The Axemen 30 years on – where are they now?

Pete Street Breakdown
Pete Street Breakdown c.1985 (McCabe, Kawowski, Brannigan)

Sunday 22 September 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the seminal ‘Equinox’ gig at Dunedin’s luminary bat-corridor The Empire Tavern, pseudo-Transylvanian Castle (at the time) of the infamous Maureen, an actual vampire who was to become the Axemen’s gothic nemesis for a spell. And spell she could, she could cast a spell as evil as any of her coven, some say she was possessed, some say haunted, some kinder souls benevolently passed her off as merely ‘troubled’.

Axemen @ Neon Picnic near Auckland 1988 (L to R: Stu, Steve, Bob)
Axemen @ Neon Picnic near Auckland 1988 (L to R: Stu, Steve, Bob)

In 20/20 hindsight through rose-tinted spectacles perhaps her evil was somewhat exaggerated; after all many of the bands who were to go on to become the golden boys (and girls) of Flying Nun cut their teeth (in some cases literally) on the establishment’s beer and whiskey stained ‘stage’ – actually a minimally raised platform approximately the height of a matchbox – and many found the Axemen’s anti-establishment attitude towards Maureen and her hardline treatment of them and their music hard to stomach at the time.

“Why are you guys so hard on Maureen?” they would ask provocatively. ‘What’s wrong with the Empire?”

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

They may as well have been asking the question of Luke Skywalker. Interrogation sessions such as this would often last into the wee small hours (the little hours) in the early years and would frequently rope in the entire rabble of a pub up to and beyond closing time with the Axemen often ending up leaving with a comet-like ‘tail’ of pub riff-raff hideously weaving their way down George Street or Colombo Street like lemmings following a pied piper in their worn boots and torn black jerseys.

Of course this was in the bad old days before they were ‘saved’.

Derry Legend recording session at Writhe Studio (1987), left to right: Stu, Dragan Stojanovic, Little Stevie McCabe and Bob Brannigan
Derry Legend recording session at Writhe Studio (1987), left to right: Stu Kawowski, Dragan Stojanovic, Little Stevie McCabe and Bob Brannigan

These days the amorphous almost mass-less collection of rubble and nuggets of pure energy and spit that started at the ‘big bang’ Empire gig back in ’83 are disseminated through space and time like a less organised Ort Cloud of ego-prodding drunken barnstormers cartwheeling their way across the universe like they were god’s gift, which in a way they were and still are. Oh the cavities they have filled, the intertwining they fostered, twirling together unlikely entities like the Anti-Crick & Watson slamming together strands and pieces of mean-old acid and nuclear tides into a semicoherent twisted whole.

theywere
Axemen: Hell Yeah

As if they had discovered Fusion and, not knowing how to enhance its mighty power, allowed it to burn wildly like a brush fire spreading its heat and energy in every direction, some pockets burning uncontrolled then dying out, others pacing themselves and emanating a warm glow for centuries, others sputtering and still others smouldering and eventually dying down not with a bang but a whimper.

Class of 2011
Axemen Class of 2011

They were the Axemen – like Hell they were!

These days things are just as complex and yet fundamental as they were in the beginning, only with emergence now beginning to happen as the positive feedback kicks in and the unknowing knower starting to know, as if today were a new tomorrow. The knower always knows and never knows – knowledge is like a bolt of lightning whumping down from the sky and enlightening the world like the perennial ‘knowers arc’.

Axemin, Whangarei
Axmin, Whangarei

Through thick and thin, good times, bad times, you know they’ve had their share – these are the Good Times, so lucky we got ’em, that scoop of chips on your shoulder aint heavy, its the bluebird, thats the blue jay way just turn your love around and take me back to where I belong – back to the future the past is the future history never repeats and a 600 lb elephant in the room never forgets who or what he or she is, even on a trunk call they’ll come up trumps, towering and trumpeting like a boogie woogie bugle boy, and yes, yes sir I can dance! Sally can’t dance bitch broke her back carryin’ water for the man he simply wouldn’t wait. Bilbo Baggins spinning in his Muppet-hole, a hobbit is a muppet without the personality, a hobbit can knock, a muppet can not – who can hold a hobbit up to the merest scrutiny I ask but who has the right to knock?

