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!

Just out of embargo : Bott 13 – Came a Bott Friday – installment 1

bott13Te ‘Came a Bott Friday’ album was released sometime in 1987 and is also sometimes referenced as Bott 13 … te pota tiritina… enjoy!

1a Wake Of A Sinner

1b I Am The Seed

1c Yours Severely

1e Beats Under The Rocks S

1f Zion Steamroller S

2a Violence & Half-Uncles S

2b Too Much Beer–Too Little Sleep S

2c Dick’s Riff

2d Happy Ever After

2e Sondheim’s Serenade

2f The Devil Went Down To Woodstock S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snapshot of Top Search Terms on the Blog, to June 2011

Search Views
dugong 6,357
switchblade 4,393
fonzie 4,047
humpback whale 2,809
whale 2,636
fingers 2,613
shrunken head 1,736
bonny and clyde 1,413
bloomers 1,187
sea cow 1,155
robert de niro 1,104
bonnie parker 1,040
old telephone 1,030
capitalism a love story 637
coca cola logo 615
humpback whale pictures 598
telepathy 557
kurt cobain diary 521
patton oswalt 502
whale poop 492
1985 411
spectacles 391
kurt cobain quotes 387
clyde barrow 369
humpback whales 352
whale pictures 300
cyberman 285
stiletto 243
mick elborado 240
the scapegoat 228
robert deniro 223
cape fear 220
the fonzie 217
the beatles abbey road 196
pink dildo 196
axemen wordpress 193
bonny and clyde pictures 187
imperial state crown 187
robert de niro cape fear 184
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aye axe men 171
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telephone 161
de niro 160
aye axemen 160
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sth 133
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whale with horn 125
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kurt cobain diaries 123
eugene chadbourne 118
robert deniro cape fear 110
badgers 110
switch blade 110
bonnie and clyde 108
kurt cobain’s diary 107
occult figures 104
sea cow pictures 103
whale killing 102
times new viking 102
enjoy coca cola 99
kurt cobain 95
sea cows 90
world record whale 90
kurt cobain signature 90
stiletto switchblade 89
axemen three virgins 88
capitalism: a love story 87
dildo png 87
scapegoat 86
deniro 85
the beatles 84
bonnie parker and clyde barrow 80
kurt cobain writing 80
bonny & clyde 80
cassette tape 80
kurt cobain suicide note 78
ugly whale 78
girl peeing 78
whales with horns 78
humpback whale facts 76
beatles abbey road 74
peggy lee 73
smelly feet 72
whale pics 71
coca cola wave 69
axemen y2k blog 69
abbey road 69
cpl593h 69
seacow 68
shoes this high 68
whale compared to human 68
whangarei 68
pictures of humpback whales 67
ascent of man 66
white humpback whale 64
y2k 64
kurt cobain lyrics 60
on the buses 58
humpback 58
brick phone 58
italian switchblade 57
kurt cobain handwriting 57
david jerrold theobald 56
dragan stojanovic 56
gibson epiphone 56
crown 55
telephone old 55
chicks hotel port chalmers 54
flock of seagulls 54
imperial 54
baby humpback whale 54
bonny parker 53
“shoes this high” 53
graffiti sketch 53
bonnie parker and clyde barrow pictures 52
dugong pictures 52
peter gutteridge 52
hump back whale 52
“theaxemen” 51
the gordons 51
humpback whale tattoo 50
ave sangria 50
whale photos 49
switchblade pictures 48
big whale 48
old telephone pictures 47
chris knox stroke 47
not this shit again 47
humpback whales pictures 46
dead blue whale 46
axemen blogspot 46
coca-cola logo 46
sangria 46
axe men 46
beatles 45
deniro cape fear 45
6 inch switchblade 44
?? ???? 44
walking whale 43
real shrunken head 43
big pink dildo 42
bass fingers 42
whale images 41
kurt cobain journals 41
johnny segovia 41
cape fear robert de niro 41
youtube icon 41
flock of seagulls hair 41
a flock of seagulls 41
logo coca cola 40
appaling 40
whale cum 40
roxy music 39
shrunken heads 38
kevin hawkins 37
underpants 36
dr who cyberman 35
kambur balina 35
1960 switchblade 35
christchurch map 34
de niro cape fear 34
bonny und clyde 34
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bonnie parker photos 33
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??????? ?????? 32
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fonzie pictures 32
aiye axe men 31
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christchurch logo 31
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axemen big cheap motel 31
blue whale poop 30
switchblade knives 30
dugong photos 30
dead humpback whale 30
plastic dildo 29
huge whale 29
whale picture 29
andrew fagan 29
whale with a horn 29
paul bunyan beer 28
????? 27
robert muldoon 27
1960s switchblade 27
dildo 27
humpback whale photos 26
picture of humpback whale 26
theaxemen.wordpress.com 26
abbey road cover 26
kurt cobain shoes 26
capitalism a love story poster 26
big m milk 26
123 pleasant street 26
otter attack 26
disco queen 26
bonnie parker death photos 25
whale horn 25
kurt cobain crime scene photos 25
tom lax 25
seal of new zealand 25
shoes this high ep 25
cocacola logo 25
kurt cobains diary 25
mysterex blog 25
sharkskin suit 25
axemen three virgins mediafire 24
axemen + y2k blog 24
1981 springbok tour 24
60’s switchblade 24
picture of a whale 24
stu 24
chch 24
maori shrunken heads 24
?????? 24
?????? ??????? 24
the axemen blog 23
cape fear deniro 23
3 fingers 23
pictures of bonnie parker and clyde barrow 23
