George Harrison’s post-Beatles output is overrated and The Monkees are criminally underrated. At least that is the case according to William Daymond from The Pickups. The Christchurch three-piece gave us an email interview with UTR recently and talked a lot about The Beatles, The Beach Boys and the aforementioned Monkees. There are definitely worse things to have a conversation about.
The core trio of The Pickups are myself (William Daymond) on vocals and guitar, Jared Kelly on bass and Isaac Mawson on drums, although we have had extra members and special guests join us over the years.
Tell us the epic tale of your creation…
Isaac and I met at high school in our 6th form year in early 2000, when we were both 16. By the end of the year we were rehearsing on a regular basis as a two-piece, and spent most of the following year writing new material and getting tighter as a band.
We first played live at the Wunderbar in Lyttelton on 23 March 2002 under the name The Twin Towers (we named ourselves this, believe it or not, on September 10, 2001, as a reference to us being a two piece). We continued to play for the rest of the year, although at some point we changed our name to The Distractions. We took most of 2003 off while I played with Adam McGrath in The Sweethearts (a sort of early version of The Eastern).
We started playing as a two piece again under the name The Pickups in October 2003, however it was soon blatantly obvious to us that whilst being a two piece was a good idea in theory, we needed a bass player to fill out the sound, and we started looking for a potential candidate. It wasn’t till mid 2004 that we met Jared Kelly, who had recently moved to Christchurch from Timaru. By late 2004 we were rehearsing as a three piece, and played our first live show as a three piece on 9 October 2004 at Mainstreet Cafe, Christchurch.
Over the next three years we played live on a very regular basis, developing and working at our reputation as a good live band with well written songs, and for a period (September 2005 to April 2006) were joined by Isaac’s then girlfriend Bri Yaakoup on keyboards, who left us to concentrate on her involvement in Frase + Bri. We recorded most of our set in January 2007 with Marcus Winstanely at All Plastic Studios, however due to unforeseen delays involving mixing, mastering and completing the artwork the album was only able to be pressed in April this year (for example, when it came to mixing, due toconflicting time schedules we could only meet up every Sunday. On average we were able to mix one song per session, and with there being 14 songs to mix, and in some instances there ended being 5 or 6 different completed mixes of a song, the whole mixing process ended up taking over 4 months to complete).
In July 2007 we were put on temporary hiatus due to Isaac moving to Wellington, however with both Jared and I relocating to Wellington this year we have started to rehearse and play live again to promote the new album, and also to write new material. We will tour nationwide later on this year.
Do you think Christchurch has been a stimulating place to make music?
I found Christchurch to be a satisfactory and adequate place to develop as a band; I would have never described the town itself as “stimulating” in any shape or form.
Describe the defining moments that made you want to make music:
Listening to the Beatles for the first time when I was five made me want to play the guitar. Seeing Paul McCartney live when I was nine made me want to play live. Listening to Secret Box by The Chills when I was sixteen gave me the the confidence and impetus to write songs on a regular basis.
Apart from music, what else do you guys get up to?
Isaac and I play in a few other bands (ie. Cougar Cougar Cougar, Full Moon Fiasco, Red Country, Terror of the Deep, etc…) and we also go to university. Jared works full time.
What aisle would you slot into at your local record store?
If there was a Psychedelic Pop Rock section we would fit into that perfectly, but let’s face the facts, if you are a local band then you are going to be lumped in the “New Zealand / Local” section, regardless of what genre of music you make.
What artists have really got you excited lately?
This is a somewhat broad answer, but I relocated to Wellington in February, and in the three and a half months it took me to find a flat I had all my records and CD’s in storage, some of which I, up until then, listened to on a daily basis. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and when I finally found a flat and got all that material out of storage and checked out after nearly four months, to describe that as exciting is an understatement.
Describe the collaboration/writing process
In most cases I have the songs more or less finished by the time I present it to the band, however normally in rehearsal we will work on the structure of the song and make any changes there.
Local: Martin Phillipps. International: Neil Young.
What’s the best thing about making music? Again, somewhat of a broad answer, but to see a song that you have written develop from just something you play around with in your room on guitar, then it being taught to the rest of the band, playing it live on a regular basis, recording it in a studio and then getting it preserved for eternity on replicated CD is a very satisfying and rewarding experience.
What gets you down about being in the music industry?
