Flying Nun Moments

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  • phil a,

    So many Nun moments so little space. Here's three which stick out in the memory:

    1. The Clean at Gurus, Waikato University 1986(ish) - the place was completely rammed and my (then) girlfriend & I were getting majorly squashed against the front of the stage. Emboldened by beer I thought "sod this" & jumped up on stage, grabbed my partner, & we raged the rest of the gig right next to Hamish (the drummer). No-one told us to bugger off, the crowd went nuts, & apparantly The Clean rate this as THE best gig they've ever had.

    2. The Skeptics & The Headless Chickens at The Venue, Auckland 1986 (I think) - both bands played two nights taking turns as to who started each time, both IMO at the height of their brilliance, and the two drummers of The Skeptics completely blew me away!!!

    3. Fetus Productions at The Hillcrest, Hamilton 1986 or 87 - again treated to two nights of brilliance. First night during an interlude I asked the tallest band member (yes I do know his name) whether he felt like a puff or three outside with my mate & he very keenly said yes. Next night just had to look in his direction when the interlude arrived & out we went. Needless to say the second sets each night were stranger & more gloroius than the first ones (or what I can remember of them anyway).

    Ah, good times...

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Darlington,

    Here's two:

    1. The Clean playing Cathedral Square to largely uninterested passers-by in 1981. I became an instant fan during "Point That Thing Somewhere Else."

    2. Tall Dwarfs play Uni of Canterbury orientation, not long after they formed - maybe 1982? The various beery wallies assembled find the music somewhat inaccessible, and eventually there's an incredulous crowd standing still, silent and staring, approx 2 feet from the Dwarfs. I was busy worshipping Mr Knox from this ca 2-foot distance on the basis of my almost-knackered Toy Love album, but someone less idolatrous called out "Play one you just wrote this morning!" - at which Knox snickered quietly "We already have - twice."

    Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I was busy worshipping Mr Knox from this ca 2-foot distance on the basis of my almost-knackered Toy Love album, but someone less idolatrous called out "Play one you just wrote this morning!" - at which Knox snickered quietly "We already have - twice."

    Goddam. I must have been there too. I don't specifically recall it being that gig at that venue, but I definitely recall that banter. I think the prelude consisted of other witty ejaculations from the crowd:

    "Play one you know!"

    "Play one you don't know!"

    "Play one you just wrote this morning!"

    etc.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    1989, I think, and SJF were part of a Flying Nun triumverate playing a Massey Orientation gig (JPSE and the Bats were the others). The crusty stage crew made up of Palmy muso's and Radio Massey staff had created a very dodgy plywood front to the stage. Half way through their set, a number of punters had taken advantage of the easy access to the stage and had managed to get in a stage dive or two. Most were greeted with a mixture of barely-disguised scorn (guess who :-) and complete indifference (David Wood, who was the epitome of nonchalant rock-god behaviour). Finally, a slightly heavier guy gets up on the stage, acknowledges his mates in the crowds and attempts to launch himself off into rock immortality. He takes a running leap, and the stage collapses, he disappears into the dark recesses underneath, and David breaks into the most unexpected and wonderful burst of laughter mid-song

    Next year, JPSE came back and played the Toga Party. The stage this time was a much better construction, with a proper crowd barrier. I was working in the pit, and noticed a young lass in the front row who seemed to be really enjoying the set. And then i noticed why. Her boyfriend was behind her and was taking advantage of the easier access the toga provided. Possibly the only time anyone has shagged to a JPSE song... ;-)

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Possibly the only time anyone has shagged to a JPSE song... ;-)

    Anyone who can prove Johnno wrong is in contention for a prize ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Tayler,

    BDO - 1986, Bailter Space in the pouring rain - a roaring sonic that swept across the stadium with the field ankle deep in water. I swear the water was moving away from the stage in waves back into the crowd!

    Rock 'n Roll - without doubt!!

    Also have fond memories of late night listening to a certain AM radio station DJ playing The Chills, Toy Love, The Verlaines and The Clean as I huddled under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep and thinking this music was sooooo different to what they played during the day, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon and Australian Crawl... Barry Jenkins, you are my hero! I discovered NZ music because of you... which of course led to Radio With Pictures and videos shot on 8mm... that seems so long ago, but those memories live on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    Most of mine relate to the late lamented Windsor Castle...ooo the days of 10 o'clock closing. Spilling out with ringing ears and watching the fights outside the Exchange across the road. At least we were in bed by a sensible hour.

    But the gigs...

    Final Children's Hour gig - stoopendous, dark and earshattering.

    Tall Dwarfs, with that lovely Mr Knox crawling under the tables trailing a seemingly endless mic lead.

    Fetus Productions with Jed Town in full vampire emsemble, incl blood caspule.

    Unrestful Movements, not F Nun, but the tall chap in the high-heeled boots spouted anti-Nun invective between each track.

