Roving reporter Simon Morris talks to music movers and shakers in this special report from the 1980s cult music rock show. Auckland is on the cusp of the club boom and live music is waning. A youthful club promoter Russ Le Roq (aka Russell Crowe) flies the flag for the kids, Colin Hogg is unimpressed and a fresh faced Graeme Humphreys (aka Graeme Hill) fronts the Able Tasmans. Meanwhile, local acts are in short supply in Wellington. The live scene is healthier but radio certainly isn’t. The Pelicans (with a young Nick Bollinger) and Strikemaster perform.
Sailor's Voyage charts the journey of Hello Sailor, the band that ripped up a storm live, made landings in the USA, ran aground and fell apart, then drifted back together again. Interviews with Graham Brazier, Dave McArtney, Harry Lyon and co reveal how the group opened doors for local music, and helped establish a New Zealand touring circuit. Manager David Gapes recalls attempts to get a US record deal, before the cash ran out; the legend of Brazier being asked to join The Doors is explained. The archive footage includes a performance with Doors member Ray Manzarek.
In 1988 comedy group Funny Business managed the jump from stand-up to headlining their own hit TV show. This Funny As interview sees Dean Butler, Willy de Wit, Ian Harcourt and Peter Murphy covering many topics, including: "Making it up" as they went along — "We really didn't know what we were doing" How their routine involving an airbourne pet toaster once caused $3,500 worth of damage Their first gig at Auckland's Windsor Castle turning into a bi-weekly run that lasted for two years TVNZ taking a "huge risk" in commissioning the first Funny Business TV series Being "blown away" while performing at Canada's Just For Laughs comedy festival in 1990 What the group's members are doing now, including Willy de Wit's recovery from a 2016 stroke
Lancashire-born Hammond Gamble moved to Whangarei as a 12-year-old in the early 60s. He formed Street Talk in Auckland in 1974. They regularly sold out venues like the Windsor Castle and The Gluepot, and were a major drawcard in a burgeoning late 70s live scene. Despite high profile producers — Chris Hillman of the Byrds for their first single and Los Angeles svengali Kim Fowley for their debut album — they failed to make a major impression beyond Auckland. Gamble went on to become a NZ music institution as a songwriter and blues performer.
One of the great rock'n'roll songs about Auckland is the work of a Christchurch band. 'Auckland Tonight' is The Androidss' claim to fame - and yet it was the b-side of their only single. The work of a band that was never scared of a good time, it extols the virtues of a night on the town with special mention of Proud Scum and Toy Love playing at the Windsor Castle. The TVNZ video careers around rain soaked streets (with a shot of the long-gone Harbour Bridge toll booths) and offers telling glimpses of The Androidss' bête noir - the central police station.
Scott Blanks helped launch New Zealand's stand-up comedy scene in the 1980s. The owner and co-founder of Auckland's iconic comedy club The Classic muses about building the live comedy scene and other subjects, including: Getting his start in showbusiness when he was 19, acting in an amateur production of West Side Story Helping form comedy group Funny Business, and being a jack of all trades on their early gigs: "provide a stage, get the lights and sound sorted, and the marketing and the promo..." Starting a rookie comedy night at Auckland pub Kitty O'Brien's, where several comedians (e.g Brendhan Lovegrove, Sugar and Spice) first got their break The excitement of finding and setting up New Zealand's first dedicated live comedy club, The Classic, in 1997 How television stand-up show Pulp Comedy boosted The Classic's audience How his accounting degree helped save The Classic when it ran into money troubles
After making his name as part of comedy troupe Funny Business in the 80s, Willy de Wit found national success when the foursome won their own sketch show in 1988. From there de Wit appeared in a host of comedy shows throughout the 90s, including More Issues, Sportsnight and Comedy Central, before becoming a host on Radio Hauraki in 1998. He stayed with the station for 12 years.