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s artists

Skeptics

Hugely popular and influential New Zealand industrial rock act. Known for their grinding sound and one particularly visual music video – the incredible and universally banned ‘Affco’. The video shows some rather graphic freezing-works footage, and was directed by Stuart Page – also known for his band the Axemen. The video has since had several one-off showings, and is actually available directly from page – but it is far too graphic to ever receive any kind of commercial release.

David D’Ath (vocals / keyboards) and Robin Gauld (guitar) formed The Skeptics in Palmerston North way back in 1979, with Don White (drums, percussion and samples) and Ian Reiddy (bass) soon joining to complete their original line-up, heavily influenced by the first wave of British punk. After a few fruitless practice sessions and recording efforts in their high school, Gauld’s old friend Nick Roughan (who was considerably more technically adept) was brought in as a new bassist and things started to gel.

The Skeptics are set apart by the transcendent intensity of their performance. It’s uplifting by way of the band’s sheer force of will. Punishing and cathartic in the extreme, the skeptic’s noise is demanding and confrontational

– Paul Mckesser, taken from a live review in Rip It Up, 1990

Support slots and eventually their own headline slots soon showed a quickly rising fan-base – the band were growing very popular. The Pyronnists Selections EP was recorded for Ripper recordings, but a stolen master tape delayed their debut release (though the track ‘Last Orders’ was included on the Three Piece Pack compilation). After a close finish in the Auckland battle of the bands (finishing 2nd to the short-lived Gurlz) they finally made their debut with the EP Chowder Over Wisconsin, a distinctly collaborative album.

The band continued to build a strong following, running the Palmerston North venue ‘Snail Clamps’ – and started releasing material through Paul Lurkers Industrial Tapes , including a release from spin-off act the Amazing Charlton Heston. Once palmy had been conquered the band relocated to Wellington, losing Gauld to overseas study and gaining the Gordons / Bailter Space‘s John Halvorsen as his replacement, and Brent McLauchlin lent a hand as mixer (and eventually a part-time 2nd drummer).

2nd album Skeptic III and the subsequent ‘Affco’ video were produced in 1987, cementing the bands notoriety, but TVNZ refused the piece, even with digital editing to mask the gore:

The graphic scenes of animal slaughter are unnecessarily detailed and prolonged, and despite the fact that they may be everyday scenes at freezing works, this does not imply that visuals of this nature may be screened on television
– Gerry Ryan, ‘Radio With Pictures’ producer

Come 1989, work on the third album Amalgam was disrupted by D’Ath’s health. It was quickly apparent that D’Ath had leukemia, but despite rushing the albums production, D’Ath never saw it completed. He died on Tuesday, September 4th 1990, dissolving the band. Post D’Ath’s death, the band released archival and live material and compiled their work on a Flying Nun released boxed-set, though Roughan, White and Gauld’s attempt at a reunion (as hub) never really got off the ground.

The focal point was david with his slight stature, his hooked nose and his deep-set eyes. He looked like some strange, punch drunk bird and the veins in his neck bulged as he forced mysterious words and noises from his throat
Chris Matthews, taken from D’Ath’s obituary in Rip It Up, 1990

Discography (picks in bold)

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Categories
a artists

The Axel Grinders

Biography

The infamous Axel Grinders – a terrific Christchurch noise-punk / garage beat combo from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s formed by John ‘Segovia’ Markie, Pat ‘Duane Zarakov’ Faigan, and Martin ‘Brother Love’ Henderson, with Celia Patel (aka Celia Mancini, at that stage performing as Celia Pavlova) completing their early line-up.

The Axel Grinders started out by doing covers. They even covered “We Care A Lot” (Faith No More). They played hard-charging skate punk. They pretended they were shit hot skateboarders but none of them could actually skate. (laughs) They took action shots of themselves skating. It was pretty funny.

– Steve McCabe from an interview with Ryan Leach

Celia left the group some time in 1989 (she later said in an interview with Ryan Leach that she was kicked out for ‘being too Iggy’), the group would go on to record their signature tune ‘Apparatus of Love’ with Celia’s Stepford 5 band-mate Reta La Quesne stepping in as their new vocalist, releasing the single alongside the noisy B-Side ‘Don’t hurry, be sappy’ for the US Dionysus imprint.

Several lo-fi cassettes were produced by the group, though it took over 25 years for the full length release ‘Kill Them Twice!’ surfaced on streaming services, though no physical copies were produced prior to Patel’s passing in 2017.

