The Newmatics came out of a fertile post-punk early 80s Auckland music scene that also spawned Blam Blam Blam and the Screaming Meemees. Taking their cues from ska, r’n’b and soul, they were a fearsome live act — but managed to release only nine songs (including their enduring legacy ‘Riot Squad’ — synonymous now with the 1981 Springbok Tour). After their split in 1983, Mark Clare took up acting (he’s the bungy jumper in the classic Instant Kiwi ad), Kelly Rogers co-founded Rialto Cinemas and Ben Staples played with UK indie band The Woodentops.
This song is from New Zealand’s troubled winter of 1981. The Springbok Tour gave the term “riot squad” currency throughout the country — but the Auckland live music scene and the police were already enduring a very fraught relationship. This number from Auckland ska/soul band The Newmatics, released on the band’s Broadcast OR double 7" EP, was actually written about a 1980 police raid on XS Cafe in Airedale Street. The Keystone Cops music video is classic early 80s TVNZ Avalon and features actors Ross Jolly and Michael Wilson as two thirds of the 'blue shadow'.