William Daymond is a music historian and collector, third year History student at Victoria University and a musician (member of Axemen, The Flying Sorcerers, The Pickups, and Terror of the Deep, to name a few). Here are five albums Flying Nun Bootlegs he’s loving right now…
1 – The Enemy. Demo Tape, Harlequin Studios, Auckland, November 1978.
Toy Love have been experiencing a belated yet highly deserved resurgence in popularity over the past year – any band that can get two of their reissues in the Top 20 album charts thirty-two years after the fact is testament to well written songs that can stand the test of time. However, a high percentage of Toy Love songs date back to their previous band, The Enemy, a band that have been written and talked about but with the exception of the odd appearance on compilation albums (including I Can Write Songs Okay and Kiwi Rock) they have not really been listened to by a wider audience.
Apparently these demos were recorded so that upcoming bass player Paul Kean could learn the songs and so that the band could record their set for posterity before they split up. Despite a little tape hiss evident on my copy, the quality is excellent, and one would hope that the master tapes are still in existence. Opening with the surprisingly catchy Can’t Get It Up (possibly a New Zealand version of the Dead Kennedy’s Too Drunk To Fuck), the band blast through twenty songs, many of which would later make their way into the Toy Love set in some shape or form. The Toy Love song we all know and love as Squeeze is presented here as a smutty prototype called Cocktease (“She’s just a crazy tease / Got me on my knees begging please”). Bass player Mick Dawson’s song Take It Out On The Boys sounds like it could have been lifted straight from a Nuggets or Pebbles compilation, foreshadowing the 1960’s pop sound that Toy Love would later embrace. Other gems include Gone To The Worms, a song that was re-recorded by Tall Dwarfs on their 1985 album That’s The Short And Long Of It.
Official release, please!
(Songs: Can’t Get It Up, I Don’t Mind, Rainbow, Don’t Catch Fire, Lust, N.O.T.H.I.N.G, I’m In Love, Frogs, Take It Out On The Boys, Cocktease, Sheep, Cover Version, Cold Meat, Unscrewed Up, Silly Girl, Gone To The Worms, I’m Not Bored – I’m Dead, 15, 1978, Horror Comic.)
2 – The Clean. Lunchtime Concert, Logan Park High School, October 1979.
Most of us have a story of a band playing a lunchtime gig at their primary school or high school; mine involves a Christian covers band playing a lunchtime set at my intermediate school in Nelson in the mid 1990s. They were terrible – in between playing such predictable covers as I’ll Be There For You by The Rembrandts and Wonderwall by Oasis, the band members extolled the virtues of Jesus Christ to the students that had turned up to see them play. As awful as they were, it was slim pickings for a music obsessed eleven year old to see a live band in the mid 1990’s in Nelson, so needless to say me and my fellow music obsessed buddy crossed town to see the band play a full set later on that night. However, one can only imagine the religious experience that would have occurred when seeing an embryonic version of The Clean playing a lunchtime gig at Logan Park High School in late 1979.
This is not the classic line-up that we know and love, but an early incarnation of the band, featuring Hamish Kilgour concentrating solely on vocals, Peter Gutteridge on bass, Lindsay Hooke on drums and the only familiarity to the final line up is David Kilgour playing guitar. Two songs from this gig (Pop Art Pictures and Hey Solid Citizen) were released on the cassette only Oddities 2 in 1986, however one has to hear this concert in its entirety to fully appreciate the dynamic between the band’s performance and the students listening to it.
Opening on Complications, a song that would remain unreleased until it appeared as the final song of their 2001 album Getaway, the recording sounds grunty, raw, vital and essential. The students in the assembly hall have obviously never experienced anything like it before – you can literally hear them screaming in between songs. Anything Could Happen sounds almost unrecognisable – instead of the acoustic/countryish incarnation heard on the Boodle Boodle Boodle E.P. two years later, this early electric incarnation is so fast it is only really comparable to early period Ramones. In between very typically New Zealand and amateurish yet charming stage banter (“We are going to have to stop for a split second as our guitarist has just broken a string, he’ll just have to nip out to the car to get another one”), and a token cover (Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers’ Roadrunner), they eventually end the set, citing P.A. trouble, and the tape just manages to capture a teacher telling the assembled students to “..all get out at once” and return to their classes. Awesome.
Earlier this year David Kilgour mentioned on The Unofficial Flying Nun Music Vault Facebook page that there are tentative plans to have this show officially released, let’s hope this will come to fruition.
(Songs: Complications, Point That Thing Somewhere Else, Pop Art Pictures, A Face To Be Seen, Get Out Of My Car, I Want To Go Underground, Anything Could Happen, Count To Ten, Roadrunner, Next New Day, Hey Solid Citizen.)
3 – The Chills. Rumba Bar, Auckland, 25 May 1982.
The Chills are a band that I prefer to listen to surviving live recordings of over their studio efforts (a fact that I’m sure many of my ex-flatmates and band members can confirm) as live they have just the right balance of power and muscle with delicacy and restraint; on record they have a tendency to concentrate on the latter two of these factors. I also prefer the line-ups that occurred between the early to mid eighties as although the latter line-ups still have excellent songs, they do tend to reek of being a man on a mission with a backing band, whereas the earlier line-ups have more of a “friends hanging out and having fun” vibe to them.
