The Axemen's Y2K Blog

The Cordons — (no relation)

Posted in 2011 happenings, bile, Christchurch, cultural studies, Photograsps, positivity, records, thought by steve mccabe on June 13, 2011

Reprinted from http://www.facebook.com/notes/mickle-borrado/text-for-the-cc-blog/10150208252973803 13/06/2011

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…

I’ve enjoyed watching the trivial way my lost stuff got reported by the NZPA and in the courts…

‘…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…

Cop:Thanks

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.

The Bill Classics (2010): The Above Ground Railroad

Posted in 2010 happenings, Audio, cultural studies, Gigs, literature, lyrics, music, NZ bands, Photograsps, poetry, releases, video by steve mccabe on October 23, 2010

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,
making a beeline for anything that smiles.
I see your point it stands out like a dogs bollocks
please can i have a block of your skin for my locket.

ditching a bat with simple bamboo slivers
tickling till the echoes subside
bats have no sense of humour
cave wetas may fear better

Tagged with: ,

The_Illustrated_Steve_McCabe_Songbook_Entry (0): Too Loose To Trek

Posted in 2010 happenings, cultural studies, Food, lyrics, music, Photograsps, poetry, War by steve mccabe on May 22, 2010

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

A rough-shod genie caught unawares and aloof in midstream ... "Hark!"

WTF? A rough-shod genie caught unawares and aloof in midstream ... "Hark!"

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

Platos brain: hmm, perfect forms eh?

Platos brain: hmm, perfect forms eh?

A 600lb Gorilla in a Barr-Brady suit - An Officer and a Gentleman

Google Translate: Aye Carumba! not this shit again!

Google Translate: Aye Carumba! not this shit 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

Miss Peggy Lee

Miss Peggy Lee

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?

Simian Street

Simian Street - scimitars ahoist

Janis Joplins Love Beads for sale

Janis Joplins unkempt 60's Love Beads for sale - as used in the original ad

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

This is charming, man - bloody priceless

Charming... This is charming, man - bloody priceless!!

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!

Gig Preamble/Commentary: Health, Times New Viking, Axemen, TeenageCool Kids, Nov-06-09, The Lounge on Elm Street, Dallas TX

Posted in 2009 happenings, Gigs, Photograsps, Reviews, touring, travel, US Tour 2009 by steve mccabe on January 2, 2010

Reprinted from: http://www.dallasobserver.com/2009-11-05/music/health-times-new-viking-axemen-teenage-cool-kids/

HEALTH, Times New Viking, Axemen, Teenage Cool Kids

Friday, November 6,at The Lounge on Elm Street

By Daniel Rodrigue

Published on November 04, 2009 at 10:05am

In what’s likely to be remembered as one of the best Dallas shows of ’09, Los Angeles’ Health and Ohio’s Times New Viking will share a bill in town before heading off to Austin for Fun Fun Fun Fest. And, for each of these acts, 2009 has already been a good year. For Times New Viking, 2009 has seen the band release its second post-Stiltbreeze Records album on Matador. Health, meanwhile, released Get Color as a follow-up to the band’s brilliant 2007 self-titled debut. And since both bands’ records have garnered enough positive reviews that they seem destined to pop up on many a best-albums-of-the-year list, it’s fitting that the show would also feature a local act of the same caliber.

To help open the show, show promoter Parade of Flesh has booked Denton‘s Teenage Cool Kids, which has just returned to the region after a three-month international tour in support of Foreign Lands—the band’s best work to date and a clear front-runner for best local release of 2009.

All three acts are known for their unforgettable, kinetic live shows, so the bill’s already an explosive powder keg of a night even without adding Kiwi-pop/punk act Axemen.

===============================================

Reprinted from: http://philmangone.com

Phil Mangone

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photography
© 2009 Phil Mangone

Times New Viking – The Lounge on Elm St – Dallas 06 Nov 2009

Great night of live music at the Lounge on Elm Street in Dallas. Parade of Flesh presented Health, Times New Viking, The Axemen, and Teenage Cool Kids. Times New Viking was kind enough to do a post show photo session.

Elborados Fury – Drive In Saturday

Posted in bile, cultural studies, government, News, Photograsps by steve mccabe on August 16, 2009



Inland Revenue's new 24 hr drive thru in Chch

Mick at Grand Opening of Inland Revenue’s new 24 hr drive thru in Chch

Show Your Support… join MICK ELBORADO IS INNOCENT now!


On Saturday August 16, 2009,  Axemen Taxman, grunty bass player and disgruntled employee Mick Elborado decided he had had enough and wasn’t  going to take it any more after years of abuse from the IRD.


Driving into the place that had been his nemesis for the past 25 years he felt an eery calm as he took the final turnoff, revved the vehicle and drove through 3 plate glass windows and into the reception area, then stepped from the car taking care not to trample the glass into the new carpet – “I didn’t want to get in trouble” – and calmly waited for the police to arrive.




Te Tari Taake or Te Tari Turkey?

Te Tari Taake or Te Tari Turkey?

On their arrival he quipped “Its OK officer, I work here!” as they cuffed him and hauled him away.




Its Ok Officer I work here!

Its OK Officer I work here!

When asked for a quote about the split he cited musical differences and wanting to spend more time on his private projects – “My dentistry business is really picking up!” he chirpily quoted to one reporter.


It was fairly obvious robbery was not the motive, in fact as with many people that come through these doors he later noted he later checked his wallet and realised he had left with $150 less than what he came in with. “Even after all these years I still don’t know how they do that” he noted, shaking his head.




Mick doing the hard yards awaiting bail

Mick doing the hard yards awaiting bail

After 6 hours in the infamous Sydenham Prison he was put out on the street on bail with his brother Des.


We will be following his case with interest and keeping you posted.


Post: Amble Testicle Evict, with Micks Blessings

What about these guys??? the Puddle Live-to-air at Radio Volcano, sweet as, direct from another universe

Posted in 2009 happenings, Audio, Buses, cultural studies, Gigs, NZ bands, Photograsps, poetry, video by steve mccabe on August 11, 2009
the puddle, live to air, radio volcano, lyttelton, one romantic gesture

the puddle, live to air, radio volcano, lyttelton, one romantic gesture

and this one with different scenery – needs more mick though if you ask me….

The Puddle - same song, better scenery

The Puddle - better scenery in this vid... wish george the best after his stroke - oops sorry that was that other guy

“BEAT IT” BOYS Live (1983) (K WoW Loud Mix)

“Beat It” (Jackson M.) (K Wow Loud mix)

AXEMEN recorded live on 4-track at the Star & Garter, Christchurch, New Zealand

Guy Fawkes Day 5/11/83 by Hamish Kilgour (features Steve, Bob, Mick & Stu). 06′29 dur.

Beat It (K Wow Loud mix)

BEAT IT BOYS



[1st Verse]
They Told Him Don’t You Ever Come Around Here
Don’t Wanna See Your Face, You Better Disappear
The Fire’s In Their Eyes And Their Words Are Really Clear
So Beat It, Just Beat It

[2nd Verse]
You Better Run, You Better Do What You Can
Don’t Wanna See No Blood, Don’t Be A Macho Man
You Wanna Be Tough, Better Do What You Can
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Show them How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It

[3rd Verse]
They’re Out To Get You, Better Leave While You Can
Don’t Wanna Be A Boy, You Wanna Be A Man
You Wanna Stay Alive, Better Do What You Can
So Beat It, Just Beat It

[4th Verse]
You Have To Show Them That You’re Really Not Scared
You’re Playin’ With Your Life, This Ain’t No Truth Or Dare
They’ll Kick You, Then They Beat You,
Then They’ll Tell You It’s Fair
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It

[Chorus]
Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Who’s Right

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It
Beat It, Beat It, Beat It

Review: Big Cheap Motel ’09 from Satan Rulez

Posted in 2009 happenings, Big Cheap Motel, blather, cultural studies, LPs, NZ bands, Photograsps, Posters, Reviews by steve mccabe on April 7, 2009

Reprinted from: http://satanrulez.blogspot.com/2009/03/zap.html

Who's Nailin' Paylin? HUSTLER COVER

“…Built around a thick guitar line that is distorted until it becomes a fluid conveyer belt of sound… ”

“…hermetic tribes… ”

“… The Pornographic Milk Drink contains rotating metal spoke on a ferris wheel guitar… ”

“…Pleasantly skewed junkyard Buddy Holly rhythm lines played atop walls of distorted uber-rock riffs that contain the weight and force of a Flipper-like death dirge and the occasional saxophone blurt frame the basic vehicle for the band’s Brautiganian lyrical worldview... ”

Outside of a few ardent music fans, hipsters and record collectors, how many Americans ever heard of the Axemen before the Siltbreeze reissue campaign? I’m guessing not many of us had the pleasure and, yet, the band steadily released albums throughout the last two-and-a-half decades. At face value, it seems like the band just wishes to entertain themselves and devotees by performing and recording their take on the music they enjoy. These hermetic tribes usually end up being the most effective musical acts because their mission really cannot fail. If the mind’s creation gears continually turn and you possess the unique ability to, at once, channel and transform the music that inspires you, not much could go wrong. Such is the case with the Axemen.

The Big M corporation shamelessly used this appallingly sexist image to promote their range of flavoured milk in the early 80s - the axemen were not about to let these corporate milk merchants milk mens mouths with their product

The Big M corporation shamelessly used this appallingly sexist image to promote their range of flavoured milk in the early '80s - the Axemen were not about to let these corporate milk merchants milk mens' mouths with their product lying down

So, TJ Lax provides the public with a vital service and a history lesson by releasing not one but two Axemen reissues in 2009. The first installment, 1984’s Big Cheap Motel, proves why this band deserves the reissue treatment and the attention it will likely receive by bearing the Siltbreeze tag. Like a more cohesive version of their UK brothers from other mothers on the Street Level Records roster, the Axemen kick grimy, postmodern, crooked punk-jazz sermons filtered through a boombox haze and serious subject matter that is littered with in-jokes. Milk, sexism and breasts all factor into a biting take on UK anarcho-punk lyrics soundtracked by a serious defacto homage to the aforementioned Street Level sounds.

In fact, the second tune on the album—billed as a rehash of album-opener “Big Fat ‘M’”— sounds like a looser a Good Missionaries outtake tracked on top of a Danny and the Dressmakers tune. A dense, plodding rhythm line lays the grounds for a strange, possible anti-sexism rant wherein the singer exhibits the same off-kilter, slurred sing-speak vocals as Mark Perry. Interrupted by chatter and greasy guitar-driven sound experimentation, the song detours into a shapeless pile of intersecting ideas before briefly rising back into its initial structure. The results of the expedition on the second rendition of “Big Fat ‘M’” could be disastrous and annoying if its slant on song construction continued for an entire album.

