While Shoes This High’s existence was a mere glint in the eye of Father Time (a year or more, tops), they made every second count, stalking the New Zealand post-punk landscape—both North and South islands—with ravenous abandon. For most fans, their legend and reputation rest solely on the strength of one highly formidable (and collectable) self-released 7-inch EP from 1981. And as anyone with ears who’s had the good fortune to come in contact with its jagged, scabrous genius can attest, the cry invariably rings out afterward: “Mein Gott, is this all there is?” In the 30-plus years since its initial release, the answer has been a most unflinching “yes.”
That is, until Siltbreeze tapped into the massive tape library of famed New Zealand underground music archivist Bob Sutton, who had in his possession a white-hot live scorcher of the group, culled from a set that went down at the infamous Billy the Club way back when. Straight to Hell showcases a band at the peak of their menacing powers.
[Deceased] Guitarist Kevin Hawkins slashes and rips strings from his ax like a mad butcher; the rhythm section of Jessica Walker and Christopher Plummer is par excellence, while the sneering, contemptuous vocals of singer S. Brent Hayward spit like poison darts above the swagger.
Expertly sequenced by Jared Phillips (Times New Viking), Straight to Hell is a most welcome and astonishingly great artifact that delivers in buckets a shivering, toxic rain you always knew had fallen.
Vinyl comes with a digital download of the complete album plus the four studio tracks from the original 1981 EP. One-time edition of 500—buy now or cry later.
Some of you have been slow to re-board the New Zealand Reissue Train for reasons perfectly understandable: can’t get into the psychedelic pop sounds, sounds like rain, same people play in all the bands, this all happened years ago/half a world away/what’s it got to do with me?, etc. For that last one, you’re on your own, but if you’ve been holding out for something truly dangerous from the back pages of Kiwi musicology, Shoes This High is the group for you.
Existing for a pinch between 1980-81, the only truly comparable band in the country, in terms of sheer intensity, would have been the Gordons (who I’m sure Shoes This High broke multiple stages with), but while that group was focused on a more long-term, weightier burn, Shoes This High — vocalist S. Brent Hayward, guitarist Kevin Hawkins, bassist Christopher Plummer and drummer Jessica Walker — were more content to stick and move, steal your wallet, stab you in between the ribs and slap you about.
All they ever committed to vinyl is a single four-song EP, but Straight to Hell issues for the first time a long-lost live set delivered by the band in its prime (and tacks on the 7″ tracks for comparison as a digital download). All but one of the songs in the set were ever heard by audiences outside of New Zealand in some truly reckless venues.
Punk is still in the air, but there are two other big components of their sound: the Fall, who by way of a brief snippet at the beginning of “Shouting Eat Sh*t” they must’ve been familiar with, and the Contortions, who unless any copies of No New York made their way across their borders, they couldn’t have possibly known about.
The guitar work and vocals here are absolutely vicious, frothing-mouthed and violent, introducing far-flung tenets of no-wave brutality to the punters, and the rhythm section anchors everything down in the maelstrom of slashing noise and invective hurled off by the rest of the band.
Despite what you might pre-conceive a nearly 35-year-old live tape might sound like, Straight to Hell captures this group with brightness and clarity, at peak psychosis.
If you were looking for a band that could rip your hair out from 7000 miles away, this here would be the one.
-Doug Mosurock (February 5, 2014)
While Shoes This High’s existence was a mere glint in the eye of Father Time (a year or more, tops), they made every second count, stalking the New Zealand post-punk landscape—both North and South islands—with ravenous abandon.
For most fans, their legend and reputation rest solely on the strength of one highly formidable (and collectable) self-released 7-inch EP from 1981. And as anyone with ears who’s had the good fortune to come in contact with its jagged, scabrous genius can attest, the cry invariably rings out afterward: “Mein Gott, is this all there is?” In the 30-plus years since its initial release, the answer has been a most unflinching “yes.”
That is, until Siltbreeze tapped into the massive tape library of famed New Zealand underground music archivist Bob Sutton, who had in his possession a white-hot live scorcher of the group, culled from a set that went down at the infamous Billy the Club way back when. Straight to Hell showcases a band at the peak of their menacing powers.
Guitarist Kevin Hawkins slashes and rips strings from his ax like a mad butcher; the rhythm section of Jessica Walker and Christopher Plummer is par excellence, while the sneering, contemptuous vocals of singer S. Brent Hayward spit like poison darts above the swagger. Expertly sequenced by Jared Phillips (Times New Viking), Straight to Hell is a most welcome and astonishingly great artifact that delivers in buckets a shivering, toxic rain you always knew had fallen. Vinyl comes with a digital download of the complete album plus the four studio tracks from the original 1981 EP. One-time edition of 500—buy now or cry later.
Shoes This High posters – from the awesome collection of Bob Sutton
Stu Kawowski (AKA Stuart Page) of The Axemen Interview, Part Two
Reprinted From: http://boredout305.tumblr.com/day/2013/09/14
Ryan: What inspired the Axemen to record Three Rooms: An Elton John Tribute Album (1992).
Stu: I remember that time period. Although it was released in 1992 we actually recorded it in 1984 or 1985. Nevertheless I can’t recall why in the hell we decided to do that record. I was living in Christchurch. Steve and Bob were sharing a flat that we called Peterborough Studios; we had done up the whole upstairs of their place and dedicated it to playing music. Steve was brewing coffee wine. We were all probably a bit wasted on his coffee wine. I remember singing “Rocket Man.” I think we only intended to do one song. As a joke we carried on with a whole pile of Elton John songs. It was one of those nutty things that we would do. I don’t think we had an organized plan to do Elton John covers.
Ryan: Organized and the Axemen are not synonymous.
Ryan: I lost track of you after 1992. What were you doing after The Axemen wound down? Were you pursuing film and photography?
Stu: In 1992 I hooked up with a couple of dudes and tried to set up a film company. We had two names. One was Eclipse Films. I was making music videos under that name. The other name was Māori: Te Aō Mārama Productions. Under that name we made a documentary about an old Māori woman, Ana Tia, who ran an inner-city marae (communal place). She would help out kids who moved to the city from the country and got into trouble. She would visit them in the jails and teach them traditional Māori waiata (songs) and haka— Māori war dance. That film, Te Whaea: Mother Of Change, ended up going to Leipzig, Germany and won an award. I was responsible for doing these advertising slides for a couple of cinemas in town as well. That was just to bring in cash for the business. I did that for a few years. The business didn’t pan out in the end. It wasn’t very lucrative. After the business ended I decided I wanted to learn more about film lighting. I ended up doing film lighting for ten years or so. I worked on commercials and feature films.
Ryan: Shustak (2009) was a big undertaking for you. I know Shustak died before you completed the film. How long had you been working on the film when he passed?
Stu: Shustak had a heart attack. I was in Europe when it happened. Someone had written to me and told me that he wasn’t well. I thought, “Oh shit. Don’t go yet, old man.” I came back to New Zealand and borrowed a camera from someone. I went down to Christchurch and asked Shustak to do some filming. He wasn’t very keen. I was there for two weeks and I only filmed him once. I went back down a few months later and managed to do one more session with him. I had enough footage to apply for some funding by that point. I wanted to do a small film. I applied for about $16,000. I was actually carrying Shustak’s coffin in Christchurch when the letter was delivered in Auckland saying that I had gotten the funding. Shustak was convinced that I’d never get it. He’d say to me, “No one will give you funding to make a film about me.” I was just focusing on making a small film on Shustak. But then this guy, Elliot Landy—who was the primary photographer at Woodstock—found out that I was doing this film on Shustak. He lives out in New York. Landy said, “Oh, man, you’ve got to come out and film us. We’ve got much more interesting things to say about Shustak than what he told you.” I realized at that point that Landy was right and that the project had suddenly become enormous.
Stu: Shustak was a very important person in my life. I wanted to make something celebrating all of his great photography; I didn’t want his life to go unnoticed. There wasn’t much information on Shustak out there. A few mentions in magazines.
Ryan: There still isn’t much out there on him. You did a great service for him.
Stu: There’s a book coming out with some of his photographs of Ethiopian Jews in it but there’s nothing solid out there on him, focusing exclusively on his work. I doubt I’ll do it. I spent seven years of my life on the film. Someone should pick up the baton and charge with that one. It’d be a big job but someone could put together an incredible book of Shustak’s work. There’s so much material. I’ve scanned thousands of things that he created: photographs, writings and film scripts.
I was going to Europe with this Māori music group a lot between 2002 and 2006. I’d get my return travel to NZ rerouted through USA rather than back through Asia. It cost me another five hundred dollars but it allowed me to stop off in New York and film people like Harvey Zucker from A Photographers Place bookstore and Elliot Landy up in Woodstock. I also filmed Shustak’s family, friends and ex-wives. Some of them were hard to find, living right on the border of Mexico. Shustak was a guy you either loved or hated. His kids all had good and bad things to say about him. His ex-wives didn’t speak too kindly of him. He did some really great photography. For its time and place it was pretty groundbreaking. Nowadays it isn’t but back then it was. He was photographing graffiti and black Jews so long ago.
