King Loser is the kind of band I’ve always wanted to form. More of a loose collection of friends (with an almost comical approach to drum-throne rotation), yet somehow managing to get it together enough to release 3 brilliant albums and a number of inspired singles, King Loser put the scuzz in scuzz-rock.
Like some kind of evil take on Nancy Sinatra and Lee Heazlewood, the domineering front of Chris Heazlewood and Celia Mancini (nee Patel, then later Pavlova) trade off vocal barbs (him – rugged and biting, her – sultry and fork-tongued) over a bed of surf-guitar, jungle-grooves or just good-old american Lo-Fi hiss-rock.
The duo formed King Loser after meeting in Dunedin in 1991. Mancini had previously been in a handful of influential underground Christchurch groups (The Stepford 5, The Axel Grinders and a lounge group called The After Dinner Mints) and had managed Into the Void.
Utterly theatrical, each band member who passed through their ranks took on a distinct persona (Pat Faigan became Duane Zarakov, Lance Strickland became Tribal Thunder) and the band played up their over-the-top american inspiration. thankfully it wasn’t all show, as King Loser laid down some of the meanest guitar and hottest songs this country has even seen, and deserved far greater recognition than they actually received.
After an exceedingly prolific 3 years the group faded away – essentially disbanded by late 1997. Mancini would resurface in short-lived Auckland group Mothertrucker.
A live performance of a reunited King Loser surfaced in 2015, with the group going on to play a handful of reunion shows up and down the country – however any hope of the group continuing was lost when Celia Mancini passed away in September 2017.
- Glen Campbell (Vocals, 1991)
- Chris Heazlewood (Guitar/Vocals, 1991 – 1997, 2016)
- Celia Mancini (Organ/Vocals/Bass, 1991 – 1997, 2016)
- Sean O’Reilly (Drums/Guitar, 1993, 1995 – 1997, 2016)
- Duane Zarakov (Drums, 1991 – 1994?)
- Gregg Cairns (Drums, 1991?)
- James Kirk (Drums, 1993 – 1994)
- Peter Jeffries (Drums, 1993)
- Billy TK (Guitar, 1994)
- Steve Dean (Drums, 1994)
- Tribal Thunder (Drums/Guitar, 1995 – 1997, 2016)
- Supersonic Hi-Fi (1993 Turbulence/Flying Nun Records, TUR005/FN299)
- Tie Us Down 7″ EP (1993, 18 Wheeler, EWR-005)
- Stairway To Heaven 7″ Single (1994, Flying Nun, FN283)
- You Cannot Kill What Does Not Live (1995, Flying Nun Records, FN309)
- Caul Of The Outlaw (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN382)
- Troubled Land Single (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN394)