May 1982 was a crucial month for the early Chills. On the 15th and 19th the A and B sides of the Rolling Moon 7” were recorded, on the 29th the initial sessions for the Pink Frost/Purple Girl 7” took place (these were not completed until two years later, but that’s another story) and on the 25th the iconic Dunedin Double E.P. was released, which contained The Chills first proper recordings. They also played a gig that night, which fortunately was excellently recorded for posterity. Main Chill Martin Phillipps is captured as a precocious and wide-eyed eighteen year old who obviously has a natural aptitude for songwriting, and backed by the excellent rhythm section of Martyn Bull (who is still my favourite NZ drummer) and right hand man Terry Moore (who’s excellent Red Sky Morning is featured in the set), the band can do no wrong. You can tell that they are having a good time, happy to finally have a record out, and that their friends are in attendance – Chris Knox is in the audience and regularly heckles Phillipps, calling him everything from a “cutesy-pie” to an “arse-licker” and on more than one occasion unsuccessfully tries to get the band to perform the ABBA song Tropical Loveland.
The band sound surprisingly loud and abrasive, and some of the songs in the set (Jellyhead, Dolphins, Watching Old Home Movies) are so punk rock that they would have not been out of place on the AK79 compilation. Wet Blanket, presented here over five years before it was released on their debut album Brave Words, sounds strong and powerful, juxtaposed with the eventual studio release, which sounds like, well, what its title implies. What is also impressive is the abundance of well-written songs that were never properly recorded (Lost In Space, If This World Was Made For Me, Red Sky Morning and my personal favourite, Juicy Creaming Soda).
The excellent performance and sound quality of this tape was not lost on Phillipps; five of the twenty songs that appear on this recording were eventually released on Secret Box, an archival release of B-sides, rarities and live recordings, in 2000.
(Songs: Purple Girl, Jellyhead, Pink Frost, Steinlager, Cyril, After The Told Me She Was Gone, Wet Blanket, Donald Duck In Chicago, Dan Destiny & The Silver Dawn, Red Sky Morning, Lost In Space, Dolphins, Juicy Creaming Soda, I Saw Your Silhouette, Jetty, If This World Was Made For Me, Watching Old Home Movies, Slime, Bite, Kaleidoscope World.)
4 – The Bats. House Party, Private Residence, West Melton, c. January 1983.
John Dix’s Stranded In Paradise and Mathew Bannister’s Positively George Street both intriguingly mention that for the first six to twelve months of The Bats existence they were primarily a covers band that played at parties, and thankfully there is evidence on magnetic tape of this seminal period of the band’s life. This recording captures the band performing at a friend’s birthday party, and the setlist combines early original compositions, some of which would eventually be released (By Night, I Go Wild, Man In The Moon), some of which weren’t (What Would You Do, La De Da) an abundance of cover versions (Bad Moon Rising, I’m A Believer and Twist And Shout, to name a few) and even the theme song of a television show (The Munsters).
This is only their second show, their first having been on New Year’s Eve 1982 at The Empire in Dunedin. The band sound loud, energetic and punky, with a good case in point being the version of Get Fat, later to be released on the Four Songs 12” E.P. in 1988, is almost unrecognisable at the breakneck speed it is performed at. It sounds like the tape was recorded on a hand held walkman, so the quality isn’t exactly high fidelity, but manages to perfectly capture the energy and obvious good vibes that were abound on this summer night in early 1983.
(Songs: Munsters Theme, What Would You Do, Bad Moon Rising, La De Da, I’m A Believer, Get Fat, Sugar Sugar, Man In The Moon, Twist And Shout, Down On The Corner, Bad Moon Rising, By Night, Pretty Flamingo, I Go Wild, Birthday Song, Is It Any Wonder, Sloop John B, What Goes On, Coming Back.)
5 – The Cartilage Family, Empire Tavern, Dunedin, early 1983.
“Who on earth are The Cartilage Family?” is a question I’m sure around 95% of you are currently thinking. This may take some explaining…
A quick glance at Robert Scott’s Dunedin band family tree will show that from 1977 to 1992 there were over 160 bands operating in Dunedin, many of whom only lasted from around six months to a year and never made any proper recordings. The Cartilage Family were just one of those bands, but what makes this recording interesting is the personnel involved and the time frame that this was recorded in. The two main protagonists in The Cartilage Family were Shayne Carter, post Bored Games but prior to The Doublehappys forming, along with Peter Gutteridge, post his involvement with The Clean and The Chills but prior to the formation of The Great Unwashed. They are complimented by the rhythm section of Lesley Paris on drums and Kathy Bull on bass, both future members of Look Blue Go Purple.
Highlights of this recording include early versions of Gutteridge’s Can’t Find Water and Born In The Wrong Time, both of which would become iconic Dunedin songs when released on The Great Unwashed’s Singles E.P. the following year, however these incarnations are somewhat more poppy and jangly than what they would eventually turn into. All of Shayne Carter’s songs on this tape (Funfair, Shallow Shallow, Stench, and a few that go unannounced) find him at an interesting crossroads on his songwriting journey – although the punk sensibilities from Bored Games are still there, the 60’s pop overtones that would come to the fore in The Doublehappys are starting to creep in. None of these songs were subsequently used in any of his future projects, making this recording even more interesting to fans of his songwriting. The set ends on a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, sung by Carter, that has to be heard to be believed.
(Songs: ?, Funfair, Can’t Find Water, Shallow Shallow, Stench, ?, Born In The Wrong Time, ?, Purple Haze.)