Posts by Andrew Barton

  • Flying Nun Moments,

    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