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.
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.
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.
'Lyin' in the Sand' closed Hello Sailor's self-titled debut album in 1977, the song's languid South Seas vibe providing respite after 'Gutter Black' and various guitars. Inspired by a spontaneous South Pacific parody from vocalist Graham Brazier one night, it was written by guitarist Harry Lyon after observing how Takapuna's smart set took their beach for granted. TVNZ filmed the band playing live in a Christchurch studio in 1978, just before the band set off to try to make it in LA. Lyon sings, so Brazier is absent; drummer Ricky Ball's hula confirms that the band’s tongue was in its chic.
Also known as Aishah and the Fan Club, pop band Fan Club released a run of pop singles in the late 80s and early 90s that charted both in New Zealand and Aishah's native Malaysia ('Don’t Let Me Fall Alone' made the US Billboard Hot 100). The group was formed while Wan Aishah binti Wan Ariffin was studying in NZ. In 1991 the band collected International Artist of the Year at the NZ Music Awards. Aishah went on to a solo career in Malaysia and guitarist Paul Moss went on to judge TV singing contest Malaysian Idol. Fan Club released two albums: Sensation (1988) and Respect the Beat (1989).
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.
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 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.
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.
This brooding collaboration with Ladi6 from Shihad frontman Jon Toogood's other project The Adults, is yet another departure from his hard rocking day job (although guitarist Shayne Carter briefly raises the temperature). Director Sam Peacocke's split screen video was shot at legendary Auckland studio The Lab (where The Adults recorded their debut album). Ladi6 anchors one side with a typically soulful performance while Toogood (uncharacteristically playing bass), Carter, drummer Gary Sullivan and engineer Nick Roughan are all serious intent beside her.