Ryan: And taking all those great photos of jazz musicians.
Stu: Right. Who knows where all the rest of those jazz photos are? He had a habit of losing stuff. He was a difficult guy to make a film about.
Ryan: An important person in The Axemen story is Tom Lax. How did you meet him?
Stu: Tom visited New Zealand back in 1992. He collected a whole bunch of albums and cassettes—including Axemen LPs and stuff on Bruce Russell’s Xpressway label. Tom had really select taste. Tom came at a time when you could buy rare New Zealand vinyl for quite cheap. He picked up a whole pile of records—albums you pay one hundred dollars for today he was picking up for a couple of bucks. Tom told me how he got interested in New Zealand music. Some record distributor had been stiffing him on some orders he had been putting in for Australian records. Tom got pissed off at this guy. The distributor said, “Hey, I just got a bunch of records in from New Zealand from this label Flying Nun. Do you want those instead?” Tom said, “Okay. Send me two copies of everything that’s good and one copy of everything else.” Of course the distributor sent him two copies of everything. The records all arrived on a Friday. Tom went to see a band play that night with some friends. They got a bit drunk and decided to go back to the record store to listen to this New Zealand crap. They ended up staying at the record store the whole night. Tom played The Axemen’s Three Virgins over and over again that night. It was by chance that he found out about us. When Tom moved from Columbus, Ohio to Philadelphia all of the kids from Columbus would visit him at the Philadelphia Record Exchange and he’d play them The Axemen. I think Jared from Times New Viking was pretty taken by it. Jared told him, “Oh, you’ve got to release something by these guys.” Eventually Tom did.
Ryan: And then you ended up touring with Times New Viking.
Stu: That was an awesome tour. We did about twenty-six shows. Some were great, others were not. The show in Philadelphia was a complete disaster in my opinion, due to someone drinking a whole lot of alcohol. But then a friend of mine in Auckland told me his friend in Baltimore—who had gone out to the Philadelphia show—said that it changed his life. I thought it was the worst show of the tour. Those Times New Viking guys were great. It was a gift to tour with them.
Ryan: You toured Australia in 2011 and released a single with the late Brendon Annesley.
Stu: Yeah, Brendon was a darling. A guy called Samuel Miers and his friend Daniel Oakman have a band called School Girl Report. They had planned to do a music festival at Batemans Bay which is about four hours south of Sydney on the coast. Sam rang me up one day and said, “We’ve only got the budget for one overseas band and we want it to be The Axemen.” I thought that was exciting. Everyone wanted to do it. Bob (Brannigan) had left the band after the American tour. Dragan had been playing with us for years and we added William Daymond on bass—a young guy from Wellington. This whole festival they had planned turned into a nightmare; just the bureaucracy of fire laws and city inspectors, etc. Sam, without missing a beat, organized a tour of Australia for us. He got all of these other bands interested who knew and liked The Axemen. We started in Brisbane. We played with Satanic Rockers, Mad Nanna, Meat Thump, Blank Realm, Cock Safari, xNoBBQx, Circle Pit, School Girl Report and others…
Ryan: We (Spacecase Records) wrote you to release a single but you had so many good songs we went ahead with an LP.
Stu: Yeah. We were trying to squeeze eight songs onto a 7”. It wouldn’t work. Not unless we played them at 16 RPM. We’re still trying to get a tour together. We’re playing it by ear. I’m pretty busy with my current film project.
Ryan: The OMC documentary?
Stu: Yeah. It’s probably the biggest thing I’ve ever taken on. I’m directing and editing it. I’ve also been talking with Mike McGonigal at Yeti. In the last issue of Yeti he included some reproductions of the posters I did back in the ’80s. It was his first full-color issue. He also included a 7” containing a Great Unwashed song “Space Bikie” that was recorded at my old place back in Christchurch. I’ve been talking with Mike for a while about doing a book of old posters from Christchurch from that time period. It wasn’t just me. Lesley MacLean, who’s an old girlfriend of mine, she was a very good screen printer and designer. Ronnie van Hout was another great screen printer. He did posters for The Clean. I reckon it’d be a great project. I’ve got at least fifty Axemen posters at my house alone.
Once upon a time the Axemen began life as a seething mass of algae in a cess-pool located at the back of a disused factory somewhere in North Dunedin, New Zealand.The exact location of the cess-pool has unfortunately been lost to the ravages of time, but the factory still stands – a disused, vacant shell with little hope of being restored to its former majesty. Following a sudden meteor storm in 1983, the Axemen rapidly evolved, developed fully functional hands and ears (where before there had only been useless stumps) and metamorphosed rapidly into one of the most radical, chaotic and inspired rock bands of all time.” & so on.
They were one of the World most killingly funny bands but no one knew about it before the internet age. Beside many own released cassettes they has released three albums by the legendary Flying Nun Records. Prices of these items are extremely high nowadays. (For example the Peter Wang Pud used CD is 25-80 Euros, the vinyl are between 35-100 Euros.)
Suitable phrases for their music: radically independent do-it-yourself lo-fi garage art punk. But “I hung out with the Hare Krishnas in Christchurch for a little bit. They used to have free vegetarian dinners on Sunday nights. The music was pretty cool. There was sort of a Beatles connection with Hare Krishna. Stu was really into John Lennon. We were all Beatles fans.” Moreover their last cassette was a tribute album to Elton John in 1992. It’s so frightening, is not it? When I first met with them in 2011 I cried out “Oh my God! What is it?”
The first video is a rare and baffling TV performance in a Saturday morning kid show in 1991. The song (Hey Alice!) turns into a promo for their just released CD. I’m sure, many New Zealander children cried for Axemen CD after the show.
And the destiny has reached him too. They have become discovered. Their albums were re-released in the US by Siltbreeze. And now here is the new, yes the new Axemen album! Sac Tap Nut Jam. It’s less chaotic like the usual. A song from it.
Stu Kawowski (AKA Stuart Page) of The Axemen Interview, Part One – by Ryan Leach – Spacecase, BoredOut
Reprinted from: http://boredout305.tumblr.com/day/2013/09/06
Stu Kawowski (AKA Stuart Page) of The Axemen Interview, Part One
In 1983 Stu met up with Bob Brannigan and Steve McCabe and formed the venerable Axemen (1983-present). Brannigan and McCabe proved to be prolific songwriters—in the early days coming up with entirely new material for each successive Axemen gig. The Axemen recorded nearly every practice and show, resulting in countless cassette-only releases on McCabe’s Sleek Bott imprint.
Through the insistence of Axemen supporter Hamish Kilgour, Flying Nun released The Axemen’s (and the label’s) first double LP, Three Virgins (1986). Recorded by Shustak over a weekend, the record bore little resemblance to the Dunedin sound. The group tackled a number of genres on the album—punk, lounge, country and garage—that were all processed through The Axemen’s shambolic filter. Flying Nun released one more Axemen album, Derry Legend, in 1987. The Axemen went on hiatus in the early ’90s.
Although trained by Shustak as a photographer, Stu (under his given name Stuart Page) began making music videos in the mid ’80s. Stu made an early video for fellow Axemen Steve McCabe (“Sweat It Out”); in 1988 Stu directed the amazing “Buddy” video for Snapper. Stu’s also worked with the Skeptics and Superette.
Throughout the ’90s and early ’00s Stu continued making music videos. After toiling for a number of years, Stu released the well-received Shustak (2009)—a documentary chronicling the life of his late mentor (and Three Virgins producer) Larence Shustak.
In 2009 Tom Lax at Siltbreeze reissued Big Cheap Motel and Scary! Pt. III. The reissues prompted The Axemen to reform, resulting in a tour of America with label mates Times New Viking. In 2011 The Axemen toured Australia for the first time. Spacecase Records hit up McCabe and Stu for a new Axemen full-length, Sac Tap Nut Jam (2013). The Axemen (present lineup: Stu Kawowski, Steve McCabe, Dragan Stojanovic and William Daymond) are planning a tour of New Zealand in support of the record. Stu is currently working on a documentary on late OMC founder Pauly Fuemana.
Interview by Ryan Leach
Photos by Stuart Page
Ryan: Were you born in Christchurch?
Stu: I was born in Christchurch. I lived there until I was seven. My father then moved us up to Marlborough—Blenheim, which seemed like a nowhere town. I came home from school and asked my father if he had enrolled me in the IHC—the Intellectually Handicapped Society. After Christchurch, Blenheim seemed like a slide on the IQ level. I got used to it after a while. I met some cool kids at school and some hippies out in the country. I learned how to smoke dope. I had a really good art teacher in Blenheim, an English guy named Keith Reed. I spent most of my time in the art room. I went back to Christchurch when I was eighteen and went to art school. I went there between ‘76 and ‘79. I went to art school to do painting but then I encountered (Larence) Shustak and got into photography.
Ryan: You went on to make a documentary about Shustak decades later. Needless to say he left a huge impression on you.
Stu: Most people in New Zealand at that age were aiming to do their OE (overseas experience) in England. I always wanted to go to America. Shustak had arrived to New Zealand from New York only three years prior. He was sort of a conduit to the American experience. He was a Jewish New York photographer. It was great being around him. He was always surrounded by books. He subscribed to a ton of magazines; there was always new stuff arriving. Shustak had a lot of knowledge and information.
