Mark Thomas aka Sharkface [by SS]

After The And Band/Perfect Strangers:

I met Mark at Pyrmont Squats in Sydney somewhere around 1982. He jumped through my window because he had heard Bob Marley’s “Satisfy My Soul” blasting out from my record player. That was the beginning of a wild adventure for the next 15 years.

Mark was a wordsmith rather than a great musician (in my opinion)…he was a good guitarist though and loved to entertain people with his music. I was drawn to his enthusiasm to life and I liked what he was doing musically because he was different. Different to musicians I had met before him because he wasn’t trying to be Bob Dylan or Neil Young , but was very experimental…(eg; making a beat with a typewriter’s clicking keys) which is something I discovered about most of the Kiwis I met in Oz, they all seemed to believe in themselves in that their creativity was as relevant as, if not more relevant than anything that was in the mainstream.  I was from Papua New Guinea and the music there was very mainstream or traditional PNG, so this was very refreshing to me.

Blase Plag 1983

Not long after meeting, Mark and I set off in a Holden Kingswood station wagon and started to make our way around Australia, busking wherever we needed to. First stop 1983 at a small tobacco  farm in a place called “Smoko” in Nth East Victoria, where we picked tobacco  and recorded poetry and music in our caravan with a Washburn steel string and a cardboard suitcase as a drum. That was the beginning of “Blase Plag” (Blase Plaguerism) whereby we did similar things to what George H was talking about in one blog – reading from HP Lovecraft or excerpts from other books while making bizarre sounds.

Next stop was Adelaide for a year, 1984.

Mark still wrote a lot but played very little and was becoming more and more interested in politics and became a real crusader for the underdog. The two of us became very involved in the Unemployed Movement whereby we ran a radio program (giving tips to  people  on how to survive on the dole), a soup kitchen and a gourmet restaurant for the unwaged and we became advocates at our local Community Centre.

However amongst the serious stuff Mark still managed to “do his thang” and was constantly developing new personas with which to perform by. His favourite one at the time was donning a tradesperson’s jacket and a yellow hardhat. He would carry an old leather doctors satchel that had a hammer and lots of nails. He would then walk down the main street and hammer a nail into each telegraph pole (they were all wooden back then) until he got to the end of the street ,and would then walk back removing each one, and putting them back into his satchel, as he went. I was usually following – at a distance – and filming him and people’s reactions.

At our “Gourmet Restaurant” , Mark once wore a plastic Moose head on his back and served people backwards. Many Fawlty Towers moments. One evening we heard rumour that a Health Inspector was coming to dinner, but  we wouldn’t  know who it was. Mark was unimpressed with spying, so he served our pet kitten (alive) to each table with the food to weed the guy out. It worked and the Inspector closed the kitchen down. That was the impulsive person that he was.

Adelaide produced “The Tickled Pinks” which was Mark, myself, Peter Hall Jones and Briar Humphreys – a one-off recording/cassingle about drunken debauchery.

After Adelaide came Perth for a  year – 1985.  No music was made in Perth, just solid politics….anti nukes, aboriginal land-rights, peace, youth rights and socialism was flavour of the year.

Mark went back to Wellington, New Zealand early 1986. I followed a few months later and he had  already  established  himself back into the music scene he’d left behind some 5 or 6 years earlier. Kevin Hawkins was now Screamin’ K Hawkins, Jessica Walker had Electric Church, Jude Horner and Merlene Chambers were the Geisha Girls. There was the Brothers Gorgonzola and Sparky’s Magic Baton. Many people’s names I have forgotten so I have not mentioned them in the bands. Please forgive me if I have forgotten you.

Citizens of No Land (CONL) 1987-8

Our band was Citizens of No Land (CONL), which was Mark Thomas, Mark Crawford and myself on guitars, Lisa Beech on Violin and Flute and at one stage Anna Meihana backing vocals. Most of our songs were original numbers and were largely protest songs.We weren’t a commercial band and we played mostly at benefit gigs for minority groups or for causes.Mark always said at the beginning of each gig ;”We are Citizens of No Land, because the ownership of this land is based on Colonial Oppression, therefore we fight oppression in the hope that we may become,….Citizens of This Land.” http://www.youtube.com/user/nasusselams#p/a/u/0/tog6K8n88mM

Soaring Eagle 1990-2

Following Wellington we moved to Marlborough and lived in various houses. Our two sons Anton  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfeCdbuOS9k and Ringo were born in Blenheim, and so was  Soaring Eagle. This was an interesting body of work as it was largely Mark playing solo and experimenting a lot with poetry/rap/and rhyme. All of it was recorded on our old ghetto blaster at home and is interspersed with talking kiddies and saucepans clanging because daily life had to go on around the creative endeavours.

Sharkface 1993-96

It was in Nelson that Mark became known as Sharkface both on and off-stage. He was well known amongst the literary circles as a performer and poet who never held back his words and thoughts and presented them in a way completely unique to Mark.

In 1993  he released  a Cassingle (No CD’s yet) called Voices from the Village Idiot with his band Manic Blather (Nathan Judge on bass, Richard Lambert drums, Mark gat and vox).

Live at The Art Centre, Nelson

1994 saw Mark as part of a theatre group  under the direction of Kim Merry (now deceased) and Donna Chapman through the  Nelson Community Arts Centre and Creative New Zealand. That year also saw him in a short film produced by the Nelson Media Studies Group of Nelson Polytech, called Jude goes to Whakatu. He also provided the backing track. This was removed by you tube following a complaint by one of the ‘stars’ who claimed it was hindering her work prospects so unfortunately cant be viewed publicly.

Mark played with many different Nelson muso’s. He had a very sharp mind and could pull off spontaneous raps easily which made him a  great entertainer. A video performance of him with a few of the local Maori fellas called “Sharkface at The Watchtower” is on you tube @   http://www.youtube.com/user/nasusselams

1995 was Crimson Blood Spit which was with Nathan Judge again as bass player and a variety of drummers.

1996 I had formed my own band Morrigan (a new link is in progress) and Mark and I were just discussing having a joint gig. Sadly it never came about. He passed away March 16th 1996.

In 2001, I produced with the help of Dave White (ex Lung), a compilation CD of Mark’s music titled, Sharkface – The Farces of Vitriol. This was a selection of music from each era that I had known his music, dating 1980 to 1995. It has been distributed to National Archives, National Library and Radio New Zealand, so it remains a recorded part of New Zealand musical history.

Copycat Crime? Life imitates Mick in US IRS attack

Reprinted from http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100218/ap_on_re_us/us_plane_crash_texas

cf: https://theaxemen.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/ird-door-smasher-had-warned-of-terrorism/

Man angry at IRS crashes plane into building

By JIM VERTUNO, Associated Press Writer Jim Vertuno, Associated Press Writer Thu Feb 18, 6:57 pm ET

AUSTIN, Texas – A software engineer furious with the Internal Revenue Service launched a suicide attack on the agency Thursday by crashing his small plane into an office building containing nearly 200 IRS employees, setting off a raging fire that sent workers running for their lives.

At least one person in the building was missing.

The FBI tentatively identified the pilot as Joseph A. Stack, 53. Law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still going on, said that before taking off, Stack apparently set fire to his house and posted a long anti-government screed on the Web. It was dated Thursday and signed “Joe Stack (1956-2010).”

In it, the author cited run-ins he had with the IRS and ranted about the tax agency, government bailouts and corporate America’s “thugs and plunderers.”

“I have had all I can stand,” he wrote, adding: “I choose not to keep looking over my shoulder at `big brother’ while he strips my carcass.”

The pilot took off in a single-engine Piper Cherokee from an airport in Georgetown, about 30 miles from Austin, without filing a flight plan. He flew low over the Austin skyline before plowing into the side of the hulking, seven-story, black-glass building just before 10 a.m. with a thunderous explosion that instantly stirred memories of Sept. 11.

Flames shot from the building, windows exploded, a huge pillar of black smoke rose over the city, and terrified workers rushed to get out.

The Pentagon scrambled two F-16 fighter jets from Houston to patrol the skies over the burning building before it became clear that it was the act of a lone pilot, and President Barack Obama was briefed.

“It felt like a bomb blew off,” said Peggy Walker, an IRS revenue officer who was sitting at her desk. “The ceiling caved in and windows blew in. We got up and ran.”

Stack was presumed dead, though police said they had not recovered his body as of Thursday evening. At least 13 people were injured, with two reported in critical condition. About 190 IRS employees work in the building.

Gerry Cullen was eating breakfast at a restaurant across the street when the plane struck the building and “vanished in a fireball.”

Matt Farney, who was in the parking lot of a nearby Home Depot, said he saw a low-flying plane near some apartments just before it crashed. “I figured he was going to buzz the apartments or he was showing off,” Farney said. “It was insane. It didn’t look like he was out of control or anything.”

Sitting at her desk in another building a half-mile from the crash, Michelle Santibanez felt the vibrations and ran to the windows, where she and her co-workers witnessed a scene that reminded them of 9/11.

“It was the same kind of scenario, with window panels falling out and desks falling out and paperwork flying,” said Santibanez, an accountant.

The building, in a heavily congested section of Austin, was still smoldering six hours later, with the worst of the damage on the second and third floors.

The entire outside of the second floor was gone on the side of the building where the plane hit. Support beams were bent inward. Venetian blinds dangled from blown-out windows, and large sections of the exterior were blackened with soot. It was not immediately clear if any tax records were destroyed.

Andrew Jacobson, an IRS revenue officer who was on the second floor when the plane hit with a “big whoomp” and then a second explosion, said about six people couldn’t use the stairwell because of smoke and debris. He found a metal bar to break a window so the group could crawl out onto a concrete ledge, where they were rescued by firefighters. His bloody hands were bandaged.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said “heroic actions” by federal employees may explain why the death toll was so low.

The FBI was investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board sent an investigator as well.

Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Austin on the Homeland Security Committee, said the panel will take up the issue of how to better protect buildings from attacks with planes.

In the long, rambling, self-described “rant” that Stack apparently posted on the Internet, he began: “If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, `Why did this have to happen?'”

He recounted his financial reverses, his difficulty finding work in Austin, and at least two clashes with the IRS, one of them after he filed no return because, he said, he had no income, the other after he failed to report his wife Sheryl’s income.

He railed against politicians, the Catholic Church, the “unthinkable atrocities” committed by big business, and the government bailouts that followed. He said he slowly came to the conclusion that “violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.”

“I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well,” he wrote.

According to California state records, Stack had a troubled business history, twice starting software companies in California that ultimately were suspended by the state’s tax board, one in 2000, the other in 2004. Also, his first wife filed for bankruptcy in 1999, listing a debt to the IRS of nearly $126,000.

