The portrait of Johnny Segovia

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

LIVE AT CITY MALL Volumes 1 & 2

connoisseursliveatcitymall1

AXEMEN
Stu K-drums/Steve M & Bob B-gtrs/Al Rite-sax/Gary Scott-clarinet/Pete Hall Jones-trumpet

The Message (E. Fletcher-M. Glover-S. Robinson-C. Chase)

Untitled By Unknown

Axemen, Dogs, Cops

City Mall #4

The CONNOISSEURS
Rent Hamilton-gtr, vocals/Shorty Hamilton-bass, vcls/Doug Hamilton-snare, vcls
with Al/Gary/Pete as The Horned Hornet Horns

Divorce Me COD/Just Because (Carl Smith/Bob Shelton-Joe Shelton-Sid Robin)

Setting The Woods On Fire (Hank Williams)

Long Tall Texan/When The Saints (Henry Strzelecki/Trad. arr. Connoisseurs)

Your Cheatin’ Heart (Hank Williams)

<*>

connoisseursliveatcitymall2

AXEMEN/The CONNOISSEURS/The Horned Hornet Horns
recorded the same night as Vol.1, same people ALL play

There You Go (Johnny Cash)

City Mall #10

City Mall #11

Turn Around (Carl Perkins)

Roadhouse Blues (Morrison-Krieger-Manzarek-Densmore)

City Mall #14

The Untouchables, Fred & Barney

City Mall #16

Bonnie Parker Clyde Barrow monsters on the loose, Axemen heroes
Bonnie Parker Clyde Barrow monsters on the loose, Axemen heroes

LIVE AT CITY MALL notes
These songs were definitely recorded on a Friday night, the 19th, before the Saturday of the Band Rotunda Free Festival, whenever that was (May? June? July?), at City Mall in Cashel St, Christchurch, 1984 (that information unavailable at the times of THIS & that previous post). On Volume 1, the first four songs are the Axemen busking at one end of the Mall. Note that the version of “The Message” included here is about 6 minutes longer than that one posted previously, and “Untitled By Unknown” is a new mix. Notice Gary Scott noticing cops at the end of “Axemen, Dogs, Cops.” I noticed that – nice of you to notice – steve Hear Stu Kawowski briefly note the date & introduce The Connoisseurs (having discovered them after marching up the other end of the Mall) who play the next four songs accompanied by the Al Right-Gary Scott-Pete Hall Jones Horned Hornet Horns horn section. By the time the songs on Volume 2 were recorded, literally moments after those on Volume 1, the non-horn-toting members of the Axemen had “changed” their “minds” about rumbling with the country and western Connoisseurs for poaching their blowers, and instead passed around the coffee wine & joined in for 8 more fine examples of City Mall-style busking magic. ALL SONGS IN STEREO. The cover photo, almost certainly by Stu, shows Doug & Rent Hamilton playing pentatonic scales in a brave attempt to shield their sensitive nether regions from McCabe’s out-thrust disaster-finger.

TIMES NEW VIKING ~ hot trio on Siltbreeze/Matador rock out at SxSW in Austin, Texas

Times New Viking is a lo-fi indie rock band from Columbus, Ohio. The line up consists of guitarist Jared Phillips, drummer Adam Elliott, and Beth Murphy on keyboards. Murphy and Elliott share vocal duties. They are currently signed to Matador Records and were formerly signed to Siltbreeze Records. They have released three records: 2005’s Dig Yourself, 2007’s Present the Paisley Reich, and 2008’s Rip It Off, which NME gave an 8/10. Rip it Off reached #17 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

SXSW ‘Siltbreeze’ Showcase 13 Mar 2008

TIMES NEW VIKING outside Sound on Sound Records SXSW ’07

Saturday, 3/17/07. Bleached out, sounds amazing. Penultimate song of the set, “Let Your Hair Grow Long.” We got sunburned.

Times New Viking on MySpace

Sounds like: Breath in: snuff a line speed, a half hour jump on your cheap amplifiers, salad yet once a half hour with you yet cheaper guitar against the wall. Write eleven popliedjes, lay the emphasis on cryptic and forget everything your song teacher you ever learned has. Seek your neighbor girl on and tell her that your musics will make. Lay her emphatically from that she must not try to sing. Stick, now that you it really are, also just your tongue between her lips till you certainly are that they that rather has not. Give her then you eleven popliedjes and (optioneel) a guitar. Question her these eleven popliedjes with you together to not to sing, expect of it surplus. Mess what with the buttons on the amplifier, let the hamster of your neighbor girl also once over the strings run, sign the head of the father of your neighbor girl on the skins of a Bears Smit drumstel, call her feather ten-year-old little brother and lay from that its father him really real hatred. Breath out: and voila, Yourself Summoned. Sounds good? Sounds in it really yet better. Blessed with a delicious dose ADHD-spontaneity and a fine nose for popmelodieën know Tim New Viking on Summoned Yourself a particular charming pot borrow-fi garagepop down to dump. A kind of contemporary version of The Shaggs, but then without the implicit family tie. More a neighbor boy-neighbor girl tie thus.

Times New Viking – Dig Yourself

Available Formats: CD / Vinyl LP / iTunes
Price: Vinyl LP $15.00 (U.S. Postpaid) / $9.99 iTunes

Times New Viking – Present the Paisley Reich

Available Formats: Vinyl LP / iTunes
Price: Vinyl LP $15.00 (U.S. Postpaid) / $9.99 iTunes LP

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

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…

Mick Agro (slight return)

The (definitive article) Axemen (an mnemoir), or the slight return of M S Agro.

Another otter down
'Otters have died'

I remember the Axemen, the Axemen, the name (anag) passed over in the monumental and indefinitive Shute tome apart from a hemi-semi-demi-paragraph on page 340
noting in part that they were a notorious 90’s group, as well as that Bob was a leaden songwriter, and omitting the hard-won honorific ‘Little’ from McCabe’s name.

Like Calling Sir Cumference, Cumference [that would be an editorial cumference call – ed] but that’s the trouble with harry) — as the title of the book is (if the spine is to be trusted) ‘NZ Rock 1987-2007’ a group supposedly from the 90’s (I’ve added an apostrophe to allow fair use of Shute quotes) would seem to fall into the slightly left of middle of that bi-decade, and as the Axemen were both the beginning and the NZ, the
hardplace and the rock, the a-fore 1987 and the a-hind 2007, we need to examine all that’s left to find out if he’s right in leaving them somewhere out. There.

The Psychotic; Reactions; Hand-carburettors; Dung: The psychotic is almost certainly the, equal parts psychic dance-‘all, Stu, my first meeting with him when I was being psychically screened for what was euphemistically termed ‘session-work’ was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve yet, or in the
future, had.

Stu screamed at me, blue neck veins standing out like drumsticks in Gracelands, ‘Just play the fucking E, string, nothing else, don’t fucking watch the others, if you do you’re dead. Otters have died’ As I was
auditioning for drums the instructions were difficult to follow. He threw me off the kit, and started drumming ‘in constipated fashion’ to show me what he envisag’d that the otters would want.

A fuzztoned whale
A fuzztoned whale

‘Hey!’ said one voice, that I would later find out was Bob, ‘that’s it, the missing link’. I thought he was referring to my admittedly simian visage, but looking up I percieved that he was looking up and looking up also, the quiet one, McCabe.

They stopped playing their guitars, but the noise from the amplifiers sounded exactly the same. Like fuzztoned whales. Being chased by Japanese scientists for their own good. Through a wah-wah.

Can you play bass. can. you. Play. bass? McCabe asked Bob. Brannigan said to Steve ‘Stuart can’ McCabe walked over to Page who hinted to Cardy that Kowawski was unable toplay.

How many of them were there. I pulled out my fingers and counted.
Still three, but the fastest moving three that I ever saw. A pre-blur blur.

Micks fingers - part of the reason he is such a legendary bass player
Micks fingers - part of the reason he is such a legendary bass player and cant count like others

‘We need an unthinking person to play ploddy lines and not ask questions about structural niceties’ McCabe mused. I put up my hand, actually for persimmon to leave the room, but they garbed the wrong end of the schtick. ‘You’ll do’ said
the psychotic, psychotically. ‘I will?’ said I. ‘It’s I do. Do it’ said Bob and thus I was initiated. The last two words being the mot secret tattooed on me. A fact later regretted when I served time. It could have been worse, I
might have been trying to join the scouts, or the salvation army.

Reactions: I was never a catalyst, accelerant, oxidiser, or agent of reduction, purely the litmus paper that turned bluish if there was enough bass. The notes
didn’t come easily. ‘0 – 0 – 5 – 7 – 0 – 3’ yelled McCabe over Brannigan’s bagpipes. I played ‘0 – 0 0 – 0 – 0 – 0’. ‘Stay away from the A string, it’s dangerous, McCabe mentored. ‘And D and whatever the little one is’ Bob added.
I was gradually twomentored into submission. Rather than learn to avoid strings I sellotaped everything but the big one to the neck of my double-bass. Then I found it was easier just to ‘break’ them before, or immediately during, playing. Soon I was ‘0 – 12 – 0 – 12 – 23 – 2 – 5”ing with the others. But far less erotically, far more eratically.

We played, people left, we stopped, they came back, we played the second set, they left again but when we stopped they didn’t come back. Bob started incorporating sudden stops into songs, hoping that if there was a pause the not-quite-audience would get whether they were coming or going confused and

head the wrong way and hear us when they were trying not to. This became a nightmare. ‘You’re quite a good reggae bass player’ Roger Sheppard said once. ‘I like the way that you never actually play with the drums or guitars but are always a step ahead of, or behind them, and the way the bass carries on when all else is silent’ I hung my head, a good luck charm given to me by McCabe.

 If the head is swingin don't bother ringin
If the head is swingin dont bother ringin

‘Watch the head, if it’s swinging we’re playing’ he wrote down for me. He was right. not Al Right, but the advice helped. Some. But not me.

We played on a balcony at a party at someone’s parent’s house with Scab Union in the middle of the afternoon, a small suburb within a suburb. One of the people listening offered me a cup of warm lemon juice. Success at last. In earlier days there’d have been a quick shout of Gardy-Loo, rather than this kind of
shout. I felt we were progressing. ‘We’re not progressive’ Stu muttered [to be fair, he’d spent the morning listening to Emerson, Lake and Palmer and was in a particularly bad mood – ed].

telepathy
* Stu does it telepathically* - bumper sticker, 1987

I’d forgotten International Stu’s telepathic powers and the fact that his deafness carried over to them. ‘You’re thinking you’ve forgotten my telepathic towels’ he taunted. There was no escape. The neighbouring residents, still anonymous, but probably influenced by the sonic vibes reverberating their unknown bones,
agreed.

