R.I.P. Peter Gutteridge (Sept 14 2014)

This is a sampling of Articles, Testimonials  and Links related to the sad demise of Peter Gutteridge on September 14 2014. Sadly missed….

Reprinted from: http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/music/10524939/The-rise-and-fall-of-a-music-legend

The rise and fall of a music legend

Musicians remember Peter Gutteridge, an architect of the Dunedin sound, better known abroad than at home. It was on his return home from the United States that police met him at the airport, had him admitted to hospital – and that was where he died. Jess McAllen reports.

When a bunch of guitar leads are tangled up like spaghetti, you’ve got yourself a Gutteridge.

It’s a noun friends and former bandmates of one of New Zealand music’s unsung heroes, the solitary, slight and troubled Peter Gutteridge, want to entrench.

“Both literally and figuratively,” says Graeme Humphreys, former keyboardist of the Able Tasmans. “His leads were always tangled, and his mind . . .”

Gutteridge died suddenly at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital on Monday. He had just returned from a trip to New York – the first time he had left New Zealand – and on arrival at Auckland International airport police were called following concerns for his welfare.

His death has been referred to the coroner.

Gutteridge, who was in his early 50s, played an important role in cementing Flying Nun’s legacy and the development of the “Dunedin Sound” – despite his admission in a rare interview that he had tired of the concept because people “didn’t think about the sound of things” enough.

He founded The Clean, The Chills and Snapper and was also a member of the Great Unwashed and The Puddle. Gutteridge had recently started working on new material, a few months ago telling a friend he was preparing some songs to record. “He was on a good upward trend,” Otago University music lecturer and Verlaines frontman Graeme Downes says.

“He could have bounced back and come up with something. He looked good and was in pretty good spirits last time I saw him.”

Gutteridge was consumed by music and music was consumed by him. At the start of this year a synthesiser droned continuously inside his Dunedin home, making wobbly noises and providing a back track not only to his life but any music he wanted to make, at any time inspiration struck.

Good friend George Henderson, who formed The Puddle, offered Gutteridge a room at his rural home near Auckland after Gutteridge quit his 20-odd-year opiate and methadone addiction.

“It just gave him a chance to recuperate away from the scene he’d come from. And he did get a lot of his health and energy back. He actually got really well, better than he’d been in a long time, and he started playing again after that.”

It was no secret Gutteridge was troubled, and his long-term drug addiction, say music commentators, may have derailed him professionally.

Downes says Gutteridge’s demons impacted his music: “Peter could come up with amazing stuff but he was one of those people who found it difficult to get it to the end product. You’d need a lot of people around to push him, help him get to the stage or to the recording studio.”

Despite many in his life begging him for such a long time to quit drugs, when he finally did it was in a characteristic Gutteridge fashion, says Henderson.

“He was on lots of drugs and gave it up very quickly in a totally impulsive and self-guided way. He just jumped off because the idea came into his head and he just did it. I can’t confirm how long he was off drugs, maybe it was three years . . . but he was able to go to America because he didn’t need to pick up a prescription every day.”

Gutteridge’s trip was the first time he’d left New Zealand.

“It was just an impulsive decision, I believe,” says Henderson, who was surprised by the trip. “He suffered from pain and especially wasn’t well in the last year or the last six months and I think going to America just completely exhausted him. He was already mentally and physically exhausted and, looking back, it was amazing he was able to go.”

Henderson first met Gutteridge about 1979, remembering someone who always had a guitar in hand.

“Pete had a kind of changeling quality about him, like part of him wasn’t from around here. Over the years that came out more and more, he became more attuned to spiritual forces and messages. He would do things because he has a calling to do them.

“It was quite impressive really, his ability to change the atmosphere in a place, kind of on a musical level without even playing music.”

Close friend Stuart Page, who produced Gutteridge’s videos and helped out with his trip to New York, says: “His music was his personality. He was really into the idea of music being what it actually is, which is vibrating airwaves.

“He was really into not just the song and the words but the fact that music is basically airwaves that are being disturbed, and he got it down to that level. He would sometimes spend half an hour tuning something until the vibrations were correct.

“He was a very complex person. He could be the most gentle, soft, unbelievable kind of tender person that could write a little song and make you cry, or he could just turn into this guy who was in control of this ferocious, loud distorting vibration that would leave you deaf for like two days and everything in between.

“He often spoke about using his music to empower people to stand up for everyone’s values and needs, and properly treasure the riches from all our different cultures and individual gifts and the environment of New Zealand.”

Flying Nun label boss Ben Howe discovered Gutteridge’s music through the Snapper track Buddy and the Clean’s Point That Thing Somewhere Else. Howe thinks these two tracks are among the best and most important ever to come out of New Zealand.

Howe was in New York with Gutteridge a few weeks ago. It was the middle of a summer heat wave but Gutteridge only thought to travel with a pair of large woolly ugg boots. “He wasn’t someone you would likely have a routine or normal conversation with. He was more interested in the cosmic, spiritual or creative aspects of life, which was what made him so cool. He was also quite eccentric in an endearing way.”

Within a day of his death, tribute pieces flowed in international media – The Guardian, Pitchfork, Billboard and The Rolling Stone – before it was even publicised in New Zealand. Gutteridge, arguably, had a larger following with international indie musicians than mainstream music listeners in his home country.

“If you were to run into anyone from Pavement, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tango, Real Estate – pretty much any decent indie band in the States or Britain – and said ‘Peter Gutteridge’ they would go ‘yeah, he’s amazing’ but if you said, for example, ‘Fat Freddy’s Drop’ they would go ‘who?”‘ Humphreys says.

When Gutteridge was in a band, no matter how briefly, it seemed something magical happened. His brief stint in The Clean created Point That Thing – which he wrote at the age of 17.

Downes cites two reasons for his international recognition: “It’s for the music he played but also the role he played in being the catalyst for other people.

“Even the idea, the sheer audacity of picking up a guitar, writing your own songs and starting to play them was revolutionary enough. It’s a butterfly flapping its wings. One tiny event happened and it just spawned a tidal wave of other activity and now The Clean are playing in the United States for 18-year-old kids who love it.”

Gutteridge had a real sense for humour and wrote often darkly-funny lyrics. Henderson particularly recalls the line “lost ribbons are tied to lost sheep”.

“Maybe he was a bit of a lost sheep,” Henderson says.

“His songs were often quite lyrical, especially the Great Unwashed ones. They sound good and point to something deep without necessarily overstating it.

“He just put everything, everything into his music really. Absolutely everything, all kinds of things other people hold back on. He would sacrifice anything for music really.”

Henderson’s final memory, amid stories he says aren’t fit to print, is about their shared love of weaponry. “We used to sit in his house shooting up bottles. That was one of our main recreations – there was this pile of broken bottles at the end of the house because we’d overdone it.”


Chris Knox (The Enemy, Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs) is a fellow Flying Nun legend and was a friend of Gutteridge. In June 2009, Knox suffered a stroke that has left his speech limited but he has been using drawing to help communicate and offered this picture, right, created using only his left hand, in remembrance of Gutteridge. Gutteridge contributed the song Don’t Catch Fire towards Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox, a fundraising compilation.

– Sunday Star Times

Reprinted from: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11324984

Death of underground music legend Peter Gutteridge

Peter Gutteridge. Photo / Christopher Andrews
Peter Gutteridge. Photo / Christopher Andrews

Peter Gutteridge, one of the original musicians behind the early 80s Dunedin sound and the founding days of the Flying Nun record label has died.

Gutteridge, who was in his early 50s, died on Monday morning in Auckland, shortly after returning from playing his first ever show in the United States earlier this month.

Gutteridge had been a founding member of The Clean, The Chills and The Great Unwashed in the early 80s.

He later went on to form the legendary noise-drone outfit Snapper and make his own solo recordings.

Snapper performed reunion shows last year following Gutteridge’s treatment for drug addiction.

A statement from the label described Gutteridge as ”a great talent”.

“All of us, and so many people around the world, have been touched and affected by his music, whether it be the swirling fuzz of the guitar or haunting piano melodies, Peter was a true hero of New Zealand music, and will be deeply missed.”

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends at this very sad time.

“Thank you Peter for all the music, may you rest in peace.”

The largely reclusive Gutteridge didn’t enjoy being labelled part of the “Dunedin sound”

He told interviewer Wes Holland of messandnoise.com last year: “People didn’t think about the sound of things, people put on guitars and then clanged out stuff.