One thing about being a band in a small place like Christchurch is that it dosen’t really matter how good your songs are, how talented you are or how strong your work ethic is, basically if you are in a band the most important things are a) knowing the right people, and b) making music that is markateble in some shape or form. As a result I have seen some awesome bands get their noses turned up at because they either too old, don’t have the “correct” dress sense or don’t have good contacts. I have also seen some horrible bands get far more attention than they deserve simply because they are friends with the right people, and have a guest DJ with a pissfringe and a laptop computer.
Craziest on-stage antics experienced thus far?
I can think of a few; a very disgruntled local resident threw a chair at us midway through our first ever performance as a three piece with Jared (Mainstreet Café, Christchurch, 9 October 2004). As a result I had to write a 4 page report of the incident for the City Council. A very overweight and drunk dude in his 40’s with a long curly mullet and a novelty Jack Daniels jacket started heckling us at a performance at Al’s Bar, Christchurch in early 2006; Jared and I made a few offensive retorts back to him and he walked onstage with the presumed intention of picking a fight with us, however Al had to intervene at the last minute and kick the guy out.
Best concert you’ve ever been to?
When I was nine I saw Paul McCartney (with Linda on keyboards) live at Western Springs Auckland. It was awesome and unquestionably changed my life.
Who would you be willing to commit a serious offence for a chance to see live?
The Monkees (original 60’s lineup, with Nesmith). The Kinks, or at least the Davies brothers reunited on the same stage. The surviving members of The Beach Boys. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr together.
Name someone who’s really overrated in music.
George Harrison’s solo material. A close friend of mine and I listened to, in chronological order, the entire Beatles solo back catalogue and unquestionably George has the least to offer out of the four of them. The only good album that he ever released is All Things Must Pass, and even that is far too long.
And someone who’s criminally underrated?
I think The Monkees are unquestionably the most underrated band in music history. They have so many myths surrounding them that many ignorant music fans believe and turn their noses up at them, despite the fact they are responsible for some of the most enduring songs of the 20th century. Also Paul McCartney’s solo career / Wings.
The state of NZ music is:
It’s somewhat of a double edged sword. Whilst there are probably the more opportunities available to NZ musicians than there has ever been before, its also probably the most unoriginal it has ever been, with too many depressingly bad carbon copies of international based acts being played on the television and radio to fill the quota when far more original and unique material goes unnoticed. NZ On Air should get it’s act together too, did they really need to fund six Boh Runga videos over the period of a year when there are many other bands who can’t even afford to lay down their set in a basic studio let alone release something?
If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be:
A Lion Tamer.
October 2010 finds the dysfunctional Axemen family in myriad modes, each in his own sphere, each with their own worldview, each finding new connections, disconnecting others some halfhearted some heartfelt some hearty beef some harkening some heartlessly hardened, haggling and harrying. don’t ask don’t tell.
|The Sultan’s Bat Tree
some haranguing, some balls dangling sanguine like,
ditching a bat with simple bamboo slivers
Please visit. thanks andrew.
News has broken of the death of Tony Peake. Tony was a central figure in the Christchurch punk and post-punk scenes.
I had the good fortune to catch up with him in Christchurch in 1994 where he was up to his eyeballs opening a new dance club. Despite that he made time for an interview. One of my favourites of that particular research mission. He was warm and open and honest and you can’t ask for more than that. I was curious about his role in punk and The Newtones whose two singles and compilation tracks were (and are) era favourites. You can download Tony’s Newtones’ track Christchurch part 2 here. The resulting story was printed in Social End Product in 1995 and is reproduced here. The Newtones’ Mark Brooks remembers the times here.
After The Newtones broke up Tony was a member of Yen and then a dance club organiser and DJ. He also booked the Gladstone and was a keen promoter of post-punk groups.
Simon Grigg shares some memories here. Check the comments as well.
There is a compact album worth of songs he was involved with out there waiting to be compiled together with three Newtones videos and TV footage of Tony fronting The Vandals.
RIP Tony. You made a difference.
Live and on Record
The Newtones – New Way – Class of ’81 – Propeller Records comp. LP – March 1981.
An early piece of sound shaping and sampling. The Newtones’ new way.
The Newtones – Paint the Town Red/ China/ Christchurch part 2/ Santa Anna – The Newtones – Newtones Music 7” EP – Recorded by Fred Kramer and Arnie Van Bussell at Nightshift Studios in Christchurch. Number 13 in June 1981. One week in chart.
