Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday Music: Christchurch, Legacy of Strange

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Didn’t even hurt. Without a pause we continued til we’d pushed them out the door.

    I did find on the odd occasion that just asserting authority worked reasonably well with boot boys who were spoiling a party. They could be surprisingly biddable.

    This, of course, probably wouldn't have worked so well with yer actual psycho skinhead.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

    yer actual psycho skinhead.

    They could be surprisingly chivalrous. Had one in Welly who for an unknown-to-me reason appointed himself my protector (and I was inhabiting a completely different world). Often when trouble arrived this feared bootboy seemed to appear out of the dark, grumbling volcanically and suggesting to the perp that they might like to toddle off and have a cup of tea. Was very grateful for this more than once. Never was a price to pay; in fact he would vanish afterwards.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    Attachment Attachment

    One for Ian D.

    Finally got the Flying Nun anniversary card set proof framed. Nicely double sided for easy viewing. I’m stoked. :-)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2450 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I did find on the odd occasion that just asserting authority worked reasonably well with boot boys who were spoiling a party. They could be surprisingly biddable.

    That biddability was demonstrated when Mainstreet enforced a policy of boots being required to check in their Docs as a condition of entry. An eyewitness account from back then had massed boots rushing from a Spelling Mistakes set to the foyer, where they fell over one another retrieving and scrambling into their hardware. Once they got out onto Queen Street the reported King Cobras who'd sparked their frenzy were nowhere to be seen.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Stupid,

    Ah, the Axemen

    They played at the protests for homosexual law reform in 1983, with member Little Stevie McCabe being severely beaten up in theChristchurch Cathedral Square toilets.

    Presumably those dingy underground ones. I was vaguely aware of this. Not that much later in history we got the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986. More on the Axemen at Spacecase records, the Sac Tap Nut Jam LP

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to JacksonP,

    Impressive! I have found mine too though they remain in the cassette case. My daughter couldn't work out how to open it!

    What's come out on this thread is a bit like trying to find the last prime number; discoveries keep being made and stories come out.It's been thoroughly enjoyable.

    Some of this may not be new news but anyway, I’ve found this The Dark Stuff - The Voyage of Discovery of Tom Lax - from Ohio to Christchurch, NZ a great Richard Langston interview with Tom Lax from Siltbreeze Records in Ohio. How he was ‘introduced’ to kiwi music in 1985, being told by a sales rep

    ‘I’ve got this stuff from New Zealand that nobody else wants, do you wanna give that a shot?’ nd I said ‘what is it?’ and he said ‘I have no idea ‘. He started listing off these names like the Tall Dwarfs, The Puddle, Victor Dimisich. I didn’t know what it was either, none of that stuff had broken into the American lexicon of underground music.

    ...Ohio, Cleveland, Pere Ubu…

    RL: Those Scorched Earth Policy records are dark and quite something…it was a very rich period of music making…
    TL: I mean remember going to see Pere Ubu in ‘78 or ‘79 and it was the first time I’d gone to see a band that was under the aegis of punk but they were dressed in flannels, jeans, work boots, beards maybe.

    SEP - one of my favourties. Often short and snappy songs like Too Far Gone

    And this site by local (photographer) Chris Andrews thebigcity, It's active on and off - and includes this: The Pin Group: Article on Ambivalance and The Pin Group: Complete Interview with Roy Montgomery.

    Here's Roy, on a typical Pin Group performance:

    Typical audience reception to the Pin Group was bemusement as far as I could tell. I remember Bill Direen doing headstands on the dancefloor of the Gladstone to one of our songs but I think he was making some sort of Dada anti-art statement.

    This short piece on the PG has been in circulation for a while now but worth watching again - Ronnie van Hout’s mini-film The Pin Group.

    No-one’s mentioned Kevin Smith and Say Yes to Apes. I remember a crazy free-form performance in the University Ballroom ca. 1984. No live footage but there's this:

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    No-one’s mentioned Kevin Smith and Say Yes to Apes. I remember a crazy free-form performance in the University Ballroom ca. 1984.