Ryan: When did you start playing drums?
Stu: I joined the school brass band when I was fourteen. They had a sign up: “Wanted: drummer.” I thought, “That sounds cool.” I started out on a snare drum. I used to learn from a guy who was in the air force. We used to practice every Tuesday night—drum rolls and paradiddles. I did that for two or three years at school. I joined the marching band and we’d play before rugby games. About a year after art school, I worked on this project with a guy called John Perrone who was a psychology student. We did an exhibition of 3D photography. John had a drum set in his garage that he gave to me. I had a studio in Mollet Street where I did screen printing. It used to be Christchurch’s first punk club and still had a stage. I brought the drum set over to the studio and started bashing on it. I wasn’t even in a band.
Ryan: You were at university when punk rock happened. Did the AK79 compilation interest you?
Stu: That AK79 scene was happening up in Auckland. Christchurch was typically very suspicious of anything happening up in Auckland. The Auckland bands seemed a little too glam to us. A few Auckland bands did come through Christchurch and they were all right. Truthfully I can’t really recall who they were. I remember the bands that I did like—Proud Scum—never even made it down to Christchurch. Christchurch had a different scene. Even Christchurch and Dunedin were different. We were quite proud of our bands in Christchurch.
Ryan: What early Christchurch punk bands were you interested in?
Stu: When the punk thing hit, bands like The Enemy would come to Christchurch. They’d play a club on Mollet Street that was run by a guy called Al Park who is still around, playing music and promoting. Bill Direen’s band Vacuum would be playing. Scorched Earth Policy and The Gordons as well. Two really important bands to The Axemen were Perfect Strangers and The And Band.
Ryan: The Christchurch Rotunda gig.
Stu: That gig and the Art Centre gig. They were both pivotal shows to quite a few people—certainly to me and Steve (McCabe) and Pat Faigan from The Picnic Boys and Say Yes to Apes. We went, “Holy shit! We can do that!”
Ryan: To my knowledge the first band you were in was Above Ground with Bill Direen.
Stu: I got hoodwinked into joining that band. David Kilgour was visiting, down in Sydenham. I was riding my bike over to where he was staying with a bottle of tequila in my bag. I remembered that Bill Direen had said that he had moved into the Sydenham fire station. I decided to stop by and see what Bill’s place looked like. He had this big social room in the old fire station. Bill had set it up with amps and a drum kit. Bill asked me what was in my bag; I told him I had a bottle of tequila and that I was going to visit David Kilgour. David and I had a mutual respect for tequila. Bill asked for a little sip before I took off. We ended up drinking the whole bottle. After we were finished he asked me if I wanted to play drums. We just jammed some songs out. I don’t recall how long I was there for. At the time I was living with Maryrose Wilkinson (Crook) who is now in The Renderers. She came home one day with an Eko bass guitar. I asked her what the bass was for; she replied, “Well, Bill said I was in a band with you and him.” That was news to me.
Ryan: The UK and United States had a big boom in independent labels in the late ’70s. New Zealand had some vinyl labels—Propeller and Flying Nun later—but it seemed like cassette tapes thrived there in the ’80s. I know there was only one vinyl pressing plant (owned by EMI) in all of New Zealand that eventually closed down. Was it cost prohibitive to release vinyl?
Stu: That pressing plant was in Lower Hutt—just outside of Wellington. We did release a lot of cassettes. It was so much easier. As a rule I would record every rehearsal and live gig. I did this largely to learn songs. It was a reference thing for me.
Gone Aiwa was recorded on a cassette recorder I bought off of an Asian student at university. It was a really good cassette recorder. Some of the recordings I got on that Aiwa sounded great. I wasn’t really aware of a scene (for cassette tapes). Once I recorded the tracks (for Gone Aiwa) I sold a few cassette copies through Rip It Up and the local record stores. That’s how I bumped into Steve McCabe. He was hawking some of his cassettes there.
Ryan: You told me that Steve (McCabe) would rename his bands after every cassette so the store would buy his new tapes.
Stu: Yeah. He made up ten band names because the record store would only buy one cassette tape by any band.
Ryan: Did you run into Steve at the EMI record store that Roger Shepherd and Roy Montgomery worked at?
Stu: I can’t remember if it was EMI or Record Factory. All of the record shops were located on Colombo Street which is the main drag in Christchurch. There were two EMI stores on Cathedral Square—the main one was on the north side of Cathedral Square and the small one on the south side. Roger (Shepherd) worked at the small one. Roy Montgomery worked at the main one on the north side. I used to go in and talk to Rog because he was a cool dude. He played me The Birthday Party for the first time. It was worth going into the EMI shop just to see Rog.
Ryan: Tell me about meeting Bob (Brannigan) and Steve (McCabe).
Stu: I remember seeing Steve early on riding his bicycle. He was wearing a bright yellow plastic raincoat. It was after school. He was drunk and it was only four in the afternoon. I thought, “That’s pretty wild.” I found out later on that he was quite an expert at home brewing. Steve knew that I was in Above Ground. We swapped tapes. Above Ground went down to Dunedin to play at the Empire with The Cartilage Family (Peter Gutteridge and Christine Voice). I think Steve and Bob played that show as well. It gets a bit hazy. They didn’t have a drummer so I filled in for them. It was so much fun playing with Steve and Bob. Early on we covered “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones and “Love Is the Drug” by Roxy Music. There were no rehearsals; we’d just go straight into the songs. I taped that show with my Sony Walkman. I listened back to it and thought it sounded awesome. It was a hell of a lot fun. It was fun playing in Above Ground too, but it was a more serious band. You could do whatever you wanted in The Axemen.
Bob and Steve both played guitar. Bob had a fuzzy sounding guitar—really dirty. Steve had a guitar that sounded great for lead. It screamed. It was me on drums and that was it. We didn’t have a bass player initially.
Ryan: In the early days The Axemen didn’t play the same songs twice, right?
Stu: Every show was different. Steve and Bob were so prolific that there was never a chance to do anything twice. They’d be onstage, telling each other how the song went. We’d just go from there. It was pretty awesome.
Ryan: You guys were all proficient screen printers which helped with flyers and cassette tapes.
Stu: Right. We created a lot of our own posters. We’d screen print our own album covers. We used to screen print LP covers and put cassette tapes in them. That way we could put cassettes in the LP racks. We did six or so Axemen releases like that.
Ryan: Hamish Kilgour was a big Axemen supporter.
Stu: Hamish was an Axemen supporter. He used to mix us live quite a bit. Hamish got us on Flying Nun. A lot of people couldn’t understand what in the hell we were going on about. A few key people got into the Axemen. Hamish was one of them. Buck (Peter Stapleton) from Scorched Earth Policy was another. I remember after every song Buck would start laughing. I wasn’t sure if it was good or not. But then he asked us to open up for Scorched Earth Policy so it must have been a good thing. Hamish wrote a lovely letter of support for The Axemen that he sent to Flying Nun. He wrote it on Flying Nun letterhead. It was weird: a letter on Flying Nun letterhead sent to Flying Nun. Hamish was responsible for Three Virgins being released on Flying Nun really.
Ryan: Speaking of Hamish, you took over Peter Gutteridge’s place in The Great Unwashed for the “Neck of the Woods” video.
Stu: That was a bit of a laugh. Peter was probably in Dunedin. David and Hamish were in Christchurch. We filmed the video on the Miss New Zealand set. The little platforms we’re standing on are for the first, second and third place winners. Greg Rood directed the video. By the time we finished filming it, the video was pretty much complete. It took about an hour. Ronnie Van Hout, who’s quite a good artist—he did a lot of posters and record covers for bands back then—he made a mask that resembled Peter Gutteridge’s face that I had to wear. I also thought I’d advertise the Axemen by wearing one of our T-shirts. I didn’t know the bass line at all to the song.
Ryan: How did you pull a double album (Three Virgins) out of Flying Nun?
Stu: I don’t know how we did that. It was so unlikely. It was probably Hamish’s insistence. We had no connection to the Dunedin sound. Most of those bands were playing jangly pop. That album took a little while. We did some mixing up in Auckland with Jed Town. The record was clearly four sides. There was nothing to do about it and no way to shorten it. We did the artwork for the cover. Flying Nun freaked out; it was a full-color gatefold. Most people were putting out black and white album covers. The cover art was so fucked up that they had to spend some extra money to get some guy to re-cut the stuff for the plates. I remember Roger (Shepherd) saying, “We’re not going to make any money off of this record because of that bloody cover.” Somehow Flying Nun did it. They pressed 667 copies. We were all amazed.
Ryan: You worked with your mentor Shustak on Three Virgins.
Stu: That’s right. Shustak took a trip back to America. I think he was in New York and bought a four-track TEAC reel-to-reel. He built a wooden panel that the four-track dropped into with a couple of mixers. He was into making stuff out of wood. He designed the panel for the four-track to be portable. I asked him what he was going to do with it. He told me he was looking for a project to record. I played him some of the Axemen’s music and he was quite excited by it. He told me, “You guys have a lot of energy.” I asked him if he’d like to do some recording; he said, “Yeah, sure.” At the time there was a place called the State Trinity Centre. It was a church-like building. You could hire it for thirty-five dollars a day. We hired it for the whole Easter Weekend of ‘85. That gave us access to this beautiful room—all carpeted with a piano and pipe organ—for very little money.