Their debut EP, simply called The Newtones, documented the Christchurch trio’s rise from early punk roots in The Vauxhalls, The Vandals, Aliens and Street of Flowers with a stinging version of the Flowers’ China, a Tony Peake song echoing the aggression of the punk years and hinting at his love of sixties psychedelia. and the flanged pop/ rock of Mark Brooks’ Paint The Town Red; an effortless Christchurch anthem.
The Newtones – My World/ Incidentially Dreaming – Newtones Music 7”. Recorded by Fred Kramer and Arnie Van Bussell at Nightshift Studios in Christchurch. Number 47 on 24 January 1982. One week in chart.
More street pop from the prolific Newtones. My World is a Mark Brooks song taken for a long stroll by Brooks’ bass, Martin Archbold’s drums and Tony Peake’s guitar. Incidentially Dreaming is a wispy love song with airy Peake guitar.
Dates (The Newtones play all shows): August ’80 – Star and Garter. 13. September ’80 – XTC. Christchurch Town Hall. 12. December ’80 – Playthings. Solitudes. Canterbury University. 12. January ’81 – Volkswagens. 25 Cents. Androidss. Christchurch Arts Centre. 8. Techtones. 3ZM concert. QE 2 Park. 9. Victor Dimisich Band. System X. Christchurch Arts Centre. 14. Gladstone. 21. 22. 23. 24. March ’81 – Playthings. Gladstone. 12. 13. 14. Ballon D’Essai. Gladstone. 23. 24. 25. April ’81 – Class of 81 Show. Newmatics. Screaming Meemees. Blam Blam Blam. Gladstone. 20. May ’81 – Gladstone. 7. 8. 9. June ’81 – Volkswagens. Gladstone. 11. 12. 13. Gladstone. 25. 26. 27. August ’81 – Gladstone. 27. 28. 29. October ’81 – Gladstone. 15. 16. 17. Androidss. Playthings. Ritchie Venus and The Blue Beetles. Gladstone. 26. November ’81 – Shoreline. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. aft. 14. Playthings. Mainly Spaniards. Star and Garter. 19. 20. 21. January ’82 – Terraces. Gladstone. 7. 8. 9. February ’82 – The Clean. Ballon D’Essai. Tall Dwarfs. Canterbury University. 6. Star and Garter. 12. 13.
copyright – Andrew Schmidt – 2005
||The doctor’s on Speed Dial
a song by steve mccabe
the doctors on speed dial
i may pretend to be all hard nosed but sometimes what can you do
the movies come out
hungry enzymes and hungry hippos
a song by steve mccabe
lights on a sycamore tree
a fight with a hand to hand expert
not used as yet:
a fine spectacle he made splashing down in the ocean
coincidence is purely accidental
wildfire in the place of worship
let me ride
i will drive
fire engine on the skids
don’t forget your skid lid
and put the trash out before the kids handle it
and decide to panhandle it
in the corridor
its a horror filled shooting galley
deadbeat kate and allie
lying in the alley
bullet wounds thru their heads
back and to the left
no-one has yet improved on zapruder
please release the tapes
its an all nite party
goo goo ga joob
walrus is a de-tusked shadow
firing blanks still in a sated way
satan’s sway piles the cash onto the millenium.
chile miners got more reason to be out of their mind
reason don’t come lightly
Officer Dibble couldn’t have detected this
This cheese is swiss and i know longer know what love is.
its full of holes
but sir its guyere
i don’t care where its grown, its full of holes
like the bulletholes in my skin, they do get in
mrs marsh, your concept is dated
but they do get in regardless
fluoride is hated in every state
hey aren’t you the mrs marsh i DATED?
chalk and cheese
anything vaguely rug-munchy
somebody, replace the monkey
whenever yr ready theres a firebrand ready
a fine fire brand ready to burn and beat me
keister-meisters haven’t got a prayer
i’m taking dares, burning considerate until the next fire.
breathing deeply till the next fire.
its a funeral pyre
shine my niggah,don’t bleed for me.
|Columbo Street is Bending
columbo street is bending
in avalon, xanadu, rainman in cali
you. cannot. be. serious.
i am thinking of going for pain and suffering grounds for this too – every time i hear it my blood pressure goes up 10 pts.
how is shar? what is the situation there now? not sure as to best approach if you got any ideas….