“I just got tired of a guitar sound that wasn’t thought about. I had my own personal style. I mean, I wrote [The Clean’s] Point That Thing [Somewhere Else]‘ at 17. That sort of sums up where I come from. I love textures. I love Indian music – now that’s true psychedelic music without having to give itself a term.

“A lot of rock music leaves me cold. It’s anal. It’s self-indulgent. That’s it. But there’s great stuff too. Rock music is only rock music.”

NZ Herald

Straight to Hell :: album :: SHOES THIS HIGH

reprinted from: https://www.midheaven.com/item/straight-to-hell-by-shoes-this-high-lp


While Shoes This High’s existence was a mere glint in the eye of Father Time (a year or more, tops), they made every second count, stalking the New Zealand post-punk landscape—both North and South islands—with ravenous abandon. For most fans, their legend and reputation rest solely on the strength of one highly formidable (and collectable) self-released 7-inch EP from 1981. And as anyone with ears who’s had the good fortune to come in contact with its jagged, scabrous genius can attest, the cry invariably rings out afterward: “Mein Gott, is this all there is?” In the 30-plus years since its initial release, the answer has been a most unflinching “yes.”

That is, until Siltbreeze tapped into the massive tape library of famed New Zealand underground music archivist Bob Sutton, who had in his possession a white-hot live scorcher of the group, culled from a set that went down at the infamous Billy the Club way back when. Straight to Hell showcases a band at the peak of their menacing powers.

[Deceased] Guitarist Kevin Hawkins slashes and rips strings from his ax like a mad butcher; the rhythm section of Jessica Walker and Christopher Plummer is par excellence, while the sneering, contemptuous vocals of singer S. Brent Hayward spit like poison darts above the swagger.

Expertly sequenced by Jared Phillips (Times New Viking), Straight to Hell is a most welcome and astonishingly great artifact that delivers in buckets a shivering, toxic rain you always knew had fallen.

Vinyl comes with a digital download of the complete album plus the four studio tracks from the original 1981 EP. One-time edition of 500—buy now or cry later.

MP3 samples, flac and other formats:

Straight To Hell – Shoes This High LP out Jan 2014

Reprinted from: http://www.midheaven.com/item/straight-to-hell-by-shoes-this-high-lp

Ghost Ranch X - Fats White
Ghost Ranch X – Fats White; cover art for ‘Straight to Hell’

While Shoes This High’s existence was a mere glint in the eye of Father Time (a year or more, tops), they made every second count, stalking the New Zealand post-punk landscape—both North and South islands—with ravenous abandon.

For most fans, their legend and reputation rest solely on the strength of one highly formidable (and collectable) self-released 7-inch EP from 1981. And as anyone with ears who’s had the good fortune to come in contact with its jagged, scabrous genius can attest, the cry invariably rings out afterward: “Mein Gott, is this all there is?” In the 30-plus years since its initial release, the answer has been a most unflinching “yes.”

That is, until Siltbreeze tapped into the massive tape library of famed New Zealand underground music archivist Bob Sutton, who had in his possession a white-hot live scorcher of the group, culled from a set that went down at the infamous Billy the Club way back when. Straight to Hell showcases a band at the peak of their menacing powers.

Guitarist Kevin Hawkins slashes and rips strings from his ax like a mad butcher; the rhythm section of Jessica Walker and Christopher Plummer is par excellence, while the sneering, contemptuous vocals of singer S. Brent Hayward spit like poison darts above the swagger. Expertly sequenced by Jared Phillips (Times New Viking), Straight to Hell is a most welcome and astonishingly great artifact that delivers in buckets a shivering, toxic rain you always knew had fallen. Vinyl comes with a digital download of the complete album plus the four studio tracks from the original 1981 EP. One-time edition of 500—buy now or cry later.

Shoes This High posters – from the awesome collection of Bob Sutton

Up Front with the Yub Nubz

such a tease
such a tease

Hot on the soles of their forthcoming new 12″ release ‘Sac Tap Nut Jam’, the Axemen are chaffing at the bit for punters to step up into the stirrups climb into the saddle and hitch their wagons to the new guiding star, the star that comes from the South, the star that IS the Axemen. The current lineup, showing impeccable taste chose this outlet for their first official interview regarding the new album.

Steve McCabe - still working on the John Halvorsen / Eraserhead look
Steve McCabe – still working on the John Halvorsen / Eraserhead look

Steve McCabe, speaking from his idyllic kiwi coast bach in the Coromandel on the verge of a 3 month sabbatical in the Pacific Islands, was the first to speak out on the release:

Steve McCabe: “I was initially troubled by the concept of plant (‘inanimate’) objects being incapable of feeling pain. This is the reason we embarked on the ‘Sac Tap’ project in the first place. All things were pointing in this direction, we had a levy-breaking wall of song built up ready to breach the sea-walls, with nowhere else to run!” he enthused in answer to my first utterance “Hello”.

William Daymond – Role Model for troubled youth

William Daymond: “Dragan came over and showed me the famous ‘swizzle-sticks in a jar’ experiment – believe it or not this was the first time i ever experimented with this kind of experiment – and frankly it blew me away. My ‘Sac Tap’ commitment started there”.

Stu Kawowski – aka Ludwig van Beathoven

Stu Kawowski: “Yeah I kinda dug Will’s naivete in the beginning, but by the end of the sessions we were churning it up free flow like a machete machine with overblown muscle-cloth spun on a quantum wheel upon which no-one can see which way its rotating but experienced users can count the bleats”

Dragan Stojanovic – go ahead… tap my sac!

Dragan Stojanovic: “I count my blessings. And I think the other lads are counting theirs. The Axemen are the only band I would get out of bed to play in. Of course I’m fantastic in bed too!”.

Accolades are already pouring in from all over the world and the roundabout at Stokes Valley Road is fast becoming a local tourist attraction, with double-decker buses frequently thrilling passengers by driving around it multiple times, in one case until one elderly passenger threw up (she soon recovered when the tour guide pointed out Dragan Stojanovic walking down the road to the alchemists and giving her and the other passenger his trademark “fingers” gesture – a Serbian sign usually reserved for Croation soldiers – much to the amusement of the appreciative cheering passengers).

Idols and rivals check out the scene
Idols and rivals check out the scene

Watch this Space[case] spacecasefor new revelations!

The Axemen wish to thank Ryan and Mor at Spacecase who were instrumental (and vocal) in making the project happen…  http://www.spacecaserecords.com/ cheers dudes!

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

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

1a Wake Of A Sinner

1b I Am The Seed

1c Yours Severely

1e Beats Under The Rocks S

1f Zion Steamroller S

2a Violence & Half-Uncles S

2b Too Much Beer–Too Little Sleep S

2c Dick’s Riff

2d Happy Ever After

2e Sondheim’s Serenade

2f The Devil Went Down To Woodstock S








Wellington punk rocker dies in London by TOM HUNT AND SOPHIE SPEER

Reprinted from: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/8063235/Wellington-punk-rocker-dies-in-London

Steve Andrews, John Lydon
L-R: Steve Andrews, John Lydon 

London police have launched a murder investigation following the death of a Wellington punk proponent after an early morning assault.

Steve Andrews, 46, was a key figure in Wellington’s early punk scene but had been living in London for about a decade.

It is understood he had been out celebrating his girlfriend’s birthday on Saturday night in Putney, southwest London.

Steve Andrews
Vas Deferens on the Luger Lager in 1991

Steve Andrews Steve Andrews Steve Andrews Steve Andrews Steve Andrews

London Metropolitan Police confirmed a murder investigation had been launched.

While police believe they know the identity, he still has to be formally identified.

Next of kin were aware, police said.

Police were called to a fight near the Duke’s Head pub on Lower Richmond Rd at 12.30am on Sunday (UK time).

He was  taken to a south London hospital suffering serious head injuries and pronounced dead at 6pm on Sunday.

No arrests had yet been made.

Friend Nick Farrance had visited Andrews in London two months ago.

Andrews took Mr Farrance to the Tate Modern in London, and would often post photos of European castles on Facebook.

He had worked as a postman since getting to London about a decade ago.

He was due to return to New Zealand for a reunion tour with his Wellington band Vas Deferens.

Old friend Howard Levarko described Andrews as a “diamond geezer”.

“I can’t picture a world without Steve Andrews. He was a character. He was just a legend.”

He met him in the mid 1980s when they were both part of the Wellington punk scene, and said Andrews was friends with everyone.

“Everybody loved Steve. He would walk up to a complete stranger and talk to them. He was known by a hell of a lot of people.