Ryan: I really like all the Axemen-related videos that were coming out around this time. There’s the Axemen’s guide to screen printing you and Lawrence Lens came up with. You directed the Steve McCabe video for “Sweat it Out.”
Stu: Lawrence Lens was in a band called Nux Vomica. He was a big fan of Fassbinder. Lawrence used to go around at night and smash the glass protecting these movie theater posters so he could take them. He bought a super 8 camera for twenty bucks. A really shitty one. It was Lawrence pushing to go out filming that got those shorts made. Lawrence said he wanted to do something with the Axemen. I ended up directing the screen printing one with him. He did another video with Steve that was very much in Steve’s style called “Drink For the Heart…” That was interesting because it shows Steve going through his home brewing process. He makes it out to be very glamorous. I think those are the only two films we did with Lawrence. After Three Virgins came out—Radio With Pictures was on the television. With a little bit of luck you could get a music video on there. There was a place in Christchurch called Alternative Cinema. You could rent a 16mm Bolex and lights for twenty bucks a week. I had met a guy who worked as a TV news cameraman. They were shooting reversal 16mm color film. He said, “Look, we always have these short ends. We’ll shoot a couple hundred feet of film and have a couple hundred left that we never use; we always open a new tin. Come by and I’ll give you some film.” I dropped by and he gave me a whole stack of film. We went nuts shooting it. That’s how I got into filmmaking.
Ryan: So you’re largely a self-taught filmmaker?
Ryan: That’s really impressive.
Stu: I did work for a woman who ran a film-training program in Christchurch in 1986. That’s the year the video with Steve (McCabe) came out. I didn’t do it as a student; I helped her set the program up. Nevertheless I probably learned some things from doing that.
Ryan: What do you recall about recording Derry Legend (1987)?
Stu: I had made a video for The Skeptics (“A.F.F.C.O.” video). After doing The Axemen video, I realized I enjoyed making these things. We had the opportunity to record at The Skeptics’ Writhe studio in Wellington. They had brand new gear—a sixteen-track recorder and a nice Soundcraft mixing desk. Brent (McLachlan) from The Gordons had his nice Ludwig drum kit in there. It seemed like a really good place to record. I think we paid them to record and then traded out the video I directed for the cost of mixing Derry Legend. It was a really good deal. It was a brand new studio. It was a completely different setup to recording Three Virgins with Shustak. The Gordons had been bought out of a building they were at earlier; a finance company gave them something like 100,000 dollars to move out. So that’s how they had all of that money to buy this nice gear. We turned up at the right time.
Ryan: One of my favorite Steve McCabe tracks is on there, “The Wharf With No Name.” It’s the first Axemen song I ever heard. The video is on the Flying Nun music video compilation, Very Short Films.
Stu: Occasionally we appear on Flying Nun compilations. It isn’t very often. That might be the only one.
Ryan: I really like the video you filmed for Snapper’s song “Buddy.” It’s one of those instances where the video is as compelling as the song.
Stu: Thanks. Peter (Gutteridge) and Christine (Voice) were largely behind the ideas for the video. They said they wanted motorbikes in the video. They met up with this motorcycle club called BRONZ—Bikers Rights Organisation of New Zealand. They were dudes who wanted the right to ride around without a helmet. They had all of these cool bikes. I went down to Dunedin to film the video in the middle of winter. It was bloody freezing cold. Christine had a really cool studio space where she used to make all kinds of things out of colored plastic, like bags. We set up the studio space in there—filming the band playing their instruments. We had a smoke machine and some lights. The rest of it was filmed outdoors. We had a truck with a generator on the back so we could shine some light on the bikers riding around at night. It was a lot of fun. I remember it being incredibly cold.
Ryan: Are you still in touch with Peter?
Stu: Yeah. I actually saw him last week. I was in Dunedin and stayed at David Kilgour’s place. Peter has a new Snapper lineup. It’s him and some young dudes. I saw them play once and it was really enjoyable. Peter has been putting together the masters for that Pure cassette he released. Timmy from Chaos In Tejas is putting it out. It’s going to be a double album. I heard the masters and they sound great. Peter got someone to help him out with it. I’m excited about it because I lost my Pure cassette years ago. It’s a great album. It has an early version of “Hang On” on it. The Snapper EP is amazing.
Ryan: Shotgun Blossom is one of my favorite records to come out of New Zealand.
Stu: Yeah. Peter has all these theories on rhythm and sound. He’s still totally into that. We did a bit of filming while I was down there. We’ll see what happens with that.
(Part Two coming soon…)
Steve McCabe of The Axemen, Part Two
Reprinted from: http://boredout305.tumblr.com/post/56105133631/steve-mccabe-of-the-axemen-part-two
Part two of Ryan Leach’s Steve McCabe interview.
Photos courtesy of Stu Kawowski.
Ryan: The Axemen’s membership was always fluctuating.
Steve: We had a good range of Christchurch and Dunedin musicians in the band. If you’ve seen our Wikipedia page, you can see all the people who’ve been in or performed with the band.
Ryan: On Three Virgins there’s a recording of you talking with an American about Beverly Hills and Mardi Gras. Do you recall who you were talking with?
Steve: No. I don’t remember.
(Stu: That’s actually me talking to a Taxi driver in LA and recording it on my Sony walkman, 1982.)
Ryan: There’s also another conversation on Derry Legend (1987) where you’re being interviewed but replying with unrelated answers—about how the New Zealand dollar is weak. It’s pretty funny.
Steve: We had a lot of abstract ideas. It had to do with stream-of-consciousness. Three Virgins is a good example of that mindset. Everything just sort of flowed out without any hesitation.
Ryan: What kind of reaction did The Axemen get from people in the middle ’80s? I imagine your sound was a hard sell to some people.
Steve: The variety of genres was probably a good thing. We had a lot of jokes in our songs. If people could understand the lyrics and pickup on the jokes, I reckon that was a good thing as well; people like jokes. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously.
Ryan: The Axemen recorded just about everything they did.
Steve: Yeah. I still have all of the cassettes. There are about three hundred of them.
Ryan: Unbelievable! Are these tapes mostly of live shows or home recordings?
Steve: A bit of both. I always preferred recording to playing live. I got a four-track recorder in 1986. We did a lot of recordings on that. We used to record our practices and do overdubs on them later. We released a lot of cassette tapes that didn’t show up on Flying Nun. They’re not available at the moment. We used to screen print covers for them.
Ryan: What was The Axemen’s relationship with Flying Nun like? I imagine the financial loss of Three Virgins might have caused a bit of strain.
Steve: Flying Nun did eventually sell all of the pressings of Three Virgins and Derry Legend. It did take them a while to sell them though. Tom Lax just rereleased Three Virgins on Siltbreeze. He was pleased with it and did two more of our records. I don’t know if Flying Nun lost interest or what but there was a demand for those albums.
Ryan: They haven’t done a great job rereleasing their back catalog. If you want a vinyl pressing of (The Clean’s) Boodle, Boodle, Boodle you’d better have ninety bucks on hand.
Steve: They haven’t. I’ve seen original copies of Three Virgins go for good money too.
Ryan: Derry Legend hasn’t been rereleased yet. That record goes for fifty bucks.
Steve: Yeah. Derry Legend is being rereleased soon. Dustin Travis White, who did live sound for us on The Axemen and Times New Viking tour, is going to rerelease it on his new label, Luxury Products. Stu remastered it all on analog for the reissue. It’ll come out after Sac Tap Nut Jam. Sac Tap Nut Jam is completely digital. Hearing those two records back to back will be interesting.
Ryan: You released your solo LP Sweat It Out (1986) around the time of Derry Legend.
Steve: I released a whole lot of solo cassette stuff too. The EMI record pressing plant in New Zealand closed down around that time. It was the only plant in New Zealand. I did release one single after Sweat It Out. Then I did about four or five cassettes on Sleek Bott.
Ryan: Did it become cost prohibitive to release records after the New Zealand EMI plant closed down?
Steve: It did. New Zealand record companies would go through Mushroom (large Australian independent label). It became more difficult for them to press up records. For individuals it really became too difficult.
Ryan: One of my favorite Axemen records is Scary Part III which Tom (Lax) at Siltbreeze reissued recently. Did Flying Nun not want to take you up on that record when you originally recorded it?
Steve: I think it had to do with Flying Nun being sold to Mushroom. It messed up our relationship with the label. Mushroom was more interested in getting Flying Nun’s back catalog than releasing new stuff.
Ryan: That’s right. With some exceptions—like King Loser—quality control at Flying Nun started going downhill after they partnered with Mushroom.
Steve: Yeah. Things started getting a bit poppy.
Ryan: Scary is the record where The Axemen got really into sampling.
Steve: That’s true. Although there’s a tiny bit on Derry Legend. Stu and I had these SK-1 samplers. They’re a Casio sampler. It had a little microphone on it and you could create one-and-a-half second loops of samples.