When I was plunking the E I thought back to my first encounter with McCabe, sneaking into EMI on Colombo Street, to put his cassettes into the album bins.
“You’ll really like the Gorillas’ Robyn assured me, as McCabe sneakily sneaked around in his sneakers, squeakily shreiking, and sheepishly bleating.
‘Grillers?’ I asked. Robyne pulled the recording tape out of the album racks, Little Stevie had finally worked it out, put the tapes in covers too big for anything but the record bins, and because the integrity of the other records required they be kept flat the tape had to be at the front. ‘Boy eats girl’ I read. There was a beautifully and simply draw diagram of a boy and girl together, the girl however had been covered in dotted lines of the type used in cookbooks to indicate cuts of meat. ‘The music’s a bit like that’ Robyne said.
I looked dubiously at the cover and the other Gorilla releases in the shop, a rare Pete and the Pigeons tape nestled up to SPC Eh?, and I guess in Dunedin similar scenes were taking place with regard to Glyph Richard. Where similar beauteous shop assistants assisted prospective record purchasers.

Bertie Germ, Dick Weir on 3ZB
Bertie Germ, Dick Weir on 3ZB

‘Can I hear a bit of this here Gorilla band’ I asked. McCabe, still in sneakers, winced, many a sale had been lost at this point. ” ‘Bertie Germ can’t die’ is probably the best introduction” said McCabe’s confederate and so I heard McCabe for the first time.

‘It’s not much like the Stranglers’ I commented. ‘Sssshhhh!’ they both said. I haven’t spoken since. I left penniless, but Penny never really liked me anyway. I ws clutching a limited release extra cassette by Salli Rog and the Tokin’Blacks. Shrubbery Dub. This as well as anything Robyne had been passed by Steve in the last month. McCabe  left rubbing his hands, off to buy coffee beans, and climb the winestalk.

In the same omniverse…

A flock of seagulls
A flock of seagulls

Brannigan, now there’s a name to conjure with, half braggart, half harridan, half Finnegan, but always awake. An astronomer to the stars by trade. As most do I first encountered him playing guitar. ‘Can you nae put a small token of your appreciation into my well worn hat?’ he asked as he played everything Van Morrison had written to that date in a rapid unmuddled medley.

I nodded dumbly and dropped a duplicate copy of Shrubbery dub into his hat. ‘Money, none of that damned plastic, and I don’t take EFTPos or play chess’ he said sternly. I ran, as a flock of seagulls descended on the white haired fellow in the square. He ran after me, breaking windows as he struggled to catch up. There was to be no gain without breaking panes. Suddenly The Police rescued me. It was a Sting operation. I never saw Brannigan after that until the initiation. He was led off in cuffs, a collar, and the top hat. Otherwise naked, but stylish.

All this time Kowawski was in his own underground band, Above-Ground, determinedly subteranean in their refusal to sink to the level of most other bands in Christchurch. (notabene: A quick glance at Youtube will show you that the other important bands in this period in Christchurch were Maiden China and the White Boys, both of whom went on to be household names). The Above-Ground story and the’Gone Aiwa’ cassette are freely available on ebay, although freely in this case means you’ll be parting with $100 or so. That’s enough to get you into 20 Axemin gigs at 1980 prices. And at 2008 prices.

Then there was the second gig, but that’s another story, as was my sudden expulsion from the band because I had no sense of humour and started playing the A string rather than the ever increasing 24’s, the subsequent formations, the inclusion of women in the front line, the Peace Aotearoa gig which resulted
in riots and war, but always the same number of people in the audience, the faces constantly changing, although those of us who returned again and again to watch swore we could never let anything like this happen again.

Damn, no matter what I took I could nae work hand-carburettors or dung into this, although both feature prominently in other Axemen History which never repeats, only ripples. That must be the required 250 words, which are worth at least a quart or a pitcher. Can I stop now? Is anyone there? Is this the
real life or just fantasy? I can’t go on, I’ll go on Ill, The Horror, The Horror. Ice cream in cones across this guy. A way a lone a last a love a long A xemin.

M. S. ‘Mick’ Aggro

The Constitution of the United States of America – don’t believe the hype!

The United States Constitution


The Constitution of the United States

Preamble Note

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Article. I. – The Legislative Branch Note

Section 1 – The Legislature All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. Section 2 – The House The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature. No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. (Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three. When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies. The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment. Section 3 – The Senate The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote. Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; (and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 2.) No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided. The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States. The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present. Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law. Section 4 – Elections, Meetings The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall (be on the first Monday in December,) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 20th Amendment, section 2.) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day. Section 5 – Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide. Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member. Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal. Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting. Section 6 – Compensation (The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheses were modified by the 27th Amendment.) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office. Section 7 – Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law. Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill. Section 8 – Powers of Congress The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; To establish Post Offices and Post Roads; To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court; To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations; To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. Section 9 – Limits on Congress The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person. The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. (No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.) No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State. No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another. No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time. No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State. Section 10 – Powers prohibited of States No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility. No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress. No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.


Article. II. – The Executive Branch Note

Section 1 – The President Note1 Note2 The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector. (The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not lie an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two-thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice-President.) (This clause in parentheses was superseded by the 12th Amendment.) The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States. No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. (In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.) (This clause in parentheses has been modified by the 20th and 25th Amendments.) The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them. Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Section 2 – Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session. Section 3 – State of the Union, Convening Congress He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States. Section 4 – Disqualification The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.


Article III. – The Judicial Branch Note

Section 1 – Judicial powers The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. Section 2 – Trial by Jury, Original Jurisdiction, Jury Trials (The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.) (This section in parentheses is modified by the 11th Amendment.) In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make. The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed. Section 3 – Treason Note Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.


Article. IV. – The States

Section 1 – Each State to Honor all others Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof. Section 2 – State citizens, Extradition The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States. A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime. (No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.) (This clause in parentheses is superseded by the 13th Amendment.) Section 3 – New States New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress. The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State. Section 4 – Republican government The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.


Article. V. – Amendment Note1Note2Note3

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.


Article. VI. – Debts, Supremacy, Oaths

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation. This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.


Article. VII. – Ratification Documents

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.


Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. Note Go Washington – President and deputy from Virginia New Hampshire – John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman Massachusetts – Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King Connecticut – Wm Saml Johnson, Roger Sherman New York – Alexander Hamilton New Jersey – Wil Livingston, David Brearley, Wm Paterson, Jona. Dayton Pensylvania – B Franklin, Thomas Mifflin, Robt Morris, Geo. Clymer, Thos FitzSimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, Gouv Morris Delaware – Geo. Read, Gunning Bedford jun, John Dickinson, Richard Bassett, Jaco. Broom Maryland – James McHenry, Dan of St Tho Jenifer, Danl Carroll Virginia – John Blair, James Madison Jr. North Carolina – Wm Blount, Richd Dobbs Spaight, Hu Williamson South Carolina – J. Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, Pierce Butler Georgia – William Few, Abr Baldwin Attest: William Jackson, Secretary


The Amendments Note

The following are the Amendments to the Constitution. The first ten Amendments collectively are commonly known as the Bill of Rights. History


Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Amendment 2 – Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

.


Amendment 3 – Quartering of Soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Amendment 6 – Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence
.


Amendment 7 – Trial by Jury in Civil Cases. Ratified 12/15/1791. In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Amendment 8 – Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment 9 – Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


Amendment 11 – Judicial Limits. Ratified 2/7/1795. Note History The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.


Amendment 12 – Choosing the President, Vice-President. Ratified 6/15/1804. Note History The Electoral College The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.


Amendment 13 – Slavery Abolished. Ratified 12/6/1865. History 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Amendment 14 – Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868. Note History 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State. 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


Amendment 15 – Race No Bar to Vote. Ratified 2/3/1870. History 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Amendment 16 – Status of Income Tax Clarified. Ratified 2/3/1913. Note History The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration

.


Amendment 17 – Senators Elected by Popular Vote. Ratified 4/8/1913. History The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures. When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct. This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.


Amendment 18 – Liquor Abolished. Ratified 1/16/1919. Repealed by Amendment 21, 12/5/1933. History 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


Amendment 19 – Women’s Suffrage. Ratified 8/18/1920. History The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Amendment 20 – Presidential, Congressional Terms. Ratified 1/23/1933. History 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin. 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day. 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified. 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them. 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article. 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.


Amendment 21Amendment 18 Repealed. Ratified 12/5/1933. History 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited. 3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


Amendment 22 – Presidential Term Limits. Ratified 2/27/1951. History 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term. 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.


Amendment 23 – Presidential Vote for District of Columbia. Ratified 3/29/1961. History 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Amendment 24Poll Tax Barred. Ratified 1/23/1964. History 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Amendment 25 – Presidential Disability and Succession. Ratified 2/10/1967. Note History 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President. 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress. 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President. 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President. Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.


Amendment 26 – Voting Age Set to 18 Years. Ratified 7/1/1971. History 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Amendment 27 – Limiting Congressional Pay Increases. Ratified 5/7/1992. History No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.


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Phosby, Formby, Philby – more Spies connections

Phosby, Formby, Philby

There was much speculation in the 80’s regarding the Axemen and their cronies loyalty to their country, especially when it came to their fraternisation with potentially seditious elements and the protest movement in civil uprisings such as the 1981 Springbok Tour and Homosexual Law Reform citizen actions."Mobilise July 3" - Springbok Tour Poster, 1981

New Zealands shameful 1981 Coat Of Arms
New Zealands shameful 1981 Coat Of Arms

New Zealands equivalent of the Secret Service, the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) were known to be taking an interest in the group and there were clicks on the phone, sporadic police raids on practice sessions and unusual activity in the bushes outside their abodes on more than occasion (although sometimes that was just Bob and Kevin Hawkins).

Robert (later Sir Robert) Muldoon, 1977
Robert (later Sir Robert) Muldoon, 1977
NZ SIS Official Seal
NZ SIS Official Seal

The SIS, an inspiration for the name of the band the Spies, were very active around this period, having been unleashed in 1987 by drunken megalomaniac Prime Minister Robert Muldoon (PM 1975-1984) to act as his personal goon squad (until he sanctioned the Red Squad and Blue Squad to enforce virtual martial law in 1981).

Muldoon used the Springbok Tour as an excuse to thumb his nose at the Gleneagles agreement in a way which was later copied by George W Bush and the PATRIOT Act in reaction to 9/11) , quelling and ripping apart anyone opposing his grand and overbearing schemes.

Neil Roberts attempted to blow up the Wanganui Computer in 1982, killing himself in the act
Neil Roberts attempted to blow up the Wanganui Computer in 1982, killing himself in the act

Little wonder the SIS took an increased interest in stirring and seditious activities when 22 year old anarchist Neil Roberts who took it upon himself to try and destroy the Wanganui computer, repository of the dossiers the government held on each and every New Zealand citizen.