ritchie venus 23
pictures of a whale 23
picture of whale 23
the imperial state crown 23
small switchblade 23
pink reason 22
switchblade stiletto 22
coca cola stripe 22
mysterex 22
cpl 593h 22
how to make a switchblade 22
helm ruifrok 22
steve humann 22
smelly 22
dugong sea cow 22
coke logo 22
sue smales 22
cape fear de niro 22
kurt cobain smoking 21
bonnie und clyde 21
abbey road beatles 21
bonny clyde 21
picture of fonzie 21
robert di niro 21
1960’s switchblade 21
eski telefonlar 21
coca cola enjoy 21
ambassador pt chev 21
humpbackwhale 20
bloomers for girls 20
fonzie photos 20
eggman walrus 20
venus 2000 experiences 20
keporkak 20
the scape goat 20
chicks hotel 20
humpback whale picture 20
1950s switchblade 20
hump back whales 20
fonzie pics 20
still single 20
dildo pink 20
piece sign 20
leisha ward knox 20
morrissey 20
??? 19
psychedelic horseshit 19
brent hayward 19
mental telepathy 19
south dunedin 19
stu kawowski 19
coca cola logos 19
the real bonnie and clyde 19
eggman beatles 19
bonny and clyde photos 19
new zealand map tattoo 18
peeing girl 18
whale poop pictures 18
david theobald 18
steve mccabe 18
patton oswalt live at maxwell 18
humpback whale diagram 18
barbara ward nz 18
y2k blog 18
pictures of fonzie 18
dildo.png 18
the dugong 18
blundstone 18
bound gagged 18
eski telefon 18
tcb 17
white bloomers 17
roxy music album covers 17
affco 17
beatles walrus 17
shrunken heads pictures 17
beatles album covers 17
new zealand map tattoos 17
large dildo 17
humpback whale images 17
fuck pants 17
peeing in a cup 17
whale liver 17
robert deniro wife 17
1950’s switchblade 17
shonen knife 17
“mick elborado” 17
humpback whale face 17
switchblade pics 16
pictures of fingers 16
clyde barrow and bonnie parker 16
shrunken maori heads 16
classic switchblade 16
eat skull blogspot 16
festival poster 16
milano switchblade 16
the axemen blogspot 16
“nocturnal projections” + ” worldview” + “blogspot” 16
picture of a switchblade 16
cheap motel 16
killing whales 16
square sushi 16
kurt cobain cemetery 16
beatles abbey 16
chris knox 16
clyde barrow bonnie parker 15
fuzztoned whale 15
sheep effect punikaiki mp3 15
coca cola 15
johnny’s switchblade 15
sea cow images 15
life in the fridge exists 15
bill vosburgh 15
kurt cobain’s suicide note 15
festival posters 15
bryde’s whale 15
robert de niro pictures 15
diary handwriting 15
sushi maker 15
baby dugong 15
1950 switchblade 15
times new viking axemen split 15
axemen three virgins blogspot 15
kurt cobain poster 15
finger 15
captain cook’s map of new zealand 15
capitalism.a.love.story 15
pictures of badgers 15
bonnie and clyde pictures 15
cola logo 15
dr who monsters 14
old coca cola logo 14
springbok tour 1981 14
picture of a humpback whale 14
dildo clip art 14
cassette 14
shoes this high the nose one 14
old switchblade 14
happy bar wellington 14
kurt cobain smoking poster 14
beth murphy times new viking 14
eat skull 14
cobain diary 14
state crown 14
?????? ?? ???? 14
the walrus was paul 14
affco lyrics 14
humpback whale pics 14
flesh colored dildo 14
underground railroad morgantown wv 14
new zealand official seal 14
bolex camera 14
dugong pussy 14
bryan ferry 14
telepathy pictures 14
whale dung 14
“tom lax” 14
baby sea cow 13
celia mancini 13
humpback whale face good pictures 13
axemen 3 virgins 13
david theobald christchurch 13
capitalism – a love story 13
capitalism a love 13
buy switchblade 13
norbert haley 13
whale faces 13
dr who cybermen 13
candles on the cake 13
vfc4430 13
starý telefon 13
times new viking axemen 13
mere nihoniho 13
great scott boston 13
bonnie parker pictures 13
“say yes to apes” 13
alister parker 13
axemen new zealand 13
10 inch switchblade 13
how to draw a humpback whale 13
bonnie et clyde 13
whale humpback 13
kurt cobain smiling 13
john markie 13
square sushi maker 12
parrot cassette 12
chicks port chalmers 12
beatles abbey road cover 12
media club 12
dugong facts 12
german switchblade 12
bonnie parker photo 12
the old telephone 12
whale abuse 12
intimidate 12
hairdos 12
kurt cobain quote 12
rustle covini 12
picture of fingers 12
axemen taxman 12
coca cola label 12
mkultra 12
sushi maker test 12
a pink dildo 12
enjoy coca-cola 12
switchblade drawing 12
enjoy coca cola logo 12
the puddle 12
12 inch dildo 12
fat whale 12
dugong pics 12
bass player fingers 12
it boys 12
“robert deniro” 11
prsty 11
axe men blog 11
humback whale 11
chris knox barbara ward 11
doctor who cybermen 11
liesha ward knox 11
ugly whales 11
blue whale dead 11
flesh dildo 11
bonnie parker bar 11
whale watch 11
whale compared to a human 11
switchblades for sale 11
wmd symbols 11
pictures of bloomers 11
cheap 11
marsha ferber 11
scapegoat picture 11
peeing 11
axemen three virgins, three versions, three visions 11
axemen tour dates 11
coca cola racist logo 11
kurt vile 11
switchblade 1960 11
cobain diaries 11
whale erection 11
pictures of bonnie parker 11
big m flavoured milk 11
huge whales 11
pink waffle disease 11
whale pooping 11
kurt cobain in bed 11
dugong images 11
japanese killing whales 11
switchblade for sale 11
fonzie pic 11
forced exposure 11
whale harvesting 11
whale vomit 11
the axemen band 11
bonny e clyde 11
whale sex 11
mick elborado blog 11
bonnie and clay 11
single tumblr 11
dugong picture 11
girls peeing 11
whale photo 11

