Dave Mulcahy’s first post-jEan Paul Sartre Experience band was the unfortunately short-lived superette, who sprung up in Auckland in 1993. With Mulcahy taking guitar and vocal duties, he pulled together Ben Howe (Bass) and Greta Anderson (Drums/Backing Vox) to record the rough, thematically scary, but thoroughly charming Rosepig EP. From here the band became known as one of the better live pop-rock acts around New Zealand, and where one of the defining bands (along with the 3Ds) that turned me on to New Zealand bands.
They expanded the tracks on their earlier release to the fully-fledge debut Tiger in 1995, which still remains one of my very favourite albums – mainly due to the fact that over the twelve stellar tracks, not a single song drags. Over the common theme of murder, and the psycho-analysis of well-known murderers, the album retains a dynamic pop hook. Tiger carefully flows between the more up-beat earlier numbers (such as ‘Touch Me’ and album high-light, the Anderson-penned ‘Saskatchewan’), through to the album closing slower numbers (notably ‘Funny Weather’ and the charismatic ‘Waves’, which made a big impact on the Topless Woman Talk About Their Lives movie-score), without ever missing a beat.
Sadly after touring the album for the best part of a year, Mulcahy decided to move on to his own pressing solo career, leaving Ben And Greta (the moniker they took from that point on) to soldier on for themselves. Since Mulcahy left, Ben And Greta released the charming single ‘Creep Around The House’ (with Howe on vocal duties), but the duo seems to be more interested in their other pursuits. Ben Howe has gone on to form the Arch Hill record label, which released ‘Creep Around The House’, Mulcahy’s solo debut Oddy Knocky, as well as the debut from Ben’s new band Fang, entitled The Origin Of The Species.
Discography (picks in bold)
- Rosepig Cd Ep [1995 Flying Nun Fn326]
- ‘Killer Clown’/’Disappear’ 7″ Single [1995 Flying Nun Fn326]
- Tiger [1996 Flying Nun Fn352]
- ‘Touch Me’/’Catacombs’/’Cheezel’/’Saskatchewan’ Cd Single [1995 Flying Nun Fn362]
- ‘Touch Me’/’Anything’ 7″ Single [1995 Flying Nun Fn362]
Essentially the rhythm section of a post-breakup Superette.
They released charming single ‘Creep Around The House’ on ‘Introducing…’ – a compilation compiled of artists associated with Howe’s then-fledgling Arch Hill label (which he’d set up with sound engineer Ed Case to release music that had been recorded in Case’s Arch Hill Studio).
Unfortunately it wasn’t long before the duo faded from view – with Howe spending his most of his time with Fang – a group he’d formed with his partner Sonya Waters.
Anderson later resurfaced with The Pencils – a make-shift project based around her own song-writing and a variety of all-star contributors and made a similar appearance on the 2nd Arch Hill label compilation.
- Ben Howe (Guitar/Vocals)
- Greta Anderson (Drums/Vocals)
Ben Howe formed Fang after Superette broke up while simultaneously recording material with fellow Superette chum Greta Anderson (as Ben and Greta).
An eclectic 3-piece with songs from all three members; Howe, kiwi music veteran Sonya Waters and Andrea Holmes.
Their debut featured a couple of very catchy singles, but was written and produced in a somewhat haphazard fashion, making for an uneven album.
Touring with the likes of guitarist Francis Hunt (The Stereo Bus) and violinist Bronwyn Robertson, they became quite a sturdy live outfit in the early 00’s, though Holmes left the band around this time.
Unfortunately their follow-up Somewhere Out There wasn’t much of an improvement, as it lacked songs with the hook of their earlier singles.
2004 saw the band with another new line-up, along with a new album (Swim Up Stream) due out before the end of the year.
New members Tom Clark (guitar) and Brignall Wood (drums) complete the new line-up, still based around the core unit of Waters and Howe.
- Ben Howe (Bass/Vocals, 1999 – 2005)
- Sonya Waters (Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals, 1999 – 2005)
- Andrea Holmes (Drums, 1999 – 2003)
- Francis Hunt (Guitar, 2001 – 2002)
- Steve Reay (Guitar, 2002)
- Bronwyn Robertson (Violin, 2003 – 2005)
- Tom Clark (Guitar, 2003 – 2005)
- Brignall Wood (Drums, 2003 – 2005)
- Employee Of The Month EP [1999 Arch Hill AHR002]
- The Origin Of The Species [2000 Arch Hill AHR004]
- Somewhere Out There [2002 Arch Hill AHR008]
- Swim Up Stream [2004 Arch Hill AHR012]