Screaming Meemees

Excellent, and highly popular post-punk / new-wave pop act out of auckland in the early 80s. Achieved unprecedented success with the release of ‘See Me Go’, a lovely poppy early single in the distinct Mee Mees style that managed to top the New Zealand charts without any radio play, purely on the popularity of their live shows and word of mouth.

How many times was this [‘See Me Go’ 7″ on Propeller] recorded and mixed. We finished the mix and went on tour, only to receive a “remix” that the marketing guy at Festival had done. It was unlistenable, although we were told that he’d substituted it for our mix on the release. A quick call to the pressing plant meant ours was substituted, the other one was quietly dumped, so the official release was ours. The funny thing was the marketing guy never noticed…..4000 copies in a week and number one…in fact the first NZ single to enter at 1.

Simon Grigg: taken from Griggs’ Propeller archive website.

The Mee Mees were soon to be touted as New Zealand’s most popular band with their rollicking debut If This Is Paradise, I’ll Take The Bag, and toured as part of the Screaming Blamatic roadshow in 1982 to huge crowds, a defining moment for New Zealand post-punk (championed by start-up label Propeller Recordings) – but their success was short lived with members Tony Drumm, Michael O’Niell, Peter Van Ver Fluit and Jon ‘Yoh’ Landwer going their seperate ways after the ‘Stars In My Eyes’ single in 1983.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Can’t Take It’ Split 7″ Single [1981 W/ Newmatics Ripper Rip013]
  • ‘See Me Go’/’Till I Die’ 7″ Single [1981 Propeller Rev8]
  • See Me Go Ep [1981 Propeller Rev8x]
  • ‘Sunday Boys’/’At At’ 7″ Single [Propeller Rev15]
  • ‘”F” Is For Fear’/’Orson Welles’ 7″ Single [1982 Propeller Rev18]
  • If This Is Paradise, I’ll Take The Bag [1982 Propeller Rev203]
  • ‘Stars In My Eyes’/’Days Go By’ 7″ Single [1983 Propeller Rev22]
  • Stars In My Eyes 12″ Ep [1983 Propeller Rev22x]
  • Stars In My Eyes [Compilation 1992 Propeller Rev501]

Awards Etc
RIANZ Awards 1981


  • Most Promising Group Of The Year: Screeming Meemees

See-Also

Sheep Technique [01/07/2008]

My very last Sheep Technique (kiwi music show on student radio station RDU); with Paul, and with an aborted interview with Cindy (previously known as Sandra) from former Flying Nun single band 25c.

Bible Black – Hell of a Woman
The Renderers – Low to the Ground
The Clean – Point that Thing Somewhere Else
25c – The Witch
Front Lawn – A Man and a Woman
25c – Don’t deceive me
The Good Housewives – Concerto in D Minor
The Stones – See Red
Spacedust – Too Much Action
3Ds – Outer Space
Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine – Woman By My Side (Mexican Man)
Ticket – Mr. Music
Shaft – The Downhill Racer
Scorched Earth Policy – Sunset on the Loading Zone
Scavengers – Mysterex
Toy Love – Bride of Frankenstein
Reduction Agents – Urban Yard
Blam Blam Blam – There is No Depression in New Zealand
Pop Art Toasters – What Am I Going to Do
Tomorrows Love – 7 and 7 Is
King Loser – 76 Comeback
Straitjacket Fits – Life in One Chord
Palace of Wisdom – Found and Lost
Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos – All of This
the Bats – Block of Wood
Snapper – Snapper and the Ocean
Bitch – Wildcat
Die! Die! Die! – Sideways Here We Come
The Androidss – Auckland Tonight
Lawrence Arabia – Half the Right Size

Whizz Kids

Westlake Boys High Boys Tim Mahon and Mark Bell were North-Shore punks back in 1978, initially as part of the ‘Avant-Punk-Theatre’ act the Plague.

[The Plague’s] major claim to fame came with their naked live performance (albeit covered in paint) at the 1979 Nambassa Rock Festival in front of 30,000 confused hippies
– Simon Grigg

Eventually the musically inclined trio in the Plague – namely Mahon, Bell and Ian Gilroy, ended up splitting to concentrate on the music side of things, and released a split single (with the Spelling Mistakes) as The Whizz Kids. Fairly soon Gilroy left to join the Swingers, so Don McGlashan was drafted in as their new drummer, with the band redubbed Blam Blam Blam.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Ivan Zagni

Biography

Ivan Zagni was known (in New Zealand) in the mid 80’s as something of an impressive composer and orchestral arranger, putting together the thoroughly engrossing Long And The Short Of It take of the Tall Dwarfs brilliant single ‘Nothings Gonna Happen’, and released a succession of albums with Don McGlashan, Peter Scholes and Steve Garden in the early 1980’s.

