Collection

The Chris Knox Collection

Curated by Roger Shepherd

Low-tech legend Chris Knox is an accomplished musician, cartoonist, critic, filmmaker, and jandal wearer. As this collection demonstrates, his genius takes flight in the DIY aesthetic of his music videos. As Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd says in his backgrounder, “this is a unique and important collection of work perfectly illustrating what is possible with the barest of resources and a free-wheeling imagination”. Russell Brown adds his view here. Alongside music videos, the collection also includes interviews with Knox and profiles of bands Toy Love and Tall Dwarfs.

Go Easy - José Feliciano

Commercial, 1977 (Full Length)

David Bellamy told Kiwis their old man’s beard had to go, Spike Milligan advised “Just put up a windmill Daddy!” … in 1977 the international celebrity counselling New Zealanders was Puerto Rican-born musician José Feliciano, telling Godzoners to “go easy” on power consumption. With the second oil shock looming, this was one of a series of 70s public service announcements produced to encourage energy conservation. The blind virtuoso — famous for songs like ‘Feliz Navidad’ and his cover of  ‘Light My Fire’ — was filmed on 3 October, a few days before his Auckland show.

Seven Sharp - Peter Posa

Television, 2015 (Excerpts)

Instrumental track ‘White Rabbit’ made Peter Posa a household name in the 60s — the success of the two minute guitar solo led to US recordings and meetings with Frank Sinatra and Chet Atkins. In 2012 a best of compilation debuted atop the NZ album chart, and later became the year’s biggest selling release. This May 2015 Seven Sharp piece sees Hadyn Jones head to Waikato Hospital to interview “New Zealand’s greatest guitar player”. Jones discovers that a stroke appears to have ended the 74-year-old pensioner's guitar playing; but it has also liberated him from depression. 

Rushes

Short Film, 1988 (Full Length)

Gregor Nicholas explores the outer edges of obsession in this deliciously fruity comedy. The syncopated medley of music, strange noises and varied eccentrics doing their special thing shares similarities with a fondly-recalled scene in cult film Delicatessen; though Delicatessen was yet to emerge when this short film first debuted. Rushes played in multiple festivals, including the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand. The soundtrack is by ex Techtones guitarist Steve Roach. Director Nicholas followed this with another oddball romp: his feature debut User Friendly.

Artist

Hallelujah Picassos

Emerging in the late 80s as a genre-bending live act, Hallelujah Picassos blended indie rock, ska, hardcore punk and hip-hop. They originated in Auckland, where an industrial gig in a cafe led a barista to introduce himself to the guitarist. The combination of Roland Rorschach and Peter McLennan was soon coupled with Bobbylon and Johnnie Pain. They released two studio albums, Hateman in Love and Drinking with Judas, then, after major membership changes, called it quits in 1996. The Picassos reunited in 2011, releasing a compilation of hits, and followed it up a year later with covers album Picasso Core Jukebox.

Sex and Agriculture

The Exponents / The Dance Exponents, Music Video, 1984

Dance Exponents were the crown princes of NZ pop when they released this left field follow-up to their very successful debut album. ‘Sex and Agriculture’ introduced new guitarist Chris Sheehan and marked a major departure from hook-filled pop songs into harder, noisier territory. A rhythmic, driving soundtrack punctuated by Sheehan’s atmospheric guitar undercuts lyrics that could describe a rural idyll. Jordan Luck grows increasingly desperate in this shadowy, constricted TVNZ video which echoes the song’s dark claustrophobic sense of rural dread.

Cat Inna Can

Straitjacket Fits, Music Video, 1993

This is one of four videos directed by Kiwi-born Andrew Dominik for band Straitjacket Fits. The brooding, disdainful 'Cat Inna Can' was the first single from the the Fits' third album, Blow, recorded in LA after the departure of guitarist Andrew Brough. The meowing guitars are matched with circling, swooping camerawork, in a video shot in a Sydney warehouse and cooling tower. Dominik went on to direct acclaimed crime films Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Killing Them Softly — the latter two starring Brad Pitt.

The Night

Goodnight Nurse, Music Video, 2008

The first, online-only single from Goodnight Nurse’s second album Keep Me By Your Side was its biggest selling track. As the band plays on stage, the camera focuses on the wild and wasted audience (including future Shortland Street stars Bonnie Soper and Chris Tempest) as they drink, dance, throw up and make out. Joel Little, frontman of this partytastic Auckland punk-pop outfit, produced Lorde’s album Pure Heroine, winner of a pile of Tui, Grammy and Brit awards, while guitarist Sam McCarthy went on to co-found Kids of 88.

Ten Guitars

Television, 1996 (Full Length)

This full-length documentary gives warm-spirited context to the song that has been the soundtrack to countless back lawn crate parties and freezing works chains (watch the credits). It was released as the B-side of singer Engelbert Humperdinck's Please Release Me, and became an unlikely hit in Aotearoa with fans who have done the "dance, dance, dance ...": including Dalvanius (who discusses its "pop-schlock" charms), Bunny Walters, The Topp Twins, and a special group of ten guitarists. The documentary also explores why "the national anthem of Patea" is so appealing to Māori.

Making Music - Blindspott

Short Film, 2005 (Full Length)

Drummer Shelton Woolright and guitarist Marcus Powell from West Auckland metal band Blindspott feature in this episode from a series made for high school music students. They talk about their beginnings playing in sheds and paddocks in Taupaki and their decision to “get serious” which led to a major label record deal and radio play in Australia and South East Asia. The third Blindspott single ‘S.U.I.T. (So Us Is This)’ gets an acoustic run through as its construction is explained and there are some school friendly excerpts from the music video.