Celia Mancini

Biography

Born Celia Patel (and at one stage known as Celia Pavlova), Celia Mancini was a smart, creative, talented and volatile musician. A born front-woman and general icon within the music community, who was never afraid to speak her mind, and unfortunately passed away at a far too young age.

Celia Mancini photo by Bridgid_Grigg-Eyley

Patel was born in Auckland but her musical history started in Christchurch, playing in a number of bands in the mid to late 1980’s, as well as managing seminal Christchurch sonic explorers Into the Void.

Cosmic Love Vibration Cassette (Photo: Phil Clayton)

She was the original front-woman for legendary scuzzy lo-fi group The Axel Grinders (and writing their most excellent single ‘Apparatus of Love’ – Rita Le Quesne replaced her on the recording), fronted the fantastic all-girl group The Stepford 5, and kept things mellow in the lounge group The After Dinner Mints with Bill Vosburgh (formerly of Perfect Strangers).

By 1992 Celia was in Dunedin where she met Chris Heazlewood – kicking off the next phase with what must be her most well known group; New Zealand’s boundary-pushing surf-kings King Loser. For a period the duo also pulled double duty in Peter Gutteridge’s wonderful Snapper.

The group were relentless prolific in the early years – recording all their practices to 8-track tape and expanding their overseas connections with a handful of 7″ releases plus the original King Loser LP – ‘Super Sonic Hi-Fi’. The album caught the attention of Flying Nun – however Celia noted they never considered themselves a Flying Nun group, and at times conflicted with individuals within the label as it reached its commercial apex in the late 1990’s.

Celia Mancini – Kiasu 7″ Single

Celia released a solitary 7″ under her own name in 1996, and by late 1997 King Loser were no more. However she did resurface (at least temporarily) in the hard-rocking Auckland group Mother Trucker, plus created a handful of online videos under the moniker ‘Slightly Delic’, including documenting the bFM music awards, where she stormed the stage after failing to be nominated for the ‘Foxiest Chick’ award…

As the 90’s became the 2000’s, Celia disappeared from view. It wasn’t until April 2015 before she was back in the public eye – with a video performance of a reunited King Loser at Audio Foundation in Auckland. Celia sports casts on both arms, but the group rip through the classic ‘Morning Dew’ like they’d never been away.

Further live performance and a short tour followed in 2016, with director Andrew Moore releasing a promo video for a promising upcoming documentary on the band, which seems to shed a lot of insights in to what was going on with Celia (and the other King Loser members) at the time.

Celia passed away in September 2017, the news sent shock-waves through the online community. She was a bright spark and will be greatly missed.

Discography

  • Cosmic Love Vibration Cassette (As Celia Cavlova 1990, A.Void Music, A.VOID001)
  • Kiasu 7″ single (1996, Flying Fun, FN360)

Links

Revenger

Biography

The Coolies‘ Sjionel Timu, plus Jewl of Bessamoocho / Goldifox duo (and Pink Air / Girl Alliance mainstays) Liz Matthews and Penny Collins going hardcore.

Released a lathe-cut 7″ ode to King Loser vocalist Celia Mancini, with the B-side being a cover of the Germs ‘Shutdown’.

Members

  • Sjionel Timu (Guitar / Vocals, 1997 – 1999?)
  • Liz Matthews (Drums, 1997 – 1999?)
  • Penny Collins (Bass / Vocals, 1997 – 1999?)

Discography

  • The Revenge of the Revengers 7″ Lathe Cut Single (1997, Pink Air, PINKAIR007)

Links

 

The Stepford 5

Biography

One of the earlier Christchurch acid-rock groups of Celia Patel (aka Celia Pavlova / Mancini) along with twins Sharon and Joanne Billesdon and Reta La Quesne.

Though the Stepford 5 only released two (now rather rare) European-issued 7″ singles – one a split with Japanese act Teengenerate, their members would later resurface in The Axel Grinders, Snort, and King Loser.

The Stepford 5 were rougher, rawer and dirtier than their successive groups, with Patel’s vocals in particular being much more harsh than her Nancy Sinatra style chanteuse approach in The Axel Grinders and King Loser.

Members

  • Celia Patel (Lead Guitar / Vocals, 1991? – 1992)
  • Sharon Billesdon (Drums, 1991? – 1992)
  • Joanne Billesdon (Guitar, 1991? – 1992)
  • Reta La Quesne (Vocals / Bass, 1991? – 1992)

Discography

  • Cave of Love 7″ EP (1991, Demolition, DEMO004)
  • Snake Lady Split 7″ [W/ Teengenerate 1993, Demolition Derby, DD006]

Links

 

King Loser

Biography

King Loser is the kind of band I’ve always wanted to form. More of a loose collection of friends (with an almost comical approach to drum-throne rotation), yet somehow managing to get it together enough to release 3 brilliant albums and a number of inspired singles, King Loser put the scuzz in scuzz-rock.

Like some kind of evil take on Nancy Sinatra and Lee Heazlewood, the domineering front of Chris Heazlewood and Celia Mancini (nee Patel, then later Pavlova) trade off vocal barbs (him – rugged and biting, her – sultry and fork-tongued) over a bed of surf-guitar, jungle-grooves or just good-old american Lo-Fi hiss-rock.

The duo formed King Loser after meeting in Dunedin in 1991. Mancini had previously been in a handful of influential underground Christchurch groups (The Stepford 5, The Axel Grinders and a lounge group called The After Dinner Mints) and had managed Into the Void.

Utterly theatrical, each band member who passed through their ranks