The Grunt Machine began life in May 1975 as a pop culture show for 12-20 year olds playing four days a week at 5.30pm. Presented by Andy Anderson, it featured music and reporter based items. Pulled in August, it returned in September as a much hipper late Friday night rock show fronted by David Jones. The 1976 season started with Paul Holmes (in his first presenting role) and featured a Split Enz special for its first show. Fellow DJ John Hood took over later in the year (lying on cushions to do his links). The final Grunt Machine aired in December 1976.
The airport interview with the visiting overseas celebrity was very much a staple of 70s New Zealand TV — but in this encounter the location looks suspiciously like NZBC's Avalon studios, and rock star Hiram W Violent bears more than a passing resemblance to John Clarke (of Fred Dagg fame). The wardrobe department has had a thorough ransacking and the question of Hiram's ability with the guitar remains thankfully moot. The interviewer is original Grunt Machine presenter and actor/musician Andy Anderson (who later starred in Gloss and The Sullivans).
Two long versions and a short version of the titles for the late night rock show; and a first attempt at animation for Avalon graphic designer Mike Peebles who was just out of art school. Sensibility is horror meets underground comics with a touch of Monty Python - but Peebles was anxious to avoid existing imagery (excepting the Rolling Stones mouth for the "wah-wah" voice). The first features a voice somewhere between Vincent Price and Isaac Hayes, ending with the invocation "and buckets of blood, baby". The end of the second is more matter of fact.
This segment from Grunt Machine is a visit to Wellington radio station 2ZM. Announcer Paul Holmes (and later Grunt Machine host — resplendent in afro and moustache) is interviewed after giving away an LP to Carol of Naenae. He isn't a fan of music charts and thinks 2ZM should drop its Top 20 because people just want to hear music now and not the hit parade. Elsewhere there are calls to record shops to check sales and compile the Top 20 that Mr Holmes would rather not have — and a listening session rattles through the new releases in very short order.
The only surviving footage of spacey progressive rockers Ragnarok is this studio performance from a mid-70s rock show. This is the band's second incarnation (following the departure of original vocalist Lea Maalfrid) and they perform four tracks from their second album Nooks: 'Five Years', 'Waterfall/Captain Fagg', 'The Volsung' and the disc's title track. As befits the musicians' intent, band and cameras are largely content to let the music do the talking — the visual departure of the glam rock boogie of 'Captain Fagg' comes as quite a surprise.
This simple but very effectively choreographed clip is one of the few pieces of music footage shot for 70s rock show The Grunt Machine that is extant in the archive. The extended instrumental intro allows Phil Judd nearly two minutes of pacing and hovering in the Avalon Studio shadows before he confronts the camera at his malevolent best. The soon to depart Wally Wilkinson is on guitar; time in Australia has cemented the band's stage personas, Noel Crombie's black and white costumes are a visual treat, and the result is a perfect document of Mental Notes-era Enz.