The blaze at Stack’s home, a red-brick house on a tree-lined street in a middle-class neighborhood six miles from the crash site, caved in the roof and blew out the windows.

Elbert Hutchins, who lives one house away, said the house caught fire about 9:15 a.m. He said a woman and her teenage daughter drove up to the house before firefighters arrived.

“They both were very, very distraught,” said Hutchins, a retiree who said he didn’t know the family well. “‘That’s our house!’ they cried. `That’s our house!'”

Red Cross spokeswoman Marty McKellips said the agency was treating two people who live in the house.

___

Associated Press writers April Castro and Jay Root in Austin; Michelle Roberts in Georgetown; Linda Stewart Ball, Danny Robbins, Jeff Carlton and John McFarland in Dallas; Devlin Barrett, Lolita C. Baldor and Joan Lowy in Washington; and Melanie Coffee and Barbara Rodriguez in Chicago contributed to this report, along with the AP News Research Center.

Times New Viking/Axemen, Tour Single: No. 1 Top 7″ Tour Single: House List NYC

http://houselist.bowerypresents.com/2009/12/it’s-the-end-of-the-year-as-we-know-it/

The House List

2009, Bitches!

As 2009 comes to a close, The House List’s writers and photographers (and editor) take a look back at the year that was. Check back tomorrow for our year-end photo gallery.

My Top Five 7″ Tour Singles

I’ve always loved that for the price of a drink, bands sometimes go the extra distance for their tour and press 7″ vinyl that you really can’t get anywhere else but at the merch table.

1. Times New Viking/Axemen, Tour Single
I love Times New Viking’s no-fi melodic messiness, and they save the great experimental stuff for their B-sides. I got this at their Mercury Lounge show. That it was a split with New Zealand legends the Axemen was even better. Only later did I find out each band covered the other’s songs and they hand-colored every copy! It’s that combination of paying homage to this influential band and introducing people through their reinterpretations that makes this an easy No. 1.

2. Jeff Novak, “Home Sweet Home” Single
I recognized Stephen Braren of Cheap Time behind the table after the Jay Reatard show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and I got Jeff Novak’s long sold-out single from Reatard’s Shattered Records. I actually ended up contacting Novak after this and talked with him for my own blog.

3. Black Dice, “Chocolate Cherry” Tour Single
Black Dice have just a handful of singles from quite a few years ago, so when I saw them at The Bowery Ballroom, I was just looking out of habit. But this unlabeled single ended up being from Catsup Plate, which put out the insane Animal Collective LP box set this year. Both unreleased tracks were a departure—almost funk and with recognizable vocal samples! Truly weird.

4. Make a Mess Records, “Brilliant Colors” Single
I went to see Nodzzz and Wavves at the Underground Lounge on the Upper West Side. I managed to talk to Eric Butterworth from Nodzzz, who had just pressed a single on his label, Make a Mess Records. This ended up being one of my favorites of the year. Simple, stripped-down female-fronted No Wave punk pop.

5. The Balkans, C++ Tour Single
I caught the Balkans at a new space in Brooklyn called Little Field. Woody Shortridge had pressed a single-sided 7″ at home, and I had to see it for myself. He pours them in his apartment and you get a really crazy-looking handmade single with the lowest of low-fi sound. And it helps that the track is great too. —Jason Dean, writer

Gig Report: 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, Club Frills, Axemen, Times New Viking 25-Nov-2009

Posted by:  Tactic Beeves Millet

123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown
Bob Brannigan, 123 Pleasant Street

We were slightly apprehensive about playing in Morgantown, West Virginia, a student town which didn’t seem particularly on our tour path, just before thanksgiving when many of the students would have gone home.
We needn’t have worried.

Axemen, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown
Axemen, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown - l-r: steve mccabe, stu kawowski, dragan stojanovic, bob brannigan

Great venue, great people, one of the most generous drink tabs we encountered (up there with Memphis) – 8 drink tickets each band member and free sodas for drivers/non drinkers so the extra tickets split between the drinkers – on this occasion – Steve and Bob…

Steve McCabe [Axemen], Rich Johnson [Club Frills]
Steve McCabe (Axemen), Rich Johnson (Club Frills)
Little wonder when we asked if we could park in the Adventure shop carpark they said yes as long as you are out by 11 in the morning – seems more than one band had been known to pass out in the vehicle in the carpark after gigs at this multi-tiered venue and fail to rise before being moved on when the shops opened.

Harriet
Harriet Tubman, Pleasant Street, Morgantown

Sticker Wall, Pleasant St, Morgantown
Sticker Wall, Pleasant Street, Morgantown

Dragan works on Steve's Telecaster, Morgantown

The spoils of war: drinks bracelets on Steve's arm, Morgantown

Honourable mention also goes to the Black Bear Cafe across the road on Pleasant Street where we had some great burritos and Beth’s vegan diet and Dragans abhorrence and intolerance for gluten products were admirably catered for with minimal fuss.

Morgantown is also clos to the hometown of Dusty White, erstwhile TNV sound engineer, and the stomping ground of one of three acts we played with who payed homage to the Axemen by covering one of our songs ‘Beware the train of thought’ (the others being Times New Viking who played ‘Rocks in my Heart’ a couple times and Dave Diarrhea in Chicago).

Times New Viking, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown
Times New Viking, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown l-r Beth, Adam, Jared

To these guys especially, and all the support bands who shortened their sets to squeeze us in we give thanks, in the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost!

Gig Preamble/Commentary: Chicago – Axemen, Golden Birthday, Thunderbolt Pagoda, David Diarrhea

Reprinted From: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/Event?oid=1241677

When: Sat., Nov. 28, 9:30 p.m. 2009
Price: $7 suggested donation

If in the world of classic New Zealand underground rock the Chills’ earnest pop represents the north pole and the Dead C’s corrosive noise is the south, then the Axemen are the molten center of the earth—their shambling, stylistically promiscuous, and occasionally tuneful postpunk is like a bad case of planetary heartburn.
In band histories they claim they formed for political reasons, but the recorded evidence suggests that they just wanted to get up everyone’s noses. Their apex—or nadir, depending on your point of view—came in 1992, when they appeared on a children’s TV show in drag and plugged a record called Peter Wang Pud.
Siltbreeze has reissued two early Axemen albums this year (a third is still forthcoming), and now guitarist [/vocalist] Little Stevie McCabe and drummer Stu Kawowski [and guitarist/vocalists Bob Brannigan and Dragan Stojanovic] are undertaking their first American tour.
They’ve also got a new split seven-inch with Times New Viking, available only at shows, on which the two bands cover each other’s songs.
Golden Birthday, Thunderbolt Pagoda, and David Diarrhea open. At 6 PM today the Axemen play a free in-store at Permanent Records with Cave side project Bitchin’ Bajas. —Bill Meyer

Live at WFMU, New York City – Nutsack (Video)

WFMU Recording Studio, NYC
WFMU Recording Studio, NYC

“Nutsack” was written in Los Angeles by Dragan Stojanovic & Bob Brannigan October 2009, inspired by Ice Cube rapping about his nutsack and busting a nut

More video...

blasting out of our KIA sound system on the LA freeways, oh and seeing squirrels in the parks all over USA, and the fact we lived out of nutsacks from Wholefoods for 5 weeks on our 7,000 mile tour.

Brannigan and Kawowski with Brian Turner

Kawowski videoed the event and pounded the skins while McCabe added his two-bit guitar part, as WFMU’s Brian Turner, Jason Sigal and Alex Yockey provided the lads with a fantastic opportunity to record a snapshot of a typical set from their recent US tour while they were in New York in November 2009. An inspiration to lovers everywhere.

The full show can be heard here…

Axemen US Tour Nov 2009 – some posters, links etc.

http://www.last.fm/music/The+Axemen

Sonar, Baltimore
Sonar, Baltimore

Jared workin on covers
Jared workin on covers, Philadelphia

Florence, Alabama
Florence, Alabama

Black Owl Trading Company, Florence, Alabama
Black Owl Trading Company, Florence, Alabama

Michael J Fox - Sincerely Yours

Maxwells, Hoboken, New Jersey
Maxwells, Hoboken, New Jersey

Times New Viking (sans Beth), Maxwells, Hoboken NJ
Maxwells, Hoboken NJ

Steve tops up his Nutsack at Maxwells

Great Scott, Boston
Great Scott, Boston

Great Scott

The Lounge on Elm Street, Dallas, Texas

thats Texas, boy
thats Texas, boy

123 Pleaseant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia
123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia

Sickie Stojanovic, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia
Sickie Stojanovic, Takin Care of Business, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia

Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, Texas
Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, Texas

Steve McCabe with Shonen Knife, Fun Fun Fun Fest
Steve McCabe shows Shonen Knife his front bum, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin, TX

The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz
The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Star Bar, Atlanta, Georgia

DSCF9376
Star Bar, Atlanta, Georgia
cc

KXLU Recording for radio - UCLA at Irvine, California
KXLU Recording for radio - UCLA at Irvine, California

BadAss Supergroup
BadAss Supergroup
bb cc

Axemen Test Kitchen: Steve McCabe tests the Sushi King (kauri square sushi maker)

(http://sushiking.co.nz)

Post by Mecca Be Vets

Sushi King in action
Sushi King in action in E20 test kitchen

Living and working in a smaller space gives one the chance to evaluate many innovative and space saving tools, given the limited kitchen area and restricted prep-room, some economy and conservation of preparation area in the areas of both menu (Roast Turkey, Glazed Ham and Side of Lamb are not ideal in the 9″ x 6″ Test Kitchen space, epecially as the main oven is a toast ‘n’ grill, perfectly adequate for one, with slow cooker and compact microwave as adjuncts).

Check out the Sushi King at Sushiking.com!
Check out the Sushi King at Sushiking.co.nz!

As an avid small-kitchen chef,I revel in anything which allows for using a limited food preparation area – japanese and other high density population areas invite and incoct such dishes and ingenious food processing tool inventors are only too happy to come to the party with clever, practical, and economical inventions such as the SUSHI KING TM which, with its offbeat ‘squaring the circle’ build-a-traditional-japanese-food-preparation-device-using-new-zealand-native-timber approach, would seem on the surface to be an oddity, a curiosity piece, the archetypal square peg in a rond hole, but somehow (oddly or not) it makes perfect sense and performs its intended function out of the box, as advertised, to the nth degree.

Sushi King - Hip to be Square
Sushi King - Hip to be Square

I’m Steve McCabe, and I like a tasty fish. With my life-threatening heart condition, and as an international rockstar with a substantial fanbase to whom I am still at times a fickle golden calflike idol, when i get a hankering for some pescine produce I look for an oily fish.