    I have very fond memories. But strictly speaking, they're a Timaru band.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    strictly speaking, they’re a Timaru band

    True. Tom Lax at Stillbreeze is a bit of a fan of SYTA.

    Jackson's FN 42 card array made me think of local institution Galaxy Records (and their cool comic strip - should be attached.)

    BTW the all-black card #30 is still relevant to the local scene - there's a fair amount of Dark Matter still about in this fair city!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    I personally think Siltbreeze et al should fly me to America to talk about the old days when when I had SYTA play in my back yard.

    And Matt Goody had a bit of moment when I told him I lived in the house where Beard of Bees was recorded :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Good talk. Thanks Russell! And it brought people out – a room full of faces that told stories. Plenty of strange in that theatre – if someone could get people to cough them up, you’d have a decent sackful of Chch strange stories :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Trillion airs...
    Another Chchch musician still plying their trade is Jody Lloyd/Trillion
    (albeit from overseas now) his new album is being previewed in Chchch this saturday:

    Special outdoor event in CHCH, NZ
    SAT 14th MARCH 6 - 8pm
    on the grass: Gloucester //
    Manchester St corner.
    This is a FREE event
    see: www.perfectfreq.com/events
    for details about what you need to bring - rug, cushion etc

    PERFECT FREQ is a 72 minute musical 'sound healing' inspired journey, featuring an array of amazing international musicians and vocalists... with spectacular detailed audio production...
    ...and of course - the most perfect healing frequency.

    I heard it recently at a sneak preview at Auricle in New Regent Street - it sounds great, world class stuff.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Plenty of strange in that theatre – if someone could get people to cough them up, you’d have a decent sackful of Chch strange stories :)

    How would we get those stories? A Tardis with voice-to-text transcription?

    It was a very good talk: true to the era.

    Till last night I'd never thought the late 70s/early 80s music days in Chch were in any way noteworthy. It was weird and kind of affirming to meet them again at a talk organised by the Christchurch Art Gallery and have Russell talk about people on the other side of the world who rate it highly enough to collect the records and ephemera.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Hebe,

    How would we get those stories?

    Beer maybe :) But yeah, not simple.
    It was grand to meet you and Greg and Russell. I felt strangely shy.
    Or maybe it’s not strange :) (Always been a bit shy). I’d love to have taken photos, but it wasn’t the right moment.
    There were a few old mates, but also a lot of people in the room I’ve known as faces and seen play music or in an audience or round Christchurch but have never bowled up and jumped into a good conversation with.
    I regret that. But maybe there was always an odd stand-offishness-cum-shyness that’s a part of the ‘scene that wasn’t’.

    I’d never thought the late 70s/early 80s music days in Chch were in any way noteworthy.

    Me too. I’m still not sure :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hebe,

    Plenty of strange in that theatre – if someone could get people to cough them up, you’d have a decent sackful of Chch strange stories :)

    How would we get those stories? A Tardis with voice-to-text transcription?

    It was a very good talk: true to the era.

    Thanks, guys. I'm quite touched by the reception. And it was nice to acknowledge Bruce Russell's vision with Time to Go while he was in the room.

    The good news is that it will be going online as text, pictures and video. I need to talk to the gallery about whether it makes more sense for them or me to publish, or even both.

    The text needs a little tidying up, as do the photographic permissions, but it'll turn up before too long.

    And no offence to my fellow older persons, but was also nice to get an appreciative email from someone who was four years old in 1981.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Goody, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    I most certainly did have a moment about TKOP! I hold few records in higher regard than that one.

    Two things:
    #1. While Tom is originally from Ohio. Siltbreeze and his shop are based in Philadelphia, PA. If he could get some SYTA reissues together the world would be a better place.

    #2. RE SYTA. As Stu pointed out to me, Kevin Smith makes a guest appearance in the drawing accompanying Russell's interview with the Axemen in RIU which i've always loved.

