Ultra-catchy funk-pop-rock outfit that spawned a number of huge singles (‘Sittin’ Inside My Head’, ‘You Gotta Know’, ‘Scorpio Girls’ etc) as well as jump-starting Che Fu‘s career. Over their first 3 years they put out just the one album, but a number of EPs and all those singles gave them an incredibly high profile. However, with Che Fu’s star beginning to rise, problems developed within the group and eventually Che left to persue his (hugely successful) solo career.

The band did soldier on for one more album though, relocating to the U.K. to record Backspacer, which was quite a somber release compared to their early zesty tracks, and failed to excited the buying public. The group decided to go their seperate ways, eventually reuniting in 2003 for the release of a best-of and tenth-year celebrations. Their singles still remain as a snapshot of New Zealand music in the early 90s – hugely accessible and catchy pop with a quirky streaky.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • You Gotta Know Ep [1993 Bmg 149452]
  • Traction [1994 Bmg 218462]
  • Sitting Inside My Head Ep [1994 Bmg 216892]
  • Tractor Ep [1994 Bmg 245452]
  • Backspacer [1996 Bmg]

Awards Etc
Rianz Awards 1994

  • Album Of The Year: Traction
  • Top Group Of The Year: Supergroove
  • Sound Engineer Of The Year: Malcolm Welsford
  • Producer Of The Year: Malcolm Welsfored / Karl Stevens
  • Music Video Of The Year: Can’t Get Enough

Rianz Awards 1995

  • Music Video Of The Year: You Gotta Know

Rianz Awards 1996

  • Producer Of The Year: Malcolm Welsfored / Karl Stevens
  • Music Video Of The Year: If I Had My Way


Surfing USSR

Greg Malcolms’ excellent kletzmer surf guitar 3-piece. Featuring Malcolmg on guitar, the odd vocal warble, floor guitar and a huge beavy of toys (he prides himself on being able to put on a show for under $5 from the Warehouse!), along with local heavy-duty muso’s Matt Gibb (who plays with several jazz groups) on drums, and Marc Howe (a music tutor, and a player in the Christchurch music scene since his teens originally with the C) on bass.

They put on a pretty damn good show, with all sorts of tricks and whatnot to spice up their bizarre homages to bond films, beatles songs and ‘traditional hungarian folk songs’ (which often turn out to be Iron Maiden covers..). the album is a pretty good reflection of their live sound, taking in all the usual tracks – though its of course the visual element that makes their gigs so lively. they kinda disappeared in 2003, with malcolm putting together two separate solo approaches, but resurfaced in mid 2004 with new drummer Chris O’Connor (formerly a pivotal figure of the wellington avant-garde and jazz scenes) whom Malcolm played with during a European excursion.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Surfadelic [2001 Proper Music]


Surface Of The Earth

3 piece featuring Paul Toohey, later of K-Group – freeform Wellington-based experimentation using:

Synth drones, guitars and mutilated electronic debris to create a soundspace where layers of distortion, hum and buzz hang like veils in the air, each disrupting the aural view of the layer beneath, without completely obscuring it from audibility
– Bruce Russell

Described as inexplicably the most drone underground act around (Wolf Eyes and Sun O))) stand aside), Surface Of The Earths’ recordings move at a pace so slow that you’d wonder why they ever released singles..

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Surface Of The Earth Cassette [World Resources]
  • ‘4.02’/’4.55′ 7″ Lathe-Cut Single [World Resources]
  • ‘Shield’/’Corridor’ 7″ Lathe-Cut Single [World Resources]
  • Surface Of The Earth Double-Lp Re-Issue [World Resources]
  • Interference [Fusetron]
  • Surface Of The Earth Cd Re-Issue [1997 Corpus Hermeticum Hermes021]


The Swingers

Phil Judds short-lived pub band turned superstar outfit. With Counting The Beat they became an overnight sensation, a stripped down successor to the punk bands that came before them (The Scavengers and Suburban Reptiles), The Swingers were Judd and ex-punks Bones Hillman and Busters Stiggs – a rough around the edges rock outfit with the most familiar guitar intro in New Zealand music (its now the soundtrack to a million K-Mart ads..) and a killer riff. They eventually went through rough times, with Ian Gilroy and Andrew Mclennan eventually drafted into the line-up. Their popularity soon waned, with Judd’s interest going into other projects.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘One Good Reason’/’All Over Town’ 7″ Single [1980 Ripper Rpi002]
  • Practical Jokers [1981 Ripper Rpr004]
  • ‘Counting The Beat’/’One Good Reason’ 7″ Single [1981 Ripper Rpi012]
  • ‘It Ain’T What You Dance It’S The Way That You Dance It’/’Flak’ 7″ Single [1981 Ripper Rpi015]
  • ‘One Track Mind’/’Distortion’ 7″ Single [1981 Ripper Rpi019]
  • ‘Punch And Judy’/’In The Middle Of Nowhere’ 7″ Single [1982 Ripper Rpi022]
  • Starstruck [Soundtrack 1982 Mushroom]