Sometimes I can’t get, can’t afford, or don’t feel like the brazen archetype heart-healthy, Omega-3-ridden, bulging with healthiness, stamina and proud fish-oil air of authority and entitlement,  healthy as a nutsack on heat hovering over a supersized bowl of garden Caesar Salad, breathing in the sweet nectar of toasting sesame seeds while trying to decide between the smoked or non-smoked salmon fillet, on the rye or on the pumpernickel….

Trevally Fillets The flesh is darker in colour when raw but once cooked the flesh turns brilliant white. It has a full flavour with a medium to firm texture. A high-oil fish suitable for a wide range of preparations.
Trevally Fillets
Ave Sangria - con los pescados
Ave Sangria - con los pescados

…Thats when I reach for Trevally & Sangria Snacks, Bar Snacks, Gel Rockets and Fantasy Fizz – there’s something for everyone!

From the far-off hills to the kids and their cheap thrills, a party’s not a party till you’re full of beans!

THNXGVNG with AXEMEN

11.30.2009

Reprinted from: http://worldofwumme.blogspot.com/2009/11/thnxgvng-with-axemen.html

Additional photos by Axemen

THNXGVNG with AXEMEN

There’s always something unimaginably comforting about heading home for Thanksgiving (or for that matter heading home on any number of select weekends throughout the year). But the gluttony and relaxation that persists on this particular holiday can not be overlooked.
As soon as I turn right off of I-75 and roll past the Waffle House and “hillbilly rifle outlet,” I feel like I’ve entered a virtual safe zone, a hermetically sealed environment filled with naps by the fire and limitless liquor – all with none of the annoyances and stress inducers of “real” life. I could honestly do it every weekend if allowed. For me, it’s my wind-back. It’s not getting older or lazier or becoming less of a patron of the arts. It’s the opposite – naturally removing the over-stimulation of bustling “city” life from my horizon line. So arriving at Peters and High (Elliott Manor) for this year’s turkey trough was met with hesitation, as we’d be hosting four lads from New Zealand known as Axemen.

I wasn’t as much worried about their settling into to a quintessential suburban ritual, as I was anxious how my parents might react to having America’s collector scum wet-dream tour (add one drummer from TNV to the mix) make a two-day stop in Troy.

Thanksgiving, Columbus OH

I shouldn’t have had any reservations. Patti and Jeff should get a medal for their hosting abilities. I never knew how liberal my parents actually are (now only if they’d align that mentality with their politics) until I saw them nurturing a gluten free meal for ol’ Dragan. But I digress.

Thanksgiving, Columbus OH

If you’re looking for tragic tales of drunken tirades and streaking through the town square or foul-mouthed kiwis looting the curio cabinet and tagging the doilies with pen knives – you aren’t going to find it here. Axemen are gentlemen. And though they may not be used to our ultra-consumer, warm and fuzzy, football coma shenanigans, they fit right in as adopted Elliotts.

If so anti-climatic, then why the post? Well, it was the well of anomaly that occurred at Troy, Ohio’s pre-eminent 18-35 yr. old hangout, The Brewery, the night before, which prompted this rant. Beyond simply wanting to tie one on in downtown Troy, beyond meeting up with an absent Justin Smith, beyond even the slightest want of nostalgic conversation with past peers whom I have nothing to converse, was a triple bill of Miami County’s finest “music.” Even then, the event of the week at the bar “everyone” goes to was pretty much split between dated booty music (first floor) and townie hard-lucks (second floor) and hardly a soul in the room with the stage, and the real instruments, and the performers. Still, it was a oddly intriguing trio of bands, going from karaoke rural gangsta’ rap to two-man Ween influenced mayhem, to standard issue thrash-emo-speed metal sludge.

Low Budget was first, featuring some kid who used to play basketball with my bro at the Lincoln Center back in the early ‘90s, replete with two hype men. They wore t-shirts emblazoned with Low Budget (were those made at the Troy Sports Center?) and hats reading the same. I thought the name was clever and their rhymes mighty inventive for what seemed like freestyle over the Ipod. In fact it reminded me most of another swang “low” duo from Cali, Low Profile, who went on to become W.C. and the Maad Circlen (a personal favorite). It did get tiresome, overwrought, and something I was happy stopped before it was too late. While I encourage all hip-hop troupes trying to make it in small town America (Teenage Soldiers R.I.P.), I would have liked to have seen them add some regional flavor to their oeuvre. I don’t know exactly what that would entail. In Columbus it’s a working-man, blue-collar, everyone’s invited atmosphere – so would this be sub-Columbus, or even sub-Springfield? I bet the gangsters thrive in Piqua. Explore there. Where’s Shane Darner when you need him?

Next up was the biggest surprise of the night. Electric Banana hail from Dayton, but seem to play most of their gigs at various submarine houses around Troy. Like the Weens, Chromeos, and Party Dreams that have come before them – most of what they do is borne of goofing and can only elicit good times, no heavy-handed criticism here. I’m sure if I were privy to the inane lyrics (I’m sure I heard “pussy” mentioned more than thrice) I wouldn’t have been as thrilled, and if they weren’t serving up PBR tallboys (just like home) I probably wouldn’t be expounding about their simple genius – but both factors were in place and the antics of Jimmy Spade, the mohawk-clad frontman of the two, made for a stellar evening. It was rudimentary funk worship and novel hip-hop in a stoner metal package, but they played it to perfection, knew how to work the “crowd” and had catchy melodies to off-set any whiff of scatology. I want them to come to Columbus, soon.

The last band of the evening could be wrapped up in one song. Through an Ocean of Plagues do what they do well, do it tight, and do it frenetic…..but I wasn’t in any kind of mood after the insanity of Electric Banana. I mean, c’mon, how you can take a band like this seriously? From their one sheet:

The phrase “Through an Ocean of Plagues” metaphorically describes the route humanity takes on its journey to self-destruction. Civilization evolves by consuming and destroying, usurping its power through the contamination and eventual erasure of its competitors. Rather than coexisting, Nature is enslaved, dissolved, and forgotten. Such is the legacy of future generations, once humankind has siphoned the last of the Earth’s resources. Without a target for destruction, we turn our sights to our own demise.

This rural Ohio quintet addresses these issues, translating the impending onslaught of disease, war, and social deconstruction into a medium by which they may express their opinions. The music is brutal, though it still retains a melodious quality meant to remind the listener that social harmony is lost but not forgotten. The live performance of the music parallels its subject matter, brutally portraying the bands frustration and outrage.

I did overhear the lead singer at 3 AM telling his friend he was headed home to “get fucked and fucked,” which I can only assume means he was continuing his quest for drugs and sex. So that was entertaining. But with all of this music, the highlight of the evening? — HUGH KELLY, smartest man on earth.

Axemen play in Columbus

But this was all about Axemen, right? Goodness. They played the Friday after the gorging in Columbus.

Axemen are gentlemen

I’m a bit out of words to go on and describe them, but it’s likely they showed a few “shitgaze” (sic) signifiers throughout their entire set of crust blues and the purest of kiwi protest/prank garage rock – but it all had the guise of a professional band playing like it was the last show of the tour.

This is how you do it. Release the Three Virgins already. I don’t have it yet. Three [3??? – LSM] of the most delightful men I’ve ever had the chance to meet.

Here’s hoping it gets this hopping over Christmas.

Record review – Scary!!! pt 3 by Kel E. Burnette

Reprinted from Kel E. Burnette’s  pronouncement at:

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=191255993910

Note: CD material is available from http://sleekbott.com

The Axemen, sans McCabe, sans Stojanovic, plus Turner, 2009
The Axemen, sans McCabe, sans Stojanovic, plus Turner, WFMU, 2009

Artist: Axemen
Title: Scary! Part III
Label: Siltbreeze
Long known underground stars from New Zealand, The Axemen are now gaining some well-deserved notoriety here in the States thanks to one of our finest labels, Siltbreeze. Tom Lax has again exhibited sterling musical sense in [repressing – sic.]re-pressing “Scary! Part III” and “Big Cheap Motel.”

Steve McCabe with Shonen Knife, Fun Fun Fun Fest
Steve McCabe with Shonen Knife, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin TX 2009

And while it’s not an easy task trying to pin down their sound, especially considering the variety of their entire discography (much less the territorial span of music on this release), I’ll give it a shot.

On my first listening, I immediately drew a comparison to Royal Trux, but that was basically drawn from the majority of vocals on the record, featuring some of the coolest, junked-out vox either before or after the Trux hit the scene.

AXEMEN - cool it with the pool boy
AXEMEN - cool it with the pool boy

From the get-go, the song “Heart Bullet” features some insanely fucked up vocals and word play. Unlike a lot of New Zealand music, the vocals are uncharacteristically mixed up and not buried in the instrumentation. It kind of paradoxically makes the voice seem like another instrument—I’m at a loss finding (other than Herrema) anyone to compare the vocals to while maintaining any real dignity. Suffice it to say that they’re easily in the upper echelon of all rock vox, and it’s continued across both wunnerfuly screwed tracks on the double LP set.

AXEMEN: 300% Sikh & Tyred
2009: 300% Sikh & Tyred

Though the music is varied, you never get the feeling that the album was thrown together as pieces. As incoherent and absurd as it is, the record has a marvelous cohesion, at times overtly a downer, such as the track “10 Miles (as the crow flies)” and other points like the near-sinister, hardcore influenced “Join the R.A.F.”

The Mirror News by Vince Carmody, DJ at Chapel Hill's Local 506 Club
The Mirror News by Vince Carmody, DJ at Chapel Hill's Local 506 Club

It’s near-put impossible to fix these fellers into any genre, and that’s a damn good thing. Not only that, it’s a fucking difficult thing to pull off convincingly, yet the Axemen do so with, well what’s the write word, grace? How about ‘instinct?’ That seems more apropos. It’s an instinct which speaks more to an overall aesthetic than does it any attempt to play this or that style of music.

This one of the strangest records ever sludged to wax, and it’s caused that compulsive collector in my to try and track down any and all of their recordings, which, from what I’ve read, is going to be a formidable task. This is no surprise since they formed around 1981 and have recorded pretty consistently since, and even through the broad spectrum of music the venerable Flying Nun label have pressed over the years, The Axemen stand totally on their own. Flying Nun wasn’t their only label over the years—there have been several, but as an American touchstone, it’s appropriate to mention them as one of the better-known imprints to bring up.

Sickie Stojanovic, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia
Sickie Stojanovic, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, West Virginia

All I can tell you is that, even on this one double LP, influences include American hardcore and DIY, Beefheart (though nothing obvious springs to mind at the outset), a sort of Zappaesque sense of humor, bizarre synth music, employ of loops and on and on.

The Axemen are their own entity. The only downside to this is that it took so long for an American pressing to go down. I’ve heard that they’ve met with largely great critical press on their recent tour of the U.S. One can only hope that it continues and that we see them again very soon.