Ryan: What motivated The Axemen to do an Elton John tribute record (1992’s Three Rooms)?
Steve: It seemed like a good idea at the time. There’s a good range of songs in Elton John’s catalog. Good chords and things.
Ryan: The Axemen sort of wound down after the Elton John record, correct?
Steve: No. Stu and Bob moved to Auckland in about ‘87. I was playing in Christchurch from 1987 to 1990. Bob had formed the band Shaft. My wife and I got married in Las Vegas in 1990. We toured around America for our honeymoon. When we came back to New Zealand we moved to Auckland in 1992. Bob, Stu and I were all in the same town again so we did those two records on Sleek Bott—Recliner Rocker and Dirty Den Sessions. After that we didn’t do anything together for a while. Bob was busy with Shaft and I started a screen printing business with my wife. I started a band called CFCs in 1995. We played with Shaft for a little while. I released a solo CD called Generations (1998).
Ryan: Generations is great.
Steve: I like it too. I can’t get any copies of it. The guy who released it has heaps of them—about four hundred of the five hundred pressed. They’re sitting in his garage somewhere. I try to get them off of him. He keeps saying he’ll get them for me but it never happens. It’s really annoying. People are interested in it.
Ryan: A number of your songs have a lounge feel to them—going back to “Effectively My Baby” on Three Virgins. That aspect of your songwriting comes to the forefront on Generations.
Steve: Yeah. It was great being able to do those arrangements on the computer—get the big orchestration. I always wanted to do what Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle did with big orchestras. I was really pleased with it.
Ryan: Over the last four years there has been a resurgence with The Axemen. Obviously that has a lot to do with Tom Lax reissuing a number of your records on Siltbreeze. How did you guys come in contact with Tom?
Steve: When I moved up to Auckland, Tom sought me out. He bought everything I had—all the old Sleek Bott cassettes. That was in about 1992. I didn’t hear from Tom for quite a while after that. E-mail wasn’t around. Tom did a couple of reviews of our albums. Later on he bought the remaining copies I had of Sweat It Out. He sold all of those. That was more recently. The Axemen had been on hiatus for a while. When Tom decided to rerelease Cheap Motel, Three Virgins and Scary, we talked with him about doing a US tour. He lined us up with Times New Viking; we did the US tour with them in 2009. Tom came to quite a few of the gigs. Tom apparently was always playing Three Virgins to people, long before he reissued it. They’d ask him if it was available; eventually he decided to put it out.
Ryan: You did a tour of Australia a couple of years later. You hooked up with Brendon Annesley and did a great single with Negative Guest List.
Steve: That was cool. Brendon died shortly after that. He was a talented guy. A good writer.
Ryan: Bob Brannigan is no longer in the band.
Steve: On the last tour he was partying too much. It sort of got on my nerves. We had a bit of fight and he decided he didn’t want to play with us anymore.
Ryan: You’ve got the young gun in the band now.
Ryan: William Daymond. He’s younger than me.
Steve: Oh, yeah. He’s not a replacement for Bob or anything. William is a songwriter—although we haven’t written any songs with him yet—but it’s good having someone else in the band who can contribute songs. He seems to be fitting in well.
Ryan: We (Spacecase Records) wrote you about doing a single. But you had so many good tracks we asked you for a record instead (Sac Tap Nut Jam).
Steve: Yeah. We were keen on the single but doing a full length was so much nicer. I just bought a sixteen-track digital recorder. It’s about the size of a laptop. Dragan has a whole lot of mics. When you came up with your offer we all decided to go down to Wellington; Dragan has a practice space there with a lot of nice mics and William lives there too. We decided to record a number of songs and pick the best two for a single. We ended up with so many extra tracks doing an album came naturally. I was really pleased with the results. I really like the sixteen track recorder.
Ryan: I was surprised by how high the fidelity is.
Steve: Dragan is a really good audio guy.
Ryan: Is this the first vinyl record you’ve released of new material since Derry Legend?
Steve: Yeah. Not counting the reissues.
Ryan: Is there any chance Sweat It Out is going to be reissued?
Steve: There’s a possibility but not on LP. It might be reissued through Dusty who’s doing the Derry Legend reissue.
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.
By Mick Elborado
I thought smacking was illegal, but there I was standing between the dusty records and sheet music I’d started packing away, now handcuffed, and the hyped-up young cop, name, as always, unknown was saying ‘Just give me one ****** reason to smack you’ — the hand cuffs were not double locked, so they tightened — by the time we got to the cop-shop my would-be-smacking officer pointed out they should’ve been double-locked ‘to prevent them tightening’ — I told him I knew that. I also showed the two officers the deep grooves in my wrists.
But by then most of what I’ve collected over the years was debris — and the things I’d bought, been given, or created myself were gone forever.
Just some homeless c*nt with a bunch of junk?… Now I’m a hairsbreadth from homeless, but I can swear on a stack of bibles that I’ve easily prevented the incorrect release of a thousand times more tax than I can ever be grudgingly paid by WINZ for my remaining life as a benefit, or, if I’m cursed to live that long, and euthanasia isn’t mandatory, superannuation.
And while I was being paid peanuts for stopping big money getting incorrectly refunded ($24,000,000 from a trans-tasman imputation account on day one) I spent my money on stuff, rather than holidays, investments, or trying to get an extra 1% more than any other arsehole…
‘…he wanted to retrieve his hard drive’ one of the laughing demolition clowns told the cops for their provably false ‘statement of facts’.
Uh, no — a hard drive is just countless hours of work but I was once a reasonably infamous musician, so i was after my Peavey jazz classic amplifier with 14″ Black Widow speaker HP’d at $25 per week for two years, or the George van Epps ‘harmonic mechanisms for guitar’ I’d been workig through, or the two andband/perfect.strangers singles, one without a cover — or paintings given to me by artists getting more famous by the day, or autographed flying nun singles, auto’d on the day they came into CHCH by the people immortalised on ‘em, ’cause I used to hassle Roger at the record factory, and Roy and the wonderful women at EMI, or posters from ’81 to 95, or handicam footage of bands playing in the now probably destroyed christhurch dives like quadrophrenia, the subway, the dux de lux, or mint copies of most christchurch and dunedin music magazines ’81 to whenever (Garage, alley oop, sunbum, every secret thing, and all the one-offs that sold for $1 or less each. (something crunchy, daughters of darkness, the Knox comic-zine)
Oh yeah, and shit that I wrote, or transcribed, and some photos of dead or absent friends, and my estranged family. Or even my ornate City of Bristol birth certifcate. And the rip it up review of the one time, on a band tour, that I lit a flaming log and held it to my crotch (the unlit end closest to the crotch)
If you want to trivialise this, and say ‘Well at least you’re alive’, or get all red-faced, either with anger at a law-breaker, or embarrassment at your own part inallowing this to happen to anyone in Christchurch then here’s an exercise…
Look at your room — not your house, garage or car, just the room you’re in now, even if it’s the kitchen. Now imagine it’s lifted fifteen feet above the ground so it dangles a wee bit, out of reach, but still with your stuff (microwave, borrowed vacuum cleaner, clothes, video, power boxes, sellotape, shampoo, whatever) in plain sight, and accesible to others. Now watch for seven or eight weeks until a a giant hand crushes it, and no one is liable. Oh yeah, and you’re uninsured so you can’t start again.
So… Yeah — ‘at least you’re alive’ — I’d rather be dead — ever try getting money out of WINZ to replace a lost life — I worked, for thirty years, and suffered arsehole bosses and corporate bullshit and buzzwords, and taught too many mindless mindless loser work-‘mates’ how tax actually worked, mainly to buy my books and records. Even though 99% of Christchurch would think my stuff was crap. It was christchurch crap. my crap.
Books — yeah well I’m poor now, my book budget since Inland Revenue tried screwing me up the arse for $14,000 in glass was $5.00 in a good week, invested in my favourite bookshop in…
First editions of the last three Pynchons, the works of Dave McGowan, and Daniel Hopsicker’s first two. An average of $50 per book — the last two I bought, ‘Sinister Forces – the Nine’, and ‘Unholy Alliance’ by Peter Lavenda were in the plastic cube I was packing when…
…well I wasn’t actually arrested — I was; verbally abused, laughed at by the demolition clowns, told the cop had taken a oath, and that I was in for a smack, and that I was causing busy people trouble, but as I pointed out as that cop and his partner (she just kept saying ‘Shut the fuck up’) finished having a leisurely laugh with the demolition clowns in the shakytown designer fluoro while the handcuffs bit in — ‘You haven’t actually told me I’m under arrest’
…this was as just before he started telling me I had a right to remain… silent, and (and not but) anything I said would be used in evidence against me. Maybe he said stacked, rather than used, but more likely he just thought it.
He then quoted the mental health act (year unknown) as the reason for my arrest. Me… with two (now three) certificates attesting to my sanity when examined. People might hate what I do and think, but it’s provably not due to any discernable mental health problem. Experts tend to be better at diagnosing that than non-experts.
