Peter Gutteridge (and Brother Love) at the Darkroom

Apologies to Brother Love for missing their set – though I did talk to ‘the Brother (aka Martin Henderson) and the long-time ex-Christchurch sludge-rockers are back in the garden city again, with more shows on the horizon. You might remember Brother Love and the Homebacon Gang, playing shows with the likes of Space Dust, Ape Management and King Loser throughout the 1990s.

Peter Gutteridge at the Darkroom
Peter Gutteridge at the Darkroom

It was a rare treat to see legendary Dunedin-based songwriter Peter Gutteridge too; It’s been ‘more than a decade’ since the Snapper frontman last played a show in Christchurch, and according to Gutteridge he hasn’t been playing live in Dunedin either, although he still continues to write and plans to record new songs.

With Snapper known for pulsating Synth and Heavy Guitar drones adding a hypnotic rhythm to essentially dark pop songs, Gutteridge surprised the ample Darkroom crowd by starting his set with folky acoustic versions of his songs. The set began with a sober, melancholy performance of ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ (a song Gutteridge had written whilst in the Great Unwashed) played in a very minimal, stripped back acoustic style, ringing out repetitive individual notes on his guitar akin to the droney sound of his Snapper recordings.

As a founding member of several of New Zealand’s finest bands (The Chills, The Clean, The Great Unwashed and Snapper), Gutteridge’s back catalogue is full of involving, heady and evocative songs, but Snapper’s signature pseudo-hit ‘Buddy’ seemed to be the most recognized by the crowd, enticing a few upfront to sing-a-long.

He finally switched up a gear with the last handful of songs – playing with ear-piercing electric guitar and pulsing synth and understated bass from Henderson in support. I was transfixed by the duo’s sound in this configuration, much akin to the solo Gutteridge recordings I’ve heard (there’s an Xpressway tape from the 1980’s called ‘Pure’), which makes sense as he opened this 2nd set with ‘Dry Spot’, a song he’d released on a 7” for Crawlspace Records in 2000, culled from a live recording.

Great to see one of New Zealand’s best underground musicians back and playing music again, and I would definitely look out for future recordings.

[Published in the Press 5/4/2012]

Spacedust

Wonderfully loose rock’n’roll band that seem to exist more as an every now and then collective of friends than an actual band per se. Based around Pat Faigan (aka Duane Zarakov, one of the many drummers for the brilliant King Loser) and his sister violet – a vocalist who had previously never sung before. Joined by excellent bassist John Christoffels (Terminals et all) and a multitude of others (they seem to have a problem holding down guitarists, with Mick Elborado, Matt Alien, John Segovia and Lynton Denovan all taking up the reigns on the odd occassion, along with several keyboardists, such as Matt Middleton (Aesthetics, Crude etc). Their last Christchurch line-up (mid-2003) was Violet (Vocals), Duane (Drums), Elborado (Guitar – Scorched Earth Policy), Christoffels (Bass – Terminals) and Lisa Preston (Yamaha Electric Organ – Snort / Lo-Liners).

They’ve been a bit invisible over the past 5 or so years, occassionally resurfacing in either Dunedin or Christchurch (and occassionally Auckland) – sometimes sharing a multitude of members with whoever Brother Love is using at the time, other times re-uniting the original line-up. No Kissing In Public isn’t that hard to find, but their other albums (of which, only Beatle! has officially been released) [Note: This has now changed, as a small pile of 1st To The Future LPs were recovered from their original American label in 2004, and have since been distributed across the country, and its an album well worth finding].

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Cool Car’ 7″ Single [1994 Homebacon]
  • No Kissing In Public [1996 Kato]
  • Beatle! [1996 18 Wheeler]
  • First To The Future [1996 Self-Released]
  • Live 93 Cassette [Stink Magnetic]

See-Also

Brother Love

Formed by Martin ‘Brother Love’ Henderson and sharing a few members with Spacedust (i.e. John Christoffels (also of The Terminals) – bass, Pat ‘Duane Zarakov’ Faigan – drums/synth) in their original formation, then Ape Management allum Rob ‘Rock Hardman’ Haarkman, Ken ‘Ken E Bear’ Mexted and Dave ‘Dragstrip‘ Clarke, Rob Thorne in later releases, with Willy McKay floating in and out on further releases.

They made a similar sort of fuzzed out 60’s influenced stoner-rock to Spacedust, though with more country-tinged leanings, and slacker-style male vocals.

Discography
Picks in Bold

  • ‘King Acid’/’Christine’/’Penis Developer’ 7″ single [1994 New World of Sound NWOS4]
  • Every Garden Grows One 12″ EP [1994 New World of Sound]
  • My Own Worst Enemy [1996 New World of Sound]
  • Rock’N’Roll Criminal [1997 September Gurls]
  • Carkus lathe-cut 7″ EP [w/ Gene Pool Belmondo, Duane Zarakov Truly Fine Citizen 3]
  • Sin Aesthetic [2003 Kato KCD006]

Perfect Strangers

A shambling blues-rock trio of notorious obscurity – their split 12″ EP (with The And Band – who shared member Mark Thomas), they existed for a short time playing underground gigs in Christchurch around 1981. Bill Vosburgh ended up recording a split EP as Junkanoo, before forming the Bill Fosby Assassins (with Duane Zarakov), and later joining the Homebacon gang on Brother Love‘s Rock’N’Roll Criminal.

Discography
Picks in bold