This appalling image appeared on New Zealand for one of Big Ms early 80s campaigns

This appallingly sexist image appeared on New Zealand billboards and TV sets for one of Big M's early '80s campaigns

But the Axemen duck this possible pitfall and keep Big Cheap Motel fresh and exciting by providing a home base of sound to which they can return after their journey into a foreign territory commences. Songs like the title track and “The Pornographic Milk Drink” showcase this sound without sacrificing the variety of execution techniques that runs through the album. Pleasantly skewed junkyard Buddy Holly rhythm lines played atop walls of distorted uber-rock riffs that contain the weight and force of a Flipper-like death dirge and the occasional saxophone blurt frame the basic vehicle for the band’s Brautiganian lyrical worldview. “The Pornographic Milk Drink” contains rotating metal spoke on a ferris wheel guitar leading into a sludgy sewage drain of a riff. Lead guitar lays the groundwork for a boogie-infused take on the band’s sound, as big ‘70s hard rock sounds collide with the band’s surrealist take on Crass Records political sloganeering.

Big Cheap Motel - the Axemen's ode to the fight for womens rights

Big Cheap Motel - the Axemen's ode to the fight for womens' rights

Built around a thick guitar line that is distorted until it becomes a fluid conveyer belt of sound, the title track reaps the benefits of its relative simplicity. The mantra of “Big cheap motel/ Big Tamla motel” pairs with the lava guitar flow to form a song that would work fine with guitar and vocals. But each time the Axemen run through things, a slight variation on the initial theme seems to arise on the next go-round—an off-rhythm guitar line, extra guitar fractures, a more minimal drum beat. The initial riff melts into small, blurry guitar bridges. A faux-Dick Dale guitar construction spackled in the cracks of “Big Cheap Motel” wanders to whatever rhythmic variation that the guitarist feels best compliments the tune. All the slight variations keep the sense of adventure that Big Cheap Motel showcases intact.

Big Cheap Motel LP Label

Big Cheap Motel is one of those records where you can imagine the band’s thought process as they delve into any musical alleyway that pleases them. Though the names and age range of the band members are hard to discern from the liner notes (the insert contains poorly Xeroxed photos of the band and each band member’s name printed in black magic marker with an arrow pointed to his place in the photo), Big Cheap Motel contains the wide-eyed looseness of a bunch of kids in a garage trying to mimic the music they enjoy. Let’s do a hardcore tune. Let’s try inserting a drill sound on this one. The refreshing results vary wildly from the artists’ that may or may not have inspired the Axemen but the band’s affinity for the challenge and reward of artistic creation shines through.

Posted by s. kobak

Gig Report – The Ambassador, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, March 20 2009

Posted in 2009 happenings, Audio, Gigs, NZ bands, Photograsps, Posters by steve mccabe on March 30, 2009

March 20,  2009

Axemen, Hairdos, Smokin Daggers at the Ambassador

Ambassador Gig, Auckland, March 20 2009

Ambassador Gig, Auckland, March 20 2009

Following the flames of resurgence in punk music in Auckland being fanned by the wind from beneath the wings and between the buttocks of the recent phenomenally successful and oversubscribed AK87 gigs, Dogs Bollix new years eve gig, North Shore kids parties and others, punk in Auckland is once again rearing its ugly (or is more often the case on the isthmus, cutesy) head.

Axemen – Animals Have Rights Too
(soundcheck version, mp3)

Smokin' Daggers, The Ambassador, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, 2009

Smokin' Daggers, The Ambassador, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, 2009

Opening proceedings were the Smokin’ Daggers, Mr Tolley and his cohorts providing a typically energetic set; Tolleys guitar slung so low it conjures the image of a cricket player sizing up a yorker, the band knocking out the singles throughout the over and setting off the odd spinner, occasionally pushing out to the boundaries.

Closing off after a respectable innings, the mostly well behaved crowd expressed their approval and the band members melted into the crowd.

Hairdos

Hairdos, The Ambassador, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, 2009

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Souvenir Poster

Next up were the Hairdos, Grey Lynn’s next big thing. The vibrant three piece hammered out their trademark edgy punk-pop numbers with their usual irrepressible glee to an appreciative audience.

The movie theatre foyer-themed movie theatre foyer venue suited the hairdos (pronounced hare-doos) music to a tee, you could almost imagine the torches and spilt popcorn as they played and jaffas rolled freely about during their show.

Mo Money Mo Money Mo Money

Mo Money Mo Money Mo Money

“That has to be one of the whackiest Axemen gigs we’ve ever played!” Stu Kawowski was heard to pronounce at the end of the Axemen’s set.
“Snailclamps closing was pretty whacky…” chimed in Steve.
“One of the whackiest gigs I remember” qualified Stu.

Songs by Axemen - Steve's Hair by Birdstock

Songs by Axemen - Steve's Hair by Birdstock

The Axemen, dormant for 15 years but exploding back on the scene in Auckland like an eighth volcano in a training run for their upcoming US tour with indie rockers Times New Viking came along tonight to see if they could out-punk all the young punks, all the young dudes, the brothers and sisters young enough to be their sons and daughters, the movers, the shakers, the young ones.

The Axemen - Stu, Steve, Bob

The Axemen - Stu, Steve, Bob

Airing out some of the more ascerbic and acrid tracks from their bulging back-catalog (‘Animals have rights too’ [from the soon-to-be-re-released on Vinyl 'Scary!'  LP], ‘Big Cheap Motel’, ‘J.O.R.J’, ‘Money’ to name a few), the Axemen’s tiny overdriven amps were swamped by the booming drums and vocals for the most part giving the show an almost acapella feel, with Bobs keyboards and Steve’s guitar squeaking out in the (infrequent) drum breaks from pentarion beatmaster Stu Kawowski, still pounding the skins like he was 25.

“We really gotta get some bigger amps” commented Bob after the show.

“Its the thought that counts” Steve  muttered cryptically.

Post: Mecca Be Vest

This is WWIV – LSM confronts the Iron Eagle

Posted in Apocalypse, Audio, cultural studies, government, law, NZ bands, Photograsps, poetry, Posters, Uncategorized, War by steve mccabe on February 19, 2009
WWIV Song Cycle

01_Rock_Mountain

Rock Mountain

02_Push-A-Way

03  What Is Rock?

04  Back_2_The_City

05  Man-i-mal

ascent_of_man

06_I Wanna_Rock_It

07  Rock-n-Roll_Neanderthal

snake

08  Black_Snake

09  Heavy_Water

10  Iron_Eagle

Iron Eagle

This is WWIVIn 1999, Marty Sauce and the Source’s principal songwriter and G.I.C.S.N. conceptual guru Davey G approached Little Stevie McCabe about doing the soundtrack arrangements for his visionary (but alas unreleased – until now!) apocalytic concept album and rock opera, tentatively entitled “This is WWIV!”*USA Eagle

The libretto for this ethereal and ungodly masterpiece revolves around the epic journey of a young shepherd boy ‘Hombreo’  (to be played by a clean-shaven Marty Sauce) to the city after he sees a nuclear missile launch from the hills of his homeland, where he is tending his sheep.

Indian Nuke

In the still of the clear Afghani night Hombreo can see its trajectory for miles with crystal clarity, and follows it with his keen shepherds night vision [his eyes being locally referred to as so-called 'sheep seeking missiles'] to its destination, where he sees an awe-inspiring and terrible sight; a huge white-orange flash followed by a billowing mushroom-shaped pillar of smoke rising in slow motion over the horizon like a startled king cobra emerging from its basket, shimmering against the rhinestoned velvet wallhanging which is the desert sky.

This is WWIV symbols

“Red Sky at night, shepherds delight” he murmers to the assembled throng of sheep,  now huddled, shivering, at the base of his rough-hewn towelling and sackcloth candlewick bedspread.

Hombreo takes off for the city and has his shepherd-boy eyes opened clockwork-orange style, real horrorshow like, by the myriad bestial and despicable sights he sees along the way, culminating in the grand finale, which takes plays in the lair of the bald, beclawed and bewildered Iron Eagle. Afight ensues ansd the inevitable happens.

Hombreo at first tries to behead, then is bemused by, then finally befriends the metallic bird, and together they rule the land forever from 1000 feet below the scorched earth at ground level.

This Is WWIV - Poster

* Other names shortlisted: “Apocalypse Soon”; “Nagasaki 2000″; “Boom!!!”; “Miss Afghanistan”; “Where Eagles Iron”; “It Aint Half Hot, Omam!”

Post: Talc Betel Vices Emit

You’re in the army, now, lad!

Tagged with: , , , , ,

Gig Report – Eugene Chadbourne support gig, the Whammy Bar, Auckland, 29 Jan 2009

Posted in 2009 happenings, Gigs, Photograsps, Press Releases, video by steve mccabe on January 30, 2009
Axemen, Dr Chad clowning at the Whammy Bar

Axemen, Dr Chad clowning at the Whammy Bar - L-R Stu Kawowski, Steve McCabe, Emeritus Professor the honourable and distinguished Dr Eugene Chadbourne, Bob Brannigan - Bob Brannigan: "You guys should know - where can I get some food around here?"

Photo: Axemen International

On 29 Jan 2009, the Axemen fulfilled one of their lifelong dreams, meeting and playing as humble support to legendary musicologist, Shockabilly geezer, generally dexterous solo artist and fellow mayhem cohort Dr Eugene Chadbourne. The Axemen played a short sharp set as a 3 piece, the first time in 16 years Stu Kawowski, Bob Brannigan and Steve McCabe had publicly aired their particular brand of rock’n’roll as a cohesive unit, and sounded as if they had never put down their instruments.

On the verge of the worldwide re-release on new vinyl of their legendary 1984 protest album “Big Cheap Motel”, the lads whisked through a timewarp of tracks covering many crucial aspects of their long, speckled and bespectacled career – the Dunedin years, the Christchurch years, the Frisbee sessions, the Auckland wilderness years – all encapsulated in their electrifying 20 minute set.

View Video [Big Cheap Motel, Live]

Set ListAfter complimenting the boys, (“Wild set guys!”), Dr Chad proceeded to perform a chilling fingerpopping solo banjo set before taking a quick break, during which time McCabe stumbled across the stage to pick up his guitar and inadvertantly stepped on Eugene’s infamous electric rake, inflicting horrifying facial injuries which doctors say will likely scar him forever (“that’s rock’n’roll!” McCabe shrugged to the waiting papparazi).

Steve McCabe puts on a brave face after standing on Eugene's rake - Dr Chad tries to make amends for tying his shoelaces together by playing him a song on one of them.

Steve McCabe puts on a brave face after standing on Eugene's rake - Dr Chad tries to make amends for tying his shoelaces together by playing him a song on one of them.