“It’s hitting us pretty bloody badly.”

In the last few days, Andrews had posted photographs of himself on Facebook with British punk legend Mick Jones from The Clash.

Mr Levarko said that was testament to the way Andrews lived his life, and his friendly nature.

“He’s living the dream. He went up to these people and they seemed to warm to him.”

Childhood friend Drew Aitchison said details of the attack were sketchy but Andrews was never violent himself.

“He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Friends were “gobsmacked” by news of his death.

Following news of his death, Andrews’ Facebook page has become a tribute page.

Tom Larkin, from Shihad, wrote: “I’ll never forget you jumping on our table at midnight espresso at 4 in the afternoon and screaming a song to me and Sarah Stewart, freaking the shit out of every uni student in the whole place – I will miss you bud. RIP x.”

Darryl Ward described Andrews as “one of the most decent blokes I have ever known”.


Andrews was the frontman for Wellington punk band Vas Deferens, which friends remembered as a raucous good-time live act that played around the capital throughout the nineties.

Dozens of heartfelt messages and reminiscences of Andrew’s larrakin presence on the Wellington music scene have been posted on Facebook since news of his death.

‘‘I hope you’re in your idea of heaven taking your place among the rock gods and goddesses. Gone way too soon, and senselessly. Prayers and deep condolences to Steve’s family, and friends near and far. RIP with the angels, sweetie XXX,’’ wrote Teuila Grace Tualaulelei on Andrews’ personal Facebook page.

Some who didn’t know Andrews personally remembered him as a fixture in Wellington’s Bohemian quarter, where he was often seen riding his BMX with his hair piled high, clad in denim jacket and brothel creeper shoes.

‘‘I remember just before I moved into town, he was one of the first cats I noticed, (just a wee wannabe i was) an dare i say, aspired to. RIP Steve. I never knew u very well, but will always will remember who you were, around the streets of our Punk City!!!!’’ Kevin Lapslie wrote on the Wellington Up the Punks fan page.

Rufus Dayglo wrote on Andrews’ personal Facebook page: ‘‘When I first met Steve…I was new in Wellington, He approached me, and gave me a flyer…. “You like Punk eh? Come see these guys, they’re the best punk band in Welly!”..So I turn up to the gig…and it’s him..on stage….Vas Deferens. Steve Andrews…One of a f**kin’ kind.’’

Friends said there was a real gentleman behind the larger-than-life persona.

‘‘Steve was a diamond geezer who will be remembered by many of the Wellington old guard. RIP Steve – very sad,’’ wrote Kapiti guitar-maker Dave Berry.

Photos of Andrews, almost always his punk rocker finery, were shared around Facebook by mourning friends. Band photos from the 90s emerged as well as a picture of him with Sex Pistols singer John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten.

‘‘Out of all the nameless fans that Lydon has met over the years I’ll bet he remembers Steve,’’ wrote Berry.

William Daymond Interview (2010)

Reprinted from: http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/utr/interviewMore/CID/212/N/The-Pickups.utr#ixzz1ag0v91MA

George Harrison’s post-Beatles output is overrated and The Monkees are criminally underrated. At least that is the case according to William Daymond from The Pickups. The Christchurch three-piece gave us an email interview with UTR recently and talked a lot about The Beatles, The Beach Boys and the aforementioned Monkees. There are definitely worse things to have a conversation about.

First of all, introduce yourselves & your bandmates.

The core trio of The Pickups are myself (William Daymond) on vocals and guitar, Jared Kelly on bass and Isaac Mawson on drums, although we have had extra members and special guests join us over the years.

Tell us the epic tale of your creation…

Isaac and I met at high school in our 6th form year in early 2000, when we were both 16. By the end of the year we were rehearsing on a regular basis as a two-piece, and spent most of the following year writing new material and getting tighter as a band.

We first played live at the Wunderbar in Lyttelton on 23 March 2002 under the name The Twin Towers (we named ourselves this, believe it or not, on September 10, 2001, as a reference to us being a two piece). We continued to play for the rest of the year, although at some point we changed our name to The Distractions. We took most of 2003 off while I played with Adam McGrath in The Sweethearts (a sort of early version of The Eastern).

We started playing as a two piece again under the name The Pickups in October 2003, however it was soon blatantly obvious to us that whilst being a two piece was a good idea in theory, we needed a bass player to fill out the sound, and we started looking for a potential candidate. It wasn’t till mid 2004 that we met Jared Kelly, who had recently moved to Christchurch from Timaru. By late 2004 we were rehearsing as a three piece, and played our first live show as a three piece on 9 October 2004 at Mainstreet Cafe, Christchurch.

Over the next three years we played live on a very regular basis, developing and working at our reputation as a good live band with well written songs, and for a period (September 2005 to April 2006) were joined by Isaac’s then girlfriend Bri Yaakoup on keyboards, who left us to concentrate on her involvement in Frase + Bri. We recorded most of our set in January 2007 with Marcus Winstanely at All Plastic Studios, however due to unforeseen delays involving mixing, mastering and completing the artwork the album was only able to be pressed in April this year (for example, when it came to mixing, due toconflicting time schedules we could only meet up every Sunday. On average we were able to mix one song per session, and with there being 14 songs to mix, and in some instances there ended being 5 or 6 different completed mixes of a song, the whole mixing process ended up taking over 4 months to complete).

In July 2007 we were put on temporary hiatus due to Isaac moving to Wellington, however with both Jared and I relocating to Wellington this year we have started to rehearse and play live again to promote the new album, and also to write new material. We will tour nationwide later on this year.

Do you think Christchurch has been a stimulating place to make music?

I found Christchurch to be a satisfactory and adequate place to develop as a band; I would have never described the town itself as “stimulating” in any shape or form.

Describe the defining moments that made you want to make music:

Listening to the Beatles for the first time when I was five made me want to play the guitar. Seeing Paul McCartney live when I was nine made me want to play live. Listening to Secret Box by The Chills when I was sixteen gave me the the confidence and impetus to write songs on a regular basis.

Apart from music, what else do you guys get up to?

Isaac and I play in a few other bands (ie. Cougar Cougar Cougar, Full Moon Fiasco, Red Country, Terror of the Deep, etc…) and we also go to university. Jared works full time.

What aisle would you slot into at your local record store?

If there was a Psychedelic Pop Rock section we would fit into that perfectly, but let’s face the facts, if you are a local band then you are going to be lumped in the “New Zealand / Local” section, regardless of what genre of music you make.

What artists have really got you excited lately?

This is a somewhat broad answer, but I relocated to Wellington in February, and in the three and a half months it took me to find a flat I had all my records and CD’s in storage, some of which I, up until then, listened to on a daily basis. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and when I finally found a flat and got all that material out of storage and checked out after nearly four months, to describe that as exciting is an understatement.


Describe the collaboration/writing process

In most cases I have the songs more or less finished by the time I present it to the band, however normally in rehearsal we will work on the structure of the song and make any changes there.

Dream collaboration?

Local: Martin Phillipps. International: Neil Young.

What’s the best thing about making music? Again, somewhat of a broad answer, but to see a song that you have written develop from just something you play around with in your room on guitar, then it being taught to the rest of the band, playing it live on a regular basis, recording it in a studio and then getting it preserved for eternity on replicated CD is a very satisfying and rewarding experience.

What gets you down about being in the music industry?

One thing about being a band in a small place like Christchurch is that it dosen’t really matter how good your songs are, how talented you are or how strong your work ethic is, basically if you are in a band the most important things are a) knowing the right people, and b) making music that is markateble in some shape or form. As a result I have seen some awesome bands get their noses turned up at because they either too old, don’t have the “correct” dress sense or don’t have good contacts. I have also seen some horrible bands get far more attention than they deserve simply because they are friends with the right people, and have a guest DJ with a pissfringe and a laptop computer.

Craziest on-stage antics experienced thus far?

I can think of a few; a very disgruntled local resident threw a chair at us midway through our first ever performance as a three piece with Jared (Mainstreet Café, Christchurch, 9 October 2004). As a result I had to write a 4 page report of the incident for the City Council. A very overweight and drunk dude in his 40’s with a long curly mullet and a novelty Jack Daniels jacket started heckling us at a performance at Al’s Bar, Christchurch in early 2006; Jared and I made a few offensive retorts back to him and he walked onstage with the presumed intention of picking a fight with us, however Al had to intervene at the last minute and kick the guy out.

Best concert you’ve ever been to?

