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Speaker: Singing g against the E chord

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  • Simon Grigg,

    Who owns the rights? Do you know, Simon?

    Hugh Lynn I think, unless he passed them on to someone else.

    I remember seeing Herbs Mk.1 at The Gluepot on Thursday to about 20 people early in 1981, with Colin Hogg and Mo Cammick, and being mightily impressed. I wrote, what I think was, the first live review of the band (for Rip It Up) aboout it and struck up an impromptu friendship with the guys soon after. I have a fairly blurry memory of standing outside the 1981 RIANZ awards (at the Logan Park Hotel) with several Herbs, Prince Tui Teka, and Tim Blam, enjoying herbs, if you will...

    The various meetings we used to hold with them in the public bar of the Schooner in the years to follow were always fun too. We city boys didn't know you could smoke that stuff in there and get away with it.

    Herbs have been fairly badly served in the reissue stakes..but then so much of our legacy has.

    Talking of such..this is interesting

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Chockasunday,

    Herbs are under-appreciated.
    Their best of, Listen, has some good tunes, but some over-earnest protest songs which haven't dated well.

    Surely they are a root influence on the reggae and dub so popular in NZ these day?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Chockasunday,

    Talking about NZ music from the 70s, did we ever do any imitations of disco or soul music?

    Before the 80s, NZ music was a lot more derivative of overseas trends. I have some great psychedelic albums from the early 70s (e.g. Jessie Harper 'Shades of Midnight Sun'), but I'm assuming we never had the studio budgets (or the inclination?) for Motown-type soul?

    Is there anything besides Golden Harvest 'I Need Your Love'?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    The 3Ds - Swarthy Songs For Swabs ep (Flying Nun, 1991).

    Out of the many, many NZ albums and eps I own, there is only one I've bought on the day it

    was released - the 3Ds' Swarthy Songs For Swabs.

    I walked into Echo Records in Dunedin, gazed admiringly at the typically surreal David Mitchell

    cover art. The back featured a drawing from a gig poster. The actual bottom of the poster read

    "Empire (either May / June) 12 & 13" and down the right-hand side it said "with Perfect

    Garden" a nice bunch, but too inspired by fey British indie acts). I was at those gigs, too.

    I then started quivering with excitement upon noticing that 'Sing-Song' was on it and snapped it

    up. "That's the sixth copy we've sold today", the manager said, as I handed over my dosh. It

    was only about 10.30 in the morning, too. On my way home, I bumped into a friend who was

    on the way to Echo to buy her copy.

    My favourite-ever 3Ds song, 'Sing-Song' opens Swarthy Songs... God it's a magnificent

    song. It hadn't appeared on their debut ep Fish Tales despite being in their live set by then,

    so I was over-joyed it was now on vinyl.
    I also like to think that I had a small part in naming, or at least confirming, the song's title. Y'see,

    sometime in '89 my friend, the late Andrew Heal, and I attended a 3Ds gig at The Savoy, a

    fancy hotel in down-town Dunedin.
    We'd drunk far too much Speights and afterwards went backstage to have a yarn with them.

    We accosted David Saunders and told we really liked "the one that goes 'all the words are

    coming out wrong' ".
    "We're thinking of calling it 'Sing-Song' ", David said. "Yeah, call it 'Sing-Song' " either Andrew

    or I said (I've forgotten which) amid a fug of beer fumes.

    'Sing-Song' starts with a truly compelling, ringing guitar riff, which last for about 20 seconds,

    before Dominic Stones smacks the snare drum and all hell breaks loose. Live, they'd often open

    with it, stretching the riff for 40-50 seconds, really, really building it up. Jesus, the tension.
    Then the guitars crash off into a spiralling riff, as David Saunders sings out lines like "why can't I

    see you any more?", before a frenetic instrumental section, propelled along by some intense,

    metromonic drumming by Stones.

    Back into the singing and Saunders lets us know that "all the words are coming out wrong" as

    piercing melody is combined with some intense distortion, before a humungous sqeal of

    feedback ends the song.

    Next up is 'Bunny' sung by bassist Denise Roughan. Her vocals are really sweet, yet the lyrics

    are sinister: "...wretched children...". The drums are snappy and there's blazing guitars and

    zipping riffs all around.

    'Ritual Tragick' ends side 1. "Just tape it" you can hear Saunders say, before it lets rip. The guitar

    riffs are choppy and full-on, while the bass gets really throbbing in the choruses, especially.

    David Mitchell hollers some wild vocals here, with a superb scream at the end of the final

    chorus, before a burst of feedback concludes the song.