|Workin for the man
workin for the class
he’s a hardy hard habit to break
I’ll meet you at eight
by the lake
and when you pull up don’t forget to brake
(not like the last screwup who forgot to apply his brakes)
Bald-win! paedophile at the rock’n’roll high school
hangin round the gym just to get an eyeful
panties sometimes stockings sometimes petite brassieres
the i think he’s got what he’s looking for clear
he’s the bald one, the only baldwin worth his salt
and i love him with every figure of my soul
but i’m only a man can’t you understand it takes a minimum of two to tango
|I break for cake for gods sake
my mans in the outfield buying yellowcake
but its cream, tangerine, lemon ivy
harangued by caramel thats a sticky mix i see
|I tweeted the bird sanctuary
they told me you had flown the coop
no biggie for tupac and biggie smalls
they’ll be the biggest rappers of them all
|…the… twittersphere… full of nudgerigars
oh what a collossal waste
Life is pretty cheap but for the frozen cheap wasters!
gorillaform contenders, suedehead boots downout racists
steer, queers, souvenirs, novelties, party tricks
wait, you dropped your phony dog poo back there in the sticks!
|because 1984 is over
the earth will have a grand opening party
and while all crumbles and the earth spits and swallows
a little girl waits.
TOO LOOSE TO TREK
Don’t let your genie loose in midstream
its horses for courses if you know what i mean
600 lb gorilla in a barr-brady suit
slick hair matted up like superglue
The critical mass runneth over
like a jehovas witness on gwynneth paltrow
looks like jealous bitchiness has the reins again
because when the rains come it looks like stormy weather again
Too loose to hang on to the reins!
when the rains come you will have mush for brains
if you keep your mind open
there’ll be bad brains rising from these tired remains!
Always counting chickens before they’re hatched
always have to steal my kisses down in the hatch
but your 6 ton ape is wearing falsies and a wig
and thats not real hair in his ear, its an earwig
|Workin class man, no rod, bow or rifle
liable for libel, won’t give you an eyeful
of baubles, bangles and bronzed love beads
Can you tell me how to get to Simian Street?
|Come with me and Peggy Lee on a slow boat to Harlem,
We’ll take the most rank cab that you got
handsome is as handsome does
this charming man has a hand in his glove
What he’s doing i couldn’t say
but he sure scared those pigeons away.
ooh yeah, but he sure scared those pigeons away.
hey hey, he scared those pigeons away.
HEARTBREAK HOTEL – TRUTH OR LEGEND?
Courtney Cox and Myley Cyrus tell of all night circus romp!
This is one of the inspiring images which are echoed in Steve’s 2010 song ‘Punt of Derry Castle Survivors’ aka ‘Get me off this Ship of Fools’…
Punt of Derry Castle Survivors
Main Auckland Island to the Firth of Thames
Get me off this ship of fools!
The ferry’s legendary its a primary focus
The more you take on the more you got to lose
Get in the punt of Derry Castle survivors
I am alive. I will survive, believe me!
Get off the grass you bunch of part-timers
Breath in the Word, then bleed for me or bleed me!
I think he wants to focus now!
Wish he’d take the photo first
its a photo finish, just ask Matt
and all the survivors behind him
Irons in the fire , a burning desire
still haven’t found what i’m looking for
satanic verses in unreadable languages
aren’t really verses at all!
Get in the punt of Derry Castle Survivors
Their names be unfamiliar, but your grandchildren knows it
Livin for the city is workin for the man
i just wanna live for the working class man
The song, its wrong, sorry to waste your time
tumbling fumbling mixture of words
Kilkenny seperatists citing the punt
everybody has to take a punt!
Anyone who had a heart wouldn’t want to break one
Could it be you haven’t got a heart
Grab a martial arts leaflet, please do take one
Sufferin’ for our our art
kindly reprinted from http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/castaways/2/3
Pic: Here a punt is being removed from the Rose Island boatshed in 1973 for safe keeping in a weatherproof museum at Erebus Cove. The survivors of the Derry Castle built themselves this wooden punt to sail from Enderby Island, where their ship was wrecked, to the provision depot on the main Auckland Island.
Kings and serfs alighted, they flitted from island to island.
Being boat-based, these beatnik boatniks assumed the asinine affinity incorporation as expected of a corporate cultural construct, with a hierarchy that has signoff requirements and some bureaucracy to deal with should it become fashionable , common sense or as a last resort go to back to the traditional skills.
kia kaha kapai ai