Post-punk trio Blam Blam Blam formed on Auckland’s North Shore in 1980 and featured Don McGlashan (vocals, drums), Mark Bell (guitar) and Tim Mahon (bass). Their second release was the momentous single ‘There is No Depression in New Zealand’ — a theme song for the Springbok Tour-marred winter of 1981. Another classic followed in ‘Don’t Fight It Marsha’ but a van crash seriously injured Mahon and prematurely ended their career. McGlashan was subsequently part of the Front Lawn before forming the Mutton Birds and is one of NZ’s leading songwriters.
Blam Blam Blam’s second hit from 1981 was angular and artsy, hook-filled but unsettling: all qualities captured in a theatrical video, directed by Andrew Shaw. Clowns, magicians, fire-eaters and trick cyclists join the band, while actors play out the saga of ‘Don’t Fight It, Marsha’. The actors — including Phillip Gordon (Came a Hot Friday), Michael Hurst and Donogh Rees (Constance) — were directed by Harry Sinclair, who would later join Blam band member Don McGlashan in The Front Lawn. The Len Lye-style scratch effects were by Jenny Pullar, the Blams’ lighting designer.
This classic alternative national anthem by Auckland post-punk trio Blam Blam Blam became a theme song for New Zealand’s long, troubled winter of 1981 as the country was wracked by social and political division and the Springbok Tour. Poet and playwright Richard von Sturmer wrote the lyrics while the music was by Blams member Don McGlashan. The video features a band performance shot on the roof of TVNZ’s Shortland Street studios and shows a curious penchant for celebrity lawn mowing. The performing Marmite and Vegemite jars are, however, the real deal.