Chritstchurch 2010 dire straits – Columbo Street is Bending

Save the world christchurch

Columbo Street is Bending

columbo street is bending
not that you would know it
theres no depression in it
sheep shagging in far off fields
cashfields, leithfield, anwhere but darfield
whats with the bruises on your calves?
i was just feeling sheepish
i felt a little sheepish actually
watching reruns of kate and ellie
on the telly
with some hookers from the valley
they shoed up with frankie valli

in avalon, xanadu, rainman in cali
what happens in vegas goes on youtube
pardon me boy is that the cat who sat and shat on yer boob tube
and like you didn’t notice for 3 days
is that a record or is that your record being played or made
if i wanted to pull teeth i’d be a dentist
and if i wanted to pull the wool over the sheeps eyes, hell, i’d be a fundamentalist
because its fun for some you cannot be serious
deflate the balloon before he gets delirious
turn on the defibrillator now
don’t have a cow

you. cannot. be. serious.

defibrilating.
i’m still sittin here waiting.
the ambulance is here but they’re not splayin me
i think they got some splayin’ to do, don’y you lucille?

ChCh Quake(s) September 2010ChCh Quake(s) September 2010
ChCh Quake(s) September 2010 - Photos: Elle Williams

1984 IS OVER

Workin for the man

workin for the class

he’s a hardy hard habit to break

I’ll meet you at eight

by the lake

and when you pull up don’t forget to brake

(not like the last screwup who forgot to apply his brakes)

Bald-win!  paedophile at the rock’n’roll high school

hangin round the gym just to get an eyeful

panties sometimes stockings sometimes petite brassieres

the i think he’s got what he’s looking for clear

he’s the bald one, the only baldwin worth his salt

and i love him with every  figure of my soul

but i’m only a man can’t you understand it takes a minimum of two to tango

Smouldering Love God Alec Baldwin weighs in
Smouldering Love God Alec Baldwin weighs in
I break for cake for gods sake

my mans in the outfield buying yellowcake

but its cream, tangerine, lemon ivy

harangued by caramel thats a sticky mix i see

I tweeted the bird sanctuary

they told me you had flown the coop

no biggie for tupac and biggie smalls

they’ll be the biggest rappers of them all

…the… twittersphere… full of nudgerigars
oh what a collossal waste

Life is pretty cheap but for the frozen cheap wasters!

gorillaform contenders, suedehead boots downout racists

steer, queers, souvenirs, novelties, party tricks

wait, you dropped your phony dog poo back there in the sticks!

because 1984 is over
i predict
the earth will have a grand opening party

and while all crumbles and the earth spits and swallows

a little girl waits.
give her fifty dollars.
she don’t need fitty cent
she need fitty dollah

Miley makes a big impression on Axemen

I often wondered if the stories they print on these pages are true or just made up by a bunch of horny youths frustrated at not getting any action – that is, until we went thru Nashville and met ‘the wild one’, Miley Cyrus.

The saga began when we had some time to kill, no idea where Miley lived but knew this was her home town, and were fast running out of gas. We cruised around for a while before parking up in a downtown gas station.

Miley and Bob - quit hustlin me, bitch!

“My turn to clean the car, lads!” Bob yelled enthusiastically, half-leaping, half tumbling out of the car then emphatically throwing off his shirt to expose his gleaming pecs. Steve bristled visibly as Bob manfully grabbed the hose, adjusted his nozzle and let loose with an intense  spurt of sudsy foam.