Neil Roberts' chilling epitaph was an inspiration to the Axemen
Neil Roberts chilling epitaph was an inspiration to the Axemen and many others

The sombering message he left on the wall before blowing himself to smithereens “We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity” was an inspiration to the Axemen and had a light-speed bone-chilling effect on Steve McCabe who immediately recorded and released a tribute to the act under the name of the Sydenham Ois, citing the phrase and the chilling wording of Roberts prophetic tattoo “This punk won’t make 23”.

[mp3s here when located]

Roberts became an icon to many and still inspires a new generation of anarchists when they hear the story, and events are often held in his honour in New Zealand in much the same way as Guy Fawkes is commemorated in England.

posted by: A Beet Civic Smelt Let


Unpublished MySpace AXEMEN interview for UK mag ‘Plan B’

Over a year ago (13/08/2008) a dude we’ll call Joel Dan from Adelaide with an insane turnaround request of 24 hrs posted a bunch of questions over to The Axemen MySpace site for us to peruse. His plan, eh, was to get the thing published in Plan B magazine (UK).

With their usual lightspeed aplomb the trio elucidated the following memory bytes:

AXEMEN INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ‘n’ ANSWERS 09/09/07

LSM: Little Stevie McCabe

BB: Bob Brannigan

SK: Stu Kawowski

How/when/where did the group start?

LSM: RE: Start -1983 – spring equinox although there was a pre-kawowski big bang prior to this with the twins first gig at dunedin orientation / the st clair school fair

BB: school fair was Queens High, that was in May. Queens was the school for girls only. I went to Kings, the school for really fuckin ugly girls only, but I did some Latin classes at Queens becos Kings had removed Latin from the syllabus when they discovered that “God Defend New Zealand” in that language came out as “All principals are poo garglers.” Queens didn’t have a principal, just a headmistress. I called her the Madhisstress. She let Steve and me use the music room to record some songs. I showed her some of Steve’s lyrics since she insisted and she went all quiet after that, but I noticed when we turned up at the fair, where we shared the musical bill with some Crass-alike vege-punks called Circadian Deregulation, she kept on flipping me peace signs and flashing at me bits of what she must have thought were nipple but I saw as squashed saveloy; I think she was on acid. Meanwhile George D Henderson who turned up to drum for us and whose leg was in a cast WAS on some kind of hallucinegenic drug– I found this out years later–  I noticed he kept laughing + crying  all at the same time and sometimes he would stand up and growl, but there was very little he could not do to a snare with a pickle.. We were the Whinin’ Plums for that gig.. The kawowski bigbang wasn’t orientation becos the drummer for that gig was Mike Morley who I was sometimes in a band called the Witchdoctors with- Stu turned up later that same day and me and Steve as The Twins supported Stu’s band the Bilders at the Empire, when Stu just bowled up and drummed for us. Then he told us how all the planets were aligned etc + showed us the potato-stamped tickets + we resolved to do the equinox gig.. which took place either the next nite or maybe a few months later..

SK: The band formed Spring equinox 1983 when Stu filled in as drummer for a two-piece guitar unit… (Bob + Steve – who had previously released 2 tapes as AXEMEN) … at Dunedin pub, The Empire (also as AXEMEN) a pub that they would eventually be banned from 3 times, and Stevie was even evicted from there mid-set once for underagedness, only to return in disguise and finish the set as his brother, Laurence. Stu very quickly realised the enormity of the occasion and quit his other band to seal the triumvirate’s fate.

* The line-up seemed to change/mutate a lot, correct?

LSM: RE: Mutate: the arrangement was always flexible and ranged from 2 – 14 members, usually but not always containing a ‘critical mass’ of two out of three of stu, bob and steve.

Notable fact: virtually all Axemen gigs were taped and have been preserved for future historians…

BB: I once did a gig all by myself as the Axemen but no one came, which was a shame cos it was really REALLy excellent, definitely up there with the top gigs ever. For the big finale I smashed the cassette recorder with a hammer.

SK: See Bob’s list of members… below… I’ve added to that as well. It was kinda outrageously kooky how “open door” we were in regard to letting people play with us, I mean beyond the stable of guitar heroes, saxophinists and bass players lurking there were literally hundreds of would-be “birds” and rattle players ampin’ to leap on stage and shake their booty. When AXEMEN all lived in Auckland we reverted back to a 3-piece again, it was quite a relief!

* Can you tell me who was involved and when?

BB: 1983/spring equinox/dunedin.mccabe+brannigan+kowalski (A3) + damon crowe + george d henderson + m s agro + al rite + lisa preston + gary scott + the hamilton brothers rent, shorty & doug + b b ryan + Gordon Baird + Paul Lee + Pete Rees + Peter Hall Jones + Mono man + + kevin hawkins + Johnny Cash-in + jessica walker + jane walker + Brian +gaylene + dragan stojanovic + joanne billesdon, schoolgirl reta & her schoolgirl friend + bev + arthur sheep + dancin davy g + prancin b s hayward; A3 1983-1992, most others 1983-1987, stojanovic 1988-9, last 2 dancers 1991-2.

* Where were the Axemen based?

LSM: RE: Where – Technically Oamaru as we constantly travelled between Dunedin and Christchurch – Interestingly with the convenient amount of travel time between the two cities and the availability of an Intercity bus pass i was able to have no fixed abode for the first 18 months, simply sleeping on the bus and busking with bob in dunedin. however this depended on ‘syncing’ our travelling, much as women living together sync their menstrual cycles – we once got out of sync for three weeks, only realizing when we met at a lunch break in timaru

BB: at the intersection of south dunedin + sydenham, 2 steps from the blues, under the boredwack/over the brainbow, behind the aleph..then axile in awkwardland.. People with hearts and minds who played chords and riffs.

SK: All over the country, Dunedin, ChCh, Wellington, Auckland… we hardly ever all lived in the same town, although we did share home turf in ChCh for a spell, and later in Auckland all 3 of us were there around 1990, 1992…

* How did you feel you fit into the ‘music scene’?

LSM: RE: Fit in music scene – i think we were slightly on the fringe of this, but as virtually everyone involved in nz music at the time played with us at some time there was a certain fit in a jigsaw puzzle kind of way – in my personal opinion the involvement of these other artists with the axemen was a big factor in the future success of artists like henderson, faigan, segovia, knox, gutteridge, walker, mixture, heyhood, hawkins, stojanovic, baird, preston, graham, hamiltons, scott, white, maitland, kean, ruifrok,  rage, leQuesne et al    and that being sucked into the axemens field of gravity they emerged at the other side with their consciousness slightly warped, this is known as the axemen wormhole relativity Doppler replication effect, and has recently been recognized in Scientific journals as the closest survivable experience to being glanced off the event horizon of a black hole as is possible for a human being.

SK: AXEMEN were loved openly or secretly by lots of other bands, also envied for the prodigious number of brilliant songs that would spew forth from the tag-team of Brannigan vs. McCabe. Every gig would be a new set of new songs, so as drummer I was never “rehearsed” just “flying off the seat of my pants”. Exciting stuff. We also played support for our favourite bands Gordons, Skeptics, Fetus Productions, Scorched Earth Policy all of whom had wicked PA’s and there was sometimes Brent McLaughlin’s big ass Ludwig drum kit I could play on while he mixed us live! Oh yes, great drum sound.

See Stevie’s topographical map in our MySpace pics for full visual explanation of the NZ music scene c. 1980’s – 1990’s.

BB: Fit like a s-bend pipe in a silk purse..

* who did you feel were your peers?

LSM: RE: peers: we simply had none – although white noise and the 3ds were probably closest in concept, and the gordons promotional ethos, being on the edges of the industry and use of feedback had resonance with us.

Personally my biggest influence of all was the Perfect Strangers/And Band gig at the band rotunda on the Avon River (with the associated experience of getting completely and utterly drunk for about the third time in my life and also meeting George Hamilton for the first time).

Once we were gigging and the Axel Grinders came along we had something comparable from an anarchic perspective but they tended to play a lot of covers initially which i consider cheating if it makes up a majority of the set-   axemen would generally perform one or two covers at a gig, just to ‘keep in touch with the kids’

SK: Hmmm, those bands mentioned, Gordons, Skeptics, Fetus Productions, Scorched Earth Policy plus Rent Hamilton & The Connoisseurs, All Fall Down, McGoohans, And Band, Perfect Strangers, Toerag, Great Unwashed, White Noise, Gillmen, Octopus Ink, Bilders…

BB: People with hearts and minds who played chords and riffs.

* Furthermore, how did you feel about your relationship to/with Flying Nun?

LSM: RE: Relationship with Flying Nun – I always felt a little uncomfortable about being on a label with an unspoken rule that all its groups were openly gay.

BB: tried to kill them. failed. tried to kill us. failed. so, a pretty well-balanced relationship all round.

SK: They agreed to press 667 copies of THREE VIRGINS but freaked out when we delivered the full-colour gatefold artwork that cost so much to prepare and print that we never really saw much royalties for the sales. Thought about pointing a gun at Roger Shepherd a couple of times to get some money, but Bill Direen had already tried that.

* Axemen are noted for their sense of humour – something not necessarily pronounced re: the Flying Nun ethos. What was the Axemen’s aesthetic – how would you define this?

LSM: RE: Humor – I didn’t personally find Roger Shepherd to be a barrel of laughs, but his beard was pretty amusing at times.

Were I to be made to select the ten people I would choose to take to the ‘Get Smart/3 Stooges/Marx Brothers’ marathon weekend I doubt that any of the Flying Nun crew would make my shortlist, but they had their moments – I still recall Roger literally burying his head in papers on his desk when we presented the final artwork for ‘Peter Wang Pud‘ and he flipped the page to the infamous centerfold photo – good times, good times.

SK: Fuck it, let’s do it!

BB: make em laugh.