Zagni arrived in New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 1980, where he had gotten his start as a boy chorister, and eventually the Choir Master at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich.

In the pop and rock arena, Zagni had been performing in groups from the age of 16 (in 1958), from performing with his brothers in the Cadillac’s to the Continentals with Spooky Tooth vocalist Mike Patto, recording the album ‘Three’s Company‘ with Soft Machine’s Elton Dean, before working as a session musician in London – eventually being an important member of Jody Grind and Aynsley Dunbar’s (pre-Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention) group Blue Whale.

In Europe Zagni had become increasingly involved in the European improvisation scene, and this continued on settling in New Zealand – connecting with Don McGlashan (playing guitar on Blam Blam Blam‘s ‘Luxury Length’ LP) and becoming a member of groups such as Big Sideways and Avant Garage.

From the mid-1980’s, Zagni received a succession of orchestral commissions, and was awarded the inaugural Composer in Residence with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra in 1989-90, and with Chamber Music New Zealand in 1992:

In 1986 Zagni and Peter Scholes’ work together was the subject of the Radio New Zealand Concert programme Music on the Wall. He composed Migration Nos 1 and 2 (1988) for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In 1989, while he was the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s first composer in residence, a position funded by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, he was commissioned to compose Breath of Hope, which is notable for its references to New Zealand nature.  

The Cospatrick Tragedy, commissioned for New Zealand Chamber Orchestra, was recorded at a live concert at the Auckland Town Hall in 1993 by Radio New Zealand, one of many Zagni performances recorded by the national broadcaster. Devonport, his third string quartet, was commissioned for the Devonport Festival on Auckland’s North Shore, and premiered in 1994 – it was described by Dart as having “a cluster of minor tonalities” at its core. 

Wikipedia Entry on Ivan Zagni.

After withdrawing from public life in the mid 1990’s, Zagni resurfaced alongside his former band-mates on Tim Mahon’s ‘Music for a Lightbulb’ in 2003.

Discography

  • Standards (w/ Don McGlashan – 1982 Propeller Records REV 207)
  • Four Minute Exposure (w/ Peter Scholes – 1983 Unsung Music)
  • A Selection Of Trouble Spots [w/ Steve Garden – 1984 Ode Sode193]

Links

Blam Blam Blam

Biography

Don McGlashan will always be the center of attention as the leader of The Mutton Birds, but he had his first hit single (the notorious anti-establishment anthem ‘There is no depression in New Zealand‘) with bizarre music troupe 3-piece Blam Blam Blam (plus he’d been playing percussion with From Scratch since 1979).

One of Propeller Records signature bands, they created warped pop through-out the early 80’s, touring the country from their Auckland base with the likes of ska outfit The Newmatics, fellow Propeller figureheads The Screaming Meemees, and even the early incarnations of The Netherworld Dancing Toys – whom they split a live LP with (‘The Story of Blam Blam Blam’).

Formed by Tim Mahon and Mark Bell in 1980 (originally as The Whizz Kids) McGlashan joined the band to add a more eclectic-leaning to what was at the time a more sturdy post-punk outfit.

McGlashan’s use of the euphonium quickly characterized their sound, particularly on their second hit ‘Don’t Fight It Marsha (Its Bigger Than Both Of Us)‘ which is by all accounts an utter pop gem.

Members

  • Tim Mahon (Bass, 1980 – 1982)
  • Mark Bell (Guitar/Vocals, 1980 – 1982)
  • Don McGlashan (Drums/Euphonium/Vocals, 1980 – 1982)

Discography

  • Blam Blam Blam (EP 1981, Propeller Records, REV10)
  • There Is No Depression In New Zealand/Got To Be Guilty 7″ Single (1981, Propeller Records, REV11)
  • Don’t Fight It Marsha 7″ Single (1981, Propeller Records, REV14)
  • Luxury Length (1982, Propeller Records, REV204)
  • Call For Help 7″ Single (1982, Propeller Records, REV17)
  • The Blam Blam Blam Story (1984 W/ Netherworld Dancing Toys, CBS, SBP237993)
  • Don’t Fight It Marsha 7″ Single (1992 Reissue, Propeller Records, REV28)
  • The Complete Blam Blam Blam (1992, Propeller Records, REV502)

Links

 

The Front Lawn

somewhere between a band and a performance troup..well closer to the later, really – they released their albums as ‘songs from the front lawn..’ to indicate they were more soundtracks than albums, though both featured the odd sparkling quirky pop jem. featuring the six volts as a supporting band, the front lawn’s albums are as musically dynamic, varied and accomplished as mcglashan‘s song-writing is quirky.
this was when don mcglashan really hit his stride, and was at his most unusual (especially with the fabulous single ‘the beautiful things’), though he had a lot of help from harry sinclair (who’s also quite the accomplished kiwi film-maker) and actress / singer jennifer ward-lealand (who went on to make her name in an australian comdey skit series). their video for ‘theme from ‘the lounge bar” is a true classic, a 10 minute long short-film backing a brilliantly witty pop dity.
discography
picks in bold