    And the Sneakies, why has no-one mentioned the Sneakies? Poptastic.

    Bird Nest Roys with duelling Rossies. Every time.

    etc and so on and so forth...but the most memorable was the final Double Happies gig - still got the poster - a blissball of an evening quickly followed by the shock of Wayne's death. Life ain't always fair.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • james gates,

    Hi Paul and Jonathan, that 3ds gig at the Gluepot in 1993 was amazing! I was 17 at the time and as the place was so crowded I didn't have to worry about the cops coming in, hauling me out and dropping me off to my folks (my parents were quite strict, and there was a close shave a few weeks earlier). Anyway, I remember the stage was surrounded by Dr Seuss cardboard cut outs, and I vaguely remember the beer incident. I do remember that someone brought their skateboard along (Gareth?) and left it on the stage so that when the 3ds finished, David Mitchell put his guitar on it and pushed it along the stage. Very cool.

    It was a great gig, they were on fire, and it was partly due to how much I dug the Venus Trail album. My friend Rich and I both bought a copy and absolutely adored every song on it, but I specifically remember getting very baked at his house one day and taking the whole length of the Young and Restless to dance this very 'limbsy' dance up the stairs. Once we got to the top we realised how silly it must have looked and fell on the floor laughing.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Final Children's Hour gig - stoopendous, dark and earshattering.

    And last year's reunion demonstrated that we weren't just imagining it that way. What a powerful band.

    Bird Nest Roys with duelling Rossies. Every time.

    I'll always associate them with the Great Wine Glut of 1985. You could buy four litres of bastard red for next to nothing, and a lot of people did.

    When Pavement toured here, one of the band was chatting to one of the locals, who happened to mention Bird Nest Roys. The Pavement guy did a double take:

    "You know Bird Nest Roys!?"

    It appears that the legend lasted a lot longer and travelled a lot further than the band did. Although I feel bound to point out that if you only ever heard the records and never saw them live you didn't get the half of it.

    I saw them reunite to play Big Ross's wedding reception in 2004. It was beautiful:

    http://publicaddress.net/default,1804.sm

    etc and so on and so forth...but the most memorable was the final Double Happies gig - still got the poster - a blissball of an evening quickly followed by the shock of Wayne's death. Life ain't always fair.

    Got some news here. Real Groove retrieved the Doublehappys story I did for Rip It Up, based on a a very funny interview a few days before Wayne's untimely death, and Duncan Grieve has very kindly agreed to let me post it on Public Address. I'll do that tomorrow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Tim- yeah, that Cathedral Square Clean gig was truely memorable. Quite a bleak Chch morning with a cold wind. Bemused shoppers, scurrying past. And the almost tinny keyboard sound as they launched into Tally Ho, echoing off the buildings. Someone at the Chch City council was onto it!
    Not strictly Flying Nun... but another gig that really stood out for me: Toy Love at the British in Lyttelton, in about 1979. The British had a reputation as a "rough" pub. But just for once, the usual crowd of sailors, wharfies and ship-girls looked quite respectable- compared to the Chch student/punks who took over the bar. And Toy Love were so tight and ferocious- song after song after song. No hystrionics- ONE short scorching guitar break the whole night. For a wet, nerdy and naive student, it was a big eye-opener.
    The Doublehappys playing with Scorched Earth Policy at the Star and Garter is another favourite. Three of us more-or-less skulled a bottle of tequila on the banks of the Avon outside, in our hurry not to miss a song. At their best, the Doublehappies had that tight looseness- I dunno how else to describe it- that really epitomises rock-n-roll. White-hot Needles'n'Plastic. Marred afterwards by the stupidly-drunkenest driving I've ever been lucky enough to get away with.
    It's very hard to whittle Flying Nun down to one moment. The label has been so central to so much of the NZ musci scene from '81 on. The Great Unwashed (I think?) gig at the Sandridge with The Violent Femmes was a stand-out. The Fall on THAT infamous tour counted (at the time!) as a FN gig. The non-nun Gordons- loudest gig I've ever enjoyed! A few JPSE gigs are etched (groggily) into the brain-stem....- as is the taut, excited face of Alaster Galbraith- expounding on Ivor Cutler, life, music, philosophy- get out the violin! on an all-night Dunedin rave.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Not strictly Flying Nun... but another gig that really stood out for me: Toy Love at the British in Lyttelton, in about 1979. The British had a reputation as a "rough" pub. But just for once, the usual crowd of sailors, wharfies and ship-girls looked quite respectable- compared to the Chch student/punks who took over the bar. And Toy Love were so tight and ferocious- song after song after song. No hystrionics- ONE short scorching guitar break the whole night.

