147 Swordfish

One of the crop of great bands to surface for 1992’s Operation Music Storm competition 147 Swordfish made the finals coming second and impressing judges and audience with their well crafted sound and strongly melodic undercurrent. Songs like ‘love’ are upliftingly pop while other tracks such as ‘Hang’ drive solidly with it’s distorted bass backbone and deep ringing guitars. 147 Swordfish are melodic and smooth or poundingly tough depending on where in the song you catch them – definitely dynamic. The band consisted of David Wernham (Guitar/Vocals), Mark Tyler (Bass), Dave Deacons (Drums).

The band cut an unusual shape live with the wiry frame of Tyler standing motionless to the right, Deacons animatedly enjoying playing drums, and the hulking figure of Wernham looming over his guitar, usually extruding rivers of sweat. The band recorded 7 songs with Rob Mayes and Failsafe records for the Avalanche and Good Things project. 2 songs were left unfinished and one track remains unreleased. The band were recorded live which included a version of sublime new song ‘Freeze’, also unreleased.

Dave Wernham was at times a difficult character to deal with, but there was no denying his deft hang with a cool melody and driving song. The band were performing a number of excellent songs before they gave up 147 Swordfish for other projects, Tyler and Deacon to Salmonella Dub and Wernham to his sound engineering, eventually touring with bands like Shihad. As good a live engineer as Dave Wernham is it’s a loss to the pop world that he hasn’t pursued his song writing any further. the bands last performances were in 1994.
-Rob Mayes (Failsafe)

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Catherine Wheel

Biography

No relation to the UK band of the same name, this one was formed in 1988 if it makes any difference. Following on from Genie and the Wild Children‘s Dave Hunt, Brett Lupton and Mark Tyler and with Paul O’Brien joining, the band became brilliantly adept at working up catch pop and indie rock numbers.

The band recorded 6 songs with Rob Mayes in the bands warehouse on 4 track yielding exceptional results, and self released minimal copies of it to friends. One track ‘Love and justice’ was included in the Pagan Records indie guitar compilation Positive Vibrations.

This batch of songs mined similar territory to the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience in their Flex EP phase, but with the Catherine Wheel’s own slanted style. Easily as good though.

Another series of recordings were completed at the same warehouse on 8 track yielding 4 more songs, none of which were released.the band also committed to tape a large part of their set at a recording session at Rob Mayes Gilby Street home but the sessions were scrapped due to difficulty with O’Brien’s drum sounds. These songs represented a wealth of cool pop songs, and most were not recorded again. Later developments in recording technology would have allowed correction of the original problem, but no use crying over spilt milk.

Catherine Wheel stumbled on to average success, the band always having trouble with live gigs, through technical difficulties, and in some cases stage fright. Eventually the band split with Lupton going on to form Squirm, Hunt went on to form Supertanker, and recorded and released material with Failsafe.

Supertanker went through a few line-up changes before folding, and Hunt eventually ended up as replacement guitarist for Christchurch grungsters Pumpkinhead. At Pumpkinhead’s demise Hunt joined David Yetton’s Stereobus project, joining after the release of the first album. Bassist Mark went on to collaborate with drummer Dave Deacon as the Sly and Robbie rhythm section of Christchurch working in Golf Course Alligators, Salmonella Dub, and 147 Swordfish, among many others.

– Rob Mayes

Members

  • Dave Hunt (Guitar/Vocals, 1988 -)
  • Brett Lupton (Guitar/Vocals, 1988 -)
  • Mark Tyler (Bass, 1988 – )
  • Paul O’Brien (Drums, 1988 -)

Discography

Links