steve mccabe, dragan stojanovic – guitars; bob brannigan – bass; stu kowalski – drums
purple haze recorded live at the rising sun, auckland, june 1989
third stone from the sun recorded live at siren, auckland, 18-6-89
Found these on a Christchurch City Council Libraries website of all places . . .
The first is from late 82 or early 83, advertising a gig at the infamous Empire Tavern in Dunedin. This poster was scrapped together from old posters and other art by Stu and whacked out in a night at the notorious Ink Inc. studio at 2/222 High St, Christchurch. Above Ground was the band Stu was in with Bill Direen, Carol Woodward and Maryrose Wilkinson (now M. Crook in The Renderers), while the Gorillas were 16-year-old Stevie’s high-school group whose other half was comix-maestro-to-be Pete Rees. They travelled down from Christchurch for the gig. The Cartilage Family was Peter Gutteridge, Shayne Carter & Christine Voice’s then-band, locals we’d befriended over the years.
Stevie said to me afterwards, as he sipped his post-set lemonade and we watched Above Ground, “Darn it, but I wish we could find a drummer like that old geezer.” “Aye laddie, he’s no Ringo Starr, but he just might be that John Lennon’s love-child.”
The second is maybe months later, from Christchurch, this time promoting an Above Ground gig and the release of their home-made tape GONE AIWA. This is vintage (nay, prehistoric!) Stu. Note particularly the cassette-as-icon, bio-diverse animal imagery (2 mammals, 2 birds), totemic nouns (Aztec, Leadbelly) & recycled typography. On view then are 3 key elements of the art/craft livelihood practised by the evolving Homo Axemenus (self-released product + cassette format + grand poster style) in nascent form. [BB, paleoaxeologist]
–undated, probably from Christchurch practises late 1984. Presence of saxophone and graphic equalizer are big time-clues, plus references to beer & god, plus the other side of the tape features the song “the panther of the suburbs” whose lyrics Steve channeled in trance-state following A SCAR IS BORN sessions, mid-84.
–live at Christchurch City Mall, c.1984. Sounds like there’s a clarinet on this too so likely features members of the Axemen marching band who did stuff up and down Colombo Street. While marching. In a band. More from Live at City Mall
This is probably the first ever gig we did with M. S. Agro (“Mick”) on bass. I was still living in Dunedin. I bussed up to Christchurch and arrived at the pub minutes before we went on. Steve and I had square lights gaffer-taped to the top of our heads. I didn’t know half the songs but Steve yelled out the chords, only instead of names like EEG he used numbers like 003 etc. Stu recorded this on his walkman. There’s a version of this on the MICK’S DANCEFLOOR (MIX) album, but that was recorded at Hell Farm–this is the real live deal. We would return to the S&G many times over the next couple years. . . [BB] fickle red book