Members

  • John Markie (Guitar/Vocals, 1988 – 1990)
  • Pat Faigan (Drums, 1988 – 1990)
  • Phil Prescott (Bass, 1988)
  • Martin Henderson (Bass, 1988 – 1990)
  • Celia Patel (Vocals, 1988 – 1989)
  • Reta La Quesne (Vocals/Guitar, 1989 – 1990)

Discography

  • Come Together Cassette (1989, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL001)
  • The Trip/1989 Cassette (1989, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL002)
  • Too Cool Cassette (1990, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL003)
  • Etheric K.O. Cassette (1990, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL004)
  • Apparatus of Love (1990, Dionysus Records, ID074517)
  • It’s in the bag Cassette (199?, Sourpuss Recordings)
  • The Trip Cassette (1993 Reissue, Homebacon)
  • Kill Them Twice! (2014, Imperial)

Links

Categories
a artists

The Axemen

Biography

A well-known, yet thoroughly underground troop that often swelled in numbers (sometimes up to as many as 10 members in the mid 1980’s). The group have been known for their artistic endeavors as well as their music – with drummer Stuart Page (aka Stu Kawowski) a renowned film-maker and photographer.

Barely out of Cashmere High School, Steve McCabe played alongside Bob Cardy (aka Bob Brannigan – later to form the legendary Shaft up in Auckland) in a variety of pre-cursor bands, before Page jumped on stage at one of their shows. This was the birth of The Axemen, and the core line-up of all the groups earliest recordings.

The group released three albums on Flying Nun Records in the mid to late 1980’s – guitarist Dragan Stojanovic joining the line-up in time for 1989’s Derry Legend. Several releases on their own Sleek Bott imprint followed – following a very make-shift, punk approach to recording, their albums were often of-the-moment pieces…

The story of [Big Cheap Motel] is: Bob and myself went down to check out the Christchurch botanic gardens, the scene of the local council/”Big M” milk drink-sponsored “Summertime” concert-in-the-park series of free outdoor events, only to find the park plastered with billboard-sized posters of skimpily-clad young ladies advertising the sponsors wares.
We immediately proceeded home and wrote the enclosed set of ‘protest’ songs about the travesty, which were performed at the event, to the mild annoyance of the council & the sponsors.
– Taken from Mayday: The Little Stevie McCabe / Axemen / Sleek Bott webpage

Members

  • Steve McCabe (Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals, 1983 – )
  • Bob Brannigan (Guitar/Vocals, 1983 – 2011)
  • Stuart Page (Drums/Vocals/Trumpet, 1983 – )
  • Dragan Stojanovic (Guitar/Vocals/Mandolin/Bass, 1989 -)
  • William Daymond (Bass/Guitar/Keyboards/Drums, 2011 -)
  • Mick Elborado (Guitar/Bass/Vocals, 1991)
  • Paul Lee (Saxophone/Vocals, 1991)
  • B. B. Ryan (Bass/Guitar/Vocals, 1991)
  • Pete Rees (Vocals, 1991)
  • Arthur Sheep (Saxophone, 1991)
  • Shorty Hamilton (Drums, 1991)
  • Jessica Walker (Violin, 1991)

Note: This is an abridged list of musicians listed on The Axemen’s various recordings – see the groups Wikipedia page for an extended roll-call.

Discography

  • Big Cheap Motel (1983, Sleek Bott)
  • Three Virgins Three Versions Three Visions (1986, Flying Nun Records, FN049)
  • Derry Legends (1987, Flying Nun Records, FN120)
  • Ak87 (W/ The Shit Pop Boyz 1987, Sleek Bott)
  • Scary! (W/ The Sleek Bott Gang 1989, Sleek Bott)
  • Peter Wang Pud (1991, Flying Nun Fn204)
  • Dirty Den Sessions (1991, Sleek Bott)
  • Recliner Rocker (1992, Sleek Bott #921)
  • Three Rooms (An Elton John Tribute Album) (1992, Sleek Bott)
  • Across The Universe In 27879 Days Ep (1992, Sleek Bott)
  • The Axemen Singles Collection (Compilation 1998, Sleek Bott)
  • Nutsack 7″ Single (2011,
  • Sac Tap Nut Jam (2013, Spacecase Records, SCR006)

Links

 

Categories
c artists

Robert Cardy

Biography

Bob Cardy has a long history of making lo-fi, shambolic and DIY rock music.

From the early days of post-Vacuum Blue Ladder Christchurch with the infamous Axemen (then known as Bob Brannigan), through to the eventual rise of Shaft in late 1990’s Auckland, often with Lil’ Stevie McCabe as his song-writing partner.

Members

  • Robert Cardy (Vocals/Guitar)

Discography

  • Lallapaloosa Cassette (1987, Every Secret Thing, EST33)
  • Fat Spring Coal & Diamonds In The Lava Cassette (1987, Sleek Bott, Bott8)
  • Milky Bar Odes Cassette (1987 Sleek Bott, Bott14)
  • A Thousand And One Stag Nights Cassette (1988 Sleek Bott, Bott21)
  • Gloss Cassette (1988, Sleek Bott, Bott23)

Links