When I was nine I saw Paul McCartney (with Linda on keyboards) live at Western Springs Auckland. It was awesome and unquestionably changed my life.

Who would you be willing to commit a serious offence for a chance to see live?

The Monkees (original 60’s lineup, with Nesmith). The Kinks, or at least the Davies brothers reunited on the same stage. The surviving members of The Beach Boys. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr together.

Name someone who’s really overrated in music.

George Harrison’s solo material. A close friend of mine and I listened to, in chronological order, the entire Beatles solo back catalogue and unquestionably George has the least to offer out of the four of them. The only good album that he ever released is All Things Must Pass, and even that is far too long.

And someone who’s criminally underrated?

I think The Monkees are unquestionably the most underrated band in music history. They have so many myths surrounding them that many ignorant music fans believe and turn their noses up at them, despite the fact they are responsible for some of the most enduring songs of the 20th century. Also Paul McCartney’s solo career / Wings.

The state of NZ music is:

It’s somewhat of a double edged sword. Whilst there are probably the more opportunities available to NZ musicians than there has ever been before, its also probably the most unoriginal it has ever been, with too many depressingly bad carbon copies of international based acts being played on the television and radio to fill the quota when far more original and unique material goes unnoticed. NZ On Air should get it’s act together too, did they really need to fund six Boh Runga videos over the period of a year when there are many other bands who can’t even afford to lay down their set in a basic studio let alone release something?

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be:

A Lion Tamer.

Introducing William ‘a girls best friend’ Daymond

A girls best friendIn the wake of the departure of Bob Brannigan and Mick Elborado’s increasingly angry instability the remaining Axemen  would like to introduce the new beacon of rock’n’roll ardour, the hope of  Axemen Generation Y, the bass-bone connected to the backbone, the rhythm king, a girls best friend… William Daymond.

Born in 1984, Daymond injects the vigour of youth into the unit and his infectious enthusiasm has infused the band with a new surge of energy – and ladies, believe me, the surge is working!

Well known as much for his extensive musical knowledge as for his work with The Pickups, Green Eyed Owl , Cougar Cougar Cougar, The Flying Sorcerers, The Steffan van Soest Hit Machine, Terror of the Deep (amongst others) , Daymond  adds his versatility and another layer of complexity to the steaming porridge that is the Axemen class of 2011.

Welcome Aboard!

by Amebic Sec Vet

Axemen’s ‘3 Virgins’ Double LP NOW AVAILABLE

(re-printed courtesy of siltblog: Axemen’s ‘3 Virgins’ Double LP NOW AVAILABLE)

FINALLY! After a couple of years in the RE-making, the Axemen’s legendary dbl lp ‘3 Virgins, 3 Virgins, 3 Visions’ (hereafter known simply as 3V’s) is available for order. Originally seeing the light of day on the Flying Nun label in 1985, 3V’s is a broad canvas of sound, seemingly channeling other likeminded cornerstones of fringe rumble such as ‘Trout Mask Replica’, ‘Exile On Main Stree’t & ‘Tago Mago’. Just like last time (remember?) this is a limited edition run of 600 & housed is a stunning full color gatefold sleeve. Prices are as follows;


Add to your order both previous Axemen titles; ‘Big Cheap Motel’ lp + Scary,Part III double lp for only 15$ more! No extra shipping cost either!That’s 3 more lp’s! What a bargain!
(Just make sure to mention when ordering).

Paypal to; sltrx@pil.net


Check out this AMAZING 3 Virgins promo film shot back in the day by Stu Kawowski & Lawrence Lens (Nux Vomica, Portage mastermind);


Reprinted from http://www.elsewhere.co.nz/absoluteelsewhere/3832/the-famous-elsewhere-questionnaire-george-d-henderson-of-the-puddle/


THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: George D. Henderson of the PuddleGeorge D. Henderson founded Dunedin’s psych-pop band the Puddle in 1983/84 and over the following decade the group recorded an EP, an album and a single for Flying Nun, all of which are curently out of print.

However “a Lazarus-like comeback over the past five years” (as the press release says) has seen three new albums in the past few years, their ’09 The Shakespeare Monkey being hailed as one of the best of the year at Elsewhere. (see here).

The latest album Playboys in the Bush (out now CD and vinyl LP) was equally well received here.

The current touring line up of The Puddle (see dates below) features long-time fan Gavin Shaw on bass, multi-instrumentalist Allan Starrett on keyboards and viola, and George’s brother (and occasional 1984/85 Puddle drummer) Ian on drums. The addition of the ubiquitous Mr Starrett (who collaborated with George in Mink and The Puddle’s Songs for Emily Valentine album in the Nineties, and has also played with the Pop Art Toasters, the Bats and David Kilgour) brings back that essential keyboard element missing since the early Nineties.

We quote the amusing press release again: “Puddle’s catholic mix of pop, blues, psychedelia, jazz, minimalism, rock’n’roll and god-knows-what-else appeals to humans of all ages who are not too proud to dance and the lyrics of love, sex, drugs, bewilderment and space travel are clearly audible at all times. Their live performances are legendary, walking the fine line between epiphany and cacophony with unexpected musical and lyrical rabbits pulled from invisible hats.”

Henderson here, with admirable candour, answers the fast 15 questions . . .

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

Ride of The Valkerie by Richard Wagner, in my parent’s 7” pile

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

Marc Bolan, the Beatles, Watchdog (Invercargill glam-metal-prog band 1973-75)

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Lennon played instruments and wrote better, but Jagger stuck up for the male sex while Lennon folded. Nirvana annoyed me, Ramones bored me, so Nirvana. No opinion on the ladies. Not familiar with Jay-Z but Jacko was a genius and would be hard to beat at his game.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Best-selling quack doctor

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Beings Rest Finally by Beat Rhythm Fashion, Song for Insane Times by Kevin Ayers, This Liberal Love by Microdisney

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

A copy of the Nux Vomica 7” My Life To Live b/w TV Producer

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Renegade (by Mark E. Smith), Positively George Street (by Matthew Bannister), Songs They Don’t Play on the Radio (by Nico’s former keyboard player). They all remind me of aspects of my own career. Have You Checked the Children (by George Churton) which actually discusses it in depth.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

I’d love to sing one my songs with the Clientele. Naked would do.

The three films you’d insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Autofocus. Punch Drunk Love. Dark of the Sun.

Buttons_cover_picThe last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Vinyl album: Andy Williams’ Love Andy, his best in my opinion. Best recent download Between the Buttons by The Rolling Stones, their best also in my opinion.

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn’t embarrass you in that case would be . . .

No song that did half that well could ever embarrass me.

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

Playboys in the Bush or anything by Tanya Hoar

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

I have enough scars already without paying some drongo to tag me.

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that’s all we’ve got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

Just right here doing what I’m doing. I’ve based my life on that premise for the past five years. You don’t understand Playboys in the Bush if you don’t realise that my major anxiety was dying before it was recorded. I dreaded the idea of falling under a bus and no-one hearing the songs. Sometimes I care more about posterity than I do about my own children.

pitb_front_smallAnd finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

For a start, it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever again have this much money or time to spend on an album or this many talented collaborators. The album catches a special point in my life, the point five years ago when I started to live to my full potential; it catches the energy of a new romance, the excitement and terror of new starts, while pillaging my past for unexploited highlights.

So it covers a wider period of creativity than previous work (two and a half decades), yet the exact moment of its creation was especially intense.

It’s the first album I made in a reasonably sober state, and it’s the first album anywhere to have artwork by Tanya Hoar.

The Puddle’s New Zealand tour dates in February are as follows . . .

Friday 4 February, Hamilton, Ward Lane (with Matthew Bannister + Hollow Grinders)
Saturday 5 Feb, Auckland, Dogs Bollix (with Azalia Snail + Sandra Bell)
Wednesday 9 Feb, Gisborne, Kingfisher Bar (with The Opposite Sex)
Thursday 10 Feb, Masterton, Golden Shears (with Dragstrip)
Friday 11 Feb, Palmerston North, Roayl Hotel (with Vorn)
Saturday 12 Feb, Wellington, Happy! (with Vorn)

Added: 31 Jan 2011

The Bill Classics (2010): The Above Ground Railroad

October 2010 finds the dysfunctional Axemen family in myriad modes, each in his own sphere, each with their own worldview, each finding new connections, disconnecting others some halfhearted some heartfelt some hearty beef some harkening some heartlessly hardened, haggling and harrying. don’t ask don’t tell.

