Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Friday Music: Christchurch, Legacy of Strange

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  • waihekeislander,

    Russell, a podcast of the ChCh talk would be great if it can be arranged.

    New Zealand • Since Feb 2015 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Harvey,

    Russell,
    Generally I have no idea what you're talking about in this music column, mainly because my musical taste was formed in 1970s London, per Charlie Gillett, Kenny Everett, et al, so I missed the whole seminal NZ scene. However I rely on both your and Gordon Campbell's efforts to extend my experience, so thank you for your efforts.
    What I wish to mention is that this Saturday Music in Parks (no relation) has put together a cracker programme of three bands at Coyle Park (aha!). A blend of Motown+soul+RnB+jazz -- should be great!
    Cheers and thanks again, Bob.

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

    And then Ronnie did this for their next single.

    I have a green / orange version of this (Coat/Jim) - and it's an 'offset' which Roy tells me is even rarer..

    Looking forward to your talk Russell. Later the same evening, Parquet Courts are in town @ Dux Live. They are I hear Gordons fans!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

    Out in the northwestern suburbs where I grew up, Tony Peake held court in his loft at the University Bookshop.

    Roy also worked there. After a while, sometime in 1982, the loft closed and the records moved downstairs. Mustn't forget Tony (Rupert) Green either. One time owner/manager of long-running Galaxy Records and drummer in the 80s for (at least) Mainly Spaniards and Haemogoblins, Tony's now in San Francisco where he manages Amoeba Records in Oalkand, He pops home fro time to time - and surfaced recently,of all things, at the America's Cup in SF, 2013.

    A lot of the live 80s Chch scene was fortunately captured by Rob Mayes (Failsafe Records).

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Hope Dolphin gets a mention. Met up with their guitarist and my pal, Kevin Stokes in Twickenham in January. His Kiwi-British band Souther still is in abeyance after three bloody good albums,

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2557 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Sounds great - will definitely try to catch this. Being in Chch through these times, even with eyes and ears half-shut, was a blast.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

    There’s a bit of stuff out there about 80’s Christchurch music, covered off in books like Matthew Bannister’s ‘Positively George Street’. I rediscovered ‘Glam, Punk and Scorched Earth Policy’ is a collection of three essays some of which formed the basis of a soon-to-be-written thesis by (Ronald) Wade Churton. The only copy I’ve seen is in the archive collection of the Christchurch Library, The punk essay looks at closely at scenes such as Mollet St, even providing listings of the gigs played there over ’77 and ’78. The third essay is devoted to early 80’s Christchurch band Scorched Earth Policy, sound bite interviews with the various band members. One reference refers to a certain Mr Brown, writing for Rip It Up at the time (1984), who was none too impressed with SEP live - ‘bored shitless’ he was! Included in their ranks was Brian Crook, later of the Renderers

    Churton went on to produce an MA thesis in 2003 Alternative music in New Zealand,1981-2001 definitions, comparisons and history, a 2003 MA thesis. Chapter 3 is dedicated to ‘alternative music in NZ, 1981 – 2001’. I note an event (which entirely passed me by) at the Christchurch Polytech Great Hall in July 1981, the ‘Radio U Radio Arts Lobster’ benefit gig which introduced ‘six new bands’, five of which had never previously played live. They are unnamed. Russell, do you recall that one and who the bands were? You are cited as reviewing it in In Touch no. 11 (07/81). It’s an accessible though large (35MB), scanned and not PDF searchable.

    I also uncovered an article by Tony Mitchell Flat city sounds: A cartography of the Christchurch music scene though it’s behind a paywall. Mitchell revisited that article in 2011 – Flat city sounds redux: a 'musical countercartography' of Christchurch. The terse abstract states merely: ‘a psychogeography of Christchurch music from a perspective of non-mainstream music’. The link isn’t entirely useful, however, the article also appears as a chapter in Home, Land and Sea: Situating Music in Aotearoa New Zealand. Psychogeography – love that word!

    Another work I came across was Nicholas Braae’s 2012 MA thesis A Musicological Analysis of Nature’s Best. There's just a brief mention of 80s Chc music - Dance Exponents and Pop Mechanix, 'neither of whom ' identified with this scene or any notions of a local style'.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    Glam, Punk and Scorched Earth Policy’

    Does that have pictures?

    Not much early Chch punk from 1978-1980 about that I have seen. Ian Dalziel of course will know all that there is to know.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Hebe,

    Does that have pictures?

    Not many, if any :) (There's a copy in the UC McMillan Brown collection - I went and looked it up!)
    A former flatmate did an art-school photography project called 'Christchurch Boots' in 79-80. That would be good to end up at audioculture.
    I like how Bruce Russell puts it:

    in my opinion it’s the psychic discharge of pent-up frustration and inchoate rage that explains this music. The people making it were fed up with doing what was expected of them by a narrow-minded and conformity-mad society of people that presented as wowsers and drank like navvies.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Hebe,

    ID...will know all that there is to know

    Nice of you to say such a thing, but chance would be a fine thing,
    I was away from Chchch for a lot of that time, in Auck, Aust then Wgton & Auckland again - also shy, and/or drinking heavily...
    Though I do have to exhume some of those similar period braincells for an interview about early Flying Nun later this week...
    History, eh...
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    I note an event (which entirely passed me by) at the Christchurch Polytech Great Hall in July 1981, the ‘Radio U Radio Arts Lobster’ benefit gig which introduced ‘six new bands’, five of which had never previously played live. They are unnamed. Russell, do you recall that one and who the bands were? You are cited as reviewing it in In Touch no. 11 (07/81).

    Well, blow me down. I've long thought of that as the first music review I ever wrote, but if it was July 1981, then perhaps I'd done something for the Christchurch Star by then (that was my first year there as a cadet reporter).