    So, let's see where we are so far: one song each by the two guitarists, one by the bassist. There

    are plenty of wonderful bands with two great guitarists and a sharp bassist, but in modern rock

    only the great Sonic Youth can also pull of the same trick of having three fine songs by three

    different members open a slab of music.

    Side 2...'Meluzina Man' has David Mitchell doing some gentle, croaky vocals, plus there's some

    languid backing vocals by Roughan. There's some insistent, nagging, burbling guitar lines here,

    then the song builds up to some severe, strafing noise, before easing off and ending.

    (Incidentally, a slightly-longer, slightly more-subdued version of this was released on the vinyl /

    cd version of the excellent Xpressway Pile-Up comp around about the same time).

    'Nimmo's Dream' is another Mitchell number and I laugh even now at how brilliantly rediculous it

    is musically and lyrically. It's one of David Mitchell's greatest musical achievements, which is

    saying something given his formidable catalogue. The song's dominated by Stones' bouncing

    tom-tom beats, as Mitchell tells us that Derek Nimmo's "grinning...from ear-to-ear".
    This song is what glam rock sounds like when it's been perverted by people that drink far too

    much homebrew. I drunk some of the homebrew Mitchell was making in those days and it blew

    your eye-balls out. No wonder it sounds like this. The song stomps along and there's the ecstatic

    line "Derek Nimmo's naked dreams have came true!". Genius!

    'Grimace', another David Saunders song, ends the ep. The guitars are rapid and snaking all over

    the show, it's formidable warped punk-blues that speeds along mightily, before the song ends

    with some feedback and a snare thump.

    The final line is "I couldn't ask for anything more" - and having loved Swarthy Song For

    Swabs then and now, neither can I.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Oops, sorry about that, it's not supposed to look like that.

    I wrote it up, then went to post it, but twice some weird message came up saying that "after a year 'such and such server has closed...and to try one of the blogs on the left" . I was pretty puzzled by it.

    So I cut-and-pasted it into a Notepad document to save it, then pasted it into the reply box and was succesful this time, but only for it to look all higgledy-piggledy.

    Russell - any chance of you being able to tidy it up?

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Talking of such..this is interesting

    Very. Alan Perrot once told me that in the early '90s either he or a mate of his (I've forgotten which) picked up the 12" of 'Megaton' in a sale at the palmerston North library for...read it and weep: $2.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 759 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Is there anything besides Golden Harvest 'I Need Your Love'?

    There were the great Maori showbands, some of whom were pretty neat. Real Motown Revue stuff. Check http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~mstowers/id47.htm

    And there was some killer funk. We used to go and watch Tama around 75 in a club in Newmarket, near the Mandalay. Free form jazz funk.

    And largely ignored are the bands that played the Queen Street and South Auckland clubs. Most never recorded but, damn, they could play.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    Bevan:

    I have some great psychedelic albums from the early 70s (e.g. Jessie Harper 'Shades of Midnight Sun')

    Do you actually HAVE that album? cos I'm looking for someone to be my friend and rip me a copy, after having had my LP stolen a few years back.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Most never recorded but, damn, they could play.

    how bout a thread on the lost albums. the bands that had a great album in them but never finished it.

    I'll start the ball rolling
    Beat Rhythm Fashion (recently attended to posthumously)

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    Skeptics - III (Flying Nun) 1987

    http://www.discogs.com/release/807220

    Fresh, innovative, exciting and moody.

    The realisation of the ideas found on their previous recordings finally found the perfect form on III.

    An album that like all good to great albums is more than the sum of its parts, individually (excusing AFFCO) the tracks are fine but when played as a album the thing comes to life, takes you on a journey if you will...

    III didn't sound like it came from here, yet from where else could it have come?

    Best of all it still sounds as menacing today as it did 20 years ago.

    *blah blah blah* hey I'm no Smithies alright, it is just a bloody good listen!

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 538 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Ok I'll add Freebass to that...long lost early jazz-punk (their live album doesn't count)

    Oh, and the Features...we actually recorded another eight tracks for an album but they were never mixed. I gave the tapes to Jed a couple of years back and I think its underway.

    But if you wanna go back that far...Suburban Reptiles (part recorded but never released but missing), Marching Girls...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Skeptics..missing in action, the first EP, 6 tracks, the master being stolen from the Propeller offices and never appeared again. A true NZ rock'roll mystery.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • samuel walker,

    Ok I'll add Freebass to that...long lost early jazz-punk

    Oh yezz, [i say sir, you seem to have dropped your matchbox......] I think Freebass are my Gang of four.....they sure knew how to ride an extended groove!

    and Colony, they had at least half a great album in them ready to roll....not least "cut you up".... chilling AND funky.