    Ah, the British ... never saw Toy Love there (although I wish I had) but we used to go over and see the Androidss play there (the management would open the doors to the back alley when the cops came looking to bust under-age drinkers).Perfectly seamy, especially when they played 'Sister Ray'.

    One night, Iggy Pop was taken over to see the Androidss play there. He pronounced them "a real fun band". True story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Yeah, Iggy and the androids would've gelled. Never saw them at the British- but they were at (I think?) the Nile River Festival about that time. Androids and raggle-taggle entourage stood out over the weekend amid a sea of mud, hippies, and "orange-people". And then they played a great set on the last day- when everyone was exhausted, flopping around on the grass- they let loose this sustained burst of energy. The only time I can remember seeing hippies pogo....
    BTW- congratulations on the great site. Livens up the working day no end....

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Tayler,

    All this talk of The Verlaines reminded me of another Flying Nun moment, being present at the 21st anniversay recording session and interviewing various people for Xtra. I can't remember everyone that we spoke to that day, but we did manage to get time with Graham Downes that run on for longer than we should - an image of a furious looking recording person running around with a clipboard looking for Graham and Stephen Malkmus. The writer I was with was not a FN buff, so most of the questions were being fired at people from me behind the cameras. It was a fun relaxing afternoon and I learnt a lot from Graham about music and education, along with history of the label and how it's all intertwined with various people and bands.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Kerr,

    Flying Nun Top 10

    1. The Stones, Another Disc Another Dollar, plus their Dunedin Double side – WHY AREN'T THESE SONGS AVAILABLE ON C.D.? Way, way, way too good to be forgotten.

    2. As a teenager, finally listening to The Clean after being mistakenly scared off for years after seeing a video by The Clear (from Palmy, no relation) as a youngster. And having nothing to fear anymore.

    3. Disaffected impressionably hormonal adolescent moment: last few years of high school. For me the, high water mark of FN as the home of a freakishly, profoundly good roster of bands. In a couple of years, Hellzapoppin and Venus Trail, Melt and Blow, Robot World, Submarine Bells, Size of Food and Bleeding Star, are released. And others I can't remember. Colour copying the covers of all of these at the Lower Hutt Public Library to accompany dubs I was sending to a friend overseas. Well before Napter, obviously.

    4. Also at this time: the US 'No Alternative' compilation being released during height of post-Nirvana Smashing Pumpkins era ‘alt’ lameness, and not only including tracks by The Verlaines and The Fits, and a cover of another Verlaines song, but those being the best on the comp, in anyone's book. Meanwhile the UK is consumed by Blur and Oasis. Sorry, Blur or Oasis. Pleeeease…

    5. Bailter Space at the Valve in the early? mid? 1990s. So loud, so beautiful. Such a small venue. Back when I was young enough to stand at the front and watch properly. And at the time thinking I was lucky to see them in a venue that size at all. Ditto for Verlaines at the old Bodge, around the same time.

    6. Then, fighting the shame and disappointment of era of Garageland etc by going back to This Kind of Punishment, Double Happys, The Gordons, etc etc. And (maybe this doesn’t count?) discovering Xpressway via PILE=UP comp. Gold.

    7. Any gig by the 3Ds ever. Ditto The Fits. Especially in the rain at the bogan Mountain Rock outdoor rock fest. Ma ha ha

    8. Reassessment in light of mainstream acceptance moment: post release of Topless Women and Scarfies soundtracks. The music is sold for use in television advertising, but still stands up.

    9. Respect to King Loser: never has a band so bad been so good.

    10. Trying to explain how great all these bands are to the ‘mainstream’, or to non-rock peeps, or to overseas folks, who just don’t get it. Realising that it doesn’t matter, this is our music.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Aaron Kirk,

    Can I just get the Little Brother Tee? I'll run, if its up.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Toxic,