“Hey shut the door asshole!” yelled Dragan, awoken by the sudden presence of the foamy liquid on his face. “Thank god ..it was… just a… dream!” he said semi-coherently, slamming the door as he regained full consciousness, while smearing the foam over his chest, pausing occasionally to lick his fingers and let out a quiet moan, and humming a few bars of ‘Karma chameleon’ before sinking back into a deep sleep.

“I just got the number for Miley boys!” Stu yelled, swaggering out of the gas station. “I got it right here on my phone! Its made for low light so i can’t actually see it out here, I’ll just nip into the toilet and write it on my hand! Anyone got a pen? i can change it but it says it needs to dowload the latest os updates first and one of my apps still uses system 8.5.0.7! I think i can probably just jailbreak it and run both systems, even if it voids my warranty.” Steve handed him the pen.

When he came out Bob was giving the car a final chamois down, and was pausing, rivulets of sweat drizzling down his chest, to pull out and light a cigarette.

Mylie and Billy Ray - achin for it

“Someone lookin for Miley?”

The owner of that instantly recognizable Nashville drawl grabbed the cigarette out of bobs fingers, took a puff and then returned it to bob, as if it had never left his mouth.

We instantly recognised Billy Ray’s surly drawl, hacking cough awkward limp and bulging Calvin Kleins, which on this day protruded as if he were hiding a couple of souvenir tennis balls from the last Williams Sisters final.

“Looks like you guys got a bunch of achey breaky hearts!” he sneered, spitting a drawlful of tobacco onto the carpet – at this point, 5 seconds or so of of canned laughter/applause came thru the P.A. in the dressing room.

“Hell that always happens when i mention the Achey Breaky [he paused to wait for the applause to die down] – i had it written into my contract when i was young and foolish and now i can’t seem to get it unwritten…. the dangdest thing. almost having some kind o pact with the devil himself.”

Stu and Miley, AKA 'Smiley'

“Anyway” he scoffed, snapping himself out of his thoughts back to his cockier past, before Miley, before Hannah, “You boys looking for Miley or Hannah? cos I can tell you now that Miley’s gonna cost a lot more than Hannah, being a virgin and suchforth – Hannah just your typical skanky ho, but Miley… well she’s somethin else”

“Well we just came to see Miley” chirped Stu.

He may as well have had a roll of “Admit One” tickets and a flashlight the way he ushered us into the seedy underbelly of Nashville, and we were ready to get season reentrys until dragan, the sensible one, pointed out we were leaving Tennessee tomorrow.

Miley Cyrus Night and Day Tour

“Maybe we can do Miley today and Hannah tomorrow” suggested Dragan.

“We gotta be in Fresno, St Paul tomorrow by 1400 EST for frikks sake!” said Stu “-Stat!”.

“Thats Ok, I’m not driving so i can rest all day tomorrow” said Bob.

'Miley' and Dragan

After evaluating all the options, including some tempting Miley/Hannah lookalikes who somewhat repulsively class themselves by age (‘I am good Miley from ages 11-12!‘ – see left‘; ‘you will find i am replicating well the Hannah Montana from Series 3! You will not be disappointed if you  have learnt all the catchphrases and characters!’,’i will give good hannah to meet your budget, ma’am!”;”I am the cheapest hannah around! I have all my certificates!”), and after some heated debate, we decided to do the Miley Cyrus Night and Day Tour.

Well… What a day and Oh, what a nite that was!

Miley Cyrus , Axemen ham it up on the red carpet

The Red Carpet Walk (Miley seemed to prefer calling it a ‘ride’) was the first real insight into Miley’s world. Among the glitz and glamour of the A-list celebrities rolling up to collect their awards, drink their fill, and try to eke a meal out of the tiny portions of food provided (Madonna: “Hey Lady! I think you gave me Kate Moss’s portion! I think even she would be lickin her lips and rollin up for seconds!)

We got our meal – Don’t think it did our cause any harm having Meatloaf and Buster Bloodvessel at our table

wunderbar REEVIEW PT ONE

Wunderbar, Lyttelton July 2009

The Aesthetics, Stevie McCabe and Bastardwisher =—–Wunderbar 28th July 2009
review by a participant.
PART UNO :

>>>
“Come together – right Now – Over me.”

Gen X . The original punks, methinks the youngest of the Exers gotta be something like 33 or something. Ands there’s the ageism already. And thats the last of it.
And the Ugly Ambition get’s uglier and uglier and with brill creamed quiff’n’quim in the air and the hooting hops and testosteroney we all thought it would fall to pieces.

Wunderbar - Nice People Only
Wunderbar - Nice People Only

But salvage they do and on comes he the Little guy – Littl’ Stevie McCabe and his  gat’n’lappy, and blues as is orignal and as if as original and haast pass- haaart felt as you can linen!  Blues, riff and mulch! Audio that is – up up up the Stevie! Cause the bastards they wish!  And we’ve whipped it awl up! Ballad, plop and Kierkegaardens! Fellow puff knock colour dyke towels! Rockin on over to your best And Band tickle-me-punk!  Roster, roster outward bound to be schtoopid in Mickleodeon ! Oi Oi! Harden up! They actually told me to wear a hat! And those ballads and blues sawngs kept -a comin’! And the adrenaline flowed like lava! and mines immunes seeestem did chatter unt chortle. And the nazis and the jews didst fooozball! And the ROXY musics did SHINE! Sax and all! And meaning went home for christmas dinner! Then the bastardwisher set dried up the air and it was special interest sessions abound. Flights of plunder-beato and post-bonk riffer-refer-ama all making us blush and sneer. Blush and heave-ho ‘harden-up’ skin skin oi oi ‘this ain’t ’76’ bitches snitches and ditches. Jobs and slobs. Hogs and Dogs. Ruffle the feathers of Sunni england. Because opium is live and dangerous and the answer to all you prayers. As is Saint Barnaby. Tracker. Akka Dakka. And next was The Aesthetics. Ruffed up and tuffed up and seering. And oh the agony. And I wanna thank ya.

part two AS soon as possibull!!!!!!!