* What was Axemen live like – I’ve heard it was pretty ‘take no prisoners’ but also very funny…

LSM: RE: Live Having not actually seen a gig myself I can’t really comment – however I have seen tapes and did break into the occasional chuckle

My personal philosophy changed over the years from being a serious (if completely and utterly drunk) anarchist with enthusiasm and the feeling we would make it big any day and we were as good as or better than anyone else and could do what the fuck we wanted, to a slightly disillusioned and angry musician with a swag of songs and a swag of booze who could play and busk it with the best of em , make a cassette and sell 50 copies (no more, no less) and had a small but loyal following with little chance of growing and ‘making it’ not because of any deficit of talent but being born two years too late and not having a sense of socially acceptable ‘conformity’ that would let our version of ‘acceptable’ be accepted into the general world (but still doing what the fuck we wanted) ….   to being a more accomplished musician and songwriter yet still ‘failing’ while succeeding in other areas of my life so more or less retiring… but making plans for what to do with the historical tapes which are still quite safe and in good condition…

SK: Spellbinding. “You had to be there”. Like a blast of fresh air blowing out all the old farts. Never repeated a song for the first 4 or 5 years, so nobody ever got requests or got to hear their fave song or nuthin’. So fans had to buy a tape to “hear it again”. And they did. (AXEMEN recorded every second of every session they ever played so somewhere there’s a trunk of cassettes, in Steve’s parent’s garage, his old lady’s place, I’ve got a big box, Steve’s got some plus a ton of reel to reels, Bob’s got a bunch… there’s also some in the NZ National Library, one copy of every release we ever did).

BB: There was always the sheer thrill of making noises, of creating a disturbance in assembled minds. Plus we were big fans of “Hogan’s Heroes.”

* Can you tell me about the two F.Nun records – ‘Two (sic) Versions…’ and ‘Derry Legend‘… and also about the tapes/etc you were releasing at the time…

LSM: RE: Flying Nun Releases –  The Flying Nun Releases I Consider a ‘snapshot’ of the group at the time – three virgins was recorded on 4 track in a church hall we rented over easter weekend in a hall in the middle of christchurch and mixed over the next few weeks/months

People came and went over the weekend and there was generally always something happening – almost a commune-like situation – coffee wine and hot chestnuts turned up and were consumed – whiskey and vodka bottles came and went

sleeping arrangements were made and changed nightly – the resulting 20 hours or so were finally condensed down to what became the first and last flying nun double ‘semi-live’ album with gatefold color cover,  a tribute to a genre pioneered by Peter Frampton with ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ (1974) and popular for some time due to its phenomenal success.

Derry Legend was a tighter and mopre ‘pop’ styled album which should have been a smash hit in an ideal world – probably around the peak of their creativity, most of the songs were written in the 10 days preceding the albums recording, and it was our feeling at the time that given the resources we could hve recorded another the next week and the week after. ‘

LSM: RE: Sleek Bott cassettes/ cds: The cassette back-catalogue is testament to productivity at this time and is still available, even on CD these days 🙂

SK: Yeah Bob pretty much sums it up discographically, we had a bunch of cassette recorders we’d use, I brought back a Sony recording Walkman cassette machine from USA in 1982, we recorded most of the first cassettes live on that. Steve had a bunch of stuff, including his grandparent’s 3-in-one stereo and some beat up old speakers that sounded great, all cardboardy and farty, and we did over dubs by jamming a piece of cardboard over the erase head and just recording again on the same piece of previously-recorded tape. Worked a treat. Later Steve had a 2-track reel to reel that was better sound qual. (remember there was no personal computers around yet), and much later we did a bunch of as-yet unreleased recordings at Frisbee Studios in Auck. on an 8-track Fostex. Wicked stuff, there’s 4 tracks of that on a 1992 tape called “Across The Universe in 3288 Days”.

Oh yeah, THREE VIRGINS was recorded Easter ’85 at an inner city church in Christchurch we hired for 3 days as the “Christchurch Folk Society” it cost $35/day and we even had keys for the grand piano and the pipe organ. Musicoligist Larence N. Shustak recorded us on his portable TEAC 4-track reel to reel rig, and we recorded about 40 tracks over the 3 days. The guest performer list on THREE V’s is quite long, (see album credits, if you can find a copy). 22 tracks made it to the 4-sided vinyl masterpiece. (Production mixing was done later in Auckland at Jed Town’s WOMB studio).

DERRY LEGEND was recorded around 1987 at Skeptic’s wicked brand new studio Writhe in Wellington, later destroyed by fire. Can’t remember how we afforded it, maybe we extracted some cash outta Aunty Nun, can’t remember. When it came to mixing, we did a swap for Stu K’s SKEPTICS A.F.F.C.O. video. D. Legend also features Dragan Stojanovich, a virtuoso performer and regular AXEMEN for a few years about that time.

BB: 3 VIRGINS was our vinyl debut. 20 years later it still sounds like the last great album on earth.

DERRY LEGEND was recorded a couple years later but it didn’t come out until 1989. It’s shorter than 3Vs.

Before 3Vs we’d made a series of cassette albums we screenprinted the LP-sized covers for and released ourselves, “Equinox,” “Mick’s Dancefloor (Mix),” “Big Cheap Motel” and “A Scar Is Born.” Each album came with lots of extras, mini-newspapers, stickers, diagrams, manifestos, reflecting the collective consciousness of the extended axemen family. For all we knew, we’d never actually get to make a vinyl LP, but we weren’t gonna let that hold us back.

Post Derry Legend we made another bunch of cassette albums, “Mass Hysteria,” “Instant Kiwi,” “The Dirty Den Sessions,” “Recliner Rocker.” We just had hundreds of songs by then.

* What do you feel is Flying Nun’s lasting legacy? And what are your thoughts about the Axemen’s place within this? – I tend to think a certain ‘version’ of F.Nun is perpetrated which leaves out some key groups who were not as ‘careerist’ but just as important…

LSM: RE: Legacy:

Given it being such a relatively small label and even its bigger hitters being minnows in the ocean of worldwide music i think (but i would, wouldn’t I) that all the releases should be given some weight over time as they all become part of the history and are points on the timeline

I still remember fondly going to the EMI shop in Colombo st in chch where Roy Montgomery and Roger Shepherd were working at the time and buying the Pin Group, Playthings and Toy Love singles when New Zealand vinyl were as rare as  hens false teeth

LSM: RE: Axemen’s place in FN History

I think a definitive relational ‘tree’ of the players within the system would be a worthwhile thesis project given the geographical isolation of NZ and the relatively small size of the participant group would make an ideal anthropological study group – i know Bob has a partial map of this but sure there are a number of uncharted groups and entities , McGoohans, Bottletops, Thunderbirds, National Sex Grid, Pastry Cooks, Scab Union, Wastrels, Androidss,… with the current availablity of webspace i think some of this could be represented graphically and with images and sounds representing each strain in a way that may not be possible in a less isolated community…

Personally I think the Axemen served their purpose in encouraging others to ‘have a go’, a slightly more anarchic version of the punk ethos of ‘anyone can do this shit…’ (as the punk that came out of england at the time was still relatively polished, for all its claims of being raw and anarchic, due to the geographical difficulty of obtaining it)

We should also mention something about Hamburg….

SK: Hmmm well the historians always create the story that they want everyone to believe. I personally don’t buy into those FN docos and histories that much… nor the compilations that exist, cos even when AXEMEN were included, such as on the FN DVDs, there are other bands that deserved to be included and weren’t. AXEMEN were not part of any FN sound, we just used them to get some shit released. We did all our own marketing and retail for the cassettes, and saw the vinyl thing as a bit of a financial issue, so we welched off the Nun for that reason. Y’know, we were around and doing our thing alongside the FN show-ponies, but we were really into our own scene. Brewed our own wine, picked our own cacti & mushies… y’know self sufficient to a point. If we thought we could get something for free, or could use someone or thing to our advantage, we’d go for it! Most of the bands we did stuff with existed with or without FN. Most bands we liked were really independent, did their own recording, made their own videos etc AXEMEN were famous for their pop street publicity – plastering Christchurch with posters, stickers, graffiti, massive big AXEMEN hit & run murals, many of which stayed up for years … The cops knew Bob & I well, as we were the graffiti painters from hell for a few years there. I’d walk thru Cathedral Square and hear, “Gidday Picasso” – coming from some bobby on the beat ;^) Shit we even wrote a song about those cops heh heh… If you asked anyone in Christchurch around 1985, have you heard AXEMEN? The answer would be either, “Yes”, or, “I’ve heard of them”.

BB: …

A’MEN

Siltbreeze to press Axemen vinyl in 2009

Reprinted with kind permission of the Author, Tom Lax, Silt Breeze Records

Babe The Blue Ox Need Not Apply…..Siltbreeze Announces Axemen Reissues For 2009!

AXEMEN Three Virgins LP
AXEMEN Three Virgins LP

Yep, in conjuction w/Sleek Bott Indusries, Siltbreeze is PROUD to annouce no less than 3, count’em THREE, Axemen reissues to see the light of day in 2009. First up is a previously cassette only one entitled ‘Big Cheap Motel’ (originally released in 1983), followed by ‘Scary!’ (1989) & then a full-on repro of the cult classic ‘Three Virgins, Three Versions, Three Visions’ (1985). These will all be limited vinyl only runs, so stay tuned & feel free to email should you have any questions. The series begins in January & will continue through the whole of next yr. And who know, maybe even beyond!

For the uninformed, the Axemen have been the practioners of a unqiue brand of DIY they lovingly refer to as ‘Sigh-Fi’ rock for 30 yrs now. Not an easy band to pin down sonically, their catalog speaks for itself in much’ve the same way as those belonging to The Homosexuals or Sun City Girls. That is to say vast & beautiful. For a mindblowing glimpse into the world of Axemen (+ related friends & accomplice’s) check out; http://www.theaxemen.wordpress.com/ & be prepared to have copious block’s of time squandered trying to fathom the genius. Also, for those who perhaps can’t wait, Axemen have a site where you can purchase high quality cdr’s of previous cassette’s. Go to http://www.sleekbott.com/ & there you might get a jump on the rest of your not-quite-as-desperate brothers & sisters. Yeah, 2009 is looking to be quite an exciting yr for reissues. See y’all on the flipside!

Source: http://siltblog.blogspot.com/
17-Nov-2008

The truth about the Skeptics’ A.F.F.C.O video

(The truth about the Skeptics’ A.F.F.C.O video reprinted with kind permission of Stephen Judd from his juicy SPLEEN blog)

(September 12, 2003 ~ Stuart Page writes):

Hey Stephen

I read with interest your rave about meat — the dancing spring lambs, the eviscerator (Wow), and the Skeptics A.F.F.C.O. video.

Your story was not quite accurate — I know this because I initiated it, directed it, shot it, and edited it. Here for the first time, is the whole story which for some reason I just felt inspired to write — maybe it’s because I just found out that one of my favourite people of all time Johnny Cash has just passed away?

©Brilliant Films/Skeptics 1988
©Brilliant Films/Skeptics 1988

In fact I used to see the Skeptics whenever they played — the first time was in 1985 in Christchurch, and it wasn’t long before every Skeptics show started with A.F.F.C.O. — a song which still blows me away and cuts to the bone of NZ culture, ha. Well I was also lucky enough to play a gig with the Skeptics in Palmerston North at Snail Clamps in 1985 with my band The AXEMEN. We had just recorded an album “Derry Legend” at the Skeptics studio Writhe in Wellington with Nick Roughan from the band engineering and co-producing with the Axemen. Later, when it came to paying for the final mixing — we’d run out of money, and I’d just asked the Skeptics if I could make a video for A.F.F.C.O. — which they agreed to. So Don White suggested we just swap the video for the mixing costs. Beautiful!