    Rob Mayes/Failsafe tried to get permission to release The Stones stuff pre-Warner buyout, but the idea was scuttled at the 11th hour by FMR. Not that they had any plans to (re)-release it of course...
    He does have some good live stuff that may emerge at some stage though.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    Flying Nun Moments
    1. Getting Alastair Parker to sign my Swervedriver T-shirt after Bailter Space played Gurus. He thought it was funny, I thought he'd had definitely had one or two whiskeys.
    2. 3Ds at Ward Lane Tavern - a great band at a great venue.
    3. King Loser supporting the Verlaines in the Lounge Bar at Mount Maunganui Tavern. Bizzare venue, but we did get to play air hockey between sets.
    4. Driving up to the 10th anniversary concert @ the Powerstation. I got a really cool (actually shit) hooded long sleeve t-shirt that I then wore every day for the next year.
    5. Dave Yetton offering the crowd beers at JPSE. Me mate yelled "WHAT A WANKER" when we missed out, and Dave totally got the wrong end of the stick. (sorry Dave, I loved 'Blow Out Your Candles', though)
    6. Bailter Space at the Riv. We showed up at about 9.30 to see them on already on stage. Luckily they were ony sound checking, and they didn't come on til at least 12. Rock n Roll eh.
    7. Going to see JPSE at the Hilly, and getting booted out for being underage before they'd even played a note. Real sickener.
    8. Going to see Straightjacket Fits at the Hilly the week of the "eye-gouge" Waikato v Otago NPC final, and Shayne Cater hassling John Mitchell for being bald. This caused Flying Nun cool kid / Mighty Mooloo Man identity crisis for weeks afterward.
    9. Seeing Snapper at Oranga, and thinking they were the loudest band I've ever seen.
    10. My friend and I racing home from school on our bikes to listen to his brother's DoubleHappies Needles and Plastic EP - then leaving it on the record player in the sun. Cue irreparable warpage, and World War feckin Three when he found it. I always felt really guilty about wrecking a pretty rare bit of vinyl, and almost bought him the re-issued CD... I'm sure he's over it now.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    1. The Stones, Another Disc Another Dollar, plus their Dunedin Double side – WHY AREN'T THESE SONGS AVAILABLE ON C.D.? Way, way, way too good to be forgotten.

    Its always amazed me that the Dunedin Double has never been on CD....if any record defined the early years of FN in the public mind. it was that one.

    And I have to wonder if there wasn't a wee bit of subtle persuasion behind the scenes to convince Roger to include Garageland and a few other more recent acts in the box...

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

  • Steve Kerr,

    Its always amazed me that the Dunedin Double has never been on CD....if any record defined the early years of FN in the public mind. it was that one.

    And I have to wonder if there wasn't a wee bit of subtle persuasion behind the scenes to convince Roger to include Garageland and a few other more recent acts in the box...

    Yeah there's so much cool stuff outside the FN canon that could be included in a box set, stuff that's still pretty much vinyl-only (correct me if i'm wrong here) like Birds Nest Roys, Exploding Budgies, Goblin Mix (anything with David Mitchell on it), LBGP, also the wierder stuff that FN put out in its early days: Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos etc. It took Siltbreeze to reissue Pin Group - maybe an indie label could do it here? (Not to be seen to undermine purpose of the the current thread, of course...) For that matter a retrospective CD pack each for Propellor (and Ripper) would be nice. Please? Sorry, well off topic now.

    One more FN moment: first time seeing Will Oldham at the old Bodega, with The Renderers backing him up. Went back to see the whole thing over again the next night. Bloody inspirational.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    A Propeller set was under discussion a while back but came to naught as FMR were kind of gasping for air at the time. A Ripper one would be interesting. Bryan had some gems in his catalogue (and like all of us, some tosh..Marilyn Waring doing John Lennon covers..what were they thinking). One of the great lost Ripper tracks was the Don McGlashan production of Otis Mace.

    There were lots of other indies that predated FN too, the likes of Harry Ratbag's REM and Bunk from Wellington. The indie scene had been alive and thriving for two years before FN came along.

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

  • Russell Brown,

    This is nice. Radio NZ has Liisa Macmillan's Flying Nun documentary up in its entirety: with all the music in it:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/nr/programmes/fnr

    I gather that Warners took the plunge and agreed to it going out with the music. great call.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    every good party comes crashing to an end perhaps...

    http://www.flyingnun.co.nz/childrencollide.htm

    "With a few demos under their belt and a 6 track EP on Reverberation Records behind them, ( We Three Brave And True - 2005) Children Collide have now signed with Flying Nun Australia, sister label to indie gods Flying Nun New Zealand"

    Oh the Humanity!

    speaking Propeller, got me hands on Doobie Do Disc on wax last week, bloody good condition too :)

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Kerr,

    A Ripper one would be interesting. Bryan had some gems in his catalogue (and like all of us, some tosh..Marilyn Waring doing John Lennon covers..what were they thinking). One of the great lost Ripper tracks was the Don McGlashan production of Otis Mace.

    Yeah I really rate the Goats Milk Soup comp. And the Bongos 7".

    Waring does Lennon. I'm sure it made sense at the time. To someone. One day I hope to hear that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I gather that Warners took the plunge and agreed to it going out with the music. great call.

    I would the actual contractual ownership of much of that early stuff (and indeed a lot of the later stuff) is pretty grey anyway.A lot of it was paid for by the artists as was much of the indie stuff

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

  • Simon Grigg,

    "With a few demos under their belt and a 6 track EP on Reverberation Records behind them, ( We Three Brave And True - 2005) Children Collide have now signed with Flying Nun Australia, sister label to indie gods Flying Nun New Zealand"

    if there is any indication that they just don't understand that is it...

    speaking Propeller, got me hands on Doobie Do Disc on wax last week, bloody good condition too :)

    ahhh...but the NZ or the Australian edition?? They are quite different.

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

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