After playing a blistering set with the Vitamin-S guys on bass, drums/percussion, stratocaster-slide and vibraphone the Chad-meister, obviously fired up and hepped out on steroids, pushed his way across the bar to Bob Brannigan and proceeded to arbitrarily pick a fight with him, deliriously warbling about being the best pummeler in the land of the long white cloud… Brannigan, in a foul mood after missing his evening insulin shot, stepped up to the plate, accepted the challenge and proceeded to take the pounding of his life.

Repeat after me - "Eugene is the best pummeler in the land of the long white cloud!"

"I'm a Bully!".....EC: Repeat after me - "Eugene is the best pummeler in the land of the long white cloud!"

 Story: Electable Vice Mitts

Vosburgh on AXEMEN

Vosburgh playing Shustak's Segovia 12-string 05/01/09

Vosburgh playing Shustak's Segovia 12-string 05/01/09

At the recent MONSTER GIG at Christchurch’s glamorous crumbling Media Club, Bill Vosburgh handed Kawowski a single A4 sheet with a few paragraphs written on it all in capitals, relating to his earliest recollections of THE AXEMEN days in Christchurch (1983-1987).

Phosby Still, with 'tash

Phosby Still, with tash - Dec 2008

Luckily he stuck around and performed an incendiary blues rock set that night, as well as jamming with Steve, Stu & Helm at 4am New Year’s Day out at South Brighton, and also playing a few songs on various acoustic guitars on subsequent visits to Kawowski’s seaside hideaway.

Vosburgh's perfectly spelled memories all in caps

Vosburgh's perfectly spelled memories all in caps

I REMEMBER WATCHING THE AXEMEN PLAY AT THE GLADSTONE AND THE FIRST 45 MINS CONSISTED OF STEVE FIDDLING AD INFINITUM WITH HIS ‘PAUL BUNYAN MACHINE’. AN ENTHUSIASTIC AMATEUR ELECTRICIAN, STEVE HAD SOMEHOW ATTACHED A FUZZ-BOX AND IT TOOK HIM THAT LONG TO FIX IT WHILE BOB AND STU MANFULLY IMPROVISED IN THE BACKGROUND.

AFTER A WHILE, THEY TRANSCENDED THE COMICAL AND THE PIECE BECAME A SURREAL EPISODE OF PERFORMANCE ART.

**********************************

AS I RECALL, THE AXEMEN WERE INCREDIBLY PROLIFIC, AND THEIR RECORDINGS, WHICH WERE PRIMITIVE TECHNICALLY IN THE EARLY STAGES, CAME THICK AND FAST. THEY GOT SOME LIMITED SUPPORT FROM RADIO U.

STU KAWOWSKI WAS AND IS A MARKETING GENIUS AND PRODUCED NOT JUST T-SHIRTS, BUT TROUSERS, STICKERS ETC, AND PRODUCED A MURAL THAT STOOD PROUDLY IN CHRISTCHURCH FOR OVER 10 YEARS, AS WELL AS MANY OTHERS THAT DIDN’T LAST SO LONG.

ALL IN ALL I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT THE AXEMEN ARE ONE OF THE LOOPIEST AND MOST ORIGINAL BANDS I’VE EVER SEEN AND I’M GLAD THEY’RE BACK ON THE ROAD.

A NOTE ABOUT STEVE’S COFFEE WINE: STEVE MADE THIS COFFEE WINE AND THEN DISTILLED IT – STRANGEST ALCOHOL I EVER TRIED. IT WAS MORE LIKE A BARB, AND I RECALL WALKING ACROSS THE SQUARE AFTER A COUPLE OF SHOTS AND HAVING TUNNEL VISION!

-Bill Vosburgh Dec 2008

Christchurch Monster Gig – Media Club, 29 December 2008

Posted in Axemen Science, cultural studies, Gigs, Photograsps, Posters, travel by steve mccabe on December 31, 2008

Axemen – Three Virgins, Three Versions, Three Visions (1986) on lost-in-tyme blog

Posted in Axemen Fan Fiction, Axemen Science, blather, cultural studies, NZ bands, Photograsps, Uncategorized by steve mccabe on December 6, 2008

PLEASE NOTE: Read comments below

for an update on the lost in tyme AXEMEN article

and news of their removal of the “Three Virgins” download.

The administrator RainyDaySponge is a thoroughly cool guy

who has a very interesting site (full of muchas oscuridades)

that is always getting better.

Check it out.


The lost in tyme site specialises in offering unavailable music to appreciative fans.

picture-17

Here’s the manifesto:

Site Info & Archives

This is Lost-In-Tyme’s new site.

As it is a site and not just a blog, you can now enjoy our forum discussions, read lengthy articles about Lost In Tyme (but not forgotten) bands and artists, and of course visit our blog for a trip back in Time with some of the best (and rarest) music you can listen.

Once again we want to make clear that we post only records that are out of print and you can’t buy them at the record stores (physical or digital). The only way to find some of them is to pay a good deal of money for a used copy, and several you can’t find them at all. In the 21 months of Lost In Tyme first circle we received over 50 e-mails or comments from the artists themselves, saying thanks for posting their music. Someday we will post these comments (at least what we could rescued – because several were deleted along with Lost In Tyme).

So, if an artist/band don’t want his/her music posted here, or a label has re-released a record (and we’re not aware of this) or if someone of our visitors knows that something we’ve posted is still in print (and provide the link to prove it) just send an e-mail or make a comment about it. We will remove the link and we will replace it with the link pointing to the site where one can buy the record or the artist’s site. It’s that simple. We don’t want to harm anybody, especially the artists we love.

Remember that this site was made with just this in mind: the gathering of music lovers, the exchange of any knowledge we may have about this kind of music and the discovering of Lost In Tyme music.

We are waiting for your comments, suggestions etc. about this site, in the Guestbook page. You are very welcome to contribute if you like and of course to participate in Lost In Tyme’s forum, where we hope that out friends will find interesting threads.

Well it so happens they have been offering a download of Three Virgins, but they’ve been asked to cease and desist. According to their manifesto above that shouldn’t be a problem.

Anyway, here is their somewhat charming post on lost in tyme:

Axemen – Three Virgins, Three Versions, Three Visions (1986)


three-virgins

Early Swell Maps blues sessions? The Fall playing Kinks’ songs but they don’t know the lyrics?
There’s no other album in the entire New Zealand music so chaotic, so brilliantly cacophonous and so totally denying any label, music style or genre, like this double album from the Axemen, released by Flying Nun, in this great label’s absolute peak, in 1986.

49649Flying Nun was so great because, for several years, would release music by any, and I mean any, band that Roger ShepherdChris Knox andDoug Hood thought that had something interesting, no matter what musical style it had. This concept produced some of the best music of the 80s, not only because the three mentioned above have an excellent taste, but also because, 20 years before that period, there was something in New Zealand’s water, that caused the appearance of a continuous series of very talented artists – the more obscure of them can be heard in the 3 volumes of Rarer  Than Radium compilations herehere and here.

But even for Flying Nun “Three Virgins…” was extreme and something that couldn’t get under the “Flying Nun sound” no matter how we expand the term – and here is the proof: There’s not a track from the Axemen in any of the several compilations that the label released though the years. Even in the non-exclusively Flying Nun based Rarer Than Radium series, I couldn’t fit them in.

So what is this all about?
Three Virgins, Three Versions, Three Visions is a double album, made by three 20-years old Kiwis (Bob Brannigan, Steve McCabe, Stu Kawowski) with the help of their friends. In the 22 tracks of this album they managed to include every musical style under the sun – from Mark Stewart’s mumblings to good-time tunes, from blues played with “big, huge pipe organ” to Krishna chants and from post-punk saxophone-based tracks to muddy guitar noise. The recording and production is totally (and deliberately) DIY and although the mixing was made in two different studios, the singer’s voice often seems to come from a different room that the rest of the band.

I’d say that the Axemen did a Kinks-style, ironic comment on music and life, passed it through Frank Zappa & Mothers lunacy and they paint it with the punk/DIY colours of the early 80s. Sharp, brilliant and full of references songs like “Chant Number Nine”, “The Yeasty Mayor” “Talk With God”, the full-of-ideas playing and the nerve to put out a 2LP set as their first release, prove once again that the hormones of youth are magical things.

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If you search for the Axemen in the web, you’d be surprised from the many videos of them you’ll find – several of them in Stu Kawowski’s Axemen page on myspace (and his YouTube site -ed)

Here is the first part of Axemen’s story, as written by Steve McCabe (you can find the rest here – along with many releases (as a band or solo from the members) – I don’t know if these have been ever actually released or are simply existing in Steve’s archives.

Axemen say– “Yes indeed, all of these albums are available here on CD

A Brief History of The Axemen – The Early Years.
In The Beginning (by Steve McCabe)

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.

The exact details are hazy now as I pen this tome from my Hotel room in Auckland, New Zealand, June 1997, but as I recall…

23303

Bob [Brannigan] and myself were happily punting along the River Avon in Christchurch, New Zealand in January, 1983 – I distinctly remember the occasion as Bob was, for once, holding the punt-oar. The day was dreary – grey, overcast and drizzling with a fine mist which settled gently before condensing and trickling off the seven plastic beer flagons placed [for ballast] in the centre of the bright red punt.

From which direction the football came I do not directly recall, but come it did – striking Bob squarely on the forehead and causing him to swagger, try and get his balance back, then topple over backwards (I often wonder how much worse it could have been had he been standing at the time). Next thing you know, who should pop around the corner hollering “Can I have my ball back, please?” but Mr Stu Kawowski. I had not encountered this man before, but I can still vividly recall the moment; the cheeky grin, the Joe 90 “milk bottle” glasses (later to be replaced with the trademark John Lennon style spectacles), the wind rustling through the shaggy tresses of his russet-red hair.

Mopping the beads of sweat from his furrowed brow, Bob lurched up, hoarsely shrieked “I’ll give you your ****ing ball back allright and fair clocked him one with the aforementioned orb. The tense situation now somewhat diffused, Kawowski piped up, “Gizza ride in your punt, mate!”. I can’t quite recall whether it was Bob or myself who replied “Step aboard, Matey!” but next thing you know, there we were, the three of us, in the bright red punt, cruising at a rate of knots that particular punt had not previously thought itself capable of.

There was something about the rhythm of Kawowski’s deft strokes wit the punt-oar; something vital and overwhelming about the way he pushed that punt to its very limits. There was an unspoken, unfathomable feeling that this was perfection, this was bliss, this was the way of the future – Brannigan, Kawowski & McCabe – an untouchable, dynamic unit not to be messed with.