Happy Anniversary Axemen, let’s have no more repeats lest you end up dead on your feet!

Axemen vs Big Brother(s) – round one

In a stunning David and Goliath legal challenge backdown, the Axemen came out with pea-shooters and slingshots blazing to bring the heavy handed but hamfisted WARNER BROTHERS franchise to its knees after its bullying challenge to the bands right to post their own material online.

The bizarre set of events began when Warner Bros, with their hordes of copyright lawyers and the huge stick of the publishing industry behind their back simply GOT IT WRONG, accusing the Axemen of infringing copyright which it claimed on the bands own material. A simple copyright search on APRA/AMCOS records would have shown the rush-to-judgment giants that all Axemen material published and released on Flying Nun, Sleek Bott, Silt Breeze, Negative Guest List, etc. is the sole property of Sleek Bott Publishing, with royalties being divided amongst the songwriters as appropriate.

The arrogance of Warner’s in assuming because they are the top feeders, swallowing up Flying Nun from the stomach of Mushroom records as almost a burp but finding some remnants of possible income in the bowels and seeing an opportunity to squeeze out a couple bucks from the ruminant remains, is astounding and simply serves to expose their greed and arrogance and highlight some of the injustices and the inherent unfairness of the existing copyright system.

A timely reminder to register your songs and protect your rights inasmuch as they can be protected, but at least avoid the ridiculous situation where a corporate can legally force you to remove your own material from display….

You can see the allegedly offending video at the link below in the backdown email from YouTube/WMG (Warner’s Music Group).

Never let it be said the Axemen take shit from the man!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: YouTube <no_reply@youtube.com>
Date: 29 July 2012 3:21:37 AM NZST
To: N0ISYLAND <noneofyourbusiness@somewhere.nz>
Subject: Information about your video ""Mourning of Youth" (1987) by AXEMEN"
Dear N0ISYLAND,
WMG has reviewed your dispute and released its copyright claim on your video, 
""Mourning of Youth" (1987) by AXEMEN". 
For more information, please visit your Copyright Notice page
Sincerely,
 - The YouTube Team
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Cordons — (no relation)

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

By Mick Elborado

I thought smacking was illegal, but there I was standing between the dusty records and sheet music I’d started packing away, now handcuffed, and the hyped-up young cop, name, as always, unknown was saying ‘Just give me one ****** reason to smack you’ — the hand cuffs were not double locked, so they tightened — by the time we got to the cop-shop my would-be-smacking officer pointed out they should’ve been double-locked ‘to prevent them tightening’ — I told him I knew that. I also showed the two officers the deep grooves in my wrists.

But by then most of what I’ve collected over the years was debris — and the things I’d bought, been given, or created myself were gone forever.

Just some homeless c*nt with a bunch of junk?… Now I’m a hairsbreadth from homeless, but I can swear on a stack of bibles that I’ve easily prevented the incorrect release of a thousand times more tax than I can ever be grudgingly paid by WINZ for my remaining life as a benefit, or, if I’m cursed to live that long, and euthanasia isn’t mandatory, superannuation.

And while I was being paid peanuts for stopping big money getting incorrectly refunded ($24,000,000 from a trans-tasman imputation account on day one) I spent my money on stuff, rather than holidays, investments, or trying to get an extra 1% more than any other arsehole…

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

‘…he wanted to retrieve his hard drive’ one of the laughing demolition clowns told the cops for their provably false ‘statement of facts’.