VIDEO

The Aesthetics at the Wunderbar, July 28 2009
The Aesthetics at the Wunderbar, July 28 2009
bastardwisher
BastardWisher at the Wunderbar, July 28 2009
Creaky Back Stairs - Little Stevie McCabe Live at Wunderbar feat. MattMiddleton
Creaky Back Stairs - Little Stevie McCabe Live at Wunderbar feat. MattMiddleton

Review: Big Cheap Motel ’09 from Satan Rulez

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

Who's Nailin' Paylin? HUSTLER COVER

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

“…hermetic tribes… ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Cheap Motel LP Label

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

Posted by s. kobak

Vosburgh on AXEMEN

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

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

Phosby Still, with 'tash
Phosby Still, with tash - Dec 2008

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

Vosburgh's perfectly spelled memories all in caps
Vosburgh's perfectly spelled memories all in caps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Bill Vosburgh Dec 2008

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

PLEASE NOTE: Read comments below

for an update on the lost in tyme AXEMEN article

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

The administrator RainyDaySponge is a thoroughly cool guy

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

that is always getting better.

Check it out.


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

picture-17

Here’s the manifesto:

Site Info & Archives

This is Lost-In-Tyme’s new site.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


three-virgins

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

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

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

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

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

26473

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

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

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

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

The Axemen began life as a seething mass of algae in a cess-pool located at the back of a disused factory somewhere in North Dunedin, New Zealand.

The exact location of the cess-pool has unfortunately been lost to the ravages of time, but the factory still stands – a disused, vacant shell with little hope of being restored to its former majesty.

Following a sudden meteor storm in 1983, the Axemen rapidly evolved, developed fully functional hands and ears (where before there had only been useless stumps) and metamorphosed rapidly into one of the most radical, chaotic and inspired rock bands of all time.

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

23303

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

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

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

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

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

The portrait of Johnny Segovia

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

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

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

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

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

The Scapegoat - for those about to rock
The Scapegoat - recently sacrificed for those about to rock

For those about to rock, we salute you.

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

post: Tab Emetic Tics Level

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

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

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.

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.”

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).

The missing years

dsc04770aWhen Bob left Christchurch to join Stu in Auckland in the late 80’s (by this time Stu was starting to fall apart) Steve decided he would join the french foreign legion. Being a long time advocate of gun proliferation and a big fan of french food, it seemed a good idea at the time.

The escargot, the triple-cream deserts, the frogs legs, garlic bread and fine wine, all this and guns as well, it seemed a dream come true.

Initially it was. Steve laughed off the “there’s no AK-47s in foxholes” posters as he wolfed down the crepes, croissants and voule-a-vents that were liberally sprinkled around the recruiting office under the omnipresent tricoleuer flag.

re are no AK47s in Foxholes
There are no AK47s in Foxholes!

Steve’s buddy Screamin’ k Hawkins begged him not to go, singing a (sadly, unrecorded) version of “Billy, don’t be a hero” with a chillingly brilliant segue into “Please Mister, Please! (Don’t play B-17)” and a reprise of “The nite Chicago died” thrown in at the end [I can still hear the plaintive “…and there was no sound at a-a-a-all… but the clock upon the wall!” <tick> <tick> <tick> <tick>]

Screamin' K. Hawkins - Photo by Stu (from The Kenny Everett Years)
Screamin' K. Hawkins - Photo by Stu (from "The Kenny Everett Years")

Damn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell!
Damn the Statute of Lovingness!
Damn the Statue of Liberty, it stands for nothing!
Damn the Torpedoes!
Damn, Damn, Damn!

Brushing off the nay-saying of his nay-sayer friends, {and the neigh-saying of his horse friends}, McCabe glibly signed up for the standard 5-year service agreement with the foreign legion. Fortunately, being fluent in french he was able to put a tick in the “no,thanks” box saying “I agree to lick the butt of the current prime minister of France, on demand, and in perpetuity, as requested, and possibly {but not necessarily} in public”.

post: A Bit Cell Sec Em Vet Ti

A Pasty faced Geezer responds to “Bob Brannigan Remembers Why He Got Into Rock’n’Roll”

What the hell happened here?