After formally voicing what we all knew we were feeling, that we should immediately form the most invincible and solid rock combo ever known to man, the pact was sealed with a flagon of beer apiece. The day ended with a solemn blood oath and a resolution that we would have our first rehearsal the very next day, but in order to maximise our potential, to ‘potentise the blend’, a pilgimage would be required to the famous “Seedy Dive” boondocks area of Dunedin. This area was well-known in the early eighties to have the highest ratio of musicians and artists to the square mile of any region in the country. Of course, the remnants of the thriving mime and clown scene from the seventies still lived in the area, but we had the feeling that in the searing Dunedin summer of ’83, the Dive was going to be the place to be. That year, Dunedin had the longest, hottest heatwave in recorded history.

The portrait of Johnny Segovia

Posted in blather, cultural studies, NZ bands, Photograsps, Posters, travel by steve mccabe on November 27, 2008
The Picture of Johnny Segovia

This eery Portrait of Johnny Segovia which still remains at 1000 and such and such Colombo Street, ageing daily at twice the normal rate, has kept the real mr segovia alive and kicking (and gigging) for years - hell may have no fury as to whether his weatherbeaten and leathery friends who are no more leathery and weatherbeaten than him have any resentment about the deal, he made the deal and is still the most fantastical guitarist there is, i weep when i hear him every time

In the bathroom of the Clifford flats in Colombo Street Christchurch, tiny but complete with actual bath, number 1000 and something and housing some of the most dynamic musicians and artists in the city at this time (around 1984) lies still to this day a faded and weary print, the last remaining remnant of the way Johnny Segovia would have looked had he not stopped looking his age when he turned 25.

In photo after photo since this time Segovia’s appearance in real life is virtually and spookily unchanged, an uncanny throwback to his 60s roots, still looking the same today as when he graced the stage with legends such as the new zealand elvis, Johnny Devlin, and the master himself, Ritchie Venus. The haunting print itself reveals a greyed, withered image, frail as a mountain goat on an alp pass, weak at the knees and trembling like a forty-year-older version of himself. This is the price to be paid for doing a deal with the devil and becoming the legend that is johnny segovia.

The print itself is now faded almost beyond recognition, each day the hair gets a little greyer, the wrinkles a little deeper, the horror of the image reflecting what might have been had the great one not pledged his troth to the king demon, diablos himself, the great wanderer, the king of the mix, monsieur el demono, il diablo, the five headed monster, the sulky beast, the kidder of all kidders, the goat with no head, the fleeceless lamb, the white nigger, the bleached blackman, the go with the flow te aro flow know what you know but take what you have to go to and fro, to and fro, hey ho let’s go!

Tables turned, as scary as it may be, no matter his fame and prowess in the bedroom, all the fame and adulation, it all comes down to the Markie spirit and the legend which will live on forever, the little kiwi battler who thinks he’s an Aussie, the nigger who thinks he’s white, the rocker who effortlessly plays country, the trailer trash who can’t pull a trailer… the guy we wish we all could be but most of us are too scared to try.

The Scapegoat - for those about to rock

The Scapegoat - recently sacrificed for those about to rock

For those about to rock, we salute you.

Johnny Segovia, the scapegoat for which there is no equal except for the umbilical scapegoat of Mephistopheles (depicted at right) – Holy Saints I can’t believe that’s not yak’s butter!

post: Tab Emetic Tics Level

The Spiderwebs in Beijing (you are not a hero until you have visited the great wall)

Posted in bile, blather, cultural studies, NZ bands, Photograsps, Posters, travel by steve mccabe on November 23, 2008
Jeff and Steve McCabe, photoshoot, Tianenman Square

Jeff and Steve McCabe, photo-shoot, Tianenman Square

In 2007 Jeff and Steve McCabe decided to reform their family two-piece and do a tour of the hotspots of Beijing, long a stronghold of their Asia-Pacific fan-base.

At the same time Steve, a long time poster aficionado, wanted to study and practice the art of the communist propaganda poster, the better for indoctrinating the uninitiated back home in Godzone.

Peking Ducks Wings Welcomes The Spiderwebs

Peking Ducks Wings Welcomes The Spiderwebs

Spiderwebs Dragons Arms poster

Spiderwebs Beijing Dragons Arms Poster


We were met at the airport (pre-Olympics, a barn-style affair populated mainly by peasants with their hopeful blackboards “Mr Smith” , “Ms Jones” etc., the more ambitious of them adding “China world tours” or “Trans Europe Express” to add credibility to their cause) by Mao’s former mistress Mao Gon Get Sum (her by-line: “Oh yeh another thing, I just luv klaftwerk, can you get me on the next tlain to eulopa?”)

Spiderwebs - Shanghai Workingmens Club Poster

Spiderwebs - Shanghai Workingmens Club Poster

Hearing her voice reminded me of my failures in the past, especially the way they accented themselves whenever an emotional/important bit came up – i dunno how it does it but it do. now thats just getting tacky, fool.

Anyway, Mao Gon took us the very next day to the aaaaal right honky tonk women market in downtown beijing (simply ‘southside’ to locals)

To be continued…

?Fog Blog! up y’all!

Posted in cultural studies, NZ bands, Photograsps, Uncategorized by steve mccabe on November 20, 2008

?Fog City Enterprises today entered the 21st century by starting their new ?Fog Blog!

image034_rogfog_haircut_640

Roger Fogorelli gettin' trimmed for punting at AK'79 gigs Fri+Sat

Shoes This High – STH 7″ EP (Recorded 21.12.80)

Posted in Buses, music, NZ bands, Photograsps, travel by steve mccabe on November 12, 2008

In 1986 Stu Kawowski succumbed to the magnetic attraction of “The North.” At first he thought it was the Wellington effect, so he ventured up there for a few months, and moved in with The Skeptics for a while, first at Nick’s pad in Brooklyn, and later crashed at Writhe Recording, their studio cnr Walter & Vivian Sts. About a block away was an upstairs flat at the end of (and simply known as) “Kensington Street.” Here could be found the talented Walker sisters, Jane & Jessica, Tracey Walsh, and some other guys, all of whom had been in bands, were in bands or hung out with bands. Jane had been in Toy Love, Tracey had a band called The Yellimin, and Jessica had been in a band called Shoes This High.

shoesthishigh_sml

Shoes This High (Dec 1980) Back L to R: Brent Hayward, Chris Plummer. Front L to R: Kevin Hawkins, Jessica Walker (pic Peter Avery)

Flashback #1 to sometime around 1980/1981:

Kawowski was still a “band virgin” (unless you count his several years snare drumming for the Marlborough Boys’ College and Blenheim Municipal Brass Bands… hmmm I thought not) but he was into some cool music at that time: Can, The Fall, Pere Ubu, Joy Division, Swell Maps, Capt. Beefheart… So not long after, when he found himself wandering around Wellington in the Willis St area, he somehow recognised a beautiful distorted, energetic sound bouncing off the walls of the empty twilight city. After walking around a few corners he finally discovered its origin: There, in a dimly lit, near empty hall, were four skinny musicians frantically rehearsing some amazing music on stage. None of them objected to his presence, so he was able to stay and enjoy a private audience with one of New Zealand’s best bands of that era, Shoes This High.

Shoes This High - STH (1981) 7" 4-track EP (STH 001-A, STH 001-B)

Shoes This High - STH (1981) 7" 4-track EP (STH 001-A, STH 001-B)

1. the nose one

2. Foot’s Dream

3. a mess

4. Not Weighting

sth_label640

shoes-this-high-stf-rear-cover_640

Five years later, Kawowski was visiting Kensington St, he entered the house, was walking down the hall when suddenly a knife came whistling out of a side door a few metres ahead “THUNK!” and stuck into a life-size silhouette of a person painted on the wooden wall. “DONK!”, “WHAM!”, “THUNK!” as three more throwing knives landed in the figure’s heart, followed by “DING” as a Kung-Fu star split its forehead between the eyes. Satisfied that the barrage of sharpened circus cutlery was depleted, Kawowski bravely entered that door and came face-to-face with the martial arts expert: Jessica Walker, Shoes This High bass player.

In 1987, the Axemen convinced Flying Nun Records to do a second album. They cut a deal with The Skeptics, that allowed them to take advantage of their newly built 16-track studio Writhe Recording, the outcome being “Derry Legend”, the follow-up to their debut double vinyl “Three Virgins” (1985). The Axemen had already released several cassette albums on their own Sleek Bott label,  but those vinyl releases effectively enjoyed the Flying Nun ‘stamp of approval’ in addition to their international marketing and distribution network.

 “Mourning of Youth” (1987) – AXEMEN

(Steve’s ageless dirge reveals a prone McCabe at Chippendale Hall, Dunedin 1987, coins on shut eyelids, candles melting into offering hands, unattended cigarette smoking between his lips, 1957 Isle of Man Golden Jubilee TT races flicker across his corpse-like demeanour.)


For McCabe’s “Mourning of Youth” composition, he’d mentioned that a viola would sound good in there, so before you know it, the master knife-throwing, catgut stroking Jessica Walker was enlisted to lay down some wailing and plucking that, says Stu, “had all of the hairs sticking out on the back of my neck!” (This harrowing, haunting track was also selected by the late Kurt Cobain for one of his personal mix-cassettes track-listed in his posthumously published diaries.)

mourningofyouth_kurt_800

p236 Kurt's diary "Mourning of Youth" on a mixtape playlist

Flashback #2

By the time the Axemen and Kevin Hawkins crossed swords paths in Auckland, while day-tripping there during their sojourn at the Whangarei Buskers Festival in December 1985, Shoes This High had disbanded, Fishschool was no more and Kev had metamorphosed into the proudly homosexual Screamin’ K. Hawkins, collaborating with various musicians credited as “& His Walk-In Lovers.” While “love at first sight” doesn’t exactly describe the relationship that existed between Kev and Bob Brannigan (though given Bob’s growing interest in psychic phenomena at the time, “love at second sight” is peculiarly apt), the older rocker charmed the pants off the repressed rebel and touched him in ways few men hitherto had, and none since.

Soon the gay guerrilla planted his seed in the young punk’s garden of earthly delights and romance blossomed. The pair pashed in public and back in Christchurch camped inside Kawowski’s Rolleston Ave foyer, staging a mini bed-in a la John & Yoko, only way gayer and with no international media attention. “We even had sex in the backseat of the Starliner,” boasts Bob, “en-route between Christchurch & South Dunedin. Thanks to Kevvy’s gift of love, at last I was able to laugh at the atmosphere of stultifying despondency that permeated NZ intercity bus-services in the mid-80s.”

Despite growing health problems, Hawkins continued to use drugs on top of his prescribed withdrawal medication, frequently blacking-out and injuring himself; this behaviour frightened Bob and the couple parted acrimoniously. “I used to joke with him, saying If you die, I’ll fucking kill you! We had a falling-out and he went back up north, no contact for about a year, then he died. It was like a beautiful fairy story gone terribly wrong. But what a guy! A total magician.”