Let’s see — I was also asked why I didn’t join a tribe, or leave NZ, if I disagreed with the law. And all the other insults I’ve now got used to. I pointed out to the cop that his brain wasn’t cut out for thinking as his statements were illogical.
Since then I’ve perused the misinformed comments in the equally misinformed on-line press articles, and have been accused of everything from trying to recover ‘kiddieporn’ (an anonymous coward’s comment) to ignoring proper procedure and not going through the correct channels.
I made enough contacts with ‘appropriate’ people to lose count. The only ones to actually help were the good people in the Porta-Comm offices at the art gallery.
The ones that didn’t gives a rat’s arse were the people in charge, including anyone on demolitions at the council, including Tiffany the third receptionist to hang up on me that morning a week or so before i was arrested with her inhumane ‘we can ignore what you say, and none of this is recorded’
That day, after that, again utterly furious with the inability of the council to listen, I went to the Art Gallery, and in a five-man USAR team led by Rene had the property checked to see if it was accesible. It wasn’t. I was told I could talk to the demolition team at the unknown date the building came down.
So those five USAR people wasted an hour or more each helping me. When they could have been USAR’ing more important things… …Bob Parker’s garden tools maybe — ’cause, as I yelled at the judge in court, if it was Bob Parker’s garden tools rather than my things then some c*nt would have rescued them intact (and probably by WestPac helicopter and on the front page of the press with him in a stinking and dustless orange jacket — mission accomplished? Bush did it on an aircraft carrier). It’s easy to forget Bob tried to stop rescue workers out at Kaiapoi, and the PM had to call him…
Or… Peter… the luckless guy at the Christchurch Council I rang who told me there were no after-hours numbers to deal with demolition matters, when I rang at 4:00 on the day before the Easter holiday, after leaving a message before 10:00 am that day asking to be called back with an idea of when the building would be demolished.
I was furious by the time I got to him, through yet another receptionist, but he assured me ‘the building isn’t on the list to be demolished’ and ‘it won’t be demolished as everyone’s taking a well-deserved break for Easter’ — either he or I mentioned that it would be inaccesible through that time so I then mentioned that if they started again on Tuesday the Easter break was meaningless in terms of accesibility to get my things — as always the conversation ended with his ‘I can’t promise anything, but you should be able to get your things…’
Oh yeah, and of course multiple emails and phone calls to property manager Pru at GoodGirls, trying to find out about a demolition date…
…and finally, at 7:00pm the night before, when I was in Lyttelton, Liz Harris, the owner, left a message saying the building’s being demolished at 9:00am tomorrow morning
So at 7:00pm — after a uncounted hours asking anyone that might know, I was actually given a D-date.
The time was too late to organise anything, storage, transport, helpers. Still, I have f***-all friends/family that would even bother to urinate on me if I was aflame. Asking someone for help with transport at 7pm the night before..? Hahahahaha! And ever tried hiring a truck or taxi on an invalid benefit (minus $33 per week for property damage), or getting free storage?
To get back to D-day…
Because of frustration and an inability to deal with the way New Zealand is today I take strong medication — heavily sedative — I wake up the next morning well after 9:00am
I get to the building site at 11:00 — the building is mainly in pieces but my room is intact with all the things easily salvageable. Here’s a pic of what can be done if someone wants to salvage things. Merivale shop, not a home for the marginal and nearly homeless.
The cordon… well this is where it and the law and the situation get really interesting…
I said to my lawyer in prison (after he explained that if I pleaded guilty I’d already served enough time — solitary confinement 23 hours a day in the at-risk unit at Paparoa Prison for 15 days — to be released), that I couldn’t remember actually seeing a cordon or any notices, but my camera was confiscated by the police — so I had no evidence of that.
So, this is what a Cordon looks like — and the legal definition, paraphrased from what the lawyer held, is that the scumbag in charge of earthquake action (Parker, Brownlee, or some other loser and clown) can delegate cordon-setting downward indefinitely, and apparently no public notice is required — so this is what a cordon looks like before you breach it. Be really careful, cause orange gates seem to be it. No notices, statements, tape, wire, people to tell you there’s a cordon — and I doubt there’s actually a notice anywhere in a public place, and probably no actual written paperwork — Cordon Bennett!
It’ll be interesting to see how anyone is supposed to know, rather than guess, where a cordon actually exists. My photograph shows at least one other, but unarrested, person (a person because of the lack of shakytown-designer-fluoro) was pretty damn near to being inside whatever cordon existed.
I walked, not ran across the debris, you’ll note that the quoted police witnesses that said ‘…he ran…’ are actually nowhere in sight in the first photograph as I approach the property. or the second photograph taken just as I see my room is still intact and salvageable and stopped taking pictures.
How the demo-clown witnesses knew ‘…i was trying to get my hard drive…’ is one of those evidentiary conundrums, I didn’t talk to any of them. And I certainly didn’t stop to banter. My experience to date is that if I’d asked to get my things from anyone with a bit of power I’d have been obstructed or told to p*** or f*** off.
So — the bullshit in Christchurch was and is worse than the liquefaction — and if the trembling don’t kill you the council will.
I now vomit everytime I hear an earthquake promo on the radio, or see a poster saying help is available or hear anyone with a bit of house damage moaning on a bus.
For the record — Further blog entries will deal with the various police, winz, council, court, etc, contacts — past, present and future — my memory is reasonable even without my papers — and for light relief, the absurdities and ignorance and fear encountered between ’79 and ’09 while I worked at, for, with and finally against Inland Revenue. Including a bit of taxation advice that’d cost you big bucks from a ‘cunsultant’…
Today’s fun… on Friday 10th June?
Leaving my current abode, a big lodge, early evening, and there’s a policeman on a mobile outside, presumably to the security staff, — I walk out the locking doors and as they are closing he reaches for the handle. I close it completely and the exchange, where I politely noted that either a warrant or security staff are more appropriate than an unforced entry ends…
ME: You might need a warrant for entry.
Cop: Piss off
ME: Did you just tell me to piss off?
Cop: Go away. Just go away.
His mate just stands there with folded arms as I’m ordered to go away… from my own residence… the rego of their copmobile? CBT622
Make a complaint about this the proper way? A few weeks ago Hornby police station had no complaint brochures or forms and the kindly officer there was going to order them from central, but oddly enough the unhelpful guy at central the same day said there were no complaint forms, and that I could ‘ring the number in the Yellow pages’ this was after he sat down at his desk when he found that in Cleese-like fashion ‘..I wished to register a complaint’.
I’d gone in there to get a phone number left at the scene of my crime by a witness which I was told by the police would be withh my effects — I was handed a homemade official information request by the clown at the lost and found and absurdly asked whether I knew the names of the officers involved.
So I took the opportunity to pick up the application form for a firearm license, as they did have a few of those on the display, and I’d never really thought much about guns or even liked the idea of them until recently… I have no pension fund, no savings, no saleable assets, nothing to lose, am no longer afraid of jail, and I pay $33 per week until 2018 for some broken glass. A gun would be a real comfort and an asset for anyone with that future. Maybe I can get a WINZ loan to buy on from Gun City.
Earlier today, pre “Police Piss Off’ i was at WINZ, (full details of the absurd interview with Helen the trainee who went to her trainer for her information at a later date), Helen told me there was no formal way to complain, no actual complaint section or national area that I could write to, and that any complaints would go through the local manager.
Funny, seems like an odd way to complain about the consistently bad service at WINZ and the differences between the thoughts on the posters and brochures and the actual practice of the staff.
A manager (specially the kind that call me ‘Darling’ out at Rangiora when they mean arsehole) might be a little biased.
‘We will listen to you’. Yeah, Never mind the bollocks.
I mentioned MPs and Ministers to Helen and she said ‘…well, you can do that, if you really want to’ I explained that I knew that, but didn’t know if she was aware of it.
So, is it illegal to write about the facts of a life..? Can you lose a benefit blogging? Get put in the cells? I guess here’s the only way to find out.
Ain’t seen anyone else in Shakytown exposing the puss-filled scabs that everyone else assumes are business as usual.
And you won’t find a single reporter who has wanted to interview me. So any comments in the press about my latest ‘dangerous and bizarre’ exploit are from the police statements or the judge.
Here’s a-bitter that ‘balance’ you might read about as being essential to well-informed thought, vitriol intact.
And when I stop blogging than either it is illegal to diary my life, or my life (and the red-tape) is just fine. Guess which is more likely
DT, aka DZ, aka ME, aka NGM, aka way too many other aliaii. 10/06/11 AD.
(re-printed courtesy of siltblog: Axemen’s ‘3 Virgins’ Double LP NOW AVAILABLE)
FINALLY! After a couple of years in the RE-making, the Axemen’s legendary dbl lp ‘3 Virgins, 3 Virgins, 3 Visions’ (hereafter known simply as 3V’s) is available for order. Originally seeing the light of day on the Flying Nun label in 1985, 3V’s is a broad canvas of sound, seemingly channeling other likeminded cornerstones of fringe rumble such as ‘Trout Mask Replica’, ‘Exile On Main Stree’t & ‘Tago Mago’. Just like last time (remember?) this is a limited edition run of 600 & housed is a stunning full color gatefold sleeve. Prices are as follows;
*LIMITED TIME OFFER*
Add to your order both previous Axemen titles; ‘Big Cheap Motel’ lp + Scary,Part III double lp for only 15$ more! No extra shipping cost either!That’s 3 more lp’s! What a bargain!