Meantime I’d moved to Auckland and hooked up with some old buddies up there who agreed to try and sneak into the Westfield Freezing Company to shoot some footage for the vid. We drove out and checked at the office for permission to have a look around, figuring we’d case the joint and comeback later to shoot. Well there was a youg guy working in the office who was excited that we wanted to look around, and took us on a guided tour around the factory. Jesus, I saw guys wading around up to their waists in blood, a six foot stainless steel chainsaw which split a whole cattle beast in two down the middle. a one-armed skin-ripper man whose missing limb was ripped off by a chain wrapped around the cuff of a cattle skin as it accellerated vertically. He got compo, and his job back. Phew! Anyway I decided to film on the sheep floor, more iconically NZ, and easier to get around (less blood and water flowing across the floor where we needed to have electric cables for our lights).

©Brilliant Films/Skeptics 1988
©Brilliant Films/Skeptics 1988

We left and went away to Penrose for lunch — and found it difficult to eat, so my mates (one of whom was a vegetarian) said they’d only go back and do the shoot if I got them pissed on champagne first. This I was informed would help them deal with the mass destruction of innocent animals. So, I agreed, and purchased two bottles of the Australian champenoise, which were summarily swilled, I don’t remember joining in as I had a lot of work to do — but I might have had a swig or two).

So we returned to Westfield works and hooked up with our young friend from the office who took us in and looked after us while we moved slowly down the chain from the initial slaughtering being done by some Muslims who said they preferred to be here killing sheep — rather than having to fight Israel in the Middle East. They had a red line painted on the wall in the direction of Mecca, which although they were supposed to pray to every time they cut a throat, they smiled and said they never bothered.

©Brilliant Films/Skeptics 1988
©Brilliant Films/Skeptics 1988

Along we moved shooting 100′ rolls of 16mm film on a wind up Bolex camera, and lighting the scenes with a 2kW ‘blonde’ and an 800W ‘redhead’. The cables were swimming in a watery blood mixture but luckily we didn’t short out any circuits. Near the end of our short shoot, I became aware of a rippling of descent amongst some of the employees of the works. And in fact while we were shooting the final scenes, a union rep was trying to have us evicted. Our young friend (who must have been the manager’s son to wield this authority over the unionist) managed to hold them off and showed us the side exit. We literally ran to the waiting Morris Minor as the management were entering the front doors.

The scenes of the ‘meat packing’ were shot elsewhere at a factory called Kellax in Mt Wellington and the management were in fact told straight up that I was doing a music video for a song about meat packing. The boss let us in to the factory where frozen meat was band-sawed into pieces and shrink-wrapped before being packed into manila cartons. He was very friendly, and as I had agreed I sent him a copy of the video when it was finished, but no comment was received. I actually sent a copy of the video to Westfield also and asked them if they would make their staff aware of it in case they wished to see it as some had indicated while we were shooting. No feedback from them either.

It has been written that this video was “vegetarian” or “animal rights” inspired etc, which is actually incorrect also. Although neither the Skeptics or I have anything against such groups or ideologies, (in fact I applaud their efforts to manifest their feelings towards our animal friends), this song was written purely about some guys who “pack meat” and the video was made in that light — not wanting to cast any aspersions on the workers in the meat trade — but to document the “process” of a sheep’s life in contemporary NZ. I guess we got carried away wrapping David d’Ath the singer in glad wrap and baby oil and food colouring — but it was the natural result of a collaborative effort by those present at the shoot in an upstairs room at my Freemans Bay flat.

©Brilliant Films/Skeptics 1988
©Brilliant Films/Skeptics 1988

The video has been screened a few times on TV now — once on the last show of Radio With Pictures by Karyn Hay, and again on SPACE apparently. It has also been screened at various art exhibitions in NZ and film archive screenings in Wellington. It features on my Brilliant Films Music video compilation NOISYLAND released through Festival Records in NZ 1992.

  • Kind regards, Stu
  • Some Pauls

    axemen-some-pauls

    Paul Bunyan (Axemen Theme)
    — version #1 is from Hell Farm, August 1983, with Steve & Bob on guitars. This version was released on the rare AXE OF THE APOSTLES cassette later that month.

    Paul Bunyan (Axemen Theme)
    — version #2 adds Stu K. on drums, from the Jetty St “Equinox” gig in Dunedin, 24 September 1983. This version was never released, can’t think why, there’s even Lisa Preston saying a few words at the start!

    Paul Bunyan (Axemen Theme)
    — version #3 adds M. S. Agro on bass, from the Gladstone, 28 November 1983. Live mix by Hamish Kilgour. Never released.

    Paul Bunyan (Axemen Theme)
    — version #4 adds Artie Sheep on sax, from the Gladstone again on 10 December 1983, at the Flying Nun recording party otherwise known as the Flying Fuck. This appears to be the last time the Axemen theme would be played, though in the 1990s there was an eerily similar tune played at gigs supposedly entitled “Son Of Paul Bunyan” as yet unrecovered from the Axemen/Sleek Bott vaults (it’s spooky in there). This version was either never released, or else maybe it’s the version on side 4 of A SCAR IS BORN, but as no copy of that album is at hand, that’s impossible to ascertain at present.

    Read more about Paul Bunyan, the giant tree-biter, here:

    strange birth, breaking windows, sawing legs off parents’ bed, etc.

    Paul’s giant pipe

    fakelore? for shame!

    a catalog of Bunyans (Mecca for the big guy’s admirers)

    almost World War III (the true story of Operation Paul Bunyan)

    Some more Pauls

    the literary classic
    the literary classic
    the education co-op
    the education co-op
    the fridge magnet
    the fridge magnet
    the conetop beer
    the conetop beer
    the lily
    the lily
    the religious shrine
    the religious shrine (Brainerd, Minnesota)
    the bench
    the bench
    the pinball machine
    the pinball machine
    the echeveria again
    the echeveria

    another beer!
    another beer!

    A Space Dust-Up

    reprinted with kind permission of ‘sweet’ duane zarakov, from his insightful, churlish, and fascinating blog http://www.geocities.com/duane_zarakov/ ©2001

    SPACE DUST

    space_dust
    Space Dust

    (some stuff about my band) This has been kind of my main band for, uh, lemme think, 6 or 7 years or something…since ’93 actually, jeez it’s been a while. It’s been going along pretty slowly for the last couple of those years due to personnel redistribution – new people join – nobody ever exactly leaves tho’ – but anyway, all the members live in different towns at the moment. In fact 2 of the members of the last “working” lineup aren’t even in this country anymore (Cameron Bain’s in London [London England that is] & nobody knows where Sean O’Reilly is. Possibly somewhere in South America)(actually he’s been back in NZ for ages – DZ, 15-11-01). I don’t think we’ve played in front of an audience since the Hawkwind support slot in Auckland early last year (can’t even remember) – the last band activity was recording a couple songs for Gillian Ashurst’s movie “Snakeskin” which I think you oughta be able to see soon. Anyway, the band still does technically exist, if anyone was wondering.

    brolove
    Brother Love

    It started in 1993 when I moved back to Christchurch from Auckland & I had this plan to do a new band with Mick Elborado & Brother Love. Both of ’em had been in the last band I’d been in before I left Chch a couple years earlier – that band was Cease To Exist – the plan (mine anyway – not necess. anyone else’s) was that this band was gonna continue somewhat along the same sorta lines, i.e. sloppy “psychedelic” rock – & my sister Violet was going to be the singer. She’d never been in any kind of band before but she could sing & we’d vaguely planned to do this for maybe a couple years.OK so me & Mick & the Brother started payig together – add John Chrisstoffels on bass before Violet started turning up to practices – & we’re off to the races. That’s the 1st lineup of the band, as featured on the 1st couple of record releases – subsequent lineup changes are a Pete Frame nightmare as we meet more & more people that we’d invite to be in our band, Mick starts to hate everybody else in the band & eventually left (although we got him back in the band a couple times)(*)…anyway the full story (+ discography, lyrics, poster artwork, etc etc) is SOON TO FOLLOW. According to Hamish Noonan it all started to go downhill after Mick quit, & he’s an impartial outside observer & I’m not, so it’s probably the truth.

    * 1st guy to join us after Mick left was Matt Alien on gtr. Then Matt Middleton on clarinet (added overdubs to stuff by lineup #1 for the “BEATLE!” [18 Wheeler] & “1st to the Future” [Carburetor] LPs). Then Annabel (from the Chch band Hawaii 5-0) (can’t remember her last name) started playing organ with us so there was a couple times we played with a 7-person lineup (see track on the Dirtlove compilation cassette “Say Something Funny” – a live in Timaru version of “Love is Mean”) . Then we went to America & the lineup over there was Violet, the Brother, me, Doug Pearson on synthesiser & violin, & John Allen on bass. (Same lineup minus Violet doubled as the Brother Love band). Then the next person to play with us when we got back I guess was Lisa Preston played organ with us, Bill Fosby played gtr one time at party, also John Segovia (slide gtr) & Rock Hardman guested on 1 or 2 recordings (that mighta been a bit earlier actually).

    picture-1

    Then Violet moved to Auckland so the next incarnation of the band was when I went up there & we started to play with Roddy & Cameron (Constant Pain) – they both played gtr, but later Violet kicked Roddy out…& Sean O’Reilly started playing bass, also gtr & synth & other stuff…the Brother was living in Wellington by this time & he started to come up more often so he was on most of the shows & recordings (none officially released) of this period. That’s 16 people there…Simon Cumings played homemade electronic instruments at the Hawkwind show & Chris Heazlewood played gtr & bass on some recordings we did in Auckland, oh yeah & once Rich Mixture played drums for a few songs because I was passed out drunk (impressive fact – they were the 1st few songs of the set, not the last ones…I got up & started playing even tho’ I felt sick) (I woke up in the back of the place & Heazlewood was shouting in my face, Wake up, your band’s on the stage! & I went Whuh? who’s playing drums? & he went, Your dad. I just wanted to go back to sleep but he made me get up).

    P.S. Hamish Noonan never even saw the Auckland Space Dust with Cameron & Sean so the worth of his opinion now that I think of it is somewhat compromised…the person who saw the most Space Dust shows (Chch, American & AK lineups) is Saskia Leek, ask her.