Flashback #3

“Around the end of 1986,” Stu recalls, “I remember running into Croatian Axeman extraordinaire Dragan Stojanovic busking in Manners Mall just near McDonalds (one of his regular Wellington busking haunts). He told me that Kevin Hawkins had just died but that he’d seen him the previous week, and that Kev was over the moon ‘cos he’d fulfilled one of his lifetime dreams: Fucking someone in a cemetery. En route downhill from Victoria University after some event up there, he and his companion wandered through the remains of the desecrated old cemetery, and did the deed against a gravestone.”

(BTW if anybody knows where Dragan is can they please ask him to get in touch with AXEMEN – email or comment on the blog…)*

    -Saki Tuskwow & Ann Gribabbon

    *P.S. we found him shacked up with his sister Sonja in his brother’s house in the Hutt :-)

OCCULT FIGURES – MEETING THE PERFECT STRANGERS

Posted in blather, cultural studies, NZ bands, Photograsps by steve mccabe on November 9, 2008

[reprinted with kind permission of the auteur, Duane Zarakov, from his extant blog, http://www.geocities.com/duane_zarakov/]

OCCULT FIGURES – MEETING THE PERFECT STRANGERS

Perfect Stangers

Perfect Strangers

For my last year of high school I had to go to a private boarding school in Christchurch where pretty much the only music the other boys ever listened to was Led Zeppelin, the Doors, the Stones, & Pink Floyd. (This was in 1980, 21 years ago as I write this, but I bet if you went back to the same place today you’d hear the exact same shit echoing down the same halls, played by the sons of the same guys). I hated all those bands then, ’cause they just seemed to stand for all the stuff I figured rock’n’roll was supposed to be opposed to – conservatism, conformity, stuff like that.

By this stage of my life rock’n’roll music was about the only thing I cared much about, so the heavy teen alienation vibe of being at a new school (when I didn’t much even want to be at school at all) was double ’cause of being surrounded by other “rock fans” who if they heard me listening to the kind of stuff I liked (the Stooges, the Saints, the Ramones, whatever residual British punk rock still seemed good by that time, whatever stuff I could find that seemed weird, some ‘60s rock… I can’t remember what else exactly) they’d go “What’s this shit?”, & it’d seem like the criterion for stuff being “shit” was mainly “I didn’t get told this was good by my creepo big brother with the expensive stereo” or something. You know, “We can’t like this ’cause it isn’t part of the accepted canon of rock’n’roll” sorta shit. Yeah well I loved rock’n’roll too, but I was looking for something as far away from this kind of fossilised shit as I could get.

Anyway – one Sunday, wandered into the Arts Centre – that was just down the rd. from the school so if you know yr way round Christchurch you know which school I’m talking about : Christ’s College – & I heard the disjointed, discordant strains of a kind of music I didn’t exactly know already but had maybe been waiting to know – oo-ee-oo, spooky! – coming from the Centre Gallery – OK, in I went. The scene in the hall confused me somewhat, though – there were a few spectators, but the band at the far end of the gallery didn’t act like they were giving any kind of public performance – not that I’d’ve known for sure what that was supposed to be like, I’d never really seen any rock shows in my life (see footnote) – but it kind of looked to me like I’d wandered in on a band just dicking around with a few of their friends hanging out. I went outside again & listened from out there for a while. Anyway, that was my 1st sighting of the Perfect Strangers, a group & a sound that was to have a profound effect on my subsequent life. I can’t remember too many specifics of that 1st encounter other than that it was a heavy flash (like, Shit, I wanna be in a band like this), but simultaneously completely unsurprising ( i.e. I immediately knew that I had been looking for something like this & expecting to find it pretty soon).

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Poster for "the gig", Records Records, Dunedin (photo: Mick Elborado)

There were 2 bands playing, although members of each seemed to wander in on each others’ performances at random. Neither sounded anything like any kind of Punk Rock that I was familiar with, apart from in terms of abrasiveness – the trio that had been playing when I 1st went into the place were the Perfect Strangers, who played some kind of disjointed primitive blues (with loud guitar – meet Bill Vosburgh); the other group, The And Band, were more, I dunno, psychedelic. I don’t remember what all my reference points were back then (I was 17, I was from Timaru. I’d heard more arcane sounds than probably any other 17 year old from Timaru in 1980, but still we can safely assume I didn’t know shit as far as things to compare this to went), but I know I thought , OK , early Pink Floyd.(& was right). (Bands that I hadn’t heard yet but soon would & I’d go, “Hey , it’s the And Band!” – The Fall, Alternative TV, Red Crayola, Faust, Slapp Happy, Can [actually I mighta heard them already, can’t recall exactly.])

A big deal thing about seeing these bands was, I realised, that accidentally wandering in on ’em like that was the only way I could’ve found out about ’em. I don’t think they were ever even mentioned in RIP IT UP or the local papers, they were apparently banned from all the pubs that bands played at then (not that I, as a boarder at a private school, had much opportunity to attend pub gigs) (that was supposedly the derivation of their name – Abused And Banned, which is what happened to ’em when they did get to play at a pub) – they only played free shows, mostly unpublicised – as underground as it gets. But as it happened, another Sunday a few weeks later I was walking by the river in Oxford Tce when I recognised the And Band there on the old band rotunda – Mark Thomas ([now] deceased) was wearing plastic devil horns attached to his forehead & spouting bile at the straggling “audience” – the only ones who stuck around were me & a couple of boys who looked about 13 & were obviously drunk as shit. (& that was the 1st time I ever saw Stevie McCabe).

Little Stevie McCabe - The hottest thing on four legs

Little Stevie McCabe - The hottest thing on four legs

Once again both the And Band & the Perfect Strangers played, & once again it was sometimes difficult to tell where one ended & the other began – Mark Thomas was in both, playing drums & sometimes singing with the And Band & also augmenting the Perfect Strangers trio as vocalist & crowd-stirrer (not that there was a crowd) – I couldn’t tell if he was meant to be in the band or whether he’d just gotten carried away & couldn’t leave the stage when the And Band set finished.

None of the other members were anything like as extroverted as him, but in their if-you-don’t-like-it-fuck-off demeanour all manifested righteous sullen cool. I’d definitely located the, I dunno, something like the Sex Pistols of my scene (‘cept of course I didn’t even have a “scene”). I only got to see the A.B./P.S. double-bill again 1 more time that year (at the Centre Gallery again, I found out about it from a flyer in the Public Library, but over the next few years this music would keep sort of turning up as a mysterious link to people & things that would loom majorly in my life & I’d find out more about the mysterious AND BAND & PERFECT STRANGERS. Not much more tho’, they’re still pretty mysterious. Part #2 soon & I’ll tell you more (their record, people I met later that knew them, how I met Bill Fosby & played in his band[s], stuff like that).

Perfect Strangers at their seminal Band Rotunda gig. L-R Bill Vosbergh, Richard Uti,Helm Ruifrock, Mark Thomas

Perfect Strangers at their seminal Band Rotunda gig (1980). L-R Bill Vosburgh, Richard Uti, Helm Ruifrock, Mark Thomas. (Photo by Stuart Page).

AXT-MÄNNER: Schwarzemänner

Posted in cultural studies, Photograsps, travel, War by steve mccabe on November 2, 2008

Diese Deutsche Grammophon Freigabe von Neuseeland’s AXEMEN (AXT-MÄNNER) in Synchronisierung mit neuem amerikanischem Präsident Barack Obama’s-historischer Aufstieg zur Energie in der ausfallen Nation von Amerika. Schließt die Liede ein ” Ich möchte black”, ” Furcht vor einem schwarzen planet” und “weißes Wedding”.

 

– Ask I Tusk Wow

The Valhalla Stone

Posted in Photograsps, Posters by steve mccabe on November 2, 2008
We had to kill our way here, laughing in the face of death and failure

Encryption: We had to kill our way here, laughing in the face of death and failure

Note the lower portion is believed to have been added later, after the original text.
Post: Mecca Bittiest Level

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Derailing the terrain

Posted in music, NZ bands, Photograsps, Posters by steve mccabe on October 31, 2008

This is a postcard-size reproduction of the large (A0) classroom poster prepared in the early 1990s by Axemen for use in NZ schools. Stevie was barely out of school himself when the band’s first few gigs took place in Dunedin in 1983, but when he moved into gainful employment later that year as a screenprinter, there was a younger-still McCabe within spitting-distance, clutching his drumsticks and singing up a storm, waiting for the call to step up onto the world’s stage and join the Axemen in their utopian South Dunedin of the mind . . .

a South Dunedin of the mind

Map #23: a South Dunedin of the mind

Introducing Little Stevie McCabe’s little brother, Even Littler Jeffy McCabe

Jeff played alongside 15-year-old Steve in the Spiderwebs, based in the Hell Farm Party Shed, where they made up songs, rehearsed and recorded. They supported Steve’s band with Pete Rees, the Gorillas, when Virg and Bernie Smith and Lisa Preston attended a live gig at the shed in the summer of 1982. The team here at Y2K hasn’t yet uncovered any Spiderwebs tapes from the various vaults and stashes at their disposal, but plans to undertake a careful search that may involve a bus trip in the near future.

Jeff next joined Steve & Bob’s pre-Stu proto-Axemen when they recorded the SCENES LIKE BEADS cassette at Hell Farm early in September of 1983. He sings his own lyrics on the following songs from that set. . .

the flames!
I ran through the flames
We weren’t playing games
I ran through the burning forest
All day long
—Jeff’s vocals are on fire; Bob & Steve play along on guitar & trumpet.

jack the ripper
Jack the ripper took off his slipper
He pushed me from the back and I shouted, “Look at that”
—Jeff profiles the infamous Victorian killer to an incongruously jaunty South Dunedin reggae rhythm supplied by Steve & Bob. It must be getting late in the day at Hell Farm, since the TV is on and Fawlty Towers can be heard in the background.

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The next three songs all come from a session recorded at Hell Farm on October 22, 1983, featuring Jeff-Steve-Bob calling themselves The Dugong Stones. They recorded 7 songs. Two days later the Axemen with Stu on drums and drum-machine played their single live gig at Hell Farm (the band was about to get its first taste of the Christchurch pub scene, from which it would barely return alive), sharing the Party Shed’s concrete floor with The Dugong Stones as they played their one & only show. Jeff mostly drummed for the Dugongs, as he does on the next two tracks, but he returns to sing his own lyrics on the third. . .

the dugong or sea cow

the dugong or sea cow

auntie anti

heaven-sent from hell

monster on the loose

crystallized dugong semen

dugong stones: crystallized dugong semen

Jeff returned as a guest on the MICK’S DANCEFLOOR (MIX) album, playing a recorder & singing another of his own lyrics, “In A Forest,” recorded again at Hell Farm in early November. This time Stu drums while Bob & Steve add guitars to Jeff’s typically spooky tale of what befell him and his greyhound dog in a tree-filled space. in a forest

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In January of 1984 Jeff’s political sensibilities were awakened as he took part in the Axemen’s BIG CHEAP MOTEL protest album project, joining the band onstage at Hagley Park to add his inimitable drumming to the instruments & voices raised in defiant opposition to a blatant display of soulless big-money sexism. Not yet 10 years old, he rocked the complacent anti-consciousness of Chri$tchurch corp(se)orate capitali$m like he was 10 feet tall.