    Since Nov 2006 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    But if you wanna go back that far...Suburban Reptiles (part recorded but never released but missing), Marching Girls...

    I do wanna go back that far actually :)
    did the spelling mistakes double disc satiate the lost album need or do you think they had a better album in them?

    The features is a definite notable and I hope jed gets round to polishing up that puppy. 8 tracks plus their ep and single will make a worthy entry.


    I'll ad to that list the rumored scrapped swingers album before practical jokers featuring their tried and true live set favorites.
    some of them can be heard and downloaded on this little known page of phil judds site.
    http://www.philjudd.com/links.html

    check out the jinx

    Also the rumored lost gordons album. legend has it there was an old gordons either before of just after the gordons first album (now there is a classic nz album for sure) that the engineer accidently wiped. apparently the band under took to re record those tracks many years later in their bailterspace days. Not heard these recordings or had confirmation they exist.

    Alms for children might have had a good post punk album in them. that single was pretty good and not really like their later band this sporting life.

    The lost enemy album.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Not really "lost" (because I'm sure Bill has a copy) but it gives me a chance to bang my Direen drum ...

    The out-take from the Beatin Hearts recordings that eventually turned up as 'On the Beach Last Night' on the CD re-release was not originally an instrumental.

    The lyrics began "Jesus fucked me on the beach last night," and forged further into blasphemy from there. Catholic schoolboys go to Hell for that stuff ...

    I heard the original live, and I even had a cassette dub of the original recording, with the vocal track on it. That, unfortunately, is lost ...

    PS: You've got the weekend to get your submissions in for the five copies of Soundtrack. After that, it's Word of the Year time ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    *blah blah blah* hey I'm no Smithies alright, it is just a bloody good listen!

    'Tis! The Skeptics still sound like they're from the future.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    PS: You've got the weekend to get your submissions in for the five copies of Soundtrack. After that, it's Word of the Year time ...

    Ha...just got an offer of a freebie from Grant...made my day

    Alms for children might have had a good post punk album in them. that single was pretty good and not really like their later band this sporting life.

    This Sporting Life didn't have the snarl of AFC. I would've killed for a Herco Pilots album. I still love the singles.

    Spelling Mistakes...dunno if I'd have gone for more than a series of killer singles with a hits collection to pull them together. They would've been a perfect iTunes type act..

    The real shame for a lot of those acts is that their live acts are lost forever in those pre digital days. Now every shitty band gets it's live act released on DVD and it exists in perpetuity. The will never be any real document of just how good Toy Love or The Gordons were live, despite the odd surviving snippets.

    Or then again, how bad (Suburban Reptiles, Swingers and, yes, The Gordons again) could be on a rough night

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    Also the rumored lost gordons album. legend has it there was an old gordons either before of just after the gordons first album (now there is a classic nz album for sure) that the engineer accidently wiped. apparently the band under took to re record those tracks many years later in their bailterspace days. Not heard these recordings or had confirmation they exist.

    Wow, exciting -- that's a new one on me! Am pretty fond of the Gordons Vol 2, as well as the Live at Taita live boot.

    'Tis! The Skeptics still sound like they're from the future.

    Chowder over Wisconsin wuz gonna be my rave-up rekkid; but I couldn't actually find anything coherent to write. Still sitting on it.

    Also considering Bailterspace Robot World, S J Fits Melt, the first solo David Kilgour (the album that got me into Thunderclap Newman) Here Come The Cars, Verlaines Some Disenchanted Evening, Dead C Eusa Kills (remember them blowing Sonic Youth off the stage in 1993?)... and on and on and on...

    What about comps. Expressway Pile=Up? (still buzzed about the time I convinced Stephen Kilroy to do 45 Degrees Below Frozen at the Wunderbar in 2001) AK79? (Simon, any progress on the debacle you outlined on the Psecret list?)

    Anyone with an interest in post-punk in NZ owes it to themselves to get a look at Andrew Schmidt's new issue of Mysterex (#4).

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    AK79? (Simon, any progress on the debacle you outlined on the Psecret list?)

    yes..today actually, I'm told....but will wait and see

    Anyone with an interest in post-punk in NZ owes it to themselves to get a look at Andrew Schmidt's new issue of Mysterex (#4).

