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;
20$ppd-US
24$ppd-Canada
30$ppd-Elsewhere

*LIMITED TIME OFFER*

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

*AND WHILE YOUR HERE*

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

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: George D. Henderson of the Puddle

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 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
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