Jeff continued to appear infrequently with the Axemen throughout 1984, for instance at the England St and Carlyle St hall gigs, a series of Saturday & Sunday shows at unlicensed venues which became something of a focal point for the many underage innercity punks with often diverging concerns, briefly united in the cause of celebrating the marriage of noise, humour & multiple viewpoints which the gigs embodied at their best. The “something for everyone” quality of the hall shows is evident in the following roll-call of bands & performers who took part: Scorched Earth Policy, All Fall Down, Gillmen, McGoohans, Connossieurs, Octopus Ink, Toerag and others (apologies to those not named; Y2K will update this list when further information arrives).

Stu's full-colour screenprinted England St Hall poster

Stu's full-colour screenprinted England St Hall poster

Colourful hi-res version of Stevie & Stu's Carlyle St Hall poster

Colourful hi-res version of Stevie & Stu's Carlyle St Hall poster

Kawowski's absinthe

Kawowski's absinthe

At a rehearsal for the Carlyle St Hall gig in September, Jeff’s next two songs were recorded. Stu K was in Absentia, the mystical Mexican village. Jeff, Stevie & Bob are joined on both tracks by Gordo Nodrog Baird, bass, & Al Rite, sax.

i don’t have the energy
—Jeff’s awareness remains strong; his lyrics combine canny punk nay-saying with a self-deprecating shrug at the #1 pitfall injuring punks of all stripes, apathy.

the little green man (from bardamaloo)

This rare excerpt from Jeffs notebook gives some insight into his inspiration

This rare excerpt from Jeffs notebook gives some insight into his inspiration

—Long before notions of lo-fi & no-fi became ideological hobbyhorses, Axemen adopted the preferred homonyms sci-fi, psy-fi & sigh-fi to telegraph (1) their enthusiasm for science-fictional alternatives to the moribund hegemony, (2) their faith in the telepathic potential of musical communication, and (3) their willingness to inhabit a sound-continuum conducive to expressing the pleasures & pains (sigh!) inherent in all life-choice interactions. Jeff’s unsophisticated nod to the alien constitutes a “welcome, come on in” to the once-feared “other” and deftly fuses the diverse elements at play in the Axemen collective sci-psy-sigh-psyche.

adult Jeff on his wedding day, 2004

adult Jeff on his wedding day, 2004

So thanks again for the music to Jeff McCabe; he may have been the littlest of the Axemen, but his contribution was huge.

The Perfect Strangers: “Not To Be Taken”

Posted in music, NZ bands, Photograsps by steve mccabe on October 23, 2008

Not many recordings have survived of seminal early 80’s Christchurch band The Perfect Strangers. This 8-song cassette selection entitled “Not To Be Taken” was most likely compiled by the late Lindsay Maitland (Crazy Olé! and The Panthers cornet / french horn player). “Not To Be Taken” comprises one side of a cassette, the other being entitled And Band “Outhern”. The tape was given to Stu Kawowski at George Henderson’s N.E.V. pad, Dunedin around 1983/84 (from memory). The SX70 Polaroids here are from a 1980 gig at the Centre Gallery in the Christchurch Art Centre.

Read more here The art and magick of The Perfect Strangers, Chch 1980-1982

1. Options Statement

2. Far Eastern Rhythm Section

3. The Realm Of Solar Gravity

4. Days

5. I Know

6. What is it

7. Garden Of Electricity

8. Listen, The Light

Perfect Strangers live at Christchurch Art Centre 1980. L to R Bill Vosburgh (guitar & vocals), Mark Thomas (vocals), Richard Uti (drums), Helm Ruifrok (bass).

The Perfect Strangers live at Christchurch Art Centre 1980. L to R: Bill Vosburgh (guitar & vocals), Mark Thomas (vocals), Richard Uti (drums), Helm Ruifrok (bass). (photo Stu)

Mark Thomas of Perfect Strangers plays solo, Christchurch Art Centre, 1980 (photo Stu).

Mark Thomas of The Perfect Strangers plays solo, Christchurch Art Centre, 1980 (photo Stu).

AFF – Testing their mettle

Posted in Axemen Fan Fiction, Photograsps by steve mccabe on October 21, 2008

Steve, Bob and Stu were jogging round the band rotunda as usual on a chilly but glorious crisp Christchurch day, tossing around a genuine cowskin rugby ball red and black of course being the Canterbury colors, with a faded PineTree Meads signature on it indicating it had been around, dropping it to the foot on more than one occasion to give it a solid punt.

Waving to George who had moved into the rotunda for the season, (“Its warmer in here in midwinter than Jetty Street in a high Dunedin summer! – Och Aye!” he jested, sniffing his singlet and grinning approvingly). Pulling out a razor from his pocket, he half-heartedly gave his icy beard a good hard scrape.

“Never works!” he chortled, tossing the razor onto the tidy pile of used needles to his right. “I’ll clean that up later” he thought as the pack of stray dogs rifled through the stack, one of them grazing his nose and running off with a hapless yelp, leaving a tiny trail of blood as it ran.

Punting the orb deftly to Stu, inadvertantly over his head to be collected by the always toned Brannigan in his one good hand, Steve squeaked (in his best meek Steve McCabe squeaky voice) “How long has it been since we really tested our mettle, boys? Seriously?!”

“How about that great tea tasting gig when we tried all those varieties of green teas?” piped up Kawowski.

Effortlessly hurtling the ball to McCabe in a rainbow-like arc, Brannigan replied, “Nah , that was when we tested our nettle!”

“And the time we brought those four Liverpool lads over in 1964 for that nationwide music quiz and put them up on stage with a quizmaster and grilled them on Guiness Records?”

Brannigan, heading the egg-shaped ball as if it were a balloon while shaking his head like a stern schoolmaster noted “No, no, no, that was when we tested the Beatles – don’t you remember anything??”

“Not even when we pulled off all the colorful fleshy parts of a flower and subjected them to drops of iodine to see if they would change colour?”

“For goodness sake, that was when we tested our pet…”

Just then, the Punt instructor stepped up to the lads and said “Party of Three? The X Men? Basic punting skills? Booked for 3:15 PM?” pausing and then snootily looking down and winding his watch.

Dropping his shoulder in acknowledgement he winked and said ” ‘Op in the old dragon and moat, chums you’re up for a right ol’ time fox and hunting up the ol’ blackbird and raven kidneys ‘n’ liver! Stone the thorns and rose, I bet you don’t even know what the tower and bell I’m lamb and porking about!”

Scratching their heads, the lads climbed into the punt.

“Wish I could come up with a better cockney rhyming slang for this contraption” mumbled the punt-master, shaking his head as he insterted his huge pole into the murky Avon depths, thrusting the fullness of his weight into propelling the logjammer faster, faster into the now-stirring current.

McCabe reclined and brushed aside his wispy shoulder-length hair – he hadn’t had it that long for a while but kept growing it as the girls loved it. It didn’t even really need mussing up at this point yet he did it anyway just to rouse his buddies and invoke the memory of their legendary cohort, Dragan Stojanovic.

“Whose mettle is being tested here?” mused McCabe to himself. The thought naturally drifted across to his fraternal time-twin Brannigan who tossed back the thought rejoinder “Whose mettle is it anyway?” to which McCabe had no immediate comeback, much to Brannigan’s delight.

Glowering in the mid-afternoon Christchurch sun, at once chilling in its traversion of the ozone-starved atmosphere which hovered over the flat city known locally as the plains (reminiscent of the ill fated and way too early deceased Tattoo character Herve Villechaize – his nemesis mr Rourke was much favoured for being knocked off in the later years of the series but this was not talked about in open conversation – Villechaize’s battle cry ‘The Plane! The Plane!’ would be a constant reminder of the utopian flatlands in the axemen’s later days – the pesky git – curse him and his catchy catch-cry these things have a habit of catching on in their own catch-as-cats-can way -)

(Can someone Please go add some detail to this reference to Catch as Cats Can:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039253/)
Plot:
An emaciated canary, singing like Frank Sinatra, is getting on the nerves of a pipe-puffing parrot…

User Comments:
Amusing action with funny spoof characters

TBC

Calve Betels Titmice

reclining rockers at Writhe Recording 1987

McCabe & Brannigan: o'dubbin' vox on their ass: Writhe Recording 1987 (pic Stu)

Kawowski reads the Evening Post with his toes 1986

Kawowski reads the Evening Post with his toes 1986 (pic Lesley MacLean)

Cuba St Festival 1986

Dragan Stojanovich guitarra a solas con los dientes: Cuba St Festival 1986 (pic Stu)

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Music World turned upside down by Axemen in 1983 (photographic proof)

Posted in cultural studies, Photograsps by steve mccabe on October 14, 2008

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The art and magick of The Perfect Strangers, Chch 1980-1982

Posted in music, NZ bands, Photograsps by steve mccabe on October 14, 2008

By George D.Henderson
http://blogs.myspace.com/georgedhenderson

Reprinted by permission of the author
First published Friday, February 02, 2007

The art and magick of The Perfect Strangers, Chch 1980-1982

If The Perfect Strangers were only the blues-jam outfit implied elsewhere, I’d not be writing this story. The thing is, that Bill Vosburgh and Mark Thomas were two songwriting naturals; Mark, as an instinctive “singing fool”, Bill, as a precocious master of all techniques. More than that, the core trio of Vosburgh, Richard Uti (drums) and Helm Ruifrok (bass) were artists, from art school (while The And Band were all language and philosophy rejects), and Bill Vosburgh (William Wallace Vosburgh III) in particular soon came to see his music and painting as part of a larger “great work” in the Magickal tradition.
It was from Bill that I first learned how to write a song around a corny, clichéd phrase or a simple riff. He first brought the vernacular to my attention; a relaxed wit and self-deprecating honesty in love songs, with a simultaneous awareness of the larger, metaphysical picture, was his forte. As in this example, Self Interest:

I’d like to tell you ’bout a girl that I knew
But I can’t remember much about her
I just remember what I wanted from her
And how it broke my heart when I couldn’t get it,

Which was written in 1981 long before I’d written anything comparable. His style, and this song in particular (which The Puddle played often in the early years), opened my eyes to what was possible in a song. Nor do I know where it came from; his major influences seemed to be The Stooges and the MC5. The Smiths were only beginning their career, and Orange Juice were years away from New Zealand.

