Southern Front

Biography

The last evolution in the chain for the core of the Christchurch punk rock movement this band were made up of the members of Unauthorised, Desperate Measures, and Evasive Action.

The band were moving well away from their punk roots despite their punk followers wish that they’d never play anything else, developing an interesting post punk sound a la Killing Joke, dark and interesting thanks to Vandenhoven’s wandering melodic basslines and Johnston’s hooky guitar playing.

The band released one album “Southern Front” through Failsafe Records which was mostly recorded at Tandem Studios with engineer Eric Johns, guitarist with 70’s disco stars Heat Wave (hit single “Boogie Nights”), and co-produced by Rob Mayes (first production job), singer Heapworth, and Vandenhoven.

The last track on the album is actually from the group’s Evasive Action line-up recordings, though it was sung by Heapworth and not Evasive Action’s main vocalist Eugene Butcher so technically it was a Southern Front recording. This track was recorded at Nightshift Studios.

The band filmed a video for the track for $100 at 4 am on the hills overlooking Christchurch using the talents of one Peter Bannon, who went on to be one of New Zealand top fashion photographers, though obviously not on the basis of this rough-and-fast video.

Hepworth left for Australia soon after the release of the album, and the band continued on with Gibson singing and drumming. The band later took on singer Alan Clark (Banshee Reel) and recorded one song at Nightshift studios before splitting. The song was never released.

– Failsafe Records

Members

  • Eric Vandenhoven (Bass)
  • Phil Johnston (Guitar)
  • Mark Gibson (Drums/Vocals)
  • Harry Heapworth (Vocals/Guitar)

Discography

Links

 

Ape Management

Weird old Christchurch hard/sludge rock act who put out a few releases in the mid to late 90s. Made up of prominent poster artist Rock Hardman (aka Rob Haakman – vocals), Martin Henderson (aka Brother Love – guitar), Dave Clarke (who now performs as Dragstrip – guitar), and Ken Mexted (aka Ken E Bear – drums), with Steve Pikelet, Mike Brassell (aka the late-great Mike Hex of Squirm), George ‘Wade’ Churton (aka Gene Pool Belmondo of the McGoohans) and Alan Clark taking up the revolving bass player role.

In Nov 94 they embarked on the ‘Naked and Hairy’ tour that would take them from Dunedin to Auckland via the West Coast. Shows were poorly attended in the lower South Island, and their show at the Bonsai Pizzeria in Greymouth, though played to a packed venue, incited a bout of window smashing in the local population that closed the Bonsai as a venue for bands and left the Apes with nowhere (with the exception of Gonks harvest parties) to play on the Coast. Future tours (may 95, august 95, and march 96) concentrated on Wellington, Palmerston North, and Auckland as the audiences that the Apes attracted in these centers were larger and more receptive than in their hometown, where a few sloppy performances had affected their reputation. It was this relative success that would lead to their decision move to Wellington in 1997; A move that would be their ultimate undoing – Dave Clark

Ape Management were a crucial player in the strong mid-90’s underground Christchurch scene, often sharing bills with the likes of Loves Ugly Children, and organizing and promoting gigs around town. bassist Brassell was a central figure in Christchurch, running the Noseflute label, and planning many events out of his Hexcentral abode / practice space. As a band, Ape Management were as loose as it could get, a raunchy rock’n’roll outfit with a noisy bent and brilliantly lurid visual style.

David Clark and Gene Pool Belmondo opted to stay behind in Christchurch when the three remaining members relocated to wellington in early 1997. (Clark had recently had a baby, and Belmondo was in the process of writing his history of NZ Punk, ‘Have you checked the children?’). Upon arrival to Wellington the Apes recruited Alan Clark, formerly of Celtic act Banshee Reel, as bass player/manager and played as a 4-piece. Things in capital city, however, did not go as planned and when David moved to wellington in February 1998 to rejoin the band he found there was no band left to join – Dave Clark

Discography
Picks In Bold

  • Big Hair 7″ EP [1995 Homebacon]
  • Simply The Beast [1995 Homebacon]

Banshee Reel

gavin duncan, andrew moen, allan clark, julia deans, chris o’connell and tony coughlan. a country-tinged pre-cursor to deans’ popular fur patrol who self-released a couple of albums in the mid 90s.
discography
picks in bold

  • culture vulture [199? BAN001]
  • an orchestrated litany of lies [1995 BAN002]