Uh, no — a hard drive is just countless hours of work but I was once a reasonably infamous musician, so i was after my Peavey jazz classic amplifier with 14″ Black Widow speaker HP’d at $25 per week for two years, or the George van Epps ‘harmonic mechanisms for guitar’ I’d been workig through, or the two andband/perfect.strangers singles, one without a cover — or paintings given to me by artists getting more famous by the day, or autographed flying nun singles, auto’d on the day they came into CHCH by the people immortalised on ’em, ’cause I used to hassle Roger at the record factory, and Roy and the wonderful women at EMI, or posters from ’81 to 95, or handicam footage of bands playing in the now probably destroyed christhurch dives like quadrophrenia, the subway, the dux de lux, or mint copies of most christchurch and dunedin music magazines ’81 to whenever (Garage, alley oop, sunbum, every secret thing, and all the one-offs that sold for $1 or less each. (something crunchy, daughters of darkness, the Knox comic-zine)

Oh yeah, and shit that I wrote, or transcribed, and some photos of dead or absent friends, and my estranged family. Or even my ornate City of Bristol birth certifcate. And the rip it up review of the one time, on a band tour, that I lit a flaming log and held it to my crotch (the unlit end closest to the crotch)

If you want to trivialise this, and say ‘Well at least you’re alive’, or get all red-faced, either with anger at a law-breaker, or embarrassment at your own part inallowing this to happen to anyone in Christchurch then here’s an exercise…

Look at your room — not your house, garage or car, just the room you’re in now, even if it’s the kitchen. Now imagine it’s lifted fifteen feet above the ground so it dangles a wee bit, out of reach, but still with your stuff (microwave, borrowed vacuum cleaner, clothes, video, power boxes, sellotape, shampoo, whatever) in plain sight, and accesible to others. Now watch for seven or eight weeks until a a giant hand crushes it, and no one is liable. Oh yeah, and you’re uninsured so you can’t start again.

So… Yeah — ‘at least you’re alive’ — I’d rather be dead — ever try getting money out of WINZ to replace a lost life — I worked, for thirty years, and suffered arsehole bosses and corporate bullshit and buzzwords, and taught too many mindless mindless loser work-‘mates’ how tax actually worked, mainly to buy my books and records. Even though 99% of Christchurch would think my stuff was crap. It was christchurch crap. my crap.

Books — yeah well I’m poor now, my book budget since Inland Revenue tried screwing me up the arse for $14,000 in glass was $5.00 in a good week, invested in my favourite bookshop in…

First editions of the last three Pynchons, the works of Dave McGowan, and Daniel Hopsicker’s first two. An average of $50 per book — the last two I bought, ‘Sinister Forces – the Nine’, and ‘Unholy Alliance’ by Peter Lavenda were in the plastic cube I was packing when…

…well I wasn’t actually arrested — I was; verbally abused, laughed at by the demolition clowns, told the cop had taken a oath, and that I was in for a smack, and that I was causing busy people trouble, but as I pointed out as that cop and his partner (she just kept saying ‘Shut the fuck up’) finished having a leisurely laugh with the demolition clowns in the shakytown designer fluoro while the handcuffs bit in — ‘You haven’t actually told me I’m under arrest’

…this was as just before he started telling me I had a right to remain… silent, and (and not but) anything I said would be used in evidence against me. Maybe he said stacked, rather than used, but more likely he just thought it.

He then quoted the mental health act (year unknown) as the reason for my arrest. Me… with two (now three) certificates attesting to my sanity when examined. People might hate what I do and think, but it’s provably not due to any discernable mental health problem. Experts tend to be better at diagnosing that than non-experts.

Let’s see — I was also asked why I didn’t join a tribe, or leave NZ, if I disagreed with the law. And all the other insults I’ve now got used to. I pointed out to the cop that his brain wasn’t cut out for thinking as his statements were illogical.

Since then I’ve perused the misinformed comments in the equally misinformed on-line press articles, and have been accused of everything from trying to recover ‘kiddieporn’ (an anonymous coward’s comment) to ignoring proper procedure and not going through the correct channels.

I made enough contacts with ‘appropriate’ people to lose count. The only ones to actually help were the good people in the Porta-Comm offices at the art gallery.

The ones that didn’t gives a rat’s arse were the people in charge, including anyone on demolitions at the council, including Tiffany the third receptionist to hang up on me that morning a week or so before i was arrested with her inhumane ‘we can ignore what you say, and none of this is recorded’

That day, after that, again utterly furious with the inability of the council to listen, I went to the Art Gallery, and in a five-man USAR team led by Rene had the property checked to see if it was accesible. It wasn’t. I was told I could talk to the demolition team at the unknown date the building came down.