It was 1980 and I living in Wellington, playing in The Spies and living in a squat in Bosworth Terrace with Susan Ellis, who later became my wife and the mother of my child, when Bill Vosburgh came to stay; he was a friend of Peter Hall-Jones, who was a friend of my brother and myself and a guest at this party. Bill charmed Susan and I as soon as he arrived. Borrowing Susan’s pastels and drawing hundreds of short curved lines in different colours all over the page in no apparent pattern, he eventually created a vivid landscape with donkey (my memory says it was a representation of Sancho Panza, but I may be deluded) in a pointillist style. That he was an artist and, at 17, a prodigy, was obvious. Bill was roped into our equipment-stealing exploit and helped us carry the Revox home, but fortunately, by the time we were arrested he was back in Christchurch and his part escaped notice.

When the Wellington scene lost its appeal, and Chris Plummer left The Spies for Shoes This High, Mark Thomas went to Christchurch to stay with Bill, and soon Susan and I followed, together with Richard Sedger.

markthomas

Mark Thomas in Armagh St, Christchurch circa 1981 (photo by Bob Noxious).

This move would involve me in a scene that university life in Dunedin and punk rock squatting in Wellington had not prepared me for. Living near the centre of the city, there was nonetheless something commune-like about the way our increasingly intoxicated lives focussed on our art. One of the first things I did was to buy a second-hand reel-to-reel tape recorder (which came with tapes of born-again Christian sermons, to be taped over piecemeal as we created). Bill had only just formed The Perfect Strangers; his first bass player had been John Halvorsen, who left to form The Gordons along the same Detroit-punk lines that Bill preached; to me The Gordon’s earliest songs (on the Adults and Children E.P.) show clear signs of Bill’s influence. The art students that formed his band were drummer Richard Uti, a Polynesian prince, and Helm Ruifrok, a mild mannered Dutchman, senior to the others, whose highly, but subtly sexualized landscapes hang in cafés throughout the South Island. Bill and Helm’s exotic art student girlfriends Ita and Besa were also a revelation; Besa, Turkish with a piercing singing voice, would soon go to Cairo and become a Moslem fundamentalist ahead of her time; Ita was dark, mysterious and quiet. She seemed moody, but who wouldn’t be with Bill as a partner and me as a houseguest? The opposite of Susan in every way except child-like beauty, Ita attracted me in a way I dared not think about and thus terrorised me greatly for some time.

The internet articles on The Perfect Strangers/And Band axis tend to suggest that the latter were the more disciplined, but in fact The Perfect Strangers were the tighter band. Bill’s many songs in their first set included A Haunting Refrain (“The lover did his dreadful deed and vanished out the door”) with its gorgeous riff of descending suspended 4th arpeggios, Life Goes On, with its catchy 2 note chorus and obvious similarities to early Gordons (this was the first song I watched being written), the Peter Gunn twelve bar Man (“You know that God created him, and he’s alright”), which had been written early one morning, inspired by the sight of a long-haired league player jogging past the window on a training run, the faux-disco/punk crossover rave-up Dance You Fuckers Dance, the Lovecraftian Curses, and the intricate The Man Who Knew Too Much. This early set’s piece de resistance was Robbie. Taking the melody of The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond as its bass line, Robbie (chorus: “Robbie, och aye och!”) was a reggae song hailing the mythical return of the Scottish diaspora “We’ll never have to borrow money again/ when we return to Highland Zion evergreen”, with Robert the Bruce in place of Haile Selassie. Even the musical mechanics of songwriting was something Bill attacked more confidently and knowledgably than I did.

As Bill’s facile approach to songwriting influenced me, so our experimental and literary approach to music influenced him. The first example of this to be recorded was probably The Dunwich Horror. Bill took for lyrics a monologue from the H. P. Lovecraft story, the part that begins “They’s prints in the rud, mis’ Corey – great raound prints as big as barrelheads, all sunk daown deep like an elephant had been along, only they’s a sight more nor four feet could make!” That last phrase made the chorus; “They’s a sight more nor four feet could make!” The song turned on a loping bass riff, the kind of simple but compellingly syncopated figure that became Helm’s trademark, with Richard Uti’s drumming for the first time evoking his Pacific island heritage, evoking tribal drumming and a nocturnal bacchanal around a bonfire, while Bill’s fuzz guitar snarled, squealed and bit.

The Dunwich Horror and the later Self Interest were, tho only lo-fi demos, proof that The Perfect Strangers could have made a fascinating and original pop record if they were ever allowed to. But no sooner did they hit on the formula for success than things began to go wrong. Success on the terms available in Christchurch, 1980 just wasn’t what Bill wanted in any case. The Narcs, later The Great Divide, were an example of what the city really wanted, and the arrogant, immature and opinionated Perfect Strangers secured a support slot, only to fall out with The Narcs’ management and be sacked before the second night. As there were only a few rock venues in Christchurch at the time, all managed by the same promoters, who were supportive of local music but very protective of their hard-won niche in the business, this behaviour was commercial – and artistic – suicide.
From now on, both The Perfect Strangers and The And Band (the two bands were not easily separated in practice) could only play together in the daytime, at a few unlicensed venues; twice at the Christchurch Arts Centre, once in the Band Rotunda by the Avon, and once at the controversial Four Avenues alternative school. The second Arts Centre gig was disastrous; an intoxicated Richard Uti clambering over the equipment in front of a silent audience of Pacific Island elders, sent there because of concerns that their future king was losing the plot. He was packed off back to the islands to dry out – and he was one of the lucky ones, like Besa, who got out in time to recover the pattern of their original lives.
All of us (I think) drank to excess at times, and when we could afford it we bought pot from The Gordons. We also found San Pedro cactuses and tripped from time to time (it was on such a trip that I wrote Interstellar Gothic* and recorded the And Band songs on the E.P.). In the summer we stole and bled poppies, which indirectly led to my hospitalisation and introduced me to a drug called Doloxene (dextropopoxyphene), a mild (but very toxic) opiate which had an amphetamine-like effect in small doses. Others became addicted to codeine products, and from time to time we drank antihistamine cough syrups. Mark Thomas, who replaced Richard on drums, drumming for both bands and fronting the later Perfect Strangers line-up, was especially prone to excess and was the first of us to go on methadone, an experience that he turned into songs. If Bill showed me how to write songs, Mark encouraged me to create them out of the minutiae of everyday experience, including relationship dramas and drug taking, and to be brutally honest in the name of humour. *(from a cassette called “AND BAND – against the odds.”)- Stu K.

The extent to which I was imposing on people I hardly knew amazes me today. “I have always relied on the kindness of strangers.” Were it not for Susan, who always found us flats, food and money, I must surely have died long before. My unawareness or suppression of unwelcome truths was surely at an all time high in those days.

A typical morning at Bealey Ave. might go like this; I awake to find Bill or Helm making coffee, and turn on the tape deck to listen to the last night’s recordings. Deciding what to keep (most things), I turn on Bill’s amp and plug in the guitar that Susan and I bought on HP, and which I still have today. Soon I have a pattern I like, and play it to Bill who sits down at the Farfisa and taps out a few notes, or suggests a lyrical theme with a few clever lines. Helm comes and sits by the drums, Mark walks in and takes the microphone, and I start the tape rolling. Before breakfast, while the girls are still showering. Later in the day we’ll add overdubs and I’ll talk Susan into dubbing more organ, or let Richard S. play his clarinet.

Every flat we lived in had its own vibe, its own particular sort of creativity associated with it. Worcester Street is where Susan and I, with Mark and Richard made super 8 films. The flat near the Police Station is where we wrote, with Bill and Lindsay, the surrealist and parodic stories that became the MKULTRA collection, published on Susan’s Gestetner press. The old warehouse in town, The Perfect Strangers’ practice room, our last stop before leaving altogether for Dunedin, is where we sniffed ether, mixed with the homeless and mentally ill riff-raff of the City, and stopped feeling special and invulnerable. This was where the music first began to sound like noise to me. Almonds and Crocodiles, the only real collaboration between the members of the then And Band, Mark, Susan and I, was written there, but could only be turned into a real song later, in Dunedin with The Puddle. But this is not a story about The And Band.

Gene Autry the singing cowboy by Bill Vosburg

cover art for MKULTRA: GENE AUTREY by Bill Vosburgh

The road trip that Bill, Ita, Susan, Mark and I took to Able Tasman National Park in the Morris 1800 that Bill got from his parents is forever etched in my memory. We left Christchurch drunk and hung over from cough mixture. On the busy motorway north, Bill, driving wildly, clipped a Holden Monaro while overtaking. When the irate gorilla driving the big V8 pursued us, he drove up onto the grassy centre plot in a reckless overtaking manoeuvre, then cut across all four lanes to make a surprise exit down a country back road. It was like a car chase from a movie, our little car dicing with the traffic; exhilarating. Safe from our pursuer on the gravelled country road, Bill had an asthma attack; without medication, the girls talked him down in the back seat while Mark took over. This was a mistake; Mark, always macho, had envied Bill his turn at the wheel during the chase, and now he was determined to see how fast the little 1800 could go. I can remember him reading the miles-per-hour from the speedo; “80!” “90!” “A hundred!” and then the car lost control in the gravel, spun round once or twice, and, missing a power pole by inches, smashed backwards into a fence post. We had whiplash problems for some time to come, but we all knew we were lucky to be alive. The post had driven the car’s body into the back wheel so that we couldn’t drive away, but a farmer drove up in a tractor and fixed it with a crowbar. He told us that the night before two drunken motorists had stopped for a swim in the irrigation ditch and one had drowned. We figured that, if we were still alive, it was because death had already been satisfied on that road. We drove more soberly to Takaka, and camped on a beach in the park. In the morning we saw a pod of whales enter the bay. The water was clear and warm, and little octopuses scuttled over the kina-encrusted rocks. We stood on a rock, threw in a baited hook and, in seconds, pulled out a flat silver fish six inches long. The hooks didn’t even need bait; we pulled in several of these fish using only hook and line, and cooked them in tinfoil over our fire. They were delicious.

