Prehistoric Posters from Dunedin & Christchurch

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

Above Ground Cartilage Family

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 whacked 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, Shayne Carter & 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 Starr, but he just might be that John Lennon’s love-child.”

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

Above Ground poster twk 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, bio-diverse 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]

Escape from the Planet of the Tapes

Here’s a mixed bag of cassette-only goodies . . .

hello (aka “Burn” alt mix)

cold beer (alt mix)

jah & his herb (alt mix)

–undated, probably from Christchurch practises late 1984. Presence of saxophone and graphic equalizer are big time-clues, plus references to beer & god, plus the other side of the tape features the song “the panther of the suburbs” whose lyrics Steve channeled in trance-state following A SCAR IS BORN sessions, mid-84.

sugar daddy

live at the Star & Garter in Christchurch, 4 November 1983. This is around the time of the MICK’S DANCEFLOOR (MIX) sessions, and Mick himself, M. S. Agro, plays bass with us for the first of a whole bunch of great gigs.

untitled by unknown

–live at Christchurch City Mall, c.1984. Sounds like there’s a clarinet on this too so likely features members of the Axemen marching band who did stuff up and down Colombo Street. While marching. In a band. More from Live at City Mall

fever (cooley-davenport)

gypsies, tramps & steves

Axmin biggish band again at Whangarei Busker’s Convention, December 1985.

charleston

–live at Cashel St practice rooms, early-mid 1986, with vocal overdubs by Steve & his 4-track.

—V—

FREAK OF THE WEEK (from behind)

Axmin in Whangarei 1985

This picture was taken in Whangarei after the Axmin returned from a day trip to Auckland where they’d scooped 1st prize in the inaugural Auckland Busking Competition (judges: Topp Twins).

Axmin Whangarei 1985

At this time the band had expanded from 3 to sometimes over 10 personnel, boasting a brass section and women members (hence the temporary rename to Axmin).

Stevie the busker pioneers a new technique for collecting coins off punters in Whangarei
Busker Stevie pioneers a new technique for collecting coins off punters in Whangarei

Axemin Big Band Busks “Doc Who” in Whangarei, 1985


This is from a cassette recorded in an arcade in Whangarei… There were tons of us up there for the first national busker’s convention. Stu has a couple great photos from then, hope he’ll post ’em up! Steve’s on lead vocals and it sounds like maybe 3 or 4 percussionists. Great reverb enhances the faux-tardis effect on this famous tune composed by Ron Grainger. dr. who theme

“Fickle Red Book” live at the Star & Garter, 4 November 1983

This is probably the first ever gig we did with M. S. Agro (“Mick”) on bass. I was still living in Dunedin. I bussed up to Christchurch and arrived at the pub minutes before we went on. Steve and I had square lights gaffer-taped to the top of our heads. I didn’t know half the songs but Steve yelled out the chords, only instead of names like EEG he used numbers like 003 etc. Stu recorded this on his walkman. There’s a version of this on the MICK’S DANCEFLOOR (MIX) album, but that was recorded at Hell Farm–this is the real live deal. We would return to the S&G many times over the next couple years. . . [BB] fickle red book