    Mysterex is an incredible piece of documentation and is a must read IMO. I'm not sure if I have exactly the same memory of some of the things as they appear in there (not sure if anyone does..they were muddled times) but Andrew is doing a hell of a fine thing in getting it all down.

    The Flying Nun story is the current issue is pure gold, I just wish someone had been brave enough to put a name to it. I'm not sure if I agree totally with large parts of it, but like Grant's book, he's putting in black and white what was quite often said, but rather quietly.

    And since we are patting backs.. http://www.failsaferecords.com is a mighty thing, documenting the Chch scene and beyond. I love passion like this.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    Dead C Eusa Kills (remember them blowing Sonic Youth off the stage in 1993?)...

    Jesus, Clover, I recorded that, but sadly the cassette tape is no more. What a good night that was.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    Bressa Creeting Cake for the most part went on to become vineyard and
    orchstra salwarts Goldenhorse, after releasing my favorite NZ album, the eponymous Bressa Creeting Cake. Dodgy name (and cover) aside, BCC is choka with fine tunes, great playing and cheerful bizarreness. Track four 'Superstation' is an ode to buying petrol station pies, while 'A Chip That Sells Millions' tells the tale of a boy taking his food scientist Dad's new chip flavor sachets to school to 'blow his friends out with flavors they don't know about'.


    It's a rilly summery album, complete with cicadas running throughout 'Zenax', and the perfect pop opening of track one 'Palm Singing'. The band took over a studio in Devonport to record it - having recently moved to the Shore I love that this ace album was recorded here (hey, Frank Sargeson lived on the shore too, hey? And Warwick Roger). Rocky Mountain is a fantastic laid back pop song, and was chosen for Flying Nun's 25th Anniversary Box.

    This is one of my most-listened to albums ever, and I'm still discovering little noises and lyrical phases. I love that this is BCC's only recorded output, giving it the same 'we made one perfect album and that's it-ness' of say, The Stone Roses (IF you don't count Second Coming, which I don't). I love its' intelligence, sly humor, unabashed pop - I only wish I'd got to seen them live, and enjoy catching little BCC moments in Goldenhorse songs.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    Bressa Creeting Cake

    Dodgy name? I preferred the original...

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Mysterex is an incredible piece of documentation and is a must read IMO. I'm not sure if I have exactly the same memory of some of the things as they appear in there (not sure if anyone does..they were muddled times) but Andrew is doing a hell of a fine thing in getting it all down.

    Its very much a fanzine and I admire the passion but have to make em down big time on the personal slant aspect of their retelling of history.
    I thought the flying nun story was just bad form, sour grapes, over what I'm not sure. I personally have pretty postive memories of those times.

    They managed to write a whole article on pop mexchanix without managing to mention that their full back catalogue of material and every piece of salavagable unreleased material (5 x cds worth!!!!) had been recently collated and released on CD. how do you miss a major detail like that? They did the same for their mention of desperate measures who also recently had the first time on cd treatment, and their gladstone article managed to ignore the only recorded archive of that place and that time in Failsafes Accident compilation a 2 cd set of 100% gladstone band inhabitants. Talk about re writing history, or selective memory.

    But its their magazine so I guess they can write what they like, but I much prefer my info from someone like simon kays rawpower label. facts and enthusiasm win out over fanboy waffle anyday.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    The real shame for a lot of those acts is that their live acts are lost forever in those pre digital days. Now every shitty band gets it's live act released on DVD and it exists in perpetuity. The will never be any real document of just how good Toy Love or The Gordons were live, despite the odd surviving snippets.
    Or then again, how bad (Suburban Reptiles, Swingers and, yes, The Gordons again) could be on a rough night

    That's true as far as visual representations of those bands but there are tapes around although some of em are in pretty bad shape now.
    John said he's got tapes of pretty much ever gordons gig they played.
    The swingers do have tapes too although they could do with a bit of solid restoration, faily hissy.
    There are a couple of quite reasonable toy love gigs availabel, and I've got a pretty decent screaming mee mees gig with a bunch of unreleased tracks (did I send you a copy of that yet simon?)

    Maybe NZ on air could look at channeling some funds and effort into that instead of the next blindspott or tim finn video grant (no offence meant to either of those artists, I'd take the cash if someone was throwing it at me)

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Bressa Creeting Cake
    Dodgy name? I preferred the original...

    Whoo, a dodgy band name thread could be fascinating.

    My nomination for dodgiest: the original name of Fetus Productions was Scraping Fetus Off The Wheel.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

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