The Sultan’s Bat Tree 

some haranguing, some balls dangling sanguine like,
making a beeline for anything that smiles.
I see your point it stands out like a dogs bollocks
please can i have a block of your skin for my locket.

ditching a bat with simple bamboo slivers
tickling till the echoes subside
bats have no sense of humour
cave wetas may fear better

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.

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, 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, 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).


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…

Auckland and South Island Tour Dates – September 09

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

Axemen, Pumice, Pink Reason 16 September 2008
Axemen, Pumice, Pink Reason 16 September 2008

Axemen, Hairdos, with special guests Green Eyed Owl (chch, lyttelton) - Scary Motel Mini Tour, Wunderbar 24, Volcano Radio, Als Bar Sept 2009

Axemen, Hairdos, with special guests Green Eyed Owl (chch, lyttelton) & Wolfskull (pt chalmers) - Scary Motel Mini Tour, Wunderbar, Volcano Radio, Als Bar, Chicks 24 Sept- 1 Oct 2009
  • 16 Sept: Whammy Bar, Auckland with xNOBBQx, Hairdos – DONE
  • 19 Sept: High Seas, Auckland with Pink Reason, Pumice
  • 24 Sept: Wunderbar, Lyttelton with Hairdos + Green Eyed Owl
  • 25 Sept: Als Bar, Christchurch with Hairdos + Green Eyed Owl
  • 26 Sept: Hairdos Live-To-Air, Radio Volcano, Lyttelton
  • 1 Oct: Chicks, Port Chalmers, with Hairdos + Wolfskull

Click to download hi-res PDF of SCARY! MOTEL tour poster

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

Times New Viking / Axemen US Tour


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)

What about these guys??? the Puddle Live-to-air at Radio Volcano, sweet as, direct from another universe

the puddle, live to air, radio volcano, lyttelton, one romantic gesture
the puddle, live to air, radio volcano, lyttelton, one romantic gesture

and this one with different scenery – needs more mick though if you ask me….

The Puddle - same song, better scenery
The Puddle - better scenery in this vid... wish george the best after his stroke - oops sorry that was that other guy

Gig Report, Newtown Farewell Gig, Ariki st , auckland,friday August 7 [Bobs birthday] – hello darkness my old friend

Newtown - l-r {girl peeing in cup, probably not a pregnancy test} Greta, Kirsten- i am almost sure that goatee and moustache is fake...

Posted by : Beam Civet Sec

Ironically it was Bob who didn’t show on the very night of his birthday bash but fortunately Celia assumed the role of Bob admirably in the Axemen’s short but brief albeit cutdown and necessarily concise set later into the evening. Two exquisite songs Womin of Love and the trex classic Buick MacKane

But I digress, this was Newtown’s night as the lovebirds plan to head off to the US to seek their fame and fortune and we all of course wish them the best in their pursuit of the dream.

Ariki Street, Auckland
Ariki Street, Auckland

In some ways it was hard to disconnect the incestuous associations from the music in the lineup of bands on this night but this turned out to be a bonus for all involved as there was a general vibe of love and peace in the air uncommon to many a house party.

The Newtown, darkly lit video, but with great Alice Cooper bits - click for video
The Newtown, darkly lit video, but with great Alice Cooper bits - click for video

Newtown played first, followed by the Hissyfits then penultimately  the Axelmin (Stu, Celia & Steve) preceding the Hairdos, hosts of the party and friends of all.

Celia X
Celia X... smouldering, small & feisty as usual on this nite
Celia X, TCB
Celia X, TCB a few milliseconds before blacking my eye and leaving an intriguing TNUC welt on my forehead

More emotional upheaval for me, but thats rock’n’roll… celia and stu played fantastically and i was well satisfied with my guitaring and singing – unfortunately singing a bit quiet on the recording but thats the nature of da bidnis.

Thanks to Liz for the padded wall, I had a little bit of a sore back from being round at davey g’s and working on his dodgy wokstation.

probably contracted the swine flu sitting out in the back yard between sets, but frankly i don’t care – this is what its all about and i miss it and want more, once again.

no sex, no sax, but a great time nonetheless with great pals and a great evening which i wouldn’t trade for the world… thanks 2 all

great but darkly video here of womin of love/buick mccane (t.rex, ladies first)

all i can say is wow these are the good old days

This is why video killed the radio star
(Click for radio without pictures) This is why video killed the radio star - axelmin, ariki st, auckland 7 august 2009, bobs 444th birthday, dancing on the ceiling LET THERE BE ROCK

can’t beat the original though- but i think we came close… almost simultaneously – they had better lighting, and vocal amplification, even in the 70’s with no guitar leads or mics….

T Rex - Buick MacKane - the original
T Rex - Buick MacKane - the original

Scary Motel Tour! coming soon….

Not on the List?

Looking to get some great kiwi bands to play at your FANTASTIC SOUTH ISLAND VENUE in LATE SEPTEMBER/EARLY OCTOBER?

Contact Us immediately….

Your name could be here tomorrow…

Scary Motel Tour - Sept / Oct 09 , South Island, NZ
Scary Motel Tour - Sept / Oct 09 , South Island, NZ - b/w lo-res v1(LSM)
Scary Motel Tour - South Island, NZ, Sept-Oct 2009
Scary Motel Tour - South Island, NZ, Sept-Oct 2009 - color lo-res v1 (LSM)


Tues 4 Aug 09, Stu Kawowski

Scary Motel Poster Variant: Dragan-Master (StuK)

Scary Motel Poster Variant: RedLips (StuK)

wunderbar REEVIEW PT ONE

Wunderbar, Lyttelton July 2009

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

“Come together – right Now – Over me.”

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

Wunderbar - Nice People Only
Wunderbar - Nice People Only

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

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


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

Shoes This High – Live 22 June 1980

Thistle Hall, in the '80s
Thistle Hall, in the ’80s – thats the 1980’s for you young-ass mofos

Recorded and mixed by Andy Drey (Steroids/Body Electric) at Billy The Club, 22 June 1980, (incidentally Steve’s 14th birthday)

(recording courtesy of Bob Sutton).

thistle hall poster
thistle hall poster

01 Shoes This High – Monodrone 6:39

02 Shoes This High – Living Hell 1:08

03 Shoes This High – Nose One 3:38

04 Shoes This High – Sop Pong 2:34

05 Shoes This High – Mental Whiff 2:48

06 Shoes This High – Tic Toc* 4:42

07 Shoes This High – Ain’t 1/2 Right 3:27

08 Shoes This High – Fatman 3:56

09 Shoes This High – Gifted? 2:09

10 Shoes This High – Stuk 3:15

11 Shoes This High – Christian Song 4:46

Shoes This High, Newmatics, c.1980
Shoes This High, Newmatics, gig poster c.1980

12 Shoes This High – Menace In Yer Head 1:31

13 Shoes This High – Tunnel Vision 2:00

14 Shoes This High – ——– 0:28

15 Shoes This High – You Sold Out 2:36

16 Shoes This High – Small 2:35

17 Shoes This High – For Too Long 6:12

18 Shoes This High – Scab 3:28

19 Shoes This High – Catshit 1:41

20 Shoes This High – Bull-fight 3:41

21 Shoes This High – Cretin Time 2:14

22 Shoes This High – Beach Muscle 2:44

23 Shoes This High – Don’t Wanna 1:52

24 Shoes This High – R U Happy? 3:35

*Tic Toc was an improv while Kev restrung half of his guitar.

Kevin Hawkins, at the Womb, AK, 1985
the late Kevin Hawkins, greatly missed, at the Womb, AK, 1985 (photo by Stuart Page)


Chris Knox Suffers stroke – News thread from NZ Papers, blogs etc.wart

Blog Comments:


Reprinted from NZ News and various Sources (newest at top)

Tall Dwarfs’ Chris Knox Recovering From Stroke

Knox - recovering

Indie fans in both the U.S. and New Zealand were stunned to learn over the weekend that Kiwi legend Chris Knox suffered a stroke. The 57-year-old musician/songwriter/cartoonist is recovering at Auckland City Hospital.

“We’d just like to say that Chris’ partner Barbara Ward and his children John and Leisha are grateful for the support and love they’ve received, and at the moment everyone’s focus is just on Chris and his recovery, and we just ask that people be respectful of that,” a spokesman for the family said in the Sunday Star Times.