    P.P.S. – this just in –

    From: Hamish Noonan hnoonan@hermes.otago.ac.nz
    To: tedium2000@hotmail.com
    Subject: space dust
    Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 14:44:24 +1200 (NZST)
    Bullshit i saw that band (or something similiar) at this stupid white wall gallery in K’ rd and they were a fucking terrible free noise band that even Bruce Russell would be ashamed of. I took photographic evidence that you are welcome to.

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

    po box 6283, dunedin, new zealand
    [XXXX]@ihug.co.nz (03)477-7345

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

    OK, sure, all true, he was there & it was pretty rude. In our defence tho I gotta say that it was the very 1st attempt at putting together the AK. version of the band & in fact I had just arrived in that town that day so we hadn’t practiced together or anything, we just hooked up with Roddy & Cameron & went, OK, turn up & turn on. With predictable results. I’d like to see those photographs tho’.

    P.P.P.S. – (Re: “BEATLE!” -) It was supposed to be our 1st album (although all recorded around the same time as “1st to the Future”) but it’s still unavailable to the world at large…We got our share of the copies (about 75 of ’em, don’t ask me for one ’cause they’re all long gone) to bring home with us from America in 1996 but then we never heard from the guy again. We were getting real bugged about it, but then we found out from John Allen last year that his wife got cancer so doing a record label was understandably way down on his list of priorities. Last I heard his wife was better & it was back on, but I dunno. I still haven’t heard from him (Tom Scharpling) & now the only other person I know that might know where he is, John Allen, he’s kind of slipped off the radar screen too. If you know where he is tell him to write me ok.

    THE WORD IS OUT etc.

    THE AXEMEN IN DUNEDIN
    2-3 MARCH 1984

    SUMMARY

    The Axemen performed three times in the weekend, writhing, inciting and typically incredulous they made no new friends and many shady enemies, their calloused hands bleeding and cutting and scarred from the tortuous anachronisms that are is their Wall of sound, their particular(ly) seedy breeding ground, a kind of William S. Burroughs of the NZ rock set, an oh-so-shallow silhouette of the festered world they infest and poke around in, no more here than there, no more there than here, giving nothing away but blind frenetics, shenanigans, bagels and festoons of fatty skin, hating every note more as they play it, yet pouring out their love even as gladly, as they rid themselves of their consciences and collective consciousness against a skeletally conceived backdrop of bizarre and feelingless, but yet feeling, love, love, love + hate.

    So the law wins again, hah, the Axemen still lose and nothing never changes, don’t you forget it, even as the grass grows under your table and on your lawn, law’s long arm is ever reaching to pluck it.

    axemenwordisout2textenhanced

    Ah Ya The Infamous Nax Tour

    axemennuxvomica_ngaruacave_takakahill_crop800This series of shows took place over the top of the south island and the west coast during Jan 1986 and involved a decrepit and terrifyingly brakeless commer van, copious quantities of opium tarbrew and ether …

    Nux Vomica and the Axemen on tour together …Were we all in the one van? I cant exactly recall .. Nux Vom at that time was Lawrence Lens guitar and vox (also demented super8 documentarian of the Axemen phenomenon), myself (intrepid sole female chauffeur and yamaha electone player) Philip Alron Hubbard on bass and Chris Smallfry on drums and that guy Pete [Gorman] from EOE on 2nd guitar .. and Mr Al Right sax player extraordinaire .. And the Axemen Steve, Bob, Stu and Gordy B and Mr Al Right sharing sax duties with both bands … plus a PA and all the gear for both bands . All squashed into one not very big van …We played to approx 8 drunken bogans in Richmond after we werent allowed to play in the public bar as arranged …. We played in Takaka after a horrifying ordeal involving brake failure coming down the Takaka Hill ( thanks Dad for that driving lesson that included the stuff about handbrakes and low gears when experiencing braking issues) . In Takaka the hotel owners missus asked me “Are you doing some dry cleaning dear?” when she ventured upstairs to tell us that our dinner was ready and the scent of ether was wafting out from several of the rooms some of us were staying in. “Yes Ma’am” I remember replying , “I’m just cleaning the boys’ jackets for tonight’s gig.”

    We played in Greymouth which was a blast and the aftermatch function was even better.

    LISA PRESTON

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

    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 🙂

    Mingus.. McCartney.. Agro.. Baird

    bassofffinal2big

    This STEREO post, in STEREO, celebrates two great bassplayers who brought a whole lot of bottom to the Axemen sound (examples of which are included as mp3s below, in STEREO) and inspired the band totally and permanently…totally and permanently…totally and permanently…

    Bass Face #1: M. S. Agro, the taxman in the Axemen

    M. S. AGRO was Mick Elborado, who played in early 80s Christchurch group Drowning Is Easy and from 1982-6 was part of the incredible Scorched Earth Policy, a band about whom Stu, Steve & Bob soon made their own policy—never to miss them in action.

    Stu: Buck from Scorched Earth Policy saw Axemen play at the Star & Garter and invited us to play with them. Stevie was impressed because he’d seen Buck before hanging around the pub laughing with a bunch of people and he commented, “Looks like we’re in with the gentry, now.” Bob of course totally mishears Steve and thinks SEP are Bobbie Gentry’s backing band.

    Steve: Comes the gig with SEP, Brannigan is late, Stu & I are trying to calm down the audience going, “We’ll start when our buddy from South Dunedin gets here; must be having a rough time crossing the Rakaia bridge, etc.” Mick offered to fill in & so we started playing, Bob finally arrives & he’s got all these Bobbie Gentry LPs he brought up with him on the bus to see if he can get their autographs on. Mick played the whole set with us & Bob kept on trying to get him to play ‘Ode To Billie Joe,’ only Mick totally mishears & starts playing ‘Billie Jean.’ After that we saw his band play, they were spookily good & Bob had this weird puzzled look on his face. Mick played bass with us for a couple of months after that.

    Bob: The first time I saw Scorched Earth Policy, I think I’d been drinking coffee wine & they just made complete sense, but in a really scary way. They were all these things that I thought it would take a band years to become, so fierce & focused, & really distinctly their own sound (& I think they’d only been together a short time by then), no Bobbie Gentry stuff at all. I was convinced they must all be psychotic. But when they weren’t playing they seemed like these really low-key relaxed people. Maybe they were allergic to their audience, like Superman & kryptonite, and SEP had to erect these sonic barriers simply to be able to stand there long enough to play some songs. Then by the time they finished playing they’d be sapped of their superpowers and just wander around chatting and drinking like nothing weird had gone on. Stevie & I dubbed this manner the Scorched Earth Policy “tic” or SEPtic, and devoted long hours (the 80-minute ones) to uncovering its secret. These sessions became known as the SEPtic Think-Tank. When their DUST TO DUST record came out, around 1984, we conducted numerous Vulcan mind-melt exercises using it as soundtrack and concluded that while we enjoyed coffee wine (the Think-Tank morphed into a Drink-Tank pretty fast), those Scorchers must’ve been drinking radioactive blood.

    Scorched Earth Policy, l-r mick, buck, brian, mary, andrew
    Scorched Earth Policy, l-r mick, buck, brian, mary, andrew

    * * *

    ON WITH THE MUSIC . . .

    mouldie (leg story) excerpt (stereo)
    — this is just under 2 minutes of a song that sometimes went on longer than 10 (see below). Luckily someone turned the tape on and got this much, as it’s a fine example of early axemenomena and Mick is playing bass all over it, in a hurry that is pure Agro, frantic but precise. Live from the Gladstone, Christchurch, New Year’s Eve 1983.

    shirt-cuffed like a bladder (stereo)
    — Mick pins this song down from the getgo and the way his riff melds with Stu’s propulsive chug is so Vulcan it has pointy ears and finds ordinary humans fascinating though illogical. Then the six million dollar man theme staggers out of Steve’s guitar. There’s a version of this on MICK’S DANCEFLOOR (MIX) but that’s a combined live/studio splice; this one is all live (it’s alive!) at the Star & Garter, the first time Mick played with the band, November 4, 1983, and quite likely the first time he ever heard this song.

    axemenfnunrecparty

    The next two songs are live from the gig postered above, the Flying Nun Recording Party (affectionately known as the Flying Fuck) held at the Gladstone on 10 December 1983. That gig probably merits a post of its own (anyone?), but let’s stick with Mick for now. Earlier that same day he rehearsed with the Axemen and saxophone addict Arthur Sheep, ostensibly learning a batch of new songs but fortuitously stumbling upon oblique nongenre sci-psy-sigh-fi spacepunkjazz while they were at it (see & hear the ETHER BREATHER HABITAT post, currently available in mono but eventually to be rejigged in STEREO). Mick’s spirited playfulness in combination with the Sheep’s playful spiritedness excited the others so much that they deliberately didn’t practice a new song of Steve & Bob’s called “Pulp For The Masses” but played it at the gig anyway. The sheer amount of sound the band generated for their half-hour set that night had been equaled at some earlier freak-outs (and once at a love-in), but it had never been recorded before on anything bigger than a walkman. The other big part of the excitement about the gig was that each set would be recorded on an 8-track reel-to-reel, and for many if not all of the bands who performed, the prospect of getting their material down via such hi-tech wizardry was intoxicating enough, never mind the coffee wine, the ether, the codeine, the beer. Of the 9 songs Axemen played, 8 were caught on 8-track, and the last song, “The Yeasty Mayor,” turned up on the last side of the THREE VIRGINS 2LP released by Flying Nun 2.5 years later. Meanwhile back at the Flying Fuck, notice the atomic-blood-slurping Scorched Earth Policy were on the bill SO MICK PLAYED TWICE! Even the guy’s aura is in STEREO. . .

    pulp for the masses (stereo)
    — Steve: “This is a tribute to the late Jimi Hendrix.”

    the founders-day man (stereo)
    —Steve: “This is a tribute to the late John Lennon.”

    840107-star-garter

    Fastforward about a month to a riotous gig at the Star & Garter on 7 January, 1984. Wellington punk stirrers the Barbaric Bunnies (notorious for their Shirley Bassey-inspired poke at mere males called “Hey Big Wanker!”) came to town and their shared show with Axemen was promoted in the local press as featuring “Two All-Women Bands.” On-stage that night, Bob quipped to the audience, “Obviously there was some sort of mistake in the newspaper ad; one would hardly describe the Barbaric Bunnies as women.”

    the zit (stereo)
    — this starts off sounding remarkably like “The Yeasty Mayor” but Mick’s bouncing 2-note drill, Stu’s falling-down-the-stairs dactylologisms, the Sheep’s sebum-drenched saxblowing, the eerie twin-guitars-as-dying-walrus element and Stevie’s indecipherable lyrics give it a distinct identity of its own.