The Perfect Strangers soon lost the pop focus that I admired so much and went off in search of something more authentic, organic and bluesy. Bill Vosburgh had always wanted to be Ron Asheton from The Stooges, and he pulled this off with his later band Christchurch. He often seemed to take his painting (and his magick) more seriously than his songwriting. I remember him painting one large canvas, mixing menstrual blood and semen with his paints, and praying quabbalistic prayers for inspiration. He would psych himself into altered states and, especially when the wrong drugs were added to the mix, the resulting mania could be terrifying (or, more often, annoying). Sidelined for frequent repairs, Bill’s psyche has had to calm down considerably since those days. His superb jazz piano playing is always a pleasure to hear. He had a profitable business at one time playing high-end cabaret as Celia Pavlova’s accompanist, and one of my ambitions is to record a set of my songs as arranged by Bill. Bill still plays with Helm occasionally. The other day I watched a video of Charlie Parker; while the other guy took his solo, you could see Charlie’s face as he fingered his sax; I was amazed to see that the sly little movements of his eyes and lips were pure Bill. Bill, who has long played sax, idolised Bird, but I don’t think he had ever seen a video of him to copy, and, though I have seen the video, I know that I couldn’t copy those facial expressions to save myself. Spooky. Mark Thomas went to Australia and became a communist. He recorded two songs with The Puddle during the sessions for the Into The Moon CD, Peter’s Plague and Abo Hunt. In Nelson he became Sharkface and fronted a rock band that I can remember playing a superlative cover of Iggy’s Dirt when they supported The Puddle in 1993. Mark died a few weeks later [1996 - S. S.] of a drug overdose. He had a classic baritone rock voice, lived life to the full, had an irresponsible and violent side that concerned his friends; he was truly self-destructive and infuriatingly perverse, yet he was the most naturally creative of songwriters and the best male singer I have ever known.

Perfect Strangers at their seminal Band Rotunda gig. L-R Bill Vosbergh, Richard Uti,Helm Ruifrock, Mark Thomas

In this picture of The Perfect Strangers, taken by Stuart Page at the Christchurch band rotunda, Bill Vosburgh Plays guitar at left; that is probably me adjusting the P.A. with my back to the camera; Richard Uti is behind the drums; Helm plays bass behind the Farfisa, and Mark Thomas is on the right. Mark sports a small pair of horns. These latex horns were made for him by Helm, and wearing them necessitated constant shaving of his scalp and reattachment. He wore them for many years. They served to accentuate his natural faun-like features, and to warn all-comers of his Panic character. Later in life, he grew dreadlocks and became much more obviously Maori.

(Click here for a Perfect Strangers track off “Thunder at the Rotunda” cassette and more recordings & photos of The Perfect Strangers here.) –A Kit Wok Wuss

There are no digital copies of The Perfect Strangers’ music extant. Live cassettes of poor quality exist, and the original reel-to-reel tapes of mixed And Band and Perfect Strangers recordings, which exist among a scattered collection of reels many of which, re-recorded onto second hand tape in the first place, have deteriorated beyond salvation, will be a major project to search and transcribe. The very rare And Band/ Perfect Strangers EP will be transcribed from vinyl to MP3 one day soon.

The Gordons (13 Feb 1981) Back to front: Alister Parker, John Halvorsen, Brent McLachlan (photo: Evening Post)

Here’s a live recording of The Gordons playing “Adults and Children” from a cassette of Roger Fogorelli’s (probably recorded at “Billy The Club” or “Last Resort” in Wellington around 1980).

The Gordons “Adults and Children”

George with Bolex at the Deans Ave party 1981 (photo Stu)

George with Bolex at the Deans Ave party 1981 (photo Stu)

Bill Vosburgh and Buddy Holly, Cashel Mall (opp. Ink Inc) ChCh 1985

Bill Vosburgh and Buddy Holly, Cashel Mall (opp. Ink Inc) ChCh 1985 (pic Stu)

The Puddle at ChCh Tech gig, c.1984 (pic Stu)

The Jazz Years: Arthur Sheep, Alan Right et al

Posted in blather, music, Photograsps by steve mccabe on October 13, 2008

Several blocks north of Christchurch’s Cathedral Square (in itself a home for nutters, wizards, punks and winged rats), just before you reach Bealey Avenue, lies a rambling cacophony of flatlets and the home of quite a different variety of nutters, freaks and certified intelligentsia too. Probably a “Clifford flat” (most of those grand old mansions that were gutted, renovated and reduced to cabin-sized rat warrens were the cash cows of a tight old bastard known as “Clifford”), the house in question (see Artie Sheep’s Place located on Map 2a) was home to an eclectic analogue collective of jazzy, opiate-preferring jazzerati, some of whom were on the bunk from their Wellington lives, and all of whom were partial to an AXEMEN experience or two. (It seems that a 1/2 Japanese LP was receiving high rotation ratings on the premises and that the AXEMEN sound was close enough for them to dig it.)

Axemen featuring neighbour plastic saxophonist Al Right en route to Nab The Lamb from Arthur Sheep's pig-sty

A concerted effort to hijack the jazz guys’ studio began in earnest, early 1984. Firstly, McCabe moved into a shoe-box recently vacated by John Segovia (studio axe sessionist extraordinaire) aka Rent Hamilton (watch for a story about his Country Connoisseurs unit sometime in the future). Eventually the semi-paranoid permanently-opiated brass section in the bigger front flat were familiar with Stevie in close proximity. Bob’n’Stu cased the joint subliminally, then quickly ventured into the darkened bowels of the hallowed ether-dank hallways of Arthur Sheep’s free-form mausoleum up front. Within hours Sheep’s woolly plan to record with his Burroughsian tribe of squeakers had turned a full 180° and our heroes had taken command of the jazzbos’ prized Nakamichi cassette deck (together with a large room full of drums, percussion instruments, amps, mics, etc). . .

The “Shear the Sheep” Sessions delivered a unique and delightful flock of tracks, a foil to the usual behemoth AXEMEN metallic wall-o’-sound. Click here to hear the AXEMEN trio’s “Nab The Lamb” from those same sessions (also appears on the AXEMEN’s semenal A SCAR IS BORN release from 1984 – often described as an assault on “Sgt Pepper.”)

The Axemen – Bus boys from way back

Posted in blather, Buses, Photograsps, travel by steve mccabe on October 11, 2008

The long association of The Axemen with the buses of Otago probably began with their featuring role in Wilma McCorkindale’s seminal book on the subject, Otago Road Services Ltd – A Brief History.

While researching the book McCorkindale became fascinated (some would say obsessed) with these ‘frequent flyers’ and would chat with them for virtually the entire journey between Christchurch and South Dunedin, which by 1983 was a regular occurrence.

The venerable 1968 Starliner coach which ferried the lads and served as tour bus, writing room, coffee wine drinking establishment and muse became the Axemen’s second (and in Bob’s case, first) home throughout the mid-80s, and was later featured in the Axemen’s short-lived New Zealand version of the long-running British TV Series “On the Buses.”

The programme, though critically regarded as a Pinteresque masterpiece, became yet another casualty of Rogernomics, New Zealand’s pathetic but ruthless imitation of Thatchernomics and Reaganomics—this type of sycophantic replication of dumb-ass overseas trends continues to this day unfortunately, reaching a possible new low recently with New Zealand versions of “Wheel of Fortune,” “The Weakest Link” and “American Idol” (brilliantly re-packaged as “New Zealand Idol”).

On The Buses with the Axemen

On The Buses with the Axemen (TV Series 1983-84). Promo shot circa 1983 courtesy South Pacific Television - Kiaora Kiwi and Cat!

To say these programmes are a crock is doing a harsh disservice to crocks everywhere, and perhaps the Axemen’s brief glimmer in the spotlight as TV stars was its only redeeming feature; but I digress.

The demise of the show did have one lasting benefit – it gave the lads much more time to concentrate on honing their songwriting, performing, spray-painting, screen-printing and self-promotion skills, and forced them to extend their minds further.

The Bus Association continues today - Tour Groups still take the bus around Christchurch to visit various Axemen Points of Interest

The Axemen bus association continues today - Tour Groups still take the bus around Christchurch to visit various Axemen "Points of Interest"

Through experimentation with early blends of coffee wine (brewed by Steve and locally known as ‘Co-Wi’ [pronounced 'Kowhai' like the native New Zealand flower], which McCabe was always trying to perfect), alongside other powerful psychoactive agents, the songs really began to flow at this time, and the legendary banter and verbal interactions which were the staple of the show now became the Axemen’s trademark—many a club manager or promoter remember ruefully being on the sharp end of one of the lads’ papercut-on-the-eyeball retorts.

Posted By Little Stevie McCabe

Knock-Knock Who’s-There Smell-Map

Posted in Buses, music, Photograsps, travel by steve mccabe on October 10, 2008

Map 1 here shows the whereabouts of various members of the
Axemen in the first few months of the band’s existence.

PHOTO-ESSAY: A LITTLE BIT OF YESTERDAY

South Dunedin, home of the South Dunedin sound

South Dunedin – home of the South Dunedin Sound.

Maureen of the Empire Tavern
about to burn life-size effigy of Little Stevie McCabe.

<– South Dunedin | Starliners (so-called) | Christchurch –>

<–Alpha Centauri | Starliners (actual) | Eta Tandoori–>

Christchurch, 1983

Enjoy Christchurch graphic by Stu pre-dated the Absolutely Wellington campaign by at least a decade!

Enjoy Christchurch graphic by Stu pre-dated the try-hard Absolutely Wellington campaign by at least a decade!

Christchurch's Disco Queen Mere Nihoniho at Caledonian Hall '77 by Kowalski

Christchurch's Disco Queen Mere Nihoniho at Caledonian Hall '77 by Kowalski

*

Accompanying this photo-essay are some more tracks recorded live at the Star & Garter on 4-11-83:

cassette recorder

untitled (sounds
like fiery jack)

get down

9 candles on the cake

a little bit of yesterday (johnny cash)

Prehistoric Posters from Dunedin & Christchurch

Posted in NZ bands, Photograsps, Posters by steve mccabe on September 30, 2008

Found these on a Christchurch City Council Libraries website of all places . . .

The first is from late 82 or early 83, advertising a gig at the infamous Empire Tavern in Dunedin. This poster was scrapped together from old posters and other art by Stu and wacked out in a night at the notorious Ink Inc. studio at 2/222 High St, Christchurch. Above Ground was the band Stu was in with Bill Direen, Carol Woodward and Maryrose Wilkinson (now M. Crook in The Renderers), while the Gorillas were 16-year-old Stevie’s high-school group whose other half was comix-maestro-to-be Pete Rees. They travelled down from Christchurch for the gig. The Cartilage Family was Peter Gutteridge & Christine Voice’s then-band, locals we’d befriended over the years.

Stevie said to me afterwards, as he sipped his post-set lemonade and we watched Above Ground, “Darn it, but I wish we could find a drummer like that old geezer.” “Aye laddie, he’s no Ringo Starrr, but he just might be that John Lennnon’s love-child.”

Stu in a typically confused pre-AXEMEN state, Christchurch, 1982

Stu in a typically confused pre-AXEMEN state, Christchurch, 1982

The second is maybe months later, from Christchurch, this time promoting an Above Ground gig and the release of their home-made tape GONE AIWA. This is vintage (nay, prehistoric!) Stu. Note particularly the cassette-as-icon, biodiverse animal imagery (2 mammals, 2 birds), totemic nouns (Aztec, Leadbelly) & recycled typography. On view then are 3 key elements of the art/craft livelihood practised by the evolving Homo Axemenus (self-released product + cassette format + grand poster style) in nascent form. [BB, paleoaxeologist]

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