Knox’s late ’70s bands the Enemy and Toy Love were the pioneering artists of the New Zealand scene, which rose to prominence in the U.S. during the late ’80s via Flying Nun Records and such bands as the Chills, the Bats, the Clean and, of course, Tall Dwarfs, Knox’s lo-fi weird-pop duo with Alec Bathgate. Tall Dwarfs influenced everyone from Pavement, Portastatic and Olivia Tremor Control to Jay Reatard, Crystal Stilts and just about anybody playing post-punk music in New Zealand.

The Tall Dwarfs song ‘Not Given Lightly’ later became an improbable hit, popular at weddings even though it was written specifically for Ward (“This is a love song/to John and Leisha’s mother,” is one lyric). It’s been covered by Frente and J Church, and provides the title of Morr Music’s new double CD ‘Not Given Lightly: A Tribute to the Giant Golden Book of New Zealand’s Indie Scene.’

The average American, however, probably knows Knox best for his 2000 solo song ‘It’s Love,’ which was featured in this 2008 Heineken commercial, directed by the ever-rock ‘n’ roll savvy filmmaker Todd Haynes:

Knox’s family and friends launched a website to keep fans informed.

Chris Knox stable after stroke, Jay Reatard posts tribute

undertheradar – Date Published:18th June, 2009 @ 18:46

Chris Knox, influential Tall Dwarfs member and Enemy lead vocalist suffered a stroke last Thursday. All reports are positive that he is stable and recovering well. Undertheradar sends our best thoughts to Chris and his family.

Today Jay Reatard has posted a tribute on his website here detailing plans of a collaboration after a meeting the two had when Jay toured here earlier this year

Along with his post, Reatard writes: If you haven’t heard Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs, The Enemy or his countless solo records please do yourself a favor and hunt them down. It might change your life…It did mine.

Knox’s family has set up a blog to keep fans up-to-date on his recovery, head there now to leave your messages. The 56-year-old musician is currently in stable condition at an Auckland, New Zealand hospital and is doing well.

Jay Reatard “Shook Up” by Chris Knox’s Stroke, Reveals Planned Collaboration with Flying Nun Stalwart


By Josiah Hughes

As we previously reported, key Kiwi pop figure and Flying Nun Records spearhead Chris Knox suffered from a stroke on Thursday (June 11) and is currently recovering. A huge Kiwi pop disciple himself, Memphis garage monster Jay Reatard has shared his thoughts on Knox on his blog, revealing that he had planned to record a single and tour with him in the near future.

Reatard writes:
A few years back I was introduced to Chris Knox’s genius via the kiwitapes blog. I immediately connected to the sound of his voice, his lyrics, and for sure the production of his many records. Upon learning that I was gonna be lucky enough to travel on tour to New Zealand earlier this year I knew I just had to meet the man behind it all. A few emails were sent and with a bit of luck I was invited over to his house for tea and some snacks! I only a had a few of his various bands records at home and none with me… So I dropped a ton of dough at a local record shop picking up the entire Toy Love catalog along with a few other records…

As the door to his house opened I was overcome with a nervous fan boy feeling I hadn’t felt since I was 16 or so. Our meeting was brief, only 3-4 hours, but in that time we made plans to tour together this upcoming year and made plans to record a single together as well. I found Chris to be so unjaded and so full of ideas and life. A few days back before our LA show I received a text from our NZ promoter letting me know Chris had suffered a stroke. I was pretty shook up but put everything I had into the show that I could muster up. I have had quite a few days to think to myself how lucky I was to meet Chris and how much hope he gave me for my own future as an artist. Here’s hoping for a speedy and successful recovery for Chris and his family! And if you haven’t heard Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs, The Enemy or his countless solo records please do yourself a favor and hunt them down. It might change your life… It did mine.

Hunting down Knox’s music is actually a great idea right now, as Knox’s progress blog recently mentioned that “the best thing to do if you wanna help is to buy a Chris Knox & The Nothing album.” All of these CDs, which are available to ship worldwide, can be purchased here.

Meanwhile, Reatard is in the middle of a previously announced North American tour.

Family hopeful for Knox recovery

The Press Last updated 05:00 16/06/2009

KENT BLECHYNDEN/Dominion PostICON: Kiwi music icon Chris Knox, pictured here singing in 2008.

Kiwi musician Chris Knox is responsive and not in pain following last week’s stroke, friends and family say.

In a statement yesterday, friend Roy Martyn said the Ward-Knox family remained “very optimistic” about the performer’s recovery. Knox is in Auckland Hospital.

“He enjoyed his vegetable frittata this morning but I suffered the classic Knox withering look when I mentioned beer,” Martyn said.

He said the family wanted to thank those who had sent messages of support from around the world.

The statement said: “We have learned that it is too early to predict the ramifications of a stroke with any degree of accuracy. However, positive anecdotes have been flooding in which fill us all with hope.”

A website to keep the public updated on Knox’s progress is at chrisknox.blogtown.co.nz.

HUGE BUMMER: Chris Knox had a stroke…

By Chip Norman • June 15, 2009
Filed under: NEWS



Please take a moment to pray to every god, and then invent new ways to pray, because we don’t think a moment of silence is going to cut it.

For the uninitiated among you, New Zealander Chris Knox is one of the finest songwriters alive. As a member of The Enemy, Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs, and most recently, The Nothing, Chris has been a musical giant among the Kiwis.

Mr. Knox has also served as a film critic, newspaper columnist, cartoonist, television host, and head of his own record label, ‘A Major Records.’ His music releases have been a staple of New Zealand’s great ‘Flying Nun’ label since its inception.

And last evening, he suffered a stroke.

Chris is recovering at Auckland hospital. He is currently unable to speak and may have permanently lost his ability to walk, though the doctors have yet to give an official prognosis.

You can find updates on Chris’ condition at the following blog created by his family members and friends. Do some good with the internet for once and leave an encouraging note for Chris.


Chris Knox ‘showing good signs’

By Hamish McNeilly on Mon, 15 Jun 2009
Chris Knox
Chris Knox - Click photo to enlarge

Chris Knox, a pioneer of the Dunedin Sound, is in hospital after a stroke, but the 57-year-old musician is already showing signs of his former self, friends say.

News reports the musician might never walk again were premature and hurtful to his friends and family, who had gathered to support Mr Knox since he was admitted to Auckland Hospital on Thursday, family friend Roy Colbert, of Dunedin, said.

Doctors were still waiting for the swelling to go down before they were able to offer a prognosis, he said.

Mr Colbert had been in contact with former Dunedin-based musician Shayne Carter, who visited Mr Knox in hospital.

“When he was there, someone came in to see Chris and asked him if he wanted any help with religion. Chris just rolled his eyes . . . That’s the Chris Knox we all know.”

Mr Colbert said the Invercargill-raised musician made a big impact on the Dunedin music scene with his punk band, the Enemy, in the late 1970s, which “began the Dunedin Sound and influenced the like of The Chills and The Clean”.

“He is immensely talented.”

Mr Knox was also responsible for recording many of the early Flying Nun records and had a cult following in New Zealand and overseas for his recordings with Toy Love, Tall Dwarfs and, more recently, The Nothing.

He is perhaps best known for the “low fi” love song, Not Given Lightly, which was dedicated to his partner, Barbara, and children John and Leisha Ward Knox.

The Chills frontman Martin Phillipps, of Dunedin, said he visited Mr Knox while he was in Auckland to play a gig on Friday.

“If there is anyone who can beat this, it is Chris.”


Knox smiles but still can’t speak

By TOM FITZSIMONS – The Dominion Post

Last updated 05:00 15/06/2009

Chris Knox
Chris Knox

Rock musician Chris Knox is smiling and recognising people after having a stroke, one of his former bandmates says.

But Paul Kean, bass player for Knox’s ex-band Toy Love, said he understood the 57-year-old was still unable to talk after Thursday’s stroke and that doctors had taken action to try to relieve pressure on Knox’s skull.

Knox had apparently been able to drink water and answer basic questions while being taken to hospital, Kean said.

A cartoonist and author, Knox was in a stable condition in Auckland Hospital’s stroke unit yesterday.

Earlier friends said doctors were anticipating that Knox would at best be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Kean said the whole New Zealand music scene was rallying around him.

Knox’s partner, Barbara Ward, was too upset to comment yesterday.

A family spokesman said Ms Ward (to whom Knox dedicated the hit Not Given Lightly) and children John and Leisha were grateful for the support and love they were getting.

Musician Chris Knox suffers stroke

7:39AM Monday Jun 15, 2009 – NZ Herald

Chris Knox with his partner Barbara Ward last November. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Chris Knox with his partner Barbara Ward last November. Photo / Herald on Sunday

New Zealand rock musician Chris Knox is unable to talk after suffering a stoke on Thursday.

