cogle still has the most fantastic, booming voice that still creates chills everytime. Don't take my word for it, listen to 'Native Waiter' by the VDB, lovingly included on the fancy new boxed set.

    I've wondered if that song's about the pair - rich man's daughter and "coloured manservant" who lived, and apparently died, in a murder-suicide - at the Knowles St house in Christchurch profiled here

    The funny thing about the VDB is that they were utterly obscure at the time. But I think they were one of the bands that Roger originally figured he'd set up the label to release.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • David Swift,

    Rob Stowell - great post about the British.
    Russell - fab Bill Direen story from the rugby!
    Ian MacLennan - yeah I still have the stand-up Boodle kit also!

    I guess my own memories might appear self-serving for which I apologise, but I am quite proud of the fact that I did the first ever F Nun press the start of 1981.....when a ''rock reporter'' ahem on The Press. Roger showed me the logo (used on the Tally Ho sleeve), which we published...along with a few paragraphs about ''local rock fan intends to release records on his own label''....

    Later, in London, I was again chuffed to slip in quite a few 45, LP and gig reviews of (in particular) The Chills and Sneaky Feelings into the NME, where I was on staff 84-87. Even a one-page feature on The Chills.

    When freelancing a bit later I don't think my ''9 out of 10'' review for Hard Love Stories helped it shift any copies, sadly. God that was a great record.

    In 1982 when drumming for Mainly Spaniards we did two nights with The Clean at the Star and Garter in Christchurch and David, Hamish and Bob insisted we headlined on the Saturday night which seemed ludicrous to us (The Clean were just phenomenal in 81/82). And NO ONE LEFT after The Clean did the first set. There must have been 400 people packed in there each night.

    Likewise, drumming with Razorcuts in the UK and us being on the same bill as The Chills and Ed Kuepper at the Boston Arms in London in 1986.....that was thrilling.

    I saw all the great Christchurch gigs 1979-1983. So many gems. Toy Love and The Swingers apart (non-Nun), The Gordons always feature near the top of the memory do The Clean.

    For an oddball memory, I remember the day that the first Flying Nun 7in single arrived in boxes from the pressing plant. ''Ambivalence'' by The Pin Group. Roy of the band was so disgusted at the pressing quality he vowed never to let it go out on general sale and just permitted a few of us to buy it ha ha ha (how very Roy that was).

    Those unopened boxes, if not eBayed, are good as a pension now with all those German and Japanese completists lurking, I expect!

    Greetings to all from a soaking wet northern Britain

    Whitley Bay, England • Since Dec 2006 • 7 posts Report

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