(Just make sure to mention when ordering).
Paypal to; email@example.com
*AND WHILE YOUR HERE*
Check out this AMAZING 3 Virgins promo film shot back in the day by Stu Kawowski & Lawrence Lens (Nux Vomica, Portage mastermind);
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
||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.
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!
I often wondered if the stories they print on these pages are true or just made up by a bunch of horny youths frustrated at not getting any action – that is, until we went thru Nashville and met ‘the wild one’, Miley Cyrus.
The saga began when we had some time to kill, no idea where Miley lived but knew this was her home town, and were fast running out of gas. We cruised around for a while before parking up in a downtown gas station.
“My turn to clean the car, lads!” Bob yelled enthusiastically, half-leaping, half tumbling out of the car then emphatically throwing off his shirt to expose his gleaming pecs. Steve bristled visibly as Bob manfully grabbed the hose, adjusted his nozzle and let loose with an intense spurt of sudsy foam.
“Hey shut the door asshole!” yelled Dragan, awoken by the sudden presence of the foamy liquid on his face. “Thank god ..it was… just a… dream!” he said semi-coherently, slamming the door as he regained full consciousness, while smearing the foam over his chest, pausing occasionally to lick his fingers and let out a quiet moan, and humming a few bars of ‘Karma chameleon’ before sinking back into a deep sleep.
“I just got the number for Miley boys!” Stu yelled, swaggering out of the gas station. “I got it right here on my phone! Its made for low light so i can’t actually see it out here, I’ll just nip into the toilet and write it on my hand! Anyone got a pen? i can change it but it says it needs to dowload the latest os updates first and one of my apps still uses system 220.127.116.11! I think i can probably just jailbreak it and run both systems, even if it voids my warranty.” Steve handed him the pen.
When he came out Bob was giving the car a final chamois down, and was pausing, rivulets of sweat drizzling down his chest, to pull out and light a cigarette.
“Someone lookin for Miley?”
The owner of that instantly recognizable Nashville drawl grabbed the cigarette out of bobs fingers, took a puff and then returned it to bob, as if it had never left his mouth.
We instantly recognised Billy Ray’s surly drawl, hacking cough awkward limp and bulging Calvin Kleins, which on this day protruded as if he were hiding a couple of souvenir tennis balls from the last Williams Sisters final.
“Looks like you guys got a bunch of achey breaky hearts!” he sneered, spitting a drawlful of tobacco onto the carpet – at this point, 5 seconds or so of of canned laughter/applause came thru the P.A. in the dressing room.
“Hell that always happens when i mention the Achey Breaky [he paused to wait for the applause to die down] – i had it written into my contract when i was young and foolish and now i can’t seem to get it unwritten…. the dangdest thing. almost having some kind o pact with the devil himself.”
“Anyway” he scoffed, snapping himself out of his thoughts back to his cockier past, before Miley, before Hannah, “You boys looking for Miley or Hannah? cos I can tell you now that Miley’s gonna cost a lot more than Hannah, being a virgin and suchforth – Hannah just your typical skanky ho, but Miley… well she’s somethin else”
“Well we just came to see Miley” chirped Stu.
He may as well have had a roll of “Admit One” tickets and a flashlight the way he ushered us into the seedy underbelly of Nashville, and we were ready to get season reentrys until dragan, the sensible one, pointed out we were leaving Tennessee tomorrow.
“Maybe we can do Miley today and Hannah tomorrow” suggested Dragan.
“We gotta be in Fresno, St Paul tomorrow by 1400 EST for frikks sake!” said Stu “-Stat!”.
“Thats Ok, I’m not driving so i can rest all day tomorrow” said Bob.
After evaluating all the options, including some tempting Miley/Hannah lookalikes who somewhat repulsively class themselves by age (‘I am good Miley from ages 11-12!‘ – see left‘; ‘you will find i am replicating well the Hannah Montana from Series 3! You will not be disappointed if you have learnt all the catchphrases and characters!’,’i will give good hannah to meet your budget, ma’am!”;”I am the cheapest hannah around! I have all my certificates!”), and after some heated debate, we decided to do the Miley Cyrus Night and Day Tour.
Well… What a day and Oh, what a nite that was!
The Red Carpet Walk (Miley seemed to prefer calling it a ‘ride’) was the first real insight into Miley’s world. Among the glitz and glamour of the A-list celebrities rolling up to collect their awards, drink their fill, and try to eke a meal out of the tiny portions of food provided (Madonna: “Hey Lady! I think you gave me Kate Moss’s portion! I think even she would be lickin her lips and rollin up for seconds!)
We got our meal – Don’t think it did our cause any harm having Meatloaf and Buster Bloodvessel at our table
After The And Band/Perfect Strangers:
I met Mark at Pyrmont Squats in Sydney somewhere around 1982. He jumped through my window because he heard me playing Bob Marley on my record player and wanted to listen as well. That was the beginning of a wild adventure for the next 14-15 years.
Mark was a wordsmith rather than a great musician (in my opinion)…he was a good guitarist though and loved to entertain people with his music. I was drawn to his enthusiasm to life and I liked what he was doing musically because he was different. Different to musicians I had met before him because he wasn’t trying to be Bob Dylan or Neil Young , but was very experimental…(eg; making a beat with a typewriter’s clicking keys) which is something I discovered about most of the Kiwis I met in Oz, they all seemed to believe in themselves in that their creativity was as relevant as, if not more relevant than anything that was in the mainstream. I was from Papua New Guinea and the music there was very mainstream or traditional PNG, so this was very refreshing to me.
Blase Plag 1983
Not long after meeting, Mark and I set off in a Holden station wagon and started to make our way around Australia, busking wherever we needed to. First stop 1983 at a small tobacco farm in a place called “Smoko” in Nth East Victoria, where we picked tobacco and recorded poetry and music in our caravan with a Washburn steel string and a cardboard suitcase as a drum. That was the beginning of “Blase Plag” (Blase Plaguerism) whereby we did similar things to what George H was talking about in one blog – reading from HP Lovecraft or excerpts from other books while making bizarre sounds.
Next stop was Adelaide for a year, 1984.
Mark still wrote a lot but played very little and was becoming more and more interested in politics and became a real crusader for the underdog. The two of us became very involved in the Unemployed Movement whereby we ran a radio program (giving tips to people on how to survive on the dole), a soup kitchen and a gourmet restaurant for the unwaged and we became advocates at our local Community Centre.
However amongst the serious stuff Mark still managed to “do his thang” and was constantly developing new personas with which to perform by. His favourite one at the time was donning a tradespersons jacket and a yellow hardhat. He would carry an old leather doctors satchel that had a hammer and lots of nails. He would then walk down the main street and hammer a nail into each telegraph pole (they were all wooden back then) until he got to the end of the street ,and would then walk back removing each one, and putting them back into his satchel, as he went. I was usually following – at a distance – and filming the reactions of people.
At our “Gourmet Restaurant” ,Mark would wear a plastic Moose head on his back and serve people backwards. One evening we heard rumour that a Health Inspector was coming to dinner, but we wouldn’t know who it was. Mark was unimpressed with the method of spying, so he served our pet kitten (alive) to each table with the food to weed the guy out. It worked and the Inspector closed the kitchen down. That was the impulsive person that he was.
Adelaide produced “The Tickled Pinks” which was Mark, myself, Peter Hall Jones and Briar Humphreys – a one-off recording/cassingle about drunken debauchery.
After Adelaide came Perth for a year – 1985. No music was made in Perth, just solid politics….anti nukes, aboriginal land-rights, peace, youth rights and socialism was flavour of the year.
Mark went back to Wellington,New Zealand early 1986. I followed a few months later and Mark had already established himself in the music scene he’d left behind some 5 or 6 years earlier. Kevin Hawkins was now Screamin’ K Hawkins, Jessica Walker had Electric Church, Jude Horner and Merlene (?) were the Geisha Girls. There was the Brothers Gorgonzola and Sparky’s Magic Baton. Many people’s names I have forgotten so I have not mentioned them in the bands. Please forgive me if I have forgotten you.
Citizens of No Land (CONL) 1987-8
Our band was Citizens of No Land (CONL), which was Mark Thomas, Mark Crawford and myself on guitars, Lisa Beech on Violin and Flute and at one stage Anna Meihana backing vocals. Most of our songs were original numbers and were largely protest songs.We weren’t a commercial band and we played mostly at benefit gigs for minority groups or for causes.Mark always said at the beginning of each gig ;”We are Citizens of No Land, because the ownership of this land is based on Colonial Oppression, therefore we fight oppression in the hope that we may become,Citizens of This Land.” http://www.youtube.com/user/nasusselams#p/a/u/0/tog6K8n88mM
Soaring Eagle 1990-2
Following Wellington we moved to Marlborough and lived in various houses. Our two sons , Anton http://www.myspace.com/antonpatuthomas and Ringo were born in Blenheim, and so was Soaring Eagle. This was an interesting body of work as it was largely Mark playing solo and experimenting a lot with poetry/rap/and rhyme. All of it was recorded on our old ghetto blaster at home and is interspersed with talking kiddies and saucepans clanging because daily life had to go on around the creative endeavours.