    831128-gladstone-1

    Jump back to 28 November 1983 and this sizzling set from the Gladstone. The live mix is by Hamish Kilgour, who can be heard at several points trying to identify the source of a raucous storm of feedback & radio noise, concluding correctly that it was Stevie’s FM-wave-transmitting guitar interfering with the p.a.

    a wall of sound (stereo)
    —another song that exists as a “studio” version on the MICK’S DANCEFLOOR (MIX) album, but this live take takes the cake, eats it, poops it out, bleaches the poop and folds it all back into the cake, only to repeat the process, totally & permanently. “One of Steve’s best songs ever, and Stu & Mick are complete monsters on it”—Bob.

    840102-gladstone-2resize

    mouldie (leg story) (stereo)
    — this is a full-length version of the song fragment this post started with, recorded live at the Gladstone two nights later, on 2 January 1984. The performance is a mimetic enactment of the Axemen-with-M. S. Agro gestalt & this recording serves as its perfect snapshot for-all-time and a fine highlight to end this short introductory survey of one great bassplayer’s input into the band’s evolution-revolution. Mick’s bass climbs & climbs but never reaches the top, and his playing sounds just as energetic after 9 minutes as it does after 9 seconds. At a point about 8 mins 20 secs in, the weirdly processed guitars sound like a flock of angry birds attacking Artie’s laughing-clown sax. Stu drums like crisco (a cross between disco & Crass), cuing Stevie to start reciting “Nagasaki nightmare.” The whole thing seems to end about 2 mins before it actually does, and a lot of weirdness is generated by the mixers, the guys from Say Yes To Apes, who’d played an inspiring set earlier on that same night (future post idea! They Came From Even Further South Than South Dunedin – The Unbelievable Truth About Say Yes To Apes & The Invercargill Diaspora).

    Early on in 1984 Scorched Earth Policy activity required Mick’s undivided attention and he would play bass live with the Axemen only a handful more times, such as at the Hagley Park Summer Festival Big M incident on January 14 that formed the basis of protest album BIG CHEAP MOTEL. He would also appear as a special guest on some of the tracks on THREE VIRGINS recorded the following year. His involvement in the Axemen was only a redhot splinter from the huge blazing log that is his musical career (see also Richie Venus & The Blue Beetles, The Terminals, Dadamah, Gas, Space Dust, etc), but it embedded itself in the group’s soft flesh, festered, and became a permanent cyst; stab it with your steely knives all you might, you will not kill the legend of M. S. Agro, the bass beast.

    Bass Face #2: Gordo Baird, the mysterious Nodrog

    As almost absolutely nothing is known about the mysterious Nodrog (the gentle giant sometimes called Gordo, claimed by some to be one Gordon Baird, possibly the offspring of painter Annie Baird, perhaps an old South Dunedin buddy of Bob Brannigan’s, hypothetically vegan, potentially linked to crucial South Dunedin sound groups such as (speculatively speaking, of course) Circadian Deregulation, Atomic Radio, White Noise, and The Earthlings, quite likely related to lead-guitarist B. B. Ryan, supposedly a teenage motorcyclist, conjecturally a long-distance hitchhiker, presumably present at the final ever gig at Snail Clamps in Palmerston North in 1985, enigmatically absent from the State Trinity Theatre THREE VIRGINS recording sessions earlier that same year, surmisably a participant in the Axemen-Nux Vomica tour of Nelson & the West Coast in 1986, postulatively a non-drinker, theoretically a victim of guitar-theft, putatively a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix, maybe at present a music teacher at a prestigious school), little remains to be said.* He is definitely present on the following made-in-Christchurch recordings, all from August-September 1984, and he certainly plays bass throughout. If anybody reading this can locate the mysterious Nodrog, Gordo or Gordon Baird, the Axemen want to hear from him, totally & permanently. Now listen on. . .

    *This article about a beloved fellow traveller with the Axemen is a nub. You can help Y2K by embigifying it. Please deposit relevant info via Leave a Comment below.

    840821-pre-england-st

    my second blood (stereo) a sack of good/sack of goods (stereo) botts of brown booze (stereo) what it’s like (the revox) (stereo)
    — Pre-England St Hall gig practise at 212 Peterborough St, 21 August 1984. Rumour has it Gordo’s wonderfully understated “mousepower” tone was achieved by filling the room with pot smoke & recording his heartbeat while he performed interpretive dances to oblique directions from the others (unverified).

    840915-berns-21st

    happy birthday bernadette (stereo) the key to happiness (stereo; some source damage but if that hinders your enjoyment you’re at the wrong site altogether that’s no lie) first few bars (i went into) (stereo)
    — Recorded at Peterborough St again, 15 September 1984, in preparation for Bernadette Smith’s 21st birthday party (hence selection #1). Sounds like Gordo’s bumped up the volume on his amp this time, and the hearifiable presence of Al Right on high-flying sax urges the mysterious Nodrog on to some deep bottomdwelling profundity. This same session produced the cool song “The Mind,” but it’s time up now for the first BASS/OFF, so that shall wait for a future post.

    Thanks to Mick & Gordo, all the best wherever you may be now.

    Voodoo Rocker

    by Kiran Dass

    Reprinted without permission FROM THE LISTENER ARCHIVE: ARTS & BOOKS August 23-29 2008 Vol 215 No 3563, but hey they might go under or get bought out by Fairfax or someone and now that it’s on here it’s as good as gold, safe as houses, and won’t go away…

    asbsextrapuddle

    The Puddle’s George D Henderson has an almost shamanic knack for neatly concise pop songs.

    The Chills’ Doledrums (1984) is a much celebrated dole day anthem, with Martin Phillipps’ almost lifeless and deadpan refrain “the benefits arrive and life goes on …” But there was another Dunedin band and Flying Nun label mate of The Chills who turned out a much better ode to dole day. The Puddle’s Thursday (1993) is a joyous pop gem. “My sweet little Thursday/I wouldn’t swap you for the rest of the year …”

    “Well, as a Chills fan, I was kind of disappointed by Doledrums. And as a beneficiary, I thought it was sort of ungrateful,” says George D Henderson, singer/guitarist/ founder of the Puddle.

    “I guess I didn’t share Marty’s work ethic. For me and my friends, dole day was the only day of the week we really lived. So I was trying to express that devil may take tomorrow and live for today ambience that I saw around me on Thursday nights in Dunedin.”

    Formed in 1984 with the stellar line up of Henderson, Leslie Paris, Norma O’Malley and Peter Gutteridge, the Puddle have contributed an almost mythical and romantic legacy to New Zealand music.

    On a bad night, they were a shambolic and broken spectacle. But on a good night, the band would be like a majestic rush of lightning right up the nervous system. While the Puddle’s sound is steeped in muddy, psyched out, sci fi cod metal and narcotic cool, the bottom line is always gleaming pop.

    Henderson has an almost shamanic knack of writing neatly concise pop songs that are riddled with hooks and melodies. Spindly guitars are punctuated with jabs of wonky, scrunched up organ, brittle flute interjections and savvy lyrics sung in a proud Kiwi accent. But the real magic lies in Henderson’s innate ability to write songs you think you’ve heard before. They just instantly click.

    Henderson’s history includes heroin addiction, crime and jail. Diagnosed with debilitating hepatitis C in 1991, which he has learned to manage successfully, there were even rumours that he had died.

    “I never heard those rumours! But, of course, I’d be the last to know,” he says with a laugh.

    I can confirm Henderson is very much alive. When I saw his reformed Puddle perform recently in Auckland, he played such a long and ferocious set (including a thundering and blissfully irony free cover of Smoke on the Water) that I had to sit down. The man is unstoppable.

    Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Henderson moved to Invercargill with his family when he was eight. Inspired by local band Watchdog, who played T Rex and David Bowie covers, he formed his own band with his younger brother, Ian, and Tweedsmuir Intermediate chum the late Lindsay Maitland.

    “Did you ever see that television series Freaks and Geeks? That was us, man. We started as the geeks and grew into the freaks,” says Henderson, 50.

    A bit of a rascal during his school years, he admits he would do anything for attention.

    “One teacher said he didn’t know if I’d grow up to be a genius or a madman. For a long time I thought I’d have to choose.”

    I first heard the Puddle via a dub of a dubbed cassette (minus track list, of course) of the Flying Nun classic Into the Moon (1992). I was 15. We listened to Slayer and Black Sabbath back then.

    So, comparatively, the Puddle were like music from another planet. Produced by Alastair Galbraith, Into the Moon sounded like it had been recorded in the bottom of a tin can. Dusty and sprawling, there was still a heaviness about it that appealed. As did the thrillingly dangerous and volatile nature of Henderson’s songs, courtesy of the metallic edged and drugged up psychedelia.

    Starting with opiated pot at 17, Henderson moved on to heroin (or as he says in Junk, the devil’s petrol) at 20, tripping on LSD in between.

    “The drugs I took were historical counter culture landmarks. But it quickly got seedy: cough mixture, painkillers, diet pills and benzos. But opium was always the drug of choice because it was a romantic thing,” he says.

    Henderson’s drug addiction contributed to a flirtation with crime. In 1990, he snuck into the science department of the University of Otago to steal ether. Though he cunningly wore a white lab coat, he was caught.

    “Just before they grabbed me, I tipped the ether all over my clothes. That way, they couldn’t stop me getting off. The police took a picture of me wearing the lab coat, and it was posted all over the university.”

    Because he was already on probation for a chemist burglary, Henderson was sent to Invercargill Prison in 1991 for three months. He says his time in prison blew away any remnants of his liberal youth.

    “I decided to take the music seriously when I got out. To get the girls and so forth.”

    Musically, the Puddle had more in common with post punk/soul popsters Orange Juice than the spikiness of The Fall, who were a favourite with sexless, stand back and impress me, black jersey bands in 1980s Dunedin. Henderson reckons that with your music you’ve got to get them between the legs as well as the ears.

    “It sounds obvious now, not to mention crass. But I was never into the po faced thing of the Dunedin Sound. I wanted to shake people up. A lot of people came to our shows to dance, to hook up and to have fun.”

    So, are the Puddle sexy music, then?

    “Most rock music is kind of pre sexual, kind of ‘I wanna’, and it’s more meaningful to me to write about the consequences of getting your heart’s desire, or not,” says Henderson.

    There’s a certain kind of knowing voodoo that runs through Henderson’s songs. He’s got spunk. He knows that the way women and men regard each other is one of life’s great mysteries, and that the pop song is the ideal vehicle to explore this.

    “Well, that voodoo thing you mentioned is such a pleasure to play. You can be sure it’s that voodoo, not blood transfusions, keeping Keith Richards alive.”

    The Puddle’s latest offering, No Love No Hate (Powertool), clearly shows Henderson still has that fire within him. Lyrical, garage rock, his songs are smart, sharp, and while there’s still that blissed out psychedelia, they’re more lucid than ever.