Paul Kean, bass player for Knox’s ex-band Toy Love, said he understood the 57-year-old could still not speak and doctors had taken action to try to relieve pressure on Knox’s skull.

He had apparently been able to drink water and answer basic questions while being taken to hospital, Kean told The Dominion Post.

Earlier friends said doctors were anticipating Knox would, at best, be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

A family spokesman said Knox’s partner, Barbara Ward, and children, John and Leisha, were grateful for the support and love they were getting.

Knox’s recording career stretches back to late 70s punk era bands The Enemy and Toy Love, as well, as having a long association with independent music label Flying Nun as a solo artist and a member of duo the Tall Dwarfs.

His best known songs include the hit Not Given Lightly.

Knox is also an television arts show presenter, writer and cartoonist who has pennned the weekly Max Media strip in the New Zealand Herald’s entertainment pages for almost 20 years.


Chris Knox may not walk again after stroke

By CATHERINE WOULFE – Sunday Star Times

Last updated 05:00 14/06/2009
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Dominion Post ICON: Kiwi music icon Chris Knox, pictured here singing in 2008.

Friends of Kiwi music icon Chris Knox say he is now unable to speak and may not walk again after suffering a stroke three days ago.

A spokesperson for Knox’s family said the 57-year-old had a stroke on Thursday and was recovering at Auckland City Hospital.

“We’d just like to say that Chris’ partner Barbara Ward and his children John and Leisha are grateful for the support and love they’ve received, and at the moment everyone’s focus is just on Chris and his recovery, and we just ask that people be respectful of that.”

The spokesperson would not confirm any details about Knox’s condition. However, it is understood the medical prognosis was grim.

Friends said Knox, who lives in Auckland’s Grey Lynn, had surgery on Friday night, and doctors were anticipating that he would at best be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

He was also unable to speak, although stroke victims often regained their speech through therapy.

Sunday Star-Times music writer Grant Smithies said that after three decades in the music scene, Knox was one of our finest songwriters and had tried everything from cartoons to film-making and animation, talking about music on Radio Live and reviewing movies for the 1990s’ Backch@t show.

“He is a real pioneer of a lot of things in this country and deeply loved by a lot of people,” Smithies said.

Those who followed Knox range from fans of his early underground punk sound to those who, lately, may have hummed along to his 1990 love song to Barbara, “Not Given Lightly” on Vogel’s television advertisements.

Eight years ago that slow-burning song with the catchy chorus “Yeah, it’s you that I love and it’s true that I love” was deemed the 13th-best Kiwi song of all time. Another song, It’s Love, was recently picked up for a Heineken campaign.

But Smithies said Knox’s latest album, A Warm Gun, was his best yet: a “trademark mix of tenderness and disgust”.

“It’s the sound of somebody that is at the peak of his musical powers, still doing interesting things. It’s got his best singing on it for years. He sings one whole song in falsetto. That’s just marvellous.

“He’s a top bloke and there will be a lot of people throughout the country just really distressed. I just hope he recovers and makes another dozen great records.”

Chris Knox recovering after stroke

4:00AM Sunday Jun 14, 2009 – NZ Herald

By Rebecca Lewis

Chris Knox is considered to be one of New Zealand's greatest musicians. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Chris Knox is considered to be one of New Zealand's greatest musicians. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Ground-breaking Kiwi musician Chris Knox is in hospital after suffering a stroke this week.

Family member Roy Martyn said Knox was admitted to Auckland Hospital on Thursday morning, and his family members are with him.

He said Knox’s partner, Barbara Ward (to whom he dedicated the hit Not Given Lightly), and children John and Leisha Ward Knox were grateful for the support and love they had received, and were focusing on his recovery.

Knox is widely considered to be one of New Zealand’s greatest musicians, and is also a film reviewer, author and cartoonist. He helped found music label Flying Nun, which manages Kiwi acts such as The Chills and Phoenix Foundation.

He and former musical collaborator Alec Bathgate were to have reformed The Tall Dwarfs to support international act MGMT next month.

News of Knox’s stroke filtered through the Kiwi music community yesterday, with many voicing messages of a speedy recovery to Knox.

“I’ve only just learned of this and I feel great sympathy for him and the family at the moment,” said fellow music great Neil Finn. “He’s a pretty feisty guy and I’d like to think he’ll be around for a while longer. He’s a good acquaintance of mine and I send my best wishes to him.”

Barnaby Weir of The Black Seeds said Knox was a “living legend” and an inspiration to all musicians.

Musician Chris Knox suffers stroke

12:34PM Saturday Jun 13, 2009 – NZ Herald

Pioneering New Zealand rock musician Chris Knox is in hospital after suffering a stroke on Thursday. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey
Pioneering New Zealand rock musician Chris Knox is in Auckland hospital after suffering a stroke on Thursday.

Pioneering New Zealand rock musician Chris Knox is in Auckland hospital after suffering a stroke on Thursday.

Knox’s recording career stretches back to late 70s punk era bands The Enemy and Toy Love, as well as a long association with independent music label Flying Nun as a solo artist and a member of duo the Tall Dwarfs.

His best known songs include the hit Not Given Lightly.

Knox is also an television arts show presenter, writer and cartoonist who has pennned the weekly Max Media strip in the New Zealand Herald‘s entertainment pages for almost 20 years.

A family spokesperson said Knox’s partner and children are focusing on his recovery.


Musician Chris Knox suffers a stroke

Chris Knox
Chris Knox

Sat, 13 Jun 2009 12:58p.m. – RadioLIVE


The pioneering New Zealand musician and critic, Chris Knox suffered a stroke on Thursday.

Knox is currently surrounded by family and friends at Auckland Hospital’s stroke unit.

The 56-year-old was admitted on Thursday. His wife and children have released a statement thanking people for their love and support.

Knox started his career during the punk era with the bands The Enemy and Toy Love and has continued to have a successful recording career as a solo artist.

Musician and RadioLive presenter, Graeme Hill has been friends with Chris Knox for 25 years and says his work has set the standard for music in New Zealand.


Chris Knox suffers stroke

13/06/2009 14:36:02 – Newstalk ZB

Musician Chris Knox has suffered a stroke.

The 56-year-old former Toy Love and Tall Dwarfs front man is comfortable and in a satisfactory condition in Auckland Hospital.

Knox is best known for his hit song Not Given Lightly, and for being one of the founding members of Flying Nun Records.

Loliners – Single release May 2009

Loliners – Single release May 2009 – Another Dead Daddy / Obsessed and deranged

Loliners Single - Obssessed and Deranged cw Another Dead Daddy
Loliners Single - Obssessed and Deranged cw Another Dead Daddy

Song :LoLiners: obsessed and deranged

Buy single here:


Loliners: History

Lo liners Started 2004
Ex trash/grungeriotgrrlpunk with gats

Some history:
Lisa Preston – keyboard, drums, guitar, vocals
Bands: Portage, Nux-Vomica The Axemin, Snort, Thee Hellfire Club, The Luvin’ 44’s, The Ginger Group, The Tryhards, Loliners

Joanne Billesdon – lead and rhythm guitar & vocals
Bands: The Stepford 5, The Renderers, The Axemin, I M Force, Snort, The Hellfire Club, The Strap-ons, The Tryhards, Lo liners

Sharon Warhurst – Bass guitar
Bands: The Stepford 5, Snort, I M Force, Thee Hellfire Club, Lo liners

Russell Covyne – Drums…
Bands: mainly Boy Bands

Gig Report – Newtown Panda Battle, Adelaide Hotel, Newtown, Wellington, NZ, May 1 2009

By Steve McCabe

Newtown Panda Battle, May 1st & 2nd 2009
Newtown Panda Battle, May 1st & 2nd 2009, Lower North Island, New Zealand
We arrived in Newtown after a 10 hr drive from Auckland through the scenic wasteland that is Godzone North, Maui’s Fish, Te Ika O Maui.


At the Adelaide a live rugby match (Blues vs ‘Canes – ‘Canes shredded the Blues 45-27) was on the big screen at the opposite end of the pub to the stage.

Axemobile“Nothing happens till after the rugby” we were told cheerfully by more than one person. We went out for a nibble.

When we got back Angel Dust, playing first so as to maximize available drinking time, had started soundchecking and this eventually evolved into their set.

Angel Dust

The ‘Dust played a hard-rocking, suitably shambling set without descending into wallowing to an appreciative and diverse audience.

