Chris Knox wears a Madonna head-set mic and John Lennon sunglasses, with a t-shirt and bright yellow shorts, as he walks along Auckland's Ponsonby Rd singing and playing guitar. In background inserts Knox himself plays a mad air-guitar-playing chorus and censor. Very simple, but full of cheek and characteristic CK energy.
In 1992 songwriter and guitarist Andrew Brough left Straitjacket Fits, determined to perform his own brand of "f***ing uplifting pop music". Three years later he formed Bike with drummer Karl Buckley and bassist Tristan Mason. Debut single 'Save My Life' was a finalist in the APRA Silver Scrolls. Brough was a fan of sunny, West Coast guitar jangle and 'Save My Life' has a bob each way: guitars chime, while a morbid lyric ('Don't you try and save my life /cos' I'm already dead') floats overhead. Director Mark Tierney chooses a dreamy palette which combines orange with monochrome.
This was the song that rocketed Mark Williams to fame, and the top of the New Zealand charts. The accompanying album became the biggest selling local pop/rock release of the 70s. Williams has described how Kiwis reacted to him with "either absolute adoration or absolute disgust". Having relocating to calmer climes in Australia, he returned to Wellington in 1981 and recorded a live TV special — from which this version is taken. On first hearing the demo, Williams was not impressed; but the song transformed after the call was made during recording to "swing it a bit".
A tongue in cheek paean to the joys of middle age, this jaunty, amiable rocker was an unlikely hit in the more electro-pop oriented early 80s. Written by Dave Luther, from folk pop group Hogsnort Rupert, it was the 12th biggest selling single in NZ in 1983. The all-singing, all-dancing music video, like so many of the era, was an Avalon studios television production. Less typically, by the standards of the day, it practically amounts to a major production with multiple sets and a cast of dozens while the band hams it up for all they are worth.
Auckland band LEISURE’s statement on the YouTube page for this song says: "with the world in its current state of flux, sometimes we just need to switch off and float away from it all." The video for the group's first single takes note, as a camera roams through a series of tableaux – from street to bedroom, passing various people chilled to a state of inertia – before following their gaze to the next still life. Directed by Joel Kefali (Royals), the clip won Best Music Video at the 2017 NZ Music Awards. The song featured on supernatural teen TV show Shadowhunters and HBO comedy Insecure.
Muscular and intense, this challenging (and presumably autobiographical) short film boldly brings to life an epiphany, and the impetus to rebuild following dark personal struggle. "Tangaroa has opened and revealed so many emotions, so many stories, so many images for me that I had to shoot a video for this powerful piece of music. It has become a catalyst for change within my life. A tool to help unlock and understand the past, present and future." Tiki Taane - April 09
'Dragons and Demons' is a track from Whats' Be Happen? — the first release from the Auckland pioneers of Pacific reggae. The album had a shot of the Bastion Point protest on its cover, however the emphasis in this song — written by original vocalist Tony Fonoti — is more personal than political as it exhorts people to control mental dragons and demons. Fonoti’s devotion to Rastafarianism made him uncomfortable with the band’s growing commercial success, and led to his departure. ‘Dragons and Demons’ received a new lease of life in 2009 when it was featured in Taika Waititi’s film Boy.
This soulful invocation, sung in te reo, to Tangaroa — Māori god of the sea — comes from singer-songwriter Maisey Rika's third album. The instrumentation includes a string quartet and traditional taonga pūoro instruments played by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper. Director Shae Stirling’s music video has a vibrant clarity. It places Rika in the bush and the forest, in the surf and on the smouldering, volcanic landscape of Whakaari/White Island as she hails Tangaroa as commander of the tides while dolphins and whales provide further evidence of his life force.
'Circus Kids' was the second single from Bike’s sole long-play record Take In The Sun. It is a prime example of the layered, classically-inspired arrangements and pop songcraft that frontman Andrew Brough had touched on in his previous band Straitjacket Fits. In this swirling, elegantly-gothic promo video, an innocent young boy goes a-wandering, and discovers the seedy underbelly of circus life — all rendered in lush black and white by director Jonathan King, and veteran cinematographer Neil Cervin.
Shot in alternating colour and moody black and white, this is a straightforward music video: cutting together a wahine washing her hair in a basin, with the band performing on a garbage strewn wasteland, slo-mo strolling along a city street, and singer Che Fu (Chicago White Sox cap and duffle coat) wandering a wintry North Shore beach. Director and band member Joe Lonie captures lively performances from the band's multiple members, to help bring the clip to life.