So those five USAR people wasted an hour or more each helping me. When they could have been USAR’ing more important things… …Bob Parker’s garden tools maybe — ’cause, as I yelled at the judge in court, if it was Bob Parker’s garden tools rather than my things then some c*nt would have rescued them intact (and probably by WestPac helicopter and on the front page of the press with him in a stinking and dustless orange jacket — mission accomplished? Bush did it on an aircraft carrier). It’s easy to forget Bob tried to stop rescue workers out at Kaiapoi, and the PM had to call him…

Or… Peter… the luckless guy at the Christchurch Council I rang who told me there were no after-hours numbers to deal with demolition matters, when I rang at 4:00 on the day before the Easter holiday, after leaving a message before 10:00 am that day asking to be called back with an idea of when the building would be demolished.

I was furious by the time I got to him, through yet another receptionist, but he assured me ‘the building isn’t on the list to be demolished’ and ‘it won’t be demolished as everyone’s taking a well-deserved break for Easter’ — either he or I mentioned that it would be inaccesible through that time so I then mentioned that if they started again on Tuesday the Easter break was meaningless in terms of accesibility to get my things — as always the conversation ended with his ‘I can’t promise anything, but you should be able to get your things…’

Oh yeah, and of course multiple emails and phone calls to property manager Pru at GoodGirls, trying to find out about a demolition date…

…and finally, at 7:00pm the night before, when I was in Lyttelton, Liz Harris, the owner, left a message saying the building’s being demolished at 9:00am tomorrow morning

So at 7:00pm — after a uncounted hours asking anyone that might know, I was actually given a D-date.

The time was too late to organise anything, storage, transport, helpers. Still, I have f***-all friends/family that would even bother to urinate on me if I was aflame. Asking someone for help with transport at 7pm the night before..? Hahahahaha! And ever tried hiring a truck or taxi on an invalid benefit (minus $33 per week for property damage), or getting free storage?

To get back to D-day…

Because of frustration and an inability to deal with the way New Zealand is today I take strong medication — heavily sedative — I wake up the next morning well after 9:00am

I get to the building site at 11:00 — the building is mainly in pieces but my room is intact with all the things easily salvageable. Here’s a pic of what can be done if someone wants to salvage things. Merivale shop, not a home for the marginal and nearly homeless.

The cordon… well this is where it and the law and the situation get really interesting…

I said to my lawyer in prison (after he explained that if I pleaded guilty I’d already served enough time — solitary confinement 23 hours a day in the at-risk unit at Paparoa Prison for 15 days — to be released), that I couldn’t remember actually seeing a cordon or any notices, but my camera was confiscated by the police — so I had no evidence of that.

So, this is what a Cordon looks like — and the legal definition, paraphrased from what the lawyer held, is that the scumbag in charge of earthquake action (Parker, Brownlee, or some other loser and clown) can delegate cordon-setting downward indefinitely, and apparently no public notice is required — so this is what a cordon looks like before you breach it. Be really careful, cause orange gates seem to be it. No notices, statements, tape, wire, people to tell you there’s a cordon — and I doubt there’s actually a notice anywhere in a public place, and probably no actual written paperwork — Cordon Bennett!

It’ll be interesting to see how anyone is supposed to know, rather than guess, where a cordon actually exists. My photograph shows at least one other, but unarrested, person (a person because of the lack of shakytown-designer-fluoro) was pretty damn near to being inside whatever cordon existed.

I walked, not ran across the debris, you’ll note that the quoted police witnesses that said ‘…he ran…’ are actually nowhere in sight in the first photograph as I approach the property. or the second photograph taken just as I see my room is still intact and salvageable and stopped taking pictures.

How the demo-clown witnesses knew ‘…i was trying to get my hard drive…’ is one of those evidentiary conundrums, I didn’t talk to any of them. And I certainly didn’t stop to banter. My experience to date is that if I’d asked to get my things from anyone with a bit of power I’d have been obstructed or told to p*** or f*** off.

So — the bullshit in Christchurch was and is worse than the liquefaction — and if the trembling don’t kill you the council will.