It was in Nelson that Mark became known as Sharkface both on and off-stage. He was well known amongst the literary circles as a performer and poet who never held back his words and thoughts and presented them in a way completely unique to Mark.
In 1993 he released a Cassingle (No CD’s yet) called Voices from the Village Idiot with his band Manic Blather (Nathan Judge on bass, Richard Lambert drums, Mark gat and vox).
1994 saw Mark as part of a theatre group under the direction of Kim Merry (now deceased) and Donna Chapman through the Nelson Community Arts Centre and Creative New Zealand. That year also saw him in a short film produced by the Nelson Media Studies Group of Nelson Polytech, called Jude goes to Whakatu. He also provided the backing track. This can be seen on http://www.youtube.com/user/nasusselams#p/a/u/2/QFUkC88u6kA
Mark played with many different Nelson muso’s. He had a very sharp mind and could pull off spontaneous raps easily which made him a great entertainer. A video performance of him with a few of the local Maori fellas called “Sharkface at The Watchtower” is on you tube @ http://www.youtube.com/user/nasusselams
1995 was Crimson Blood Spit which was with Nathan Judge again as bass player and a variety of drummers.
1996 I had formed my own band Morrigan http://www.myspace.com/eusselams and Mark and I were just discussing having a joint gig. Sadly it never came about. He passed away March 16th 1996.
In 2001 I produced, with the help of Dave White, a compilation CD of Mark’s music called, Sharkface – The Farces of Vitriol. This was a selection of music from each era that I had known his music, dating 1980 to 1995. It has been distributed to National Archives, National Library and Radio New Zealand, so it remains a recorded part of New Zealand musical history.
Man angry at IRS crashes plane into building
AUSTIN, Texas – A software engineer furious with the Internal Revenue Service launched a suicide attack on the agency Thursday by crashing his small plane into an office building containing nearly 200 IRS employees, setting off a raging fire that sent workers running for their lives.
At least one person in the building was missing.
The FBI tentatively identified the pilot as Joseph A. Stack, 53. Law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still going on, said that before taking off, Stack apparently set fire to his house and posted a long anti-government screed on the Web. It was dated Thursday and signed “Joe Stack (1956-2010).”
In it, the author cited run-ins he had with the IRS and ranted about the tax agency, government bailouts and corporate America’s “thugs and plunderers.”
“I have had all I can stand,” he wrote, adding: “I choose not to keep looking over my shoulder at `big brother’ while he strips my carcass.”
The pilot took off in a single-engine Piper Cherokee from an airport in Georgetown, about 30 miles from Austin, without filing a flight plan. He flew low over the Austin skyline before plowing into the side of the hulking, seven-story, black-glass building just before 10 a.m. with a thunderous explosion that instantly stirred memories of Sept. 11.
Flames shot from the building, windows exploded, a huge pillar of black smoke rose over the city, and terrified workers rushed to get out.
The Pentagon scrambled two F-16 fighter jets from Houston to patrol the skies over the burning building before it became clear that it was the act of a lone pilot, and President Barack Obama was briefed.
“It felt like a bomb blew off,” said Peggy Walker, an IRS revenue officer who was sitting at her desk. “The ceiling caved in and windows blew in. We got up and ran.”
Stack was presumed dead, though police said they had not recovered his body as of Thursday evening. At least 13 people were injured, with two reported in critical condition. About 190 IRS employees work in the building.
Gerry Cullen was eating breakfast at a restaurant across the street when the plane struck the building and “vanished in a fireball.”
Matt Farney, who was in the parking lot of a nearby Home Depot, said he saw a low-flying plane near some apartments just before it crashed. “I figured he was going to buzz the apartments or he was showing off,” Farney said. “It was insane. It didn’t look like he was out of control or anything.”
Sitting at her desk in another building a half-mile from the crash, Michelle Santibanez felt the vibrations and ran to the windows, where she and her co-workers witnessed a scene that reminded them of 9/11.
“It was the same kind of scenario, with window panels falling out and desks falling out and paperwork flying,” said Santibanez, an accountant.
The building, in a heavily congested section of Austin, was still smoldering six hours later, with the worst of the damage on the second and third floors.
The entire outside of the second floor was gone on the side of the building where the plane hit. Support beams were bent inward. Venetian blinds dangled from blown-out windows, and large sections of the exterior were blackened with soot. It was not immediately clear if any tax records were destroyed.
Andrew Jacobson, an IRS revenue officer who was on the second floor when the plane hit with a “big whoomp” and then a second explosion, said about six people couldn’t use the stairwell because of smoke and debris. He found a metal bar to break a window so the group could crawl out onto a concrete ledge, where they were rescued by firefighters. His bloody hands were bandaged.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said “heroic actions” by federal employees may explain why the death toll was so low.
The FBI was investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board sent an investigator as well.
Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin on the Homeland Security Committee, said the panel will take up the issue of how to better protect buildings from attacks with planes.
In the long, rambling, self-described “rant” that Stack apparently posted on the Internet, he began: “If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, `Why did this have to happen?'”
He recounted his financial reverses, his difficulty finding work in Austin, and at least two clashes with the IRS, one of them after he filed no return because, he said, he had no income, the other after he failed to report his wife Sheryl’s income.
He railed against politicians, the Catholic Church, the “unthinkable atrocities” committed by big business, and the government bailouts that followed. He said he slowly came to the conclusion that “violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”
“I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well,” he wrote.
According to California state records, Stack had a troubled business history, twice starting software companies in California that ultimately were suspended by the state’s tax board, one in 2000, the other in 2004. Also, his first wife filed for bankruptcy in 1999, listing a debt to the IRS of nearly $126,000.
The blaze at Stack’s home, a red-brick house on a tree-lined street in a middle-class neighborhood six miles from the crash site, caved in the roof and blew out the windows.
Elbert Hutchins, who lives one house away, said the house caught fire about 9:15 a.m. He said a woman and her teenage daughter drove up to the house before firefighters arrived.
“They both were very, very distraught,” said Hutchins, a retiree who said he didn’t know the family well. “‘That’s our house!’ they cried. `That’s our house!'”
Red Cross spokeswoman Marty McKellips said the agency was treating two people who live in the house.
Associated Press writers April Castro and Jay Root in Austin; Michelle Roberts in Georgetown; Linda Stewart Ball, Danny Robbins, Jeff Carlton and John McFarland in Dallas; Devlin Barrett, Lolita C. Baldor and Joan Lowy in Washington; and Melanie Coffee and Barbara Rodriguez in Chicago contributed to this report, along with the AP News Research Center.
As 2009 comes to a close, The House List’s writers and photographers (and editor) take a look back at the year that was. Check back tomorrow for our year-end photo gallery.
My Top Five 7″ Tour Singles
I’ve always loved that for the price of a drink, bands sometimes go the extra distance for their tour and press 7″ vinyl that you really can’t get anywhere else but at the merch table.
1. Times New Viking/Axemen, Tour Single
I love Times New Viking’s no-fi melodic messiness, and they save the great experimental stuff for their B-sides. I got this at their Mercury Lounge show. That it was a split with New Zealand legends the Axemen was even better. Only later did I find out each band covered the other’s songs and they hand-colored every copy! It’s that combination of paying homage to this influential band and introducing people through their reinterpretations that makes this an easy No. 1.
2. Jeff Novak, “Home Sweet Home” Single
I recognized Stephen Braren of Cheap Time behind the table after the Jay Reatard show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and I got Jeff Novak’s long sold-out single from Reatard’s Shattered Records. I actually ended up contacting Novak after this and talked with him for my own blog.
3. Black Dice, “Chocolate Cherry” Tour Single
Black Dice have just a handful of singles from quite a few years ago, so when I saw them at The Bowery Ballroom, I was just looking out of habit. But this unlabeled single ended up being from Catsup Plate, which put out the insane Animal Collective LP box set this year. Both unreleased tracks were a departure—almost funk and with recognizable vocal samples! Truly weird.
4. Make a Mess Records, “Brilliant Colors” Single
I went to see Nodzzz and Wavves at the Underground Lounge on the Upper West Side. I managed to talk to Eric Butterworth from Nodzzz, who had just pressed a single on his label, Make a Mess Records. This ended up being one of my favorites of the year. Simple, stripped-down female-fronted No Wave punk pop.
5. The Balkans, “C++” Tour Single
I caught the Balkans at a new space in Brooklyn called Little Field. Woody Shortridge had pressed a single-sided 7″ at home, and I had to see it for myself. He pours them in his apartment and you get a really crazy-looking handmade single with the lowest of low-fi sound. And it helps that the track is great too. —Jason Dean, writer
This collection of objects is a small sample of some of the objects thrown to Stu Kawowski during the recent Axemen US tour, mostly by female fans.
The collection is fascinating and is kindly on loan from Kawowski’s private library, and I feel it gives a revealing insight into the psyche of the typical American Axemen fan.