Maybe there was a time before the Axemen existed, before there was a Steve, a Bob and a (holy) Stu but surely this is accepted as almost an irrelevance[1] as what was to come afterwards rendered any previous existence irrelevant. Of course the discovery of other life forms in future years such as the Dragans of Wellington, the Faigans and fabled Hamiltons of Christchurch spell out the facts that the axemen were far from an isolated case in being a brilliant group of impoverished musicians living in the cheapest possible flats in a moderately affluent city by choice (‘yeayarr, we are the real deal muddah, some of us workin’ some of us out on da street, some jus bein’ the niggahs we are and livin our life widdout da man holdin us down!Shee-it!)

A Time, a place for us which ultimately deserves its own history…

The effective axemen particle synthesis principle

The effective axemen particle synthesis principle

…not to mention the recent discovery of the Anti-Axemen Universe

To avoid confusion future references to the anti-Axemen in this article will be referred to using the following terminology:

  • Antithetic elements shall be referred to using scientific notation – eg The antithetic AXEMEN shall be referred to as the AXEMEN’ OR the <~AXEMEN> OR the !AXEMEN OR the (AXEMEN) depending on context… MAKE IT SO!

[1] The Big Bang

“Far better than the Beat Poets!”

Man these guys are way out
better than Ginsberg and Kerouac ever did
these guys were on the road before the road was the road
can you dig it?

so, we pulled up 6:15AM at the diner and all i had was two quarters in my pocket

The tank was on empty and me and Joe had no idea of where we were heading.
I looked over at the tips jar and the waitress shook her head slowly.

I knew that her three children and two-bit husband depended on that tip money but I also knew that by the time I walked out of that joint i would have a free cup of coffee, a full breakfast and the contents of that tip jar, maybe the girl as well – just because thats the kind of bastard I am – the lowest of the low – a beat poet.

Joe suddenly stepped up and grabbed one of the complimentary biscuits off the table, tearing off a corner and, chomping down on it in his haste , recklessly knocking over the cups of tea which had been set out for the homeless, burning one of them who liked it strong and black, “Like my men”.

“Hey Joe – where you going with that bun in your hand?” I called out with the obligatory nonchalant tone expected of such an obvious setup line.

Pointing at me pointedly with his one good pointy finger Joe nodded and said “Pull this, asshole”

I pulled his finger and he twisted it 70 degrees and said “You don’t know shit mutha now order me a beer and I want it on the table with that waitress right their feeding it to me with a teaspoon!”

He then pointedly strolled out nibbling on his bun, after ordering my beer and tipping the waitress generously – “Buy a new pair of pants for your kid – or at least change his diaper for godssake” he sniffed.

Pointedly the joint stopped jumping
A yellow breeze hawked by
This bun wuz made for eating
here’s mud in yer eye (gobbles bun)

The waitress sauntered out, more sultry than she was before.

“it’s my smoke break” she sneered

Joe nodded and kept walking.

Back in the diner I continued in my role until the silence was crushed.

“My name’s Pam but they call me Pammy because its cuter”
“You think?”
“No I don’t think cuz its cuter”
“Probably for the best”
“Mmm-hmm, its cuter…I got your beer teaspoon, sweetie” she winked.

Now you’re talking, I thought.

Following her back into the bar I couldn’t help but notice her ass – sexist and un-pc as it is I couldn’t help placing it on a scale and it easily achieved a 9, 10 being reserved for professionally photographed and retouched tennis players in a public place, maybe scratching the crack to give an extra couple of leverage points.

Sidling back up to the bar, I put my bib on.

Rolling her eyes, the waitress brought the spoon over and dipped it into the glass, scratching her ass purposely.

“You know I’ll have to leave this with you once it starts getting busy” she said, matter-of-factly.

Proclaimers – Arkansas

The Proclaimers - tonite only
The Proclaimers - tonite only

I looked around the bar and, seeing the “Tonight – The Proclaimers – Gays and Scots welcome!!” poster in the window I smiled glibly.

‘Teaspooned beer till closing time’‘ ran the ticker in my head.

Hyperviscosity: coffee wine’s contribution to subatomic particle theory

Were it not for coffee wine’s emergence as an almost perfectly adapted medium for usage in the resonance containers used in large scale bubble chamber technology which eventually extrapolated out to the development of the Large Hadron Collider, the story of the Axemen’s role in Bubble Chamber technology could have remained relegated as a footnote to the history of nuclear / subatomic particles much like the myriad of other bands and their offspring, The Pi Muons, The Tau Neutrinos, the Gluons and rarely discussed Gravitons (also known on releases by Onset/Offset records as Ritchie Venus and the Gravitons), etc.

Coffee wine’s emergence as the only readily distributable commercially manufactured hyperviscose medium whose semi-opaque nature renders it an biometrically perfect medium for projecting the trails of subatomic particles onto its brief stable condition as a ‘proud but true’ medium of record for the ground breaking and astonishing (later Nobel award winning) strobe photography was at the heart of its importance as an analysis tool (‘which nobody can deny! which nobody can deny!’)but it was nonetheless a fateful accident which led to its later fame and the growth of its use as what Einstein once described as “a microscopic window on the extremely small and evolving”. Einstein later regretted the statement as “my greatest mistake” saying in his later years “God is neither small nor evolving! Do you hear me ? Nein! Nein!