P. Somniferum

New Zealand’s Axemen at WFMU New York (broadcast 24 November 2009)

Reprinted from: http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2009/11/new-zealands-axemen-at-wfmu.html

Downloads and Links:

Download Zip File of Live Audio Tracks

One of the big touring surprises for 2009 has to be the visit of New Zealand’s legendary Axemen to U.S. shores.

The band began in Christchurch in 1981 and stood somewhat aside of the pop path exhibited by much of the the Flying Nun label roster, but are without doubt one of the more fascinating Kiwi exports.

Various live shows and releases displayed a loose but virulent amalgamation of avant-garage, Half Japanese style sax primitivism, confusion, and general air of maladjusted greatness.

They’ve got two reissues “Big Cheap Motel” and “Scary!” out now on Siltbreeze, and are hitting the road coast to coast with Times New Viking.

– Brian Turner/WFMU (WFMU Playlist & Streaming Archive for BT’s show)

View Full Radio Show Details 

View Live Track Details 

Play Full Radio Show (MP3)

Length:00:27:01
Host: Brian Turner
Engineer: Jason Sigal with Alex Yockey
CURATOR: WFMU
Released:November 24th, 2009
GENRES:

November 24, 2009

New Zealand’s Axemen at WFMU (MP3’s)

Axemenlive It’s a chore enough these days for any kind of overseas band to land a U.S. tour on any scale, so its was nothing less than a pleasant surprise when we learned that New Zealand’s Axemen had a pretty extensive one lined up with Columbus, Ohio’s Times New Viking this fall.

The Axemen started in Christchurch in 1981, a time when New Zealand and Flying Nun records in particular were stirring up a major musical waves (ones that were felt in countless 1990’s US indie bands and are still being felt today especially disciples like TNV), yet the sweeping, strummy pop element that was evident in many of the Nun’s stable was only a part of the fuzzy picture that was the Axemen.

The band’s central core of (Little) Stevie McCabe, Bob Brannigan, and Stu Kawowski recorded in both cheapo home mode and in traditional studios, but setting had little to do with the wide-swing of directions that are evident wherever you drop a needle (or cue up a tape).

There’s tons of basement weirdness nodding to the more antisocial Velvets and Swell Maps moments, scatterings of drunken White Album recreation attempts, even moments where they sound like Royal Trux way before their time.

When they played at Union Pool in Brooklyn last week I could swear they were going for a Stackwaddy/Doors thing, but then they became Half Japanese with Stevie playing sax solos on guitar. In Axemen recordings, they have one song about Elmer Fudd that sounds like Psychic TV, and another that is totally inspired by Grandmaster Flash. They even did a full album of Elton John songs. I have a feeling that if Flying Nun gave them the giant studio budget like they did Straitjacket Fits they would have come up with an album just as great as their Big Cheap Motel and Scary! Part III cassettes that Siltbreeze thankfully reissued in 2009.

Check out the clip below (and more after the jump) of the band on a 90’s NZ kids’ TV show (promoting their Peter Wang Pud album!), and dig in to their November 20th visit to my radio show, engineered by Jason Sigal and Alex Yockey.Thanks for Terre T for leaving us all the food the Reigning Sound didn’t eat earlier that day, there were some fancy pastries!

The Axemen Live at WFMU, Brian Turner’s show

Lineup: (Little) Stevie McCabe, Stu Kawowski, Bob Brannigan, Dragan Stojanovic

Promo video for Three Virgins LP (being reissued by Siltbreeze in 2010):

You cand find more on the Axemen’s My Space page and Y2K blog,the latter of which has updates on sometimes-member Mick Elborado’s recent exploits at his workplace; he recently drove his car through the lobby of his employers’ building, New Zealand’s equivalent of the IRS. No one was hurt, but New Zealand’s government might be learning a thing or two about satisfying employees’ gripes in the future.

Posted by Brian Turner on November 24, 2009 at 06:27 PM in Brian Turner’s Posts, MP3s, Music, Video Clips | Permalink

GIg Report – Philadelphia Nov 15 2009

Reprinted from: http://citypaper.net/blogs/criticalmass/2009/11/17/times-new-viking-the-axemen-the-mad-scene-nov-15-kung-fu-necktie/

posted by Brian Howard on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 at 11:34 am

CONCERT REVIEW: Times New Viking, The Axemen, The Mad Scene @ Kung Fu Necktie, 11/15

This is our second set, like Phish.

Sunday night shows are always a tough sell, but the four-band bill including U.S. Girls (who we’ll be up front and cop to not getting to the club in time to see) was as can’t-miss a show for indie rockers of a certain age as you’ll find. A healthy crowd of 40 or so (in their 40s or so?) crammed into tiny Kung Fu Necktie and watched as New Zealand ex-pat/Clean vet Hamish Kilgour and Lisa Siegel led The Mad Scene through a set of murky Kiwi-style noise rockers rife with alternating strumming and distorted jabs. That’s the thing about New Zealand: even their poppier indie pop is prone, at any second, to spiral into fits of SY-style noise fests. Kilgour, who apparently had lost his guitar strap, spent the first few numbers seated on the floor at the side of the stage — largely invisible to all but the front row — with a microphone stand angled down toward him, creating a scenario where the vocals seemed to be emanating from nowhere. Siegel eventually lent the singer her bass strap and Kilgour finsihed the set standing erect.  Stu Kowowski of the legendary Axemen (who’d take the stage next), sat in on drums for the set and was joined by Adam Elliott, drummer for headliners Times New Viking, for a set-closing number where both drummers pounded on the kit.

Then came The Axemen, a New Zealand noise/punk outfit on their first tour of the U.S. despite first slithering from of the antipodean ooze in 1981 in protest of the South African rugby team’s tour of the islands. Led by an apparently intoxicated Steve McCabe, the four-piece chugged through a set of classics, including a few choice numbers from Scary! Pt. III (a 1989 cassette that’s been recently re-released on vinyl by Philly’s Siltbreeze). The band, rounded out by guitarist/singer Bob Brannigan and in this incarnation bassist Dragan Stojanovic (the band’s lineup aside from the three core members has been in constant flux), turned in a rough-around-the-edges set (thanks mostly to McCabe’s inspired/drunken flailing) that alternated between all-out chaos and more crafted blues-rock tigned numbers that created as many questions as it answered. What must it have been like to watch this unit over the years, and what were these grizzled vets like in their younger, angrier days? A newer song that might be titled “Do You Wanna Be My Slave,” suggests the band’s as ascerbic as ever.

Photo | Brian Howard
McCabe (left) and Brannigan of The Axemen.

Though The Axemen were indeed the rare treat that made this lineup a can’t-miss, Times New Viking was the main course. The Columbus-based trio have, since bursting on the scene with 2005’s Dig Yourself (which got the long-dormant Siltbreeze back in business) have honed a style that’s equal parts hooks cacophony, a slicing wail crossed with mistimed engine on overdrive. Keyboardist Beth Murphy’s vocals remain shouted and defiantly off key. Jared Phillips‘ guitar parts are piercing and devastating. Elliott’s drumming and singing are wound tight and delivered fast. They eschewed the typical set-encore structure for a two-set program that may have somehow crammed 30 songs into their hour on stage.  It was exhilirating, ear-spitting, and so life-affirming.

IRD door smasher had ‘warned of terrorism’

Reprinted from: http://www.nzherald.co.nz

The man who drove his car through glass doors at the Inland Revenue Department building in Christchurch says he warned the department about terrorism but it had no security measures in place.

David Jerrold Theobald, 47, of St Albans, pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court today to charges of intentional damage and reckless driving.

He had worked at the Inland Revenue for 25 years and has said he had a long running employment dispute with the department.

In the summary of facts read to the court, Theobald told the police that he had warned the department about terrorism but they had no security measures there.

He drove his Mazda 626 through the foyer of the building in Cashel Street at 6.30am on a Saturday.

He crashed through two sets of glass doors and smashed a third.

Defence counsel Simon Clay asked Judge Stephen Erber to request a pre-sentence report for the November 17 sentencing.

Judge Erber ordered a reparation report and a pre-sentence report, and prohibited Theobald from driving while he was on bail.

– NZPA

Judge orders community work; $13,000 to repay

Reprinted from: http://www.stuff.co.nz

A disgruntled Inland Revenue employee who quit spectacularly by driving his car through the doors of the tax department’s Christchurch building has been handed a hefty sentence of community work and ordered to pay $13,000 in reparations.

David Theobald, 48, took his dissatisfaction with his employer of 25 years straight to the front counter at 6.30am on August 15.

He crept his Mazda 626 up to the Inland Revenue building on Cashel St and, after making sure no staff were present, slowly drove through three sets of plate-glass doors causing more than $40,000 in damage.

Theobald, a long-time Christchurch musician whose stage name is Mick Elborado, admitted the crime, quipping to police when they arrived: “It’s OK officer, I work here.”

Photos of his exploits quickly emerged on the website of his band, The Axemen, and a Mick Elborado is Innocent page was set up on Facebook.

Theobald pleaded guilty and yesterday was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court by Judge Jane McMeeken.

Defence lawyer Simon Clay said Theobald’s actions were in the nature of a protest, the culmination of a conflict at work that had lasted for some time.

There was a medical background to the offending, he said.

Theobald had checked there was no risk to any staff and smashed the windows early on a Saturday. He had been “disarmingly frank” with police, admitting his crime at the first opportunity.

The judge wanted to know why Theobald, a worker for 25 years, had no assets and no savings to make reparations.

He said he spent his money on drinks for friends and “being generous”.

The judge said Theobald deliberately drove through plate-glass doors. His actions were completely inappropriate. “It’s one thing to protest, it’s quite another thing to deliberately and wantonly destroy property.”

The building’s owner, Rapaki Property Group, sought reparation of $27,000; Inland Revenue sought $14,500. The judge sentenced Theobald to 300 hours community work. Reparations of $8000 to Rapaki and $5000 to Inland Revenue were ordered at $20 per week from Theobald’s sickness benefit.

Record Review: Axemen – Scary! Pt. III 2xLP (Siltbreeze/Sleekbott)

November 17, 2009

Axemen – Scary! Pt. III 2xLP (Siltbreeze/Sleekbott)

Axemen 2xLP
SCARY! pt 111 - Axemen

So the Axemen finally make it to the United States to tour, and one of the local weeklies lists them as “Axeman.”

Figures, right?

Nobody who’s in a position to know has influence enough to care. Tom Lax coulda bought a very decent used car with the ca$hola he’s sunken into this beyond-insane reissue program for New Zealand’s most divisive band – even so far as to have dug up two never-heard-‘em cassettes for the introductory offers, guaranteed to chase away even seasoned listeners.