  • songs from the front lawn [1989 virgin FLCD200] rn
  • more songs from the front lawn [1993 live recording virgin 4353032]

awards et
rianz awards 1989

  • most promising group of the year the front lawnrn
  • international achievement the front lawnrn

rianz awards 1990

  • film soundtrack songs from the front lawnrn

The Mutton Birds

Biography

Probably Don McGlashan’s most famous song-writing vehicle, the Mutton Birds achieved considerable success in the 1990’s, with a number of successful singles, albums and even award recognition.

Originally an Auckland-based trio comprised of McGlashan (pulling double-duty with the theatrical group The Front Lawn), Six Volts guitarist David Long and drummer Ross Burge – who was also playing double duty in Dribbling Darts.

After adding (Burge’s Dribbling Darts band-mate) bassist Alan Gregg in 1992 the group released their self-titled debut, which tasted immediate success, particularly on the back of their cover of the Wayne Mason / Fourmyula classic ‘Nature‘.

Further albums followed in the mid-90s, with further success coming at the hands of their first number 1 single – ‘The Heater‘, plus perennial favorite ‘Anchor Me‘ from 1994’s Salty. Another cover – this time Blue Oyster Cults’ classic ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper‘ was used on the soundtrack to Peter Jacksons’ film ‘The Frighteners‘, further increasing their profile, particularly outside of New Zealand and Australia.

Towards the end of the 1990’s both Long and Gregg moved on, British guitarist Chris Sheehan, bassist Tony Fisher and another ex-Dribbling Dart – Matthew Bannister (most notably of Sneaky Feelings) filling the line-up as the decade came to a close.

Though essentially disbanding around 2002, with McGlashan going on to record under his own name (solo debut Warm Hand surfaced in 2006), the group have re-united for subsequent tours in 2012 and later.

Members

  • Don McGlashan (Vocals / Guitar / Euphonium, 1991 – 2002, 2011 -)
  • David Long (Guitar, 1991 – 1997)
  • Ross Burge (Drums, 1991 – 2002, 2011 -)
  • Alan Gregg (Bass, 1992 – 1999)
  • Chris Sheehan (Guitar, 1997 – 2002, 2011 -)
  • Tony Fisher (Bass, 1999 – 2002, 2011 -)
  • Matthew Bannister (Guitar, 2000 – 2002, 2011 -)

Discography

  • The Mutton Birds [1992 Bag Bag1003]
  • The Heater Ep [1994 Virgin 8770192]
  • Salty [1994 Virgin 8394882]
  • Box Of Birds [Compilation 1994 Virgin 4710572]
  • Nature [1995 Virgin]
  • Envy Of Angels [1997 Virgin 8425842]
  • Rain, Steam and Speed [1999 Virgin]
  • Flock: The Best Of.. [Compilation 2002 Virgin]

Awards

RIANZ Awards 1992

  • Single Of The Year: Nature
  • Album Of The Year: The Mutton Birds
  • Top Group Of The Year: The Mutton Birds

APRA Silver Scroll 1994

  • Song Writing Award: You Oughta Be In Love

Links

 

Netherworld Dancing Toys

Through-Out The 80s The Dancing Toys Were (For A Brief Moment) One Of New Zealand’S Most Populal Bands, A Horn-Punctuated Post-Punk Pop Outfit With A Huge Live Following And A Swagger Of Catchy Singles. From Humble Beginnings As High-School Aged Up-And-Comers Supporting Blam Blam Blam To New Zealand’S Top Selling Bands In Just A Couple Of Releases, The 7-Strong Line-Up Of Brent Alexander, Malcolm Black, Graham Cockroft, Nick Sampson, Alistair Perry, Matthew Trubuhovich And Mick Rillstone Faded Almost As Quickly As They Rose, Unable To Support Their Over-Sized Line-Up Within The Limited Confines Of Touring NZ.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Netherworld Dancing Toys 12″ Ep [1983 Flying NunFn Ndt001]

  • ‘The Trusted Ones’/’Bored To Death’ 12″ Single [1983 Flying NunFn Ndt002]

  • Song And Dance 12″ Ep [1984 Flying NunFn Ndt003]

  • The Blam Blam Blam Story [1984 W/ Blam Blam Blam CbsSbp237993]

  • Painted Years [1985 VirginV3000]

  • Everything Will Be Alright [1989 CBS]

Awards Etc
Rianz Awards 1985


  • Single Of The Year: For Today

  • Album Of The Year: Painted Years

  • Top Group Of The Year: Netherworld Dancing Toys

  • Producer Of The Year: Nigel Stone

See-Also