    I can only recall the name of one band: a group of Chinese students called The Phantoms, who I never saw again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch Library has a Chchch music timeline.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Hebe,

    It's all in b/w. Images not of great quality. I will follow up with local historian - and long time Flying Nun aficionado - Greg Ryan who was Wade Churton's co-supervisor.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    I know Greg would be interested to see any of the early ones :-)

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2898 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    Wade Churton

    has probably done the definitive take on that side of the Chchch scene – a shame his books are hard to find, some of it surfaced in Mysterex and some of it surfaced (uncreditted or referenced) in other peoples’s books – I forget which book, but one of the many lightweight ‘NZ music histories’ had mentions of the Androidss that could only have come virtually verbatim from Wade Churton’s efforts…*
    others I have seen never mention John Dix’s fine Stranded in Paradise – which for a while was the only book available and even now is one of the better ones… (well up to early ’80s any way)
    I recently unearthed (well, de-boxed) a letterhead I did for John when he was originally trying to get the book off the ground – though I’ll never forgive him for stupidly leaving all his notes and photos in a car outside a gig in Wellington – which unsurprisingly was broken into – many of the photos that disappeared were ones I had arranged to loan to John from various Chchch people who had no other copies – and they never were found – historymaking is a bitch!

    Just so long as The Basket Cases (and The Gresham Hotel) get their due credit (friends for whom I was a faux-roadie, and which is where I came in… mid to late ’70s) – immortality is mine! (though I think at the time there wasn’t a ‘t’ in that word…)

    *Here’s Wade in his own words about it all on Public Address a while back…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Andrew Schmidt's 'mysterex' blog was the go-to for Chch 80s music scene writing, but it seems to have disappeared :(

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I must be too young to remember the Gresham :)

    I came across The Nostalgia Black Hole site which provides ‘a somewhat incomplete list of licensed premises, locations of Christchurch in the two decades between 1960 and 1980’. Taking this nostalgia a little further, there’s a four avenues map of the Square Mile Pubs from 1984!

    The Gresham used to be known as the Rotherfield. This Papers Past link describes the Rotherfield, in 1917, as 'the best of everything supplied'. In that same link, there's mention of many old Chc pubs, now lost. Chick's in Port Chalmers was certainly alive and kicking in those days.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

    In 'more stuff from Christchurch and NZ's past worth preserving' there's this The Sad Demise of the Christchurch Record Shop - a pretty extensive list, all those ones Russell listed plus many more.

    I vaguely recall The Music Box in the Square, over by Chancery Lane; the name 'revived' by Kate and (ex-Chch) Jol Mulholland on their excellent Saturday morning show on Kiwi FM.

    And there's this too: Music World Records: NZ's Very Own K-Tel'. It's worth a closer read. It includes this:

    Rather ironically despite the label wearing the badge ‘World’ virtually all of their artists came from New Zealand, 90% of whom venturing no further afield than Gore to record in Tandems, Sydenham studios. Invariably the production, sound quality of these records, Phonogram did the pressing, often left a lot to be desired – not that their audience seemed to complain or it deterred sales.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 385 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    Disc located memories…

    : Music World Records… Sydenham…. (Chchch)

    …tucked away in Hawdon Street (parallel to Buchan and Colombo)
    up the Byron Street end, as it were…

    The Sydenham of my yoof was rich in cultural pickings, Coca-Cola, Lane Walker Rudkin, Aulsebrooks, the railways – and all their marshalling yards, stations, tunnels and bridges, Movie Theatre, Tip-Top Icecream, Haberdashers, Wool stores, Grain stores, a Foundry, Coal yards, Pool hall, Boxing gym, The Austin assembly plant, tailors, Monumental Masons, 33rd degree Masons, Library, school, parks, were all within walking (or biking) distance…
    World Records was close to the Hallmark Card warehouse, round the corner from Ballins, across from Crothall’s Laundry which was positively Dickensian when I first saw (and smelt) it – it slowly modernised as the Gas Works fell away and then the spin dryer forced them to diversify – there may have been churches and hotels dotted around for the older folk…

    Not sure if they recorded in there, I always thought of it as a warehouse – Tandem had a studio upstairs in Colombo Street near St Asaph St

    Music World either brought in or brought the rights, or bootlegged many (one at least!) early Krautrock compilation records – if my memory serves me even passably… (not a given) – unless of course they were ‘sound-alikes’ by local prog rockers!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    unless of course they were ‘sound-alikes’ by local prog rockers!

    That would be amazing.

    PS: Had a really nice time today talking to Matt Goody, who I believe is coming to see you soon. Lovely man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Not sure if they recorded in there, I always thought of it as a warehouse – Tandem had a studio upstairs in Colombo Street near St Asaph St

    Where Eric Johns of disco legends Heatwave was the engineer!

    Here's a story: my schoolfriends' band, who I was managing (Art Decade, they were called), recorded a whole album at Tandem for Music World. But the deal was cancelled after the bass player admitted in a Sunday Star interview that it was "a bit weird" being on the same label as Suzanne Prentice.

    Man, we coulda been contenders.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    New Zealand reggae fans have cause to thank Music World: they released The Wailers' 'Natural Mystic' and the odd other reggae classic of uncertain copyright status. It's never clear in reggae whether the guy who sells you the rights actually owns those rights.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    And there’s this too: Music World Records: NZ’s Very Own K-Tel’. It’s worth a closer read.

    Oh, man, thank you for that link!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oh, man, thank you for that link!

    'The Hoghton Hustle - the story of World Records' would make a marvellous movie - half 'The Harder They Come' half 'Boogie Nights'.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

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