Lifting up out of the muck that was Big Cheap Motel, this four-sider thankfully doesn’t give way to clarity, though some would claim it’d give birth to Blankdoggin’, as few of the ‘90s lo-fi oligarchy would have touched a synth or a sampler, let alone subjected them to the levels of abuse that Stevie McCabe offers up all over here.

Approximately 150 people will hear a serious Dirty Faces connection to the flotsam here; more will liken it to Royal Trux in their scum/disassociative phase, and that’s fine.

Here was – and is – a band that is continually in protest mode, against common sense if not a social or political cause … fuck, one of their auxiliary members drove his ride into the glass doors of the Kiwi tax office, and from all accounts, he’s free to walk on American soil as I write this. Does anyone in New Zealand want to swap places with me?

I’ve heard too many good things and am ready to throw away my life in the USA. This 1989 release is nothing but endless ur-jammin’ on some rudimentary melody, jive talkin’ monologue, screechin’ and sneerin’, occasionally stumbling onto a higher truth and really just content to slag off anyone that comes near it.

You don’t have to like it, or even respect it, because it was made to chase you and everybody else away. I respect that Lax puts out a pop record the likes of the Mantles or Eat Skull, but isn’t afraid to keep truckin’ in the weirdness like this charcoal nug. Still waiting on Three Virgins, and more eloquent thoughts from Wood Beez. (http://www.siltbreeze.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

AXEMEN/Times New Viking split 7″ vinyl out now

Axemen do TNV’s “Sick ‘n tyred” and their “Rocks In My Heart” tune done to death by Times Neu Vikin’ – wicked 7” (ONLY AVAILABLE AT GIGS) and a limited eedition of 350 discs – each one individually enhanced by the artist band members. Ultra collectable sh*t. Check out some evidence below. See you at the NY show.

Tour Diaries 7) – Walkin in Memphis

The Hi-Tone - Elvis's Dojo
The Hi-Tone - Elvis's Dojo

Playing in Elvis’s old dojo was always gonna be a tall order. For a bunch of middle-class kiwis with a passion for rock’n’roll, Memphis is a trigger-word for what can be so right and also so wrong in the genre – the full spectrum of green lily-livered-nigger-music-lovin southern boy with just the right amount mixture of sass, sasparilla, and god-given ass and hips.

These coloureds don't run!
These coloureds don't run!

Thankfully it was an awesome gig and elvis even made an appearance and winked at me, he dug it i know…

He kissed me – and it felt like a punch….

Quote generator:

“i gotta say i was “

* shocked

* disgusted

* enthralled

* appalled

with your lastest show in the US.

I was expecting the unexpected, with the proviso that i was forewarned that the act was going to be unpredictable and the attitude factor would play a good part in what would eventuate into the axemen’s set, very much a reflection of the local conditions and atmosphere, once we can establish a base anywhere

don’t be cruel… to a heart thats true

Tour Diaries: 5) Bob and Dragan – Arrival

Bob tries to focus after getting his 'land legs' upon arrival in the new world
"I Think He Wants to Focus!"
L-R: McCabe, Stojanovoc
the lads sail into perfect storm conditions...

As the mythics in Valhalla prophesied, the four axemen were once again reunited in the new world, with all the dignity and indignities which applied.

Slowly but surely coming sharply into focus, as if from a dream Bob and Dragan emerged from the highly pressurised, sterile environment of he plane into the highly pressurized, puerile environment of L.A.

As if metatmorphosing from a dream of waldorf salads, pumpkin pie and some garbanzo beans.

Steve visibly winced when he saw the “Please be gentle with the girl from Yentl!” bumper sticker on his guitar case – It was plain as the nose on yer face it would take these gringos a while to socialize.

Santa Cruz Gig pre-nup

Reprinted from: http://thecrepeplace.com/

30 October 2009

Santa Cruz Gig pre-nup

Times New Viking, The Axemen, The Happy Hollows

Image

The Axemen is a New Zealand band formed around 1981 in protest against the South African Springbok rugby team tour of New Zealand, a tour which created great controversy, especially as was in contradiction to New Zealand’s obligations under the Gleneagles Agreement.

The Axemen played in Chch Cathedral 1981 in response to the Springbok tour.

They also played at the protests for homosexual law reform in 1983, with member Little Stevie McCabe being severely beaten up in the Cathedral Square, Christchurch, toilets.

The Axemen’s founding members, Bob Brannigan, Little Stevie McCabe and Stu Kawowski had played in various bands, apart and together, in the South Island cities of Christchurch and Dunedin, but cohesed in reaction to Sprinkbok rugby tour.

Before Bob Brannigan and Steve McCabe met, Steve was playing in a two-piece band at Cashmere High School called The Gorillas with Peter Rees, evolving comix maestro and classical guitarist.

Brannigan and McCabe met through a mutual friend and played gigs in Christchurch and Dunedin under many names including The Whining Plums, Hey, We’re Wolves and The Twins in the early ’80s. It was at a Twins gig at the notorious Empire Tavern in Dunedin in 1983 where Stu Kawowski was first unable to control himself and leapt on stage to commandeer the bongoes, instantly adding another dimension to the unit.

Art School Photography graduate, photography guru, filmmaker, artist [1] , promotional maverick and explosives expert Kawowski was playing drums with Above Ground, Bill Direen’s band at the time he met the other members of the Axemen and soon ‘joined’ the Axemen as a permanent fixture.

Brannigan, McCabe and Kawowski remain to this day the ‘core’ of the Axemen, however many New Zealand musicians played with them over the years as guest / transient / semi-permanent members, making their influence and the influences they assimilated (like the borg) an important breeding ground and virtual swap-meet of ideas and influence in Kiwi music circles.

In February 2009, US record label Siltbreeze re-released the Axemen’s 1984 protest album :Big Cheap Motel” [2] on 12″ vinyl. Originally the album was released as a cassette packaged in a small bubble-sleeve with a straw, mimicking the milk drink “Big M” that the album was aimed at. The Axemen were invited to play at Christchurch’s “Summertimes” Festival in January 1984, a public music stage set up in Hagley Park. The band was shocked by the large-scale sexist “Big M” advertising surrounding the main stage, and decided to write a suite of protest songs about how the Christchurch City Council had “sold out” to the “Big M” sexist marketing. The Axemen recorded the concert, as well as studio versions of their songs and released a 45 min cassette entitled, “Big Cheap Motel”

“The Happy Hollows have a lot of weapons in their arsenal, but chief among them is vocalist/guitarist Sarah Negahdari. ‘Faces,’ from the forthcoming Spells, gives Negahdari the perfect chance to show off her Polly Harvey-meets-Kim Deal croon.” — Magnet Magazine

“A killer hybrid of Kim Deal, PJ Harvey and Emily Haines. Negahdari has the guitar chops, explosive energy and winning sense of humor that should make The Happy Hollows one of the more interesting bands of our new millennium’s next decade.” — Wired Magazine

“A pugilistic mix of stinging guitars, turbulent rhythms, and shouted vocals. Alternates between childlike experimentation and ferocious firestorm.” — Los Angeles Times

The much-anticipated and highly acclaimed debut album by Los Angeles trio The Happy Hollows officially hits streets today, October 6th, 2009. The album, Spells (listen/order here) is a culmination of their work with producer and former Mighty Lemon Drops guitarist David Newton (The Little Ones, The Blood Arm), who also produced the group’s 2008 EP Imaginary. In support of the album, The Happy Hollows will be performing a string of East Coast dates surrounding their CMJ New Music Marathon showcases. The band will then headline a residency at Spaceland in Los Angeles throughout November. Please see complete dates below.

The young group’s infectious and irreverent noise-pop has earned considerable following up and down the west coast, with their energetic and charismatic performances. Vocalist/guitarist Sarah Negahdari wields ominous riffs and finger-tapped arpeggios while singing with a cherubic-yet-mischievous grin. Meanwhile, the agile rhythm section of Charles Mahoney (bass/vocals) and Chris Hernandez (drums/vocals) vault and lunge with precision.

Wired Magazine recently described Negahdari as “a killer hybrid of Kim Deal, PJ Harvey and Emily Haines” and added that “Negahdari has the guitar chops, explosive energy and winning sense of humor that should make The Happy Hollows one of the more interesting bands of our new millennium’s next decade.” The BBC picked them as a band to watch for 2009, the Los Angeles Times has described the group’s sound as a “pugilistic mix of stinging guitars, turbulent rhythms, and shouted vocals” that “alternates between childlike experimentation and ferocious firestorm.” AllMusic wrote that the band’s “appeal is immediate” and LAist has labeled them “a must see!”

The Happy Hollows’ catchy yet dissonant sound is influenced by genres as disparate as 90’s college rock, garage punk, art rock, and 80’s pop. The band combines innovative song structures, surreal lyrics, and fiercely adept instrumentation to recreate reality into a jagged panorama of vibrant, kaleidoscopic collage. Listening to their music, one cannot help but see visions of a place oddly askew from the world we experience everyday, a parallel universe that is at once whimsical, demented, and ferocious.

Having born and bred their band in various corners of the L.A. music scene since forming 2006, The Happy Hollows played their first shows in Japanese restaurants, laundromats, and small local clubs. In their first year as a band, they snuck into a studio at night and, in two sessions, recorded Bunnies and Bombs, an EP that attracted the attention of the L.A.’s underground music scene. After seeing them play a show, established L.A. heroes Silversun Pickups asked The Happy Hollows to open for them at The Wiltern and The Fillmore. In 2008, fellow art-rock outfit Deerhoof invited the Hollows to open for them on their album release shows at The Avalon and The Great American Music Hall.

View The Happy Hollows myspace site

View TNV ‘Move To California’ video

8pm doors, 9pm show $10

Tour Diaries: 4) A message from home, and the latest L.A. dance craze

Stu checks if Kurt Vile has that 20 bucks he owes him
Stu checks if Kurt Vile has that 20 bucks he owes him

A lot happening since last post.

We got the touring wagon sorted, a late model (2010 even) KIA minivan with 6 seats and a GPS unit we are calling ‘Suzie’.

Grow Yor Own Media, Atwater Village, L.A.
Grow Yor Own Media, Atwater Village, L.A.
Grow Your Own Media - http://gyomedia.com
Grow Your Own Media - http://gyomedia.com

The Touring Van - 'Kia Car Ha', AKA 'Ludwig', AKA 'The Korean Paean', AKA 'Herbie'
The Touring Van - 'Kia Car Ha', AKA 'Ludwig', AKA 'The Korean Paean', AKA 'Herbie', AKA 'Pork Pie', AKA 'The Seoul Train'

Went down to the garment district and picked out some fluro lime green t-shirts to get printed up for tour with a facsimile of one of the original designs for an early gig in dunedin by a guy with a small screenprinting shop just outside central L.A.

