Formed at Otago University, with a name borrowed from a Roxy Music lyric, Netherworld Dancing Toys released their early records on Flying Nun — but their soul/Motown influences and brass section were an odd fit for the label famous for a different Dunedin sound. ‘For Today’, their career defining song, was released on Virgin in 1985. It featured guest vocalist Annie Crummer to devastating effect, was a top five hit and has become an enduring classic. The band was a five-time winner at the 1985 Music Awards and ‘For Today’ won that year’s APRA Silver Scroll. Lead singer Malcolm Black passed away in May 2019.
It's the holidays: time to let your hair down, have a swim, give in to your appetite...and have a boogie. From Kings to The Clean, from 'Ten Guitars' to 'Trippin', let NZ On Screen supply the music, with this epic playlist of classic Kiwi party songs. In the backgrounder, music fan and publicity maestro Nicky Harrop takes us through the tracks, before bidding adieu to NZ On Screen.
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).
This documentary tells the story of the legendary Flying Nun music label up to its 21st birthday. The label became associated with the 'Dunedin Sound': a catch-all term for a sprawl of DIY, post-punk, warped, jangly guitar-pop. The Guardian: "[it's] as if being on the other side of the world meant the music was played upside down". Features interviews with founder Roger Shepherd and many key players, the spats and the glory. The label's influence on the US indie scene is noted, and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus covers The Verlaines' 'Death and the Maiden'.
RWP reporter/director Brent Hansen (later head of MTV Europe) visits the South Island: checking venues, talking to local luminaries, catching live bands and generally taking the pulse of the local music scene. Flying Nun is on the rise (and just starting to attract international attention) although none of the label's major acts are playing near the RWP cameras. Christchurch is in flux waiting on the next big pop act to emerge, while Dunedin is a hive of activity with a new generation of Flying Nun acts starting to come through. Then there's Crystal Zoom...
Richard Driver investigates late 80s campus radio for music show RWP, and finds stations that have outgrown modest beginnings. They have longer broadcast hours, a national co-ordinator (former Netherworld Dancing Toy Graham Cockcroft) and a profile in the industry. Further positives include their own style (a certain informality in presentation, perceived as a plus by many) and a commitment to alternative music and local talent. But there are also concerns about estrangement from student associations, and commercial success breeding advertiser pressures.
Singer Annie Crummer is of Cook Islands/ Tahitian descent. She first made an impact with her show-stopping guest slot with Netherworld Dancing Toys on ‘For Today’ in 1985. From the late 80s she has been part of the very successful all female act When the Cat’s Away. She released her first solo album Language in 1992 and followed it with Seventh Wave in 1996 before turning her hand to musicals with roles in Rent and Ben Elton’s Queen-inspired show We Will Rock You. In 2011 she won the Senior Pacific Artist award at Creative NZ’s Arts Pasifika Awards.