Straitjacket Fits

Dissonant kiwi pop-rock that at times verged on shoe-gazer (the band were known for incredibly loud live performances), often hiding their delicate melodies and concise, heartfelt lyrics behind a wall of feedback. Based around Shayne Carter and Andrew Brough (who eventually split from the band after the Melt tour to form Bike) both on guitar and vocals, David Wood filling the bass role, and John Collie at the drums. Shayne Carter was always the man in the spotlight, he had come from Dunedin band the Doublehappys and was known as a bit of an enigmatic front-man, as well as being quite the temperamental artist type. Andrew Brough however (formerly of the Orange), represented the quiet and caring, under-appreciated side of the band – his single ‘Down In Splendor’ is one of the best examples of melodic kiwi pop, a fragile, love song with a killer sing-a-long chorus.

But Carter is one hell of a songwriter also, practically carrying the first album (the classic Hail) with his singles ‘She Speeds’ and ‘Life In One Chord’. During the first two albums, the Fits were at the fore-front of kiwi rock, challenging the Chills and the Headless Chickens for the most popular of local bands, and along with the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience as the pick of the New Zealand underground scene. When the Melt tour wound down in early ’92, Brough decided it was time he formed his own band, as little of his material seem to work its way into the Fits cannon. He was replaced by Mark Peterson for the disjointed album Blow, released later in ’92.

Although Blow contains some excellent pop singles in ‘Done’, ‘Cat Inna Can’ and my personal favorite, and an excellent moot point for The Fits – ‘If I Were You’, the album was too inconsistent to support an attempted break into the burgeoning American market, and the band broke up to persue their own interests.

Carter now performs under the Dimmer moniker, releasing the brilliant, decade in the making I Believe You Are A Star last year to unanimous critical acclaim, and with a follow-up to be released shortly! Brough’s band Bike made one of the great New Zealand pop albums of the mid 90s, drawing a great deal of radio play for what was basically an all-hit album.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Life In One Chord 12″ Ep [1987 Flying Nun Fn080 / Fne25]
  • Hail [1988 Flying Nun Fn105]
  • ‘Hail’/’So Long Marianne’ 12″ Single [1988 Flying Nun Fn108]
  • ‘Hail’/’So Long Marianne’ 7″ Single [1988 Flying Nun Fn114]
  • Hail [1990 Extended U.S. Edition Flying Nun Fn142]
  • ‘Sparkle That Shines’/’Grate’ 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun Fn151]
  • Melt [1990 Flying Nun Fn174]
  • ‘Bad Note For A Heart’/’In Spite Of It All’ 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun Fn175]
  • ‘Bad Note For A Heart’/’Skin To Wear’/’In Spite Of It All’/’Hail’ (Live) 12″ / Cd Single [1990 Flying Nun Fn176]
  • ‘Down In Splendour’/’Seeing You Fled’/’Missing Presumed Drowned’/’Cave In’ Double 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun Fn180]
  • Down In Splendour Video Cassette [1990 Flying Nun Fn D16011]
  • Done Ep [1992 Flying Nun Fn242]
  • Blow [1993 Flying Nun Fn251]
  • ‘Cat Inna Can’/’Sycamore’/’Satellite’ Cd Single [1993 Flying Nun Fn265]
  • ‘If I Were You’/’Brother’s Keeper’ (Demo)/’Burn It Up’ (Demo) Cd Single [1993 Flying Nun Fn285]
  • Best Of Double-Cd [1998 Compilation Flying Nun Fn406]

Awards Etc
Rianz Awards 1990

  • Music Video Of The Year – Bad Note For A Heart
  • Cover Design Of The Year – John Collie

Rianz Awards 1993

  • Album Of The Year – Blow
  • Top Male Vocalist Of The Year – Shayne Carter


The Strange Girls

Cja, Sugar Jon, Motty “Kat” Smokehouse, Kraus.

Discography (picks in bold)


The Stoutfellows

Christchurch Celtic Rock. Dan, Nick, Peet, Scott.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Stout Fm [2000]



Christchurch punk-ska.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Beer Pressure EP [199?]



Rex Bourke, Joanne Kickoff, Maria, Liz Cohor, Rebecca Shanahan, Noel Ward, Tim Mahon and Tane Tokona.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘When Judy Gets Out’/’She Said Let’S Kiss’/’You Cure Me’ 7″ Single [1987 Flying Nun Fn089] Rn
  • See Your Colours [1991 Flying Nun Fn179] Rn
  • ‘Turn Your Lights On’/’John Lennon’ 7″ Single [1991 Flying Nun Fn186] Rn
  • ‘She Knows Whats Happening’/’Little Sickie’ Cassette Single [1992 Flying Nun Fn230] Rn
  • The True Ep [1992 Onset/Offset]