Word came in from Aussie when we drifted in tonite that Bob missed his plane to Sydney (layover on way to L.A.) due to an AK transport malfunction but had rebooked on another two hrs later and was now safely ensconced on the L.A. flight.

No word from Dragan who is supposed to be joining Bob in Sydney from Wellington before the pair travel on to L.A. together, so can only assume no news is good news until we hear further…

 

Steve Humann, Ava
Steve Humann, Ava
Downtown L.A.
Downtown L.A.
Steve Humann, Stu Kawowski
Steve Humann in lime fluro Axemen T, Stu Kawowski
Is that a giant pizza or are you just pleased to see me?
Is that a giant pizza or are you just pleased to see me?

That guy takes the cake
That guy takes the cake

Picked up Steve Humann’s kid Ava from school, took them over to the Halloween Carnival the next day, picked up the shirts and caught a couple of gigs, Kurt Vile and Jello Biafra with his new band The Guantanamo School of Medicine.

Eating at least 3 meals a day, Humann is a walking directory of L.A. food joints!

I get the feeling Suzie is a little jealous of him as she only wants to please us but Humann has the insider knowledge of the good eating and shopping locations without us having to punch the zip code into him. Hope we don’t piss her off too much before we hit the road…

Caught a couple of gigs, Kurt Vile at Spaceland and Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine at the El Ray Theatre on Wilshire Blvd.

 

Kurt Vile, Spaceland
Kurt Vile, Spaceland

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, El Ray Theatre, L.A.
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, El Ray Theatre, L.A.

Our string of good luck with parking in L.A. (mostly due to broken meters) came to an abrupt halt at Spaceland when we got a traffic violation ticket for parking in an obscurely signposted Residents Permit parking zone… we will contest it claiming kiwi ignorance of course.
Fiddle-de-di, tomorrow is another day… picking up Bob and Dragan at LAX tomorrow at 5.00PM local time.

Went round to Steve’s ex’s to drop off Ava and partake of the biggest pizza either of us have ever seen, a celebration for SH’s birthday…

The L.A. Stroll – Origins

Not being a big city for walkers, it is culturally interesting the latest dance craze here involves participants walking round in a circle – by the end of the gig, quite possibly the longest walk the auience member has done since the last mosh-able gig they attended.

According to our authority on the subject (Humann, fount of all L.A. knowledge), the dance developed from L.A. punks getting bored with pogo-ing in the 80’s and becoming fascinated with skanking when one of their number returned from England in the early 80’s having mastered skanking, the dance style favoured by Ska groups of the time vaguely resembling jogging on the spot.

 

Steve and Stu tuck into some tasty Mexican
Steve and Stu tuck into some tasty Mexican

In Humann terms  (or, as the saying goes, ‘As the Humann Flies’), as soon as the punks realised they could ‘inadvertantly’ hit and kick crowd members and claim they were only dancing (in some versions of the story, this was also the origin of the Bowie classic “John I’m only dancing”, the gay overtones added to embellish the story later when it became fashionable once again to be gay), it took off and spread like a California wildfire through the 80’s and has disappeared and reappeared in one guise or another throughout the decades since.

I must say the latest incarnation to me had a sense of ‘slothiness’ to it which perhaps does the high-energy music which it often accompanies a disservice in that the performer will often build more of a sweat than the audience.

 

The 'L.A. Stroll' dance - looks just like walking around in a circle to me....The ‘L.A. Stroll’ dance – looks suspiciously like walking around in a circle to me….
...Jimmy shows us how its done
...Jimmy shows us how its done

 

Ol' Fuck-pants takes a break
Ol' Fuck-pants takes a break from strollin'

 

JB has a little merch. left for the next gig
JB has a little merch. left for the next gig

Tour Diaries: 3) Los Angeles, Takin Care of Business

The Touring wagon - Kia Car Ha
The Touring wagon - Kia Car Ha

Well we got the touring wagon today, no Siennas available but we got a KIA 2010 model with 1400 Miles on it and a GPS – now thats what I call golden!

Kawowski & McCabe - Takin' Care of Business
Kawowski & McCabe - Takin' Care of Business
capitalism: a love story
Capitalism: a Love Story

Having got that sorted out we took it for a spin out to Hollywood Forever to see Johnny Ramone’s grave and the Hollywood sign for photo shoot, picked up Humann’s kid Ava, went book-grazing and caught a movie…

The iconic Axemen sign in the Hollwood Hills
The iconic Axemen sign in the Hollwood Hills
Stoop Boy Stoop Kawowski on the stoop
Stoop Boy Stoop Kawowski on the stoop
Car Ha the Kia - ooh la la, GPS and USB
Car Ha the Kia - ooh la la... GPS, USB, MP3, AXE
Johnny Ramone
Stu Kawowski, Steve Humann, the late Johnny Ramone at Hollywood Forever
Steve bones up on how the other half lives
Steve bones up on some reading
Down on Sunset
Down on Sunset

Tour Diaries: 2) Los Angeles, pre-tour

All Souls

Having now taken command of Los Angeles, and whilst allowing trade to continue as normal albeit under ein military regime, this is 2000 and some harrowing but major exceptions to the rule have decided, independent of the fully sanctioned and streets away, predictably, from where the real action was happening.

Hollywood 'n' Fry's
Hollywood 'n' Fry's

Notably, Stu and Steve (on behalf of the axemen as a partially available whole, or soul [‘The choice is yours, you tithe your 10% to your local rich-ass and you’re in line for the throne” struck out Pedro, his fb) buoyed by her decision to put a modicum of their eggs in one basket (as a causation equation and bearing in mind dragan and bob are initiated and primed to enter the arena at an unspecified yet predetermined time)

This first episode I call ‘WHITEY’

Science is fuck-all. We each have our own Memphis. We are all Elvis
Science is fuck-all. We each have our own Memphis. We are all Elvis. Who the fuck are you? - Steve Humann, thats who!

Checked out rental cars.  Some horseless carriages yippeeing up and restless, no doubt riled up by the host with the most, the antagonist, the chip mother, the screaming, breathing Grimm brother, th senseless one they don’t talk about, thy slipped a micky finn to one of those guys, who gives a fuck who.

HOWEVER

All Souls is an equal-fate non-soul-discriminatory story, primarily but not solely based on the sole premise that the soul’s sole is imprinted indelibly on the soul of the holy fisherman, the weeping fisher, the fishing weeper, the weeper who never fishes, across the river directly from the fisher who never weeps…
Ginger the sliced ginger guy grunts as he psycles off another few slices of ginger for the solely soulless. “Otherwise it’d be for the birds!” he quips, the word ‘birds’ rhyming with the oft-used-advertising phrase ‘dis iz forda boids’!, mostly famous for accentuating the long vowel sound in the 60’s.

Day 3 – We are off to Burbank Airport to check out rental vans.  stop.

Tour Diaries: 1) Stu and Steve take off – AK-SYD

Stu Kawowski, Ak Airport
Stu Kawowski, Ak Airport

After yet another sleepless nite the time was finally here to get on board the U.S. ass-kicking train, destination Kick Some Ass, USA, with just long enough a stopover in Aussie to knock back a coupla cold ones.

Stu and Steve, forward scouts for the touring party proper headed off one week in advance to suss the terrain, check out transportation for tour, ogle and purchase electronic goods, check the cuisine, generally reconnoitre and give our credit cards a test run.

The news is out
Our first cuppa coffee for the day and the news is out....

First leg to Sydney take off at 0915 hrs, a cuppa java and HEY PRESTO the news is out – the much-vaunted tour has officially commenced!

TO DO LIST, SYDNEY:

1) Meet up with Tracie at airport

2) Coffee

3) Pick up Stu’s camera from Ted’s

4) Coffee

5) Lunch

6) Beer

7) Get back to Airport for L.A. Flight

DSCF0160
Steve, Britney, Stu on VA-1
Panasonic GH1
Panasonic GH1


After waiting round for Tracie about an hour we called Kirsten and we went out to her pad in Newtown, walked into town for lunch then caught the train in Sydney to visit Ted and pick up Stu’s camera, the awesome Panasonic GH-1, got a few more< snaps and then back to Newtown to pick up Kirstens kid from school, and head down the pub for a beer – a must-do activity when in Aussie


Kirsten, Stu, Ted in Sydney
Kirsten, Stu, Ted in Sydney
Stu, Steve - pub life, Newtown, Sydney
Stu, Steve - pub life, Newtown, Sydney
Stu and Taylor, underage massage specialist
Stu and Taylor, underage massage specialist
Steve, Stu, Tracie, Sydney Airport
Steve, Stu, Tracie, Sydney Airport

AXEMEN USA TOUR :: TRAVEL DISTANCES & TIMES.

LAX, Los Angeles, CA

Mon-Oct-26

391 mi – about 5 hours 55 mins (up to 7 hours 20 mins in traffic)

Sacramento, CA

Tue-Oct-27, Sacramento, CA – Luigi’s Fungarden

86.7 mi – about 1 hour 30 mins (up to 2 hours 10 mins in traffic)

San Francisco, CA

Thu-Oct-29 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill confirmed

72.8 mi – about 1 hour 18 mins (up to 1 hour 40 mins in traffic)

Santa Cruz, CA

Fri-Oct-30 Santa Cruz, CA Crepe Place

US-101 S 367 mi 6 hours 5 mins (7 hours 20 mins in traffic)

or I-5 S 348 mi 5 hours 43 mins

Los Angeles, CA

Sun-Nov-01 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex/Part Time Punks

373 mi – about 5 hours 27 mins (up to 7 hours 0 mins in traffic)

Irvine, CA

Mon-Nov-02 Acrobatics Every Day / UC Irvine

I-5 S 41.7 mi40 mins (2 hours 10 mins in traffic)

Phoenix, AZ

Tue-Nov-03 Phoenix, AZ Modified Arts

I-10 E 1,066 mi 15 hours 7 mins

Dallas, TX

Fri-Nov-06 Dallas, TX The Lounge on Elm St

221 mi – about 3 hours 41 mins

Austin, TX

Sat-Nov-07, Axemen TBA, TNV playing Fun Fun Fun Festival

I-30 E 647 mi 9 hours 44 mins

Memphis, TN

Mon-Nov-09 Memphis, TN Hi Tone

US-78 E 237 mi 3 hours 54 mins

Birmingham, AL

Wed-Nov-11 Birmingham, AL Bottletree

146 mi – about 2 hours 22 mins

Atlanta, GA

Thu-Nov-12 Atlanta, GA Star Bar

I-85 N 382 mi 6 hours 2 mins

Carrboro, NC

Fri-Nov-13 Carrboro, NC Local 506

I-85 N 312 mi 5 hours 26 mins

Baltimore, MD

Sat-Nov-14 DC / Baltimore Otto Bar

98.3 mi – about 1 hour 55 mins

Philadelphia, PA

Sun-Nov-15 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie

I-95 N 96.8 mi 1 hour 52 mins (2 hours 20 mins in traffic)

