Kiwi music legends Toy Love are credited with leading the NZ post-punk sound, delivering a sonic flare from 1979 that scaled charts and smashed Sweetwaters watermelons, before the love ended on a late 1980 NZ tour. In this February 1980 interview for regional show The South Tonight, the band is seen in their Dunedin hometown, preparing for a show at The Captain Cook Tavern. Reporter Keith Tannock asks Chris Knox what he’s rebelling against as the singer chugs a double-barrelled ciggie, and casts shade on boring pub rock music. The band would shortly depart for a stint in Sydney.
This episode of C4's music series Homegrown Profiles looks at the long career of New Zealand heavy rock's favourite sons Shihad. Singer Jon Toogood talks frankly about the band's highs and lows, from forming at Wellington High School to the release of Love is the New Hate in 2005 (when this was made). In a sometimes brutally honest self-appraisal, Toogood talks about the band's success in Australia being tempered with too much drug-taking and ego, their ill-fated name change, and the great American dream that didn't quite work out as planned.
“You get the impression that Wellington wants an audience but doesn’t want to be seen to be trying too hard to get one”. This report surveys 1982's local music scene, framing tensions between an energetic politically-conscious underground, and commercial rock and pop (i.e. Auckland). Not all is positive, with complaints about lack of venues and promotion, and violence at gigs. Interviewees include Mocker Andrew Fagan, Nino Birch (Beat Rhythm Fashion), Dennis O’Brien, Ian Morris, promoter Graeme Nesbitt (in Radio Windy sweatshirt) and punk singer Void (Riot 111).
Taking its title from a quote from Def Jam's Rick Rubin, NZ's first homegrown house record was a one-off studio project made by four graduates of the punk and post-punk scenes of the late 70s and early 80s — Simon Grigg (Suburban Reptiles manager and Propeller Records boss), Alan Jansson (Steroids and Body Electric), James Pinker (The Features) and Dave Bulog (Car Crash Set). It was released in NZ as a white label 12" 45 and made a brief appearance in the UK club charts. Grigg and Jansson went on to work together on OMC's international hit 'How Bizarre'.
Chris Knox's music career began with legendary Dunedin punk band The Enemy, followed by post-punk heroes Toy Love, then the Tall Dwarfs and his own solo work. Knox has been a film reviewer on arts shows The Edge and Backch@t, and hosted the series The New Artland. As a singer-songwriter and music video director, he is known as a pioneer of lo-tech, DIY classics. For this special two-part ScreenTalk interview, Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd chatted with Knox about his life and career. In part one, Knox talks about: His early love of film and how he first got into filmmaking The first footage of The Enemy, shot by cameraman Peter Janes Making the Toy Love video Squeeze Making the later Toy Love videos Rebel and Don't Ask Me Part two of this interview can be found here, where Knox talks about moving into making his own videos, being a film reviewer and TV presenter, and his comic strip Max Media.
Post-punk trio Blam Blam Blam formed on Auckland’s North Shore in 1980: Don McGlashan (vocals, drums), Mark Bell (guitar) and Tim Mahon (bass). Their second single was the legendary ‘There is No Depression in New Zealand’ — a theme song for the Springbok Tour-marred winter of 1981. A van crash seriously injured Mahon and spelt the end of the Blam. McGlashan later formed The Mutton Birds, before going solo. Mark Bell played in Coconut Rough and The Jordan Luck Band, and has written for NZ Musician. Tim Mahon joined Dead Sea Scrolls and spent time as Manukau City Council's arts coordinator.
Beat Rhythm Fashion was a Wellington post-punk band formed in 1980 by brothers Dan and Nino Birch (who had grown up in Hong Kong). They were part of the “Terrace Scene” (centred on large, old flats near Victoria University) but the finely crafted, swirling sophistication of their sound set them apart from more aggressive musical neighbours. After signing with Mike Alexander’s Bunk label, they released three well received singles — but a projected move to Australia failed to eventuate and an August 1982 gig at Wellington’s Clyde Quay Tavern was their last.
‘Beings Rest Finally’ was the A side of the first of three singles released by Wellington post-punk outfit Beat Rhythm Fashion (the single shared its initials with the band’s name, as did the flip side ‘Bring Real Freedom’). A product of early 80s nuclear dread — the “disaster day” in the lyrics might refer to the death of millions — the band nevertheless saw it as a “happy sort of lullaby” rather than a sad song. The TVNZ video captures this combination of innocence and terror as children paint a colourful mural over news footage of war, unrest and a mushroom cloud.
The Screaming Meemees (named for a 1960s toy machine gun) formed at Rosmini College in Takapuna and were at the forefront of a post-punk wave of new bands from Auckland’s North Shore in the early 80s. The band’s first proper release ‘See Me Go’ became the first NZ single to enter the charts at No.1 (helped by pre-sales and delivery delays) and was immediately deleted. A massively popular live act, they recorded one album If This Is Paradise, I’ll Take the Bag (a nod to TV's It’s In The Bag game show) for the Propeller label but disbanded in 1983.
Band in the forest rock conventions rule, in this music promo from British video director Gina Birch (of post-punk outfit The Raincoats). Band parks their tour van in the forest; band gets out instruments, and plays song in and around (and on top of) van, and on nearby tree stumps; band clowns around and runs through the trees. It's all good natural fun, in the Flying Nun tradition of simple but effective music videos.