Richard Driver files this 1988 Radio with Pictures report from a Waitemata Stadium concert cobbled together after the failure of music festival Neon Picnic. He interviews The Chills, Graham Brazier and Live Aid legend Bob Geldof. Geldof, along with Tim Shadbolt and Phil Warren, had come to the aid of music fans by organising the consolation gig at the last minute. Geldof rates Neon Picnic’s demise as an international embarrassment. But he praises the local music community for rallying behind the replacement gig, and admits he enjoyed the rush of helping organise it.
This NZ Music Month collection showcases NZ music television, spun from a playlist of classic documentaries and beloved music shows. From Split Enz to the NZSO, Heavenly Pop Hits to Hip Hop New Zealand, whether you count the beat or roll like this, there’s something here for all ears (and eyes). Plus music writer Chris Bourke gets Ready to Roll with this pop history primer.
In the era of Live Aid and Band Aid, Don McGlashan, Chris Knox and Rick Bryant fronted this one off project voicing opposition to the proposed 1985 All Black tour of South Africa — the first contact with the Springboks since 1981. The result was a 12” single (catalogue number STOP 15) which went to No.2 in the charts; but it was a court injunction that led to the cancellation of the tour. The All Blacks didn’t play South Africa again during the apartheid era (although 28 players selected for the 1985 tour later went to South Africa as the Cavaliers).
Nick Sampson wrote Netherworld Dancing Toys' big hit 'For Today' during a summer spent working at a Taranaki freezing works. His love song has become a classic — aided in no small part by Annie Crummer's soaring vocal. The TVNZ video, directed by Radio With Pictures producer Brent Hansen, places the band in a studio (where Crummer sings with Kim Willoughby in a precursor to their time in When the Cat's Away) and on the Cook Strait ferry (where the shoot was nearly derailed when lunch in a Picton pub almost led to the band missing the return sailing).
The Naked and Famous enjoyed a fairytale rise after forming in 2008 around composer Thom Powers and lyricist Alisa Xayalith, with their twin vocals at the forefront of a hook-laden cocktail of electronica and pop. The band began a busy touring schedule after releasing Passive Me Aggressive You, and winning eight gongs at the 2011 NZ Music Awards. A run of distinctive videos have aided the group's rise: including 'Punching in a Dream' and Young Blood’ — which entered the NZ charts at number one, and won 10 million+ YouTube hits. Later albums In Rolling Waves (2013) and Simple Forms (2016) won wide acclaim.
Jan Hellriegel's debut album It's My Sin was launched in late 1992, aided by the top five success of her first solo single, 'The Way I Feel'. The West Auckland-raised songwriter had already spent five years in all woman band Cassandra's Ears. A second solo album, the Australian-recorded Tremble, saw her being named Most Promising Vocalist at the 1996 NZ Music Awards. Hellriegel took time away from recording after 1999 single 'Melusine'. She acted on Street Legal, and began working in music publishing. Album All Grown Up was released in 2009; a Lost Songs compilation followed, with a fifth album due in 2017.
In the late 60s Craig Scott moved from Dunedin to Christchurch, and performed in a number of bands; one (Revival) even scored a top 20 hit. Opting to go solo in 1970, Scott quickly topped the charts with debut single 'Star-Crossed Lovers'. In 1971 his cover of Australian hit 'Smiley' won the Loxene Golden Disc Award. Aided by regular appearances on TV's Happen Inn, more hits followed. By 1974, when he shied away from the spotlight to start a family, Scott had spent four years as NZ's number one teen heartthrob.
After concocting all manner of outlandish images on 8mm film, Bad Taste was Peter Jackson’s breakthrough; years in the making, it was the first feature to make it from his Pukerua Bay backyard to cinema screens, where it quickly began to rack up sales. An all-male cast of public service Alien Investigation and Detection Service operatives run amok with guns, food, vomit, rockets and misguided enthusiasm, to rid the earth of alien Lord Crumb and his fast-food gang — who want to turn earthlings into hamburgers. Jackson took two acting roles in this ‘splatstick’ sensation.
If a single word could sum up the free-wheeling flavour of alternative music and comedy in Aotearoa during the 1970s, that word would surely be ... Blerta. The 'Bruno Lawrence Electric Revelation and Travelling Apparition' included foundation members of the NZ screen industry (Lawrence, Geoff Murphy, Alun Bollinger) plus other merry pranksters. Drawing on the Blerta TV series and beyond, Blerta Revisited (aka Blerta - The Return Trip) is an anarchic collection of comedy skits, musical interludes and films culled from the Blerta archives. Costa Botes writes about Blerta here.
Since first winning fame as lead singer of 60s blues band The Underdogs, Murray Grindlay has gone on to apply his musical talents as a composer for feature films (Sleeping Dogs, Once Were Warriors), veteran jingle-writer (including the classic Crunchie train robbery commercial), and producer (hit single 'Sailing Away', Goldenhorse's Out of the Moon).