New York

Wed-Nov-18 NY Mercury Lounge

4.1 mi – about 13 mins

Brooklyn, NJ

Tue-Nov-19 NY NY Union Pool

Flatbush Ave 9.9 mi 30 mins

Hoboken, NJ

Fri-Nov-20. Maxwells

I-95 N 219 mi 3 hours 59 mins (4 hours 50 mins in traffic)

Boston, MA

Sat-Nov-21 Boston MA, Great Scott

I-81 S 779 mi 12 hours 42 mins

Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street

Mon-Nov 23, Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street

I-78 E 381 mi 6 hours 25 mins

Columbus, OH

Fri-Nov 27, Columbus, OH – TBC

205 mi – about 3 hours 15 mins

Chicago, Il

Sat-Nov-28, Chicago, Il – (instore & gig) venues TBC

I-70 W – 354 mi 5 hours 31 mins

New York

I-80 E 788 mi 12 hours 16 mins

TOTAL: Approx 7000 miles 😮

Gig Report: Chicks Hotel, Port Chalmers, Thurs Oct 1 2009 – The port with the charming name

Chicks – October 2009

Chicks @ Chicks
Chicks @ Chicks

If anyone was laying bets on to see who could be chosen to charm this gloomy yet cheerful neck of the woods the odds would probably not have had good pile of winnings had they invested in the dynamic pairing of those vehemently and unapologetically wizened old geezers [The Axemen] with the relatively youthful and still bouncy and vibrant Auckland-based chick and bloke combo [The Hairdos] at the South of the South Islands premiere music venue CHICKS Hotel in Port Chalmers.

The Location

Chicks - One Nite Only
Chicks - One Nite Only - gizza ticket bro!

Port Chalmers, the idyllic Southern town is of course just a sunny breeze away from that mestasising brooding musical hub of the South, South Dunedin, poorer of the two Dunedins group, and allegedly the inspiration behind Gaylenetms epic poem DUNEDIN.

SD, having spread its gull wings over the Octagon and smearing its majestic leaves outwards in order to imperfectly carpet the rest of the polygonal submetropolis that is Dunedin proper, or ‘the Dunedin Interface’, as hungry commuters wait to devour their buses, taxis and the famous trams and trains bustling through the hurdy-gurdy streets, the better to transport the throngs who have drawn the magic lots to go out and visit the poor cousins in the Charming Port just a stones throw away, has of course now become a touchstone for all visitors interested in getting a taste of the ‘olde’ Dunedin sound and the sights and smells of the city which at once enthralled and appalled those who uptook them in those heady days of the 80’s.

The People

Leila
Leila, Luk
You Can't Touch This!
You Can't Touch This! .... Stu's photo-timer is glaringly unaware of the 5-second rule - Steve and Marty's only too aware...

The axemen / hairdos combo has been firing up dancefloors across the island nation of nz since time immemorial (or at least for most of the year 2009) however this was the inaugural trip to the mainland for the follically annointed trio and the first visit across the rubicon of the mighty Kilmog for their adze-wielding cohorts in a number of years.

Gig Report: Scary Motel Tour – Lyttelton – Christchurch leg

Axemen-Hairdos-Poster-WDUpon arrival in Christchurch we were whisked off to our waiting vehicle, then before you know it, we were thru the tunnel and at Lyttelton gasbagging with Maree and Keith on their Volcano Radio Show ‘Pale Green Things’ (see http://volcanoradio.co.nz/ for schedule, http://worldtimezones.com/ for time translation), then off to Roz’s for the traditional sumptuous pre-show dinner before making our way across to the Wunderbar to set up for what was to be an awesome night for an awesomely tiny crowd in an awesome venue in an awesome town.

Wunderbar, Lyttelton Sept 24th

Green Eyed Owl

Green Eyed Owl - send Chills down your spine
Green Eyed Owl - send Chills down your spine

First up Green Eyed Owl , named from a line from a Chills song, which hints at the direction / audience type they are aiming at [finicky bread thieves whov’e kicked more band members out than Andrew Mehrtens kicked penalties???] They got the look and a tight performance, playing a variety of styles, William Daymond’s trademark Beatles bowl-cut looking not a hair out of place and offset nicely by his chequered scarf, all of which reeked style.

Stu Kawowski, Mick Elborado, Axemen, 2009
Stu Kawowski, Mick Elborado, Axemen, 2009

Stu Kawowski and 'The New Stu' Liz Hairdo... bitter rivalry
Stu Kawowski (L) and 'The New Stu' Liz Hairdo (R)... bitter rivals on the skins, but best of buddies off the stage; Stuck in the middle: Renee Barrance, Luke Stimpson

The Axemen

Next up to the plate were the Axemen. Steve having played at the Wunderbar recently with Matt Middleton (accompanied by Loliners backline Mick Elborado and Russel Covini) they were soon down to business in the classic 3-piece lineup of McCabe, Brannigan and Kawowski and giving the tiny crowd their all in their first post-Liz Hairdo gig of recent times… in fact their first gig together in about two months…

The Axemen pared back their sound as though it were a gleaming knife slicing throgh a perfect unblemished avocado, McCabe even pausing to metaphorically stoop down, pluck a hair from his head and proceed to (metaphorically once again) chop it in half with the sound coming from the speakers – i know you could argue that were it extra sharp one could cut it all the way down the middle lengthyways, but to be honest I’ve never been one to split hairs…

Axemen / Hairdos at Radio Volcano, Lyttelton September 2009
Axemen / Hairdos at Volcano Radio, Lyttelton September 2009 l-r:StuK,RenB,LukeS,LizM,BobB,SteveS

Rifling through their gander-bag of songs old and new, as is their wont of late in preparation for their upcoming tour (“Let No Song Remain Unplayed!” McCabe was heard to malevonantly whisper during a break in the proceedings). Hooking through their hookladen hits like Dr Hook in a velcro factory the guys effortlessly pulled off a lean, tight rock show with very little fat on it (“I’m gonna need a cheeseburger after this!” Bob quipped). Steve’s one-note Michael Jackson tribute guitar solo concept is developing and sounding better at each performance. A pleasant surprise to see Bob Brannigan behind the wheel of a full-fledged, fullsize axe once again, having recently been heavily into playing keyboards and ukulele. And as for drums, you could set your watch by Kawowski as usual – in fact it is not widely known that the term ‘New York Minute’  refers to and is defined as “the space between beats in the drum trill at the beginning of  ‘Animals Have Rights Too’ “ (recently re-released on the Scary! double LP –  Silt Breeze);

Liz Mathews, Hairdos
Liz Mathews, Hairdos

The Hairdos

And now for those erstwhile barely-out-of-their-teens “I was the first punk in the incubator” angry young people rocking their wayout of the slums and grey streets of Grey Lynn and now to Chch and Lyttelton where the small but feisty crowd generate enough spirited banter and appreciative sounds to emulate a crowd of at least twice the actual size the numbers would indicate.

The Hairdos played a typical highly energised set giving Lyttelton the honour of being the first South Island town to get a taste of the Hairdos, a badge of honour the hardy individuals who made the effort to come along will remember for a lifetime and have many a bartab settled by a buddy coming up to them and saying “Please Great Uncle Steve, you were there – please will you tell us once more about the time you saw the Hairdos the first time they played at the WunderBar in Lyttelton?”

As usual the band follow their high-minded democratic principles and the singing is shared equally between the 3 members, Renee, Luke and Liz.

Al’s Bar, Christchurch Sept 25

In Video: Big Cheap Motel, Ming Shoe Scene

In Video: Ghost Picnic

Gig Report: Meet the new Stu [or: 2 Nights in Auckland City, Sept 09]

Posted by: Cab Ice Mettle Vilest

AXEMEN, HAIRDOS, NOBBQ – WHAMMY BAR, AUCKLAND NZ, NOVEMBER 16 2009

Axemen, Hairdos, xNOBBQx - 16 September 2009, Whammy Bar, Auckland
Axemen, Hairdos, xNOBBQx - 16 September 2009, Whammy Bar, Auckland

The AXEMEN, or in keeping with their ‘Fair Trade’ and Consumer Guarantees Act commitments more correctly adopting the AXEMIN moniker due to the last minute substitution of teen heartthrob Liz Hairdo on drums in Stu’s place for these gigs while Stu down in the South Island hustling his film and other projects.

For the two-nite Auckland stand featuring two of their stalwart Silt Breeze sidekicks on different nites – xNOBBQx from Brisbane on Wednesday nite at the Whammy bar to a tiny but enthusiastic crowd (think next time they should bring the BBQ – their attempts to show their disdain for the grill so loved by kiwis and aussies alike did nothing to endear them to those in the crowd hungry for prawns, shrimp, hot-dogs, tofu burgers and rock’n’roll).

xNOBBQx: Non Flaming Aussies
xNOBBQx: non Flaming Aussies

Axemin feat. Liz Hairdo as The New Stu
Axemin feat. Liz Hairdo as The New Stu

“Even a sausage sizzle would have been nice” one veteran punter (who looked as if he’d seen more than a few sausage sizzles up close and personally in his time) lamented later.

Fortunately for Auckland, the erstwhile and awesome HAIRDOS and ageing (but still with all their faculties since getting their fillings removed and not using aluminium cooking pots) Axemin emerged as crowd favourites to redeem the evening – It should be noted since playing gigs with the Hairdos in recent times, the Axemin have appeared to be getting noticeably and palpably younger at each gig, following the infusion of post-teen spirit exuded by that band and their followers, in an alarmingly, almost Dorian Gray kind of way.

Liz Hairdo & Bob Brannigan: Bringing feminine mystique back to the Axemen
Liz Hairdo & Bob Brannigan: Bringing feminine mystique back to the Axemin at the Whammy Bar

Sandwiched around xNOBBQx like so much white on rye, the Hairdos played first.  Switching their Stranglers / B52s sound mix across to ‘more Stranglers’ setting for the evening (fuzzier and dirtier) the Hairdos played a punchy, poppy,  plucky set in their inimitable enthusiastic style, going almost the entire set without a fight – I think that is a record, I know people who go to Hairdos gigs just for the fights, and occasionally run a book on them.

Liz shows Stu how its done - look ma, no sticks!
Liz shows Stu how its done - look ma, no sticks!

Energetic and snappy as always, the Hairdos style contrasted vividly with xNOBBQx‘s ethereal meandering soundscapes. Conjuring images of aborigines standing on one foot on the outback, tossing a boomerang, blowing a digeridoo and watching re-runs of Evonne Goolagong at the French Open in 1971, these straight-edge ‘stralians evoked images of an eery gum-tree-lined outback road, a camel your only friend.