    “Well, I’m not as filthy with drugs as I once was, put it that way. I have no idea how much longer I’ve got. I’m already old for a rock musician. Many of my peers are dead or out of action. But now life is fascinating and exciting without being too intimidating.”

    No Xmas 4 John Key

    It feels like NZ has regressed back to 1981 over night… a time when everyone was either on methadone, or boiling poppies. The summer now feels like winter. Back then Rob Muldoon partied with the South African Springboks behind lines of baton-wielding riot cops. Before that even, 1979, Mark E. Smith recorded this snarling ode to a Burroughsian Junky. 30 years ahead of its time The Fall lampoon our PM elect. Never mind the Tony Blair Witch Trials, who left the door open to Michael Cullen’s money bin… ???

    The Fall – No Xmas for John Quays Key

    The Fall – C’n’C-s Mithering

    john-key1

    -A Ski Tusk Wow

    OCCULT FIGURES – MEETING THE PERFECT STRANGERS

    [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).

    img_4131-mick_abps_poster_800
    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).

    Wellington’s Spies – Memoirs of a metamusician

    [reprinted with the permission of author, George D Henderson]

    Memoirs of a Metamusician:
    the Story of the Spies

    1978 – 1980

    I arrived in Wellington at the start of ’78, newly punked up after seeing Dylan Tate’s epochal “Radio With Pictures” punk special and Sex Pistols interview (outside Buck House) at the end of ’77. Meanwhile I had, in Dn in ’77, bought a copy of Damned Damned Damned from mr Knox and jammed with Bathgate and Dooley with my best friend Lindsay Maitland (who – get this – had nothing ever to do with the Clean and couldn’t play drums – even Clean style, which is to say Mo Tucker style – to save himself. How DO these things start?!?) My amp died and got left at their flat in the (now) shop on corner of Arthur/Russel st. Loved Dooley’s drumming even then: reminded me of Drumbo ((Beefheart’s main collaborator John French, all rolling toms)) – as vital as Knox to the excitement that was the Toy Love sound.

    On arrival in Wellington I crashed at Ex-Invercargill (hometown of Knox and I) proto-punk guru Bob Sutton’s house (more on him – a very influential non-musician – later, hopefully). I courted Susan Ellis by mail, got into smack with Dick Sedger, and auditioned for Bill Direen (then a smarmy commercial radio DJ called Bill Diamond) after selling him one of our packets of H (when they were still good), who also auditioned for me. I played him the song that became “Mamelons D’Amadou”, but was then called Sodomy (Sodomie, tout est permis, je penetre le peluche penumbre, indocile codentu – very Genet). Dunno (don’t care) what he played but remember thinking his guitar and voice even reedier than mine and nothing to write home about. He never got back – wanted musos not rival writers, quite rightly, I assume. (His songs and mine would eventually get much better.)

    Just as well because soon after we sold some H to Kevin Hawkins and – as I had a Farfisa Organ – was invited into his existing band The Amps, a (mostly) punk covers band with Kev (gat) Chris Plummer (drums) Mike someone (bass) and Brent Hayward (vocals). Vietnamese Baby, Johnny Too Bad, Police and Thieves, See Emily Play, a few derivative originals including City Girl “High heel shoes – baby can you walk? Pills and booze – Baby can you talk? City girl, its a sunny night, City girl come and play with me tonight” that became The Lollipop Man for The And Band later. Richard Sedger picked up a young girl working in a record store (he was always doing that – it was he that scored Sam Swan for the scene later), Jessica Walker (Jane’s sister, from Dunedin – she introduced us to the kids that became Clean-Chills-Snapper) and she learned bass and after a split the Amps became The Jellyfish (she replaced me on bass so I could play farfisa and guitar): this was me & kevin sharing vocals, chris and Jessica. On a good night I think we were pretty seminal – the Syd Barret, Lee Perry & Beefheart influence seeping into the Punk/ new wave (Elvis Costello this year’s model big influence esp on my keyboard playing/writing then) matrix.

    Now it gets complex. I wanted to follow my Syd Barret/steve naive-jonah lewie/Lee Perry/Kevin Ayers – and especially Slapp Happy c. Desperate Straights inclinations, while Kevin and Jessica (now a couple, like me and Susan) were into PIL, Beefheart, and wanted to get – uglier where I wanted to be pretty, Freeform where I wanted structure and vice versa – Chris was a fence sitter who liked both but after a spell with us went with the better organised Kevin and Jessica- who took back Brent Hayward as a singer and became the defiant, abrasive, negative Shoes This High, who, like the Gordons, attracted an ugly violent bootboy following (slumming rich kids on DMA) that beat up and scared off most other fans – then they moved to Auckland and without Brent (who became smelly feet and Fats White) became the mostly instrumental, Dave Mitchellesque Fishschool.

    Meanwhile there was The Spies – Me, Susan, Richard (bass) and Chris. We are well covered in George/Wade Churton’s classic “Have You Checked The Children” book on the post-punk NZ scene. Chris was (mostly) replaced with Mark Thomas, a renegade “street kid” with both the natural Maori talent for guitar and melody and a psychedelic craving much like mine. Before he died, Mark performed the best Iggy Pop cover (Dirt) I have ever heard – an even better voice than Shayne Carter, which is saying a lot. Another genius wasted.

    Richard Susan Chris and Mark, with me and Bill Vosburgh as decoys, stole a revox tape deck, 8 channel mixing desk, and some good amps and speakers from shops: an amazing operation I can take no credit for. We recorded several reels – and got busted with everything.The cops eventually gave us back the tapes, which still exist : they’re reviewed and discussed in that highly readable work “Have You Checked The Children?” by Wade Churton.

    Bill Vosburgh was the child prodigy from Christchurch who originally taught the Gordons the Detroit sound and how to write snappy riff-based songs. So we followed him to Chch, without Chris – The And Band.

    The Tall Dwarfs thread on ILM is fascinating – love, hate, or both him Chris Knox is a Monolith of this scene and you have to deal with him or his legacy at some stage. I went to Ak in 1978 to see the Enemy at Zwines (and Susan Ellis in West Auckland somewhere) and they blew me away. Chris did all kinds of crazy shit, but the songs were stronger than punk, and the sound was so professional – yet – spontaneous sounding. To me the late Enemy and early-to-prime Toy Love were the same thing exactly with keyboards added and poppy hooks in the new songs (the Troggs and Bubblegum – TL used to do yummy yummy yummy – a big influence on the difference between the 2. They also did a searing Positively 4th street). The Spies opened for them twice. And contrary to Mr Dix in “Stranded in Paradise”, the Cuba Mall free sunday gigs (outdoors, central downtown Wellington) were organised (c. 1979) by Mark Thomas and Chris Plummer (Spies) and Marty et al. (Wallsockets) and started by both bands. The Ambitious Vegetables came along 6 months later and got the credit from Dix. Our high point was getting Toy Love to play. That was so sweet. Downhill from there – I played on Datura once. 7 beats to the bar, then 61/2, then 4, then 5; dried up my voice and made me forget to sing and play. Made me think I was singing and playing when actually not. That would have been a better scene with better drugs. It was all STP/DMA and bad pills, datura and cactus.

    If history is the record of the crimes and follys of mankind, we sure made history back then.

    PANTHER OF THE SUBURBS

    1. BURN

    2. COLD BEER

    3. JAH & HIS HERB

    4. LOVE & DEVOTION

    5. THE EVIL SOUND

    6. HOLES IN MY CURTAIN (They Don’t Even Let In The Sun)

    7. THE PANTHER OF THE SUBURBS

    RECORDED 12-6-1984 AT 212 PETERBOROUGH ST, CHRISTCROTCH

    by AXEMEN bob brannigan DAMON CROWE stu kawowski Steve McCabe AL RIGHT

    & special guest star NEW GRAPHIC EQUALIZER aka the punk panther

    dub versions available HEAR NOW!

    AXT-MÄNNER: Schwarzemänner

    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 And Band: Outhern

    As requested, here are the tracks from the flipside of The Perfect Strangers: Not To Be Taken cassette, labelled as And Band: Outhern. Being that the track titles are in Kawowski’s inimitable handwriting, let’s assume that the cassette is a dub he made from an original compilation by Lindsay Maitland, that came into Stu’s possession c.1984.

    The Outhern tracks were recorded in 1981 at Bealey Ave, Christchurch, after Richard Sedger had left, though he may play on some.

    The bonus track (March of the Stronghold) was recorded in 1981 at the High St practice room that Perfect Strangers ‘Not to be Taken’ was recorded at.

    Some ‘Outhern’ tracks were recorded there too, at least pretty sure ‘March of the Stronghold’ was.

    EFS is a reference to Can’s ethnological forgery series. A series of tracks on Can albums, known as “Ethnological Forgery Series”, abbreviated to “E.F.S”, demonstrated the band’s ability to successfully recreate ethnic-sounding Music:. – Wiki.

    Tracklist details updated 3 May 2017, after consultation with G.D.H.

    –A Ski Tusk Wow

     

    1. I Know (?)  Mark Thomas, George D. Henderson, Susan Ellis

    2. Valhalla  Music: George D. Henderson; Words: Mark Thomas

    3. Hell  George D. Henderson

    4. Hell Pt 2  George D. Henderson

    5. Home On The Range  Song by George D. Henderson; performed by George D. Henderson, Mark Thomas, Susan Ellis

    6. Home On The Range Pt 2 Song by George D. Henderson; performed by George D. Henderson, Mark Thomas, Susan Ellis

    7. Folkystrum 1 EFS

    8. Folkystrum 2 EFS

    9. Nausea  Words: Susan Ellis; Music: George D. Henderson

    10. Dr Brill  Song George D. Henderson; performed by George D. Henderson, Mark Thomas, Susan Ellis

    11. Intoxication  Words: Lindsay Maitland; Music: Calum Duncan Maclean; performed by George D. Henderson, Mark Thomas, Susan Ellis

    12. She Done Daid  Words: H. P. Lovecraft; Music: George D. Henderson & Mark Thomas

    13. Holier Than Thou  Music: Susan Ellis & Bill Vosburgh; Lyrics: George D. Henderson

    14. March On The Stronghold  Music: Susan Ellis

    15. Don’t Wake Up Grandfather (Bonus track) Music: Susan Ellis; performed by George D. Henderson, Mark Thomas, Susan Ellis

     

    Glitter screenprint poster for artist Graham Snowden's SKULLS installation/performance featuring The And Band, c. 1984 (poster printed by Kawowski at Ink Inc).
    Glitter screen-print poster for Graham Snowden’s SKULLS show featuring the And Band, c.1981 (poster printed by Stu Kawowski at INK INC).