The emergence of the Axemen’s contribution (the murky fluid they imbibed and worshipped having long since been legendarily epitomised as having emerged as a superfine substance arising naturally as they were considered a superfine band, and this inner perfection having now been implicitly accepted as a fait accompli in an almost implied and demonstratively actual case of ultra-symmetry, ie it could not have evolved otherwise given the circumstances of its creation as they were, being a que sera, sera situation in which it would be hugely unlikely for the situation to be othewise to what it can demonstrably be proven to be) to this eminently demonstrable ‘proof of the pudding’ .

A muppet in any kind of disguise after all still has the hand of its very maker up its butt. As Einstein reflected in later years, “Mein Gott, all these years all these years I haff been troubled and it was this holy hand all along up my freaking ass! – sheesh i respect the ‘always with you’ doctrine but geeze a guy has to take a dump once in a while – Oy!”

Bubble Chamber - Note crates of coffee wine, left
Bubble Chamber, CERN, circa 1949 - Note crates of coffee wine, left; Picture:A bunch of geezers hang out round the Super-Geeky Atomic hyperion-division supermagnetic field collider (SGAHDSmFC)

this posting: Blame Testicle Civet

The Jazz Years: Arthur Sheep, Alan Right et al

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

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

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

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

AFF – The Legend of the Vulcan Voice Meld

Rubbing the crusty yellow crystals off his nose and stretching his arms out, Bob Brannigan awoke. Brushing off the gaggle of female admirers which had been trying to settle in his hair since last night, he wandered across the dancefloor of the Miners Bar and Grill (rarely more than half-full because of the confusing “NO MINORS ALLOWED” sign affixed to the the front door), stepped over Stu Kawowski being careful not to bump his Zimmer frame and sidled over to the bar where Steve McCabe was on his second jug of beer for the day.

“Chaser, Bob?” Steve asked cheerily.

“Yeah but she got away!” Bob quipped.

The lads quietly poured and quaffed a couple of 7 oz’ers and Steve ordered another jug.

“Ah, that’s put a lining on the ol’ stomach,” commented Steve, producing a 1.25 litre bottle of Coffee Wine from his pocket with the smooth aplomb of a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat. McCabe’s jacket seemed to have endless pockets, each one deeper than a Rockefeller’s or a Kennedy’s, thought Bob.

“Glad I’m not a Kennedy!” said Steve between deep gulps, effortlessly reading Bob’s thoughts. The two pals were symapatico and had discovered their predilection for knowing the other’s thoughts long ago and it was as natural as– “Yoghurt icecream!” yelled Bob to the barman, “and make it runny!” The barman, accustomed to the lads’ sometimes unusual requests, poured a frozen yoghurt into a glass and put it under the Bain-marie.

“What’s that you’re putting the yoghurt under?” said Bob, nonchalantly serving up the first line of the joke so Steve could slam back the punchline to the hapless barman’s inevitable response.

“Why, it’s a Bain-Marie,” replied the barman, dead on cue.

“I know its a-bain-Marie, but what-a is it now?!!” yelled Steve in his best faux-Godfather Italian accent.

Appreciating the unselfish set-up, Steve mixed Bob a Yoko (a cloudy concoction of yoghurt and Coffee Wine, with a dash of beer thrown in for good measure). “The beer makes it a Rusty Yoko,” Steve noted adroitly. Bob whipped out his notebook and wrote:

The beer makes it a rusty Yoko
Curdled, like a year-old Cocoa

A grunt came from the booth in the corner. Looking over, the boys noticed Shane McGowan and Georgie Best collapsed under the table, snoring and holding their heads.

“Lightweights!” they said simultaneously, fist-bumping each other in acknowledgment of the mind-meld.

Steve recalled the first time the mind-meld had occurred, in an undisclosed Dental School in South Dunedin where the lads found themselves trapped Prisoner-style in the laughing-gas* room with the spigot hissing. Instantly, the lads threw themselves to the floor in order to ensure not a molecule was wasted, and within minutes McCabe was proclaiming, “My voice is melting! Bob, post-haste, perform the Vulcan Voice Meld!”

From that moment on, the two found themselves bound together inseparably, and it was said that they were “at least twice as funny” after that time.

* Nitrous Oxide discoverer [Joseph] Priestley describes the preparation of “nitrous air diminished” by heating iron filings dampened with nitric acid in Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air (1775). Priestley was delighted with his discovery: “I have now discovered an air five or six times as good as common air… nothing I ever did has surprised me more, or is more satisfactory.”

Axemen Fan Fiction posted by Sciatic Bevel Mettle

Homebrew Boy meets Château de McCabe

Business card designed and printed by Steve'n'Stu for promotion of Steve's boutique Chateau de McCabe coffee wine range.
Business card designed and screen-printed by Steve’n’ Stu for promotion of Stevie’s premium boutique Château de McCabe coffee wine range.

The design effectively simulates a chromic equivalent of the liver-crippling psychedelic effects experienced from guzzling one dose (500ml or 1 pint) of sweet, yeasty, speedy caffeine-infused Château de McCabe. Screen-printed at INK INC, sky blue on ƒluoro orange card c.1984.