Next the Axemin. Fresh from being on the door in the early part of the evening Steve and Bob virtually bounded to the stage. the role of Stu for the evening was taken by the gal Auckland society is calling ‘the New Stu’, the Hairdos own Liz Hairdo. After just one practice ‘Stu-do’ and the lads went out and effortlessly knocked it to the pint-sized crowd, and Liz H did perhaps the best impression of Stu I’ve seen since I copped an eyeful of him practicing under his fisheye ceiling mirror (the “objects may be larger than they appear” sticker remaining proudly intact).


AXEMEN, PUMICE, PINK REASON – THE HIGH SEAS, AUCKLAND, NZ NOVEMBER 19 2009

The Axemen feat ‘The New Stu’ (Liz Hairdo):
filling in for Stu Kawowski for 2 Auckland engagements:
This Video from THE HIGH SEAS, Beresford Street, Auckland, 19 Sept 2009

The AXEMEN, chafing at the bit to meet up with and play for their Silt Breeze stablemates The Pink Reason sidled up first for the High Seas gig in Beresford Streed, Newton Auckland. Just a stones throw from the infamous toilets and a brisk walk to K Rd, the surroundings as well as the gig really gave those cornfed Colombus boys something to write home about. Bristling from their successful (artistically if not commercially) Wednesday nite gig Bob and Stu once again gave it their all and Liz NewStu literally never missed a beat.

Once again another noteperfect evening of axemen rockola, if anything enhanced by the injection of some new drumming blood, like stem cells called in to mend a hole.

Pink Reason, Bob Brannigan, The High Seas
Pink Reason, 'Gnarley' Bob Brannigan, at The High Seas

PUMICE next came on playing a bunch of songs on ‘treated’ guitar with white noise, radio frequencies and memorable lines such as ‘half price for half a chicken’, obviously calling on the audience to metaphorically extend their minds and go outside their aural comfort zones, yet coming back full circle, maybe to bite you on the bum, maybe to serenade you. Mesmeric.

pinkreasonposterPINK REASON played an immaculate spooky and at times delicate set, sounding quite at home in the intimate venue of the High Seas, the venue tonite showcasing its flexibility as a band venue for artistes playing a wide range of different musical styles. These guys represent the cutting edge of indie rock in America at the moment and they are good buddies with our touring partners on our US tour, Times New Viking. Columbus, Ohio has produced some fine musicians, along with the strapping muscular farmboys [with six-pack abs and rivulets of sweat rolling down the bulging veins and following the smooth curve of  their oversized triceps before evaporating away to nothing – are we keepng this in?] it is famous for!

A much better turnout on Friday at the High Seas than the Whammy Bar on a rainy Wednesday I must say…

Axemen US Tour W/- Times New Viking – now with confirmed dates!

Times New Viking / Axemen US Tour

UPDATED OCT 24 2009! NEW DATES SEE BELOW….

The Axemen, in cahoots with Times New Viking /Ground Control Touring /Silt Breeze / Matador / Sleek Bott Records proudly announce the much vaunted US TOUR has now been confirmed!

View Latest Itinerary / Buy Tickets…

View Tour Map

  • Tue-Oct-27 Sacramento, CA Luigi’s Fungarden
  • Thu-Oct-29 San Francisco, CA  Bottom of the Hill
  • Fri-Oct-30 Santa Cruz, CA Crepe Place
  • Sun-Nov-01 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex (Part Time Punks)
  • Mon-Nov-02 Irvine, CA Acrobatics Everyday/UC Irvine
  • Tue-Nov-03 Phoenix, AZ Modified Arts
  • Wed-Nov-04 El Paso, TX Black Market
  • Fri-Nov-06 Dallas, TX The Lounge on Elm St.
  • Sat-Nov-07 Austin, TX Broken Neck
  • Mon-Nov-09 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone
  • Tue-Nov-10 Florence, AL The Black Owl
  • Wed-Nov-11 Birmingham, AL Bottletree
  • Thu-Nov-12 Atlanta, GA Star Bar
  • Fri-Nov-13 Chapel HIll, NC Local 506
  • Sat-Nov-14 Baltimore, MD  Otto Bar
  • Sun-Nov-15 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
  • Wed-Nov-18 New York, NY  Mercury Lounge
  • Thu-Nov-19 Brooklyn, NY Union Pool
  • Fri-Nov-20 Hoboken, NJ Maxwell’s
  • Sat-Nov-21 Boston, MA Great Scott
  • Mon-Nov 23 Morgantown, WV 123 Pleasant Street
  • Nov 27 Columbus OH, Oldfield’s On High
  • Nov 28 Chicago, Il Permanent Records instore
  • Nov 28 Chicago Il, Cave space (all ages)

Elborado Showdown – The Shit Hits The Fan pt 2

Show Your Support… join MICK ELBORADO IS INNOCENT now!

Reprinted From:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/2764914/IRD-drove-me-to-this

IRD drove me to this

By STACEY WOOD – The Dominion Post
19 August 2009

TAXBREAK: David Theobald said he was prepared to accept the consequences after driving his car into an IRD building.
TAXBREAK: David Theobald said he was prepared to accept the consequences after driving his car into an IRD building.

A taxman driven around the bend by continuing work woes drove his car through the building where he had worked for 25 years.

David Jerrold Theobald, 47, drove his Mazda 626 through the foyer of the Christchurch Inland Revenue building on Cashel St at 6.30am on Saturday after a three-year employment dispute.

He crashed through two sets of glass doors and smashed a third on the other side of the foyer before coming to a stop.

Mr Theobald said he had gone to great lengths to avoid risk to any staff.

“I checked with the cleaners the night before to make sure no-one would be in the building. I drove right up to the doors, looked both ways, then slowly pushed forward till the doors broke.”

Mr Theobald said he was fed up with what he saw as concealment of workplace bullying and incompetent management at Inland Revenue.

“This has been going on for three years, and now I’ve got four official information requests in with them and they’re making that as onerous as possible … This was just a way to make a gesture.”

He also wanted to highlight how easy it would be for someone with terrorist intentions to ramraid the building with a truck full of explosives. “It’s just another 9/11 waiting to happen.”

Mr Theobald is a fixture of the Christchurch music scene. He is known as Mick Elborado when he plays with his band The Axemen and in other groups.

He appeared in Christchurch District Court yesterday charged with intentional damage and reckless driving and was remanded on bail till August 31.

He told The Dominion Post he had not decided how he would plead, but was prepared to accept the consequences of his actions.

Inland Revenue would not comment on the incident as it was before the court, but Mr Theobald has received a letter from human resources head Patrick Crawford.

In it, Mr Crawford said: “Information has come to my attention which indicates that you may have intentionally driven a car through Inland Revenue’s Christchurch building … I am concerned that your conduct may be inconsistent with the Code of Conduct.”

Mr Theobald could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of criminal damage.
Reprinted from:
http://news.msn.co.nz/article.aspx?id=851637

‘Bullied’ taxman drives car through workplace

By MSN NZ staff
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

daveA Christchurch tax worker smashed his car through his own Inland Revenue office because he was fed up with “incompetent management and workplace bullying”.

David Jerrold Theobald, 47, drove through two sets of glass doors and smashed a third at the Christchurch Inland Revenue building before coming to a stop.

Mr Theobald, a well-known musician in Christchurch who has worked for the IRD for 25 years, said he had been careful not to put lives in danger.

“I checked with the cleaners the night before to make sure no-one would be in the building,” he told The Dominion Post.

“I drove right up to the doors, looked both ways, then slowly pushed forward till the doors broke.”

Mr Theobald posted pictures of the damage on his blog , along with copies of legal documents he received from police and his employer following the incident.

One of the documents was a letter from Inland Revenue human resources head Patrick Crawford.

“Information has come to my attention which indicates that you may have intentionally driven a car through Inland Revenue’s Christchurch building,” Mr Crawford wrote.

“I am concerned that your conduct may be inconsistent with the Code of Conduct.”

Mr Theobald said he was upset with what he saw as workplace bullying and incompetent management at Inland Revenue.

“This has been going on for three years and now I’ve got four official information requests in with them and they’re making that as onerous as possible,” he said.

“This was just a way to make a gesture.”

He also said he wanted to highlight the potential for a terrorist attack if someone were to drive a car full of explosives into the building.

“It’s just another 9/11 waiting to happen,” he said.

Mr Theobald appeared in court yesterday. He has been charged with intentional damage and reckless driving and could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of criminal damage.

 

Reprinted from:
http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2009/08/taxman-cometh.html

The Taxman Cometh…

We had a bit of a chuckle when we read this story on Stuff this morning: 

A taxman driven around the bend by continuing work woes drove his car through the building where he had worked for 25 years.

David Jerrold Theobald, 47, drove his Mazda 626 through the foyer of the Christchurch Inland Revenue building on Cashel St at 6.30am on Saturday after a three-year employment dispute.

He crashed through two sets of glass doors and smashed a third on the other side of the foyer before coming to a stop.

Mr Theobald said he had gone to great lengths to avoid risk to any staff.

“I checked with the cleaners the night before to make sure no-one would be in the building. I drove right up to the doors, looked both ways, then slowly pushed forward till the doors broke.”

Mr Theobald said he was fed up with what he saw as concealment of workplace bullying and incompetent management at Inland Revenue.

“This has been going on for three years, and now I’ve got four official information requests in with them and they’re making that as onerous as possible … This was just a way to make a gesture.”

He also wanted to highlight how easy it would be for someone with terrorist intentions to ramraid the building with a truck full of explosives. “It’s just another 9/11 waiting to happen.”

Doubtless there will be many of us who will at some point in our lives have been tempted, sorely tempted to lash out at the IRD. But the overwhelming majority manage to resist said temptation. And there’s a certain delicious irony in an employee of the IRD accusing the department of workplace bullying when we taxpayers regularly feel bullied by the likes of Mr Theobald and his colleagues!

And mindful of Mr Theobald apparently being a serial litigant, we also chuckled when we read this: 

Inland Revenue would not comment on the incident as it was before the court, but Mr Theobald has received a letter from human resources head Patrick Crawford.

In it, Mr Crawford said: “Information has come to my attention which indicates that you may have intentionally driven a car through Inland Revenue’s Christchurch building … I am concerned that your conduct may be inconsistent with the Code of Conduct.” 


The letter is extremely careful in its wording is it not? We would have thought that this was a pretty clear case of serious misconduct by way of the wilful destruction of departmental property; something that would normally warrant summary dismissal. Mr Theobald’s concerns about workplace bullying could very soon be addressed – but not in the way he may have expected!!