I now vomit everytime I hear an earthquake promo on the radio, or see a poster saying help is available or hear anyone with a bit of house damage moaning on a bus.

For the record — Further blog entries will deal with the various police, winz, council, court, etc, contacts — past, present and future — my memory is reasonable even without my papers — and for light relief, the absurdities and ignorance and fear encountered between ’79 and ’09 while I worked at, for, with and finally against Inland Revenue. Including a bit of taxation advice that’d cost you big bucks from a ‘cunsultant’…

Today’s fun… on Friday 10th June?

Leaving my current abode, a big lodge, early evening, and there’s a policeman on a mobile outside, presumably to the security staff, — I walk out the locking doors and as they are closing he reaches for the handle. I close it completely and the exchange, where I politely noted that either a warrant or security staff are more appropriate than an unforced entry ends…

Cop:Thanks

ME: You might need a warrant for entry.

Cop: Piss off

ME: Did you just tell me to piss off?

Cop: Go away. Just go away.

His mate just stands there with folded arms as I’m ordered to go away… from my own residence… the rego of their copmobile? CBT622

Make a complaint about this the proper way? A few weeks ago Hornby police station had no complaint brochures or forms and the kindly officer there was going to order them from central, but oddly enough the unhelpful guy at central the same day said there were no complaint forms, and that I could ‘ring the number in the Yellow pages’ this was after he sat down at his desk when he found that in Cleese-like fashion ‘..I wished to register a complaint’.

I’d gone in there to get a phone number left at the scene of my crime by a witness which I was told by the police would be withh my effects — I was handed a homemade official information request by the clown at the lost and found and absurdly asked whether I knew the names of the officers involved.

So I took the opportunity to pick up the application form for a firearm license, as they did have a few of those on the display, and I’d never really thought much about guns or even liked the idea of them until recently… I have no pension fund, no savings, no saleable assets, nothing to lose, am no longer afraid of jail, and I pay $33 per week until 2018 for some broken glass. A gun would be a real comfort and an asset for anyone with that future. Maybe I can get a WINZ loan to buy on from Gun City.

Earlier today, pre “Police Piss Off’ i was at WINZ, (full details of the absurd interview with Helen the trainee who went to her trainer for her information at a later date), Helen told me there was no formal way to complain, no actual complaint section or national area that I could write to, and that any complaints would go through the local manager.

Funny, seems like an odd way to complain about the consistently bad service at WINZ and the differences between the thoughts on the posters and brochures and the actual practice of the staff.

A manager (specially the kind that call me ‘Darling’ out at Rangiora when they mean arsehole) might be a little biased.

‘We will listen to you’. Yeah, Never mind the bollocks.

I mentioned MPs and Ministers to Helen and she said ‘…well, you can do that, if you really want to’ I explained that I knew that, but didn’t know if she was aware of it.

So, is it illegal to write about the facts of a life..? Can you lose a benefit blogging? Get put in the cells? I guess here’s the only way to find out.

Ain’t seen anyone else in Shakytown exposing the puss-filled scabs that everyone else assumes are business as usual.

And you won’t find a single reporter who has wanted to interview me. So any comments in the press about my latest ‘dangerous and bizarre’ exploit are from the police statements or the judge.

Here’s a-bitter that ‘balance’ you might read about as being essential to well-informed thought, vitriol intact.

And when I stop blogging than either it is illegal to diary my life, or my life (and the red-tape) is just fine. Guess which is more likely

DT, aka DZ, aka ME, aka NGM, aka way too many other aliaii. 10/06/11 AD.

Elborados Fury – Drive In Saturday



Inland Revenue's new 24 hr drive thru in Chch

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

Show Your Support… join MICK ELBORADO IS INNOCENT now!


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


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




Te Tari Taake or Te Tari Turkey?

Te Tari Taake or Te Tari Turkey?

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




Its Ok Officer I work here!

Its OK Officer I work here!

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


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




Mick doing the hard yards awaiting bail

Mick doing the hard yards awaiting bail

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


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


Post: Amble Testicle Evict, with Micks Blessings

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…

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
  • 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