Roddy Pain

The congregation consisted of various Wellington radical / fringe factions come to support their favourite local bands and take in some of the out-of-town action on offer (Angel Dust, Hairdos and Axemen), punters left over from the rugby, and a few pandas who kept pretty much to themselves.

Angel Dust: Disorder out of Chaos
Angel Dust: Disorder out of Chaos

Panda Battle Battle Panda: Iron Maidens
Panda Battle Battle Panda: Iron Maidens

View video on You Tube View video on You Tube

Panda Battle Battle Panda: They blacken our eyes, they blacken our ears

Next Panda Battle Battle Panda had started setting up their ironing board and roar-checking the mikes.

Their set was a beat laden layercake of subsonic bass and drum beats overlayed with primitive roars screeches and squeals breaking into sloganised snippets of singing – kinda like the Slits and Crass jamming with Cabaret Voltaire in the jungle…

Panda Battle Battle Panda
Panda Battle Battle Panda

After ironing out a few technical issues, they pressed on through their set with crowd pleasers like ‘blacken our eyes’ and ‘what is she wearing?’

Auckland’s Hairdos (pronounced Hare – dooz), widely touted as the next big thing in perky kiwi punk-pop, played next.


Their set covered a range of their material and the slightly B-52s reminiscent “Night Creeper” was one of the many highlights of an energetic audience friendly set – lots of dancing



 The Hairdos: Perky punk
The Hairdos: Perky Punk Prototypes

View video on You Tube

Newtown: So good they named a town after them
Newtown: So good they named a town after them

View video on You Tube

Playing in their eponymous hometown, Newtown were the home team favourites.The 2-piece played their cheerful enthusiastic punky numbers to the delight of their audience contingent and the out of town-ers alike.


Kirsten and Greta (celebrating their second anniversary this very night!) swapped instruments mid-set showing their dexterity and making a nice dynamic change.


The Axemen were next on the agenda. Not having played in the capitol city for years, they were joined by their resident capitol city guitarist, Dragan Stojanovic to complete the classic 4-piece Derry Legend album line-up.


In keeping with the dairy theme promoting the recent ‘Big Cheap Motel’ re-release, they screened ‘Milk’, the new Sean Penn movie on the sports screen at the far end of the bar.

Ernie Abbott, R.I.P.
Ernie Abbott, R.I.P.

Time-travelling through a range of material spanning the last 2.5 decades, they finished of with an epic version of the highly suitable and relevant ‘Ernie Abbott‘, a chilling song about the caretaker killed in the trades hall bombing in Wellington in 1984.

Axemen: Old Farts Never Sleep
Axemen: Old Farts Never Sleep

View video on You Tube

Review: Big Cheap Motel ’09 from Satan Rulez

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

Who's Nailin' Paylin? HUSTLER COVER

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

“…hermetic tribes… ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Cheap Motel LP Label

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

Posted by s. kobak

Gig Report – The Ambassador, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, March 20 2009

March 20,  2009

Axemen, Hairdos, Smokin Daggers at the Ambassador

Ambassador Gig, Auckland, March 20 2009
Ambassador Gig, Auckland, March 20 2009

Following the flames of resurgence in punk music in Auckland being fanned by the wind from beneath the wings and between the buttocks of the recent phenomenally successful and oversubscribed AK87 gigs, Dogs Bollix new years eve gig, North Shore kids parties and others, punk in Auckland is once again rearing its ugly (or is more often the case on the isthmus, cutesy) head.

Axemen – Animals Have Rights Too
(soundcheck version, mp3)

Smokin' Daggers, The Ambassador, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, 2009

Smokin' Daggers, The Ambassador, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, 2009

Opening proceedings were the Smokin’ Daggers, Mr Tolley and his cohorts providing a typically energetic set; Tolleys guitar slung so low it conjures the image of a cricket player sizing up a yorker, the band knocking out the singles throughout the over and setting off the odd spinner, occasionally pushing out to the boundaries.

Closing off after a respectable innings, the mostly well behaved crowd expressed their approval and the band members melted into the crowd.

Hairdos, The Ambassador, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, 2009
Souvenir Poster

Next up were the Hairdos, Grey Lynn’s next big thing. The vibrant three piece hammered out their trademark edgy punk-pop numbers with their usual irrepressible glee to an appreciative audience.

The movie theatre foyer-themed movie theatre foyer venue suited the hairdos (pronounced hare-doos) music to a tee, you could almost imagine the torches and spilt popcorn as they played and jaffas rolled freely about during their show.

Mo Money Mo Money Mo Money
Mo Money Mo Money Mo Money

“That has to be one of the whackiest Axemen gigs we’ve ever played!” Stu Kawowski was heard to pronounce at the end of the Axemen’s set.
“Snailclamps closing was pretty whacky…” chimed in Steve.
“One of the whackiest gigs I remember” qualified Stu.

Songs by Axemen - Steve's Hair by Birdstock
Songs by Axemen - Steve's Hair by Birdstock

The Axemen, dormant for 15 years but exploding back on the scene in Auckland like an eighth volcano in a training run for their upcoming US tour with indie rockers Times New Viking came along tonight to see if they could out-punk all the young punks, all the young dudes, the brothers and sisters young enough to be their sons and daughters, the movers, the shakers, the young ones.

The Axemen - Stu, Steve, Bob
The Axemen - Stu, Steve, Bob

Airing out some of the more ascerbic and acrid tracks from their bulging back-catalog (‘Animals have rights too’ [from the soon-to-be-re-released on Vinyl ‘Scary!’  LP], ‘Big Cheap Motel’, ‘J.O.R.J’, ‘Money’ to name a few), the Axemen’s tiny overdriven amps were swamped by the booming drums and vocals for the most part giving the show an almost acapella feel, with Bobs keyboards and Steve’s guitar squeaking out in the (infrequent) drum breaks from pentarion beatmaster Stu Kawowski, still pounding the skins like he was 25.

“We really gotta get some bigger amps” commented Bob after the show.

“Its the thought that counts” Steve  muttered cryptically.

Post: Mecca Be Vest

This is WWIV – LSM confronts the Iron Eagle

WWIV Song Cycle


Rock Mountain


03  What Is Rock?

04  Back_2_The_City

05  Man-i-mal


06_I Wanna_Rock_It

07  Rock-n-Roll_Neanderthal


08  Black_Snake

09  Heavy_Water

10  Iron_Eagle

Iron Eagle

This is WWIVIn 1999, Marty Sauce and the Source’s principal songwriter and G.I.C.S.N. conceptual guru Davey G approached Little Stevie McCabe about doing the soundtrack arrangements for his visionary (but alas unreleased – until now!) apocalytic concept album and rock opera, tentatively entitled “This is WWIV!”*USA Eagle

The libretto for this ethereal and ungodly masterpiece revolves around the epic journey of a young shepherd boy ‘Hombreo’  (to be played by a clean-shaven Marty Sauce) to the city after he sees a nuclear missile launch from the hills of his homeland, where he is tending his sheep.

Indian Nuke

In the still of the clear Afghani night Hombreo can see its trajectory for miles with crystal clarity, and follows it with his keen shepherds night vision [his eyes being locally referred to as so-called ‘sheep seeking missiles’] to its destination, where he sees an awe-inspiring and terrible sight; a huge white-orange flash followed by a billowing mushroom-shaped pillar of smoke rising in slow motion over the horizon like a startled king cobra emerging from its basket, shimmering against the rhinestoned velvet wallhanging which is the desert sky.

This is WWIV symbols

“Red Sky at night, shepherds delight” he murmers to the assembled throng of sheep,  now huddled, shivering, at the base of his rough-hewn towelling and sackcloth candlewick bedspread.

Hombreo takes off for the city and has his shepherd-boy eyes opened clockwork-orange style, real horrorshow like, by the myriad bestial and despicable sights he sees along the way, culminating in the grand finale, which takes plays in the lair of the bald, beclawed and bewildered Iron Eagle. Afight ensues ansd the inevitable happens.

Hombreo at first tries to behead, then is bemused by, then finally befriends the metallic bird, and together they rule the land forever from 1000 feet below the scorched earth at ground level.

This Is WWIV - Poster

* Other names shortlisted: “Apocalypse Soon”; “Nagasaki 2000”; “Boom!!!”; “Miss Afghanistan”; “Where Eagles Iron”; “It Aint Half Hot, Omam!”

Post: Talc Betel Vices Emit

You’re in the army, now, lad!