    Toronto • Since Mar 2015 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    It's a great little venue that one. Two of those luminaries in the audience on Thursday were recorded at the Auricle in Dec 2013 Roy Montgomery, Bruce Russell and Guests. It was (video) recorded but hasn't had I don't think a public release yet.

    Bruce's 'set' downstairs was pretty wild, Roy's 'set' upstairs was stated subdued, a slow-burner which got more hypnotic as it went on - about 25 min if I recall (Sister Ray-ish at the end).

    A heavily bearded Jody Lloyd visually is reminiscent these days of a latter day James K Baxter!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • MarkHarris,

    Hello. I haven't been in NZ long but am enjoying finding out about the NZ scene from the 80s (although not managing to hear much as everything is so darn rare). I see mention of Ronald Wade Churton in the comments here. In Bruce Russell's "Nuncast", he mentions that Mr Churton played on the Riptoids' "In The Pocket" EP on Onset/Offset (hope this link works): https://www.soundcloud.com/flyingnunrecords/and-the-maggots-dance-1-2-3

    Since Mar 2015 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    It was grand to meet

    It was indeed!

    But maybe there was always an odd stand-offishness-cum-shyness

    Oh yes.

    What I reckon Russell did the other night was to persuade us that the story is worth telling by everyone, from the musicians to the audience.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to MarkHarris,

    The link works Mark. What a great find! I had to listen to it straight away.

    BR (re)introduces to us to a heap of those 'NZ independent minor labels of the 1980s': Sausage, Onset/Offset, F-Star, etc. There really are some obscure gems in there - a fav is The Wasp Factory track. Cue Audioculture:

    F-Star Records was a little known label based in Gisborne in the mid-1980s. It was centred around a small handful of local musicians, most of whom rarely played outside of the East Coast of the North Island. In just under three years the label managed to release six records, including Wasp Factory’s brilliant ‘Steel Blue Skies’. But as fast as the label and those behind it sprung up, F-Star was gone, and has been largely forgotten since.

    I imagine someone somewhere is (hopefully) compiling stories of those other small and in some case long gone minor labels?

    Re: 'When the Moon is Strong', another cracker track, I'm pretty sure Toerag was/is one Stephen Tobeck (who grew up in Burnside, a couple of streets away from me).

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Anyone looking for a good investment in Lyttelton?

    One of Lyttelton's biggest commercial properties has been put up for sale after a long repair process.
    The property houses the portside settlement's SuperValue supermarket and a pharmacy on the ground floor, the Wunderbar nightspot on the first floor, and a basement gym. Offers are being sought for the property with an April deadline.
    ...
    It would be business as usual for the tenants following any sale.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    Toerag was/is one Stephen Tobeck

    Reckon :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Mitchell,

    UC Mitchell.doc

    Shameless self promotion

    I'm not trying to compete with Russell, but as it happens I'm giving a talk at Canterbury University on the Thursday before Easter on music in Christchurch, based on my book chapter and a couple f other publications. That's Thursday 2nd April at 1pm in the Music Department. Details attached.

    Sydney • Since Mar 2015 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tony Mitchell,

    Shameless self promotion

    Always encouraged :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Chchch music gems unearthed…
    an old friend of Oliver Scott (RIP) has been uploading some of Olly’s live recordings including early Detroit Hemroids ' aka the Basket Cases (Paul Kean and Jane Waker pre-Toy Love and the first band I was a roadie-of-sorts for – fun nights at the Gresham and elsewhere), Playthings Live (Paul Kean, Jay Clarkson, Janine Saundercock, Dave Toland) The Dregs (cover of Bill Direen’s Girl at night

    check it out at: https://soundcloud.com/raznz

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Chchch music gems unearthed

    The gems I blogged about last year, you mean? :-)

    The nice thing was, those recordings gave me a context to fit Olly into the talk in question. I met Olly back in the day – I didn't know him well, but I recall him being a real character. I think, like Tony Peake, he's one of those outsiders who come in and have a vital influence on a scene.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

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