Click below to see the quasi-instructional film “Drink For The Heart, Heart For The Road”, the soundtrack of which is the McCabe ditty of the same name. (This is probably the Fassbinderesque peak of Lawrence Lens’s celluloid involvement with AXEMEN).

The “how to” theme of 1985’s “Screen Printing” is carried over and combined with priceless historical reportage and hallucinatory fantasy scenes at McCabe’s unsanitary pad in Christchurch. His school-boy beginnings as a backyard brewer have by this stage guaranteed a constant supply of 1.5 litre (3 pint) “sleek botts” bulging with a murky form of liquid amphetamine (a.k.a. coffee wine).

McCabe reclining at Château de McCabe amongst the sleek botts.
McCabe reclining at Château de McCabe amongst the sleek botts (photo by Stuart Page)

Occasionally (due to fancy, budgetary constraints, or experimental urges), frozen free-flow carrots, peas and corn were also utilised. But it was the “Château de McCabe” coffee wine which jump-started the boys after a pre-gig snooze on the dance-floor during the previous act; the legendary slurry* powered them through many glorious gigs up and down the emerald isles.

 

The Gut shows off Stu’s San Pedro cactus brew (photo by Stuart Page)

*slurry |ˈslərē|noun ( pl. -ries) a semiliquid mixture, typically of fine particles of manure suspended in water. ORIGIN late Middle Southerish : related to dialect slur [liquid guano], of unknown origin.

Pre-1983 (Year Zero)

Cook's flawed map of New Zealand Click for larger view (actual size - this may take some time to download on slow connections)

Before 1983 (known as ‘Year Zero‘ by Axemen devotees in a misguided homage to Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge which The Axemen took years to dissociate themselves from [this stemmed from the unfortunately badly misquoted comment by Steve who, having been asked by a women’s Magazine what his favourite make-up was, proclaimed “I like the Estee Lauder Eyeliner, but I love the Garnier Rouge”]), travel between Dunedin and Christchurch was considered difficult and treacherous, mainly due to the continued use of Captain Cook’s long since discredited map showing Chistchurch as an Island and what is now known as the South Island being divided into two Islands, which Cook called the “South Island” and the “Souther Island”.

When Cook first mapped New Zealand in 1964 (just in time to allow it to be added to the Beatles tour) he inadvertantly spilt the coke he was about to snort onto the (still wet) map he had just finished drawing. Being a frugal man not inclined to waste, he snorted a line right through the middle of the South Island (sucking up a part of the Southern Alps along with the snow), and got so wasted he forgot to later draw it in again. Being a rather backward nation at the time and intensely patriotic monarchists for the most part, the kiwis simply accepted that “The Queen’s Esteemed Map Drawer, Fake Captain and Lande Surveyor” could not be wrong, and stopped all road travel between the two “Islands” without even checking whether Cook was right. Such was their intense belief that many families living in the land area known as ‘Cookes Channel’ separating the South and Souther Island were declared ‘missing, presumed drowned’ and were actually believed to be Ghosts or “Channel Spirits” when they appeared in the surrounding towns.

(As an interesting historical footnote, some of these mischievous spirits would take advantage of their newfound status by going into town covered in flour, walking into the pub and scaring off the locals and drinking themselves into oblivion before staggering home the worse for wear; to this day a liquor is distilled in Timaru known as “Cook’s Spirit” with a group of very pale gents depicted on the label and the motto “it’ll turn you white as a ghost.”)

Full-scale travel between the lower reaches and higher echelons of the South Island was not resumed until the late 70s when a small boy wandered across “Cook’s line” which had been roped off by villagers to stop hapless travellers crossing into the area marked by Cook as volatile and highly dangerous seas (even going to the extent of erecting lighthouses on either side).

Once he emerged a couple of days later on the other side, some of the brighter villagers realised Cook’s Channel was a palpable nonsense and, after declaring the whole thing a farce and reopening the road, started the anti-monarchist United Island Republic movement, whose primary goal was (and still is) to break New Zealand away from its ties with the UK Monarchy, and ideally dethrone the British Queen and replace her with a flagpole (See The New Zealand Flagpole Movement).

Posted By Little Stevie McCabe

The Axemen – Bus boys from way back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted By Little Stevie McCabe

Y2K – A cautionary tale

Where do I begin?

As a programmer, we are often asked opinions about the Y2K bug. In short, we are more concerned about the bugs in people’s minds than on their computers.

But this is not the answer to this question. People want to know whether the “Y2K is true – forecasts, and next January, defect, it is true, and suddenly change their lifestyles. Even people who are just passing, to follow the news that they can be serious. This is just what to do in their Y2K his life is a big decision, and they want reliable information.

There is no lack of information reliability. Y2K stories are everywhere, and the entire industry, Y2K experts showed that the different scenarios for 2000 AD. They all start from the same place where it is known that the penalty two decimal numbers, observed a 99 question is how it’s done in the real world?

First of all, she pictures the breakdown in a variety of devices – computers for automatic control systems and built and the elements of great importance for action in all kinds of materials. They imagine that these losses could be to promote and consolidate leads to many problems. Imagine the range of results, is a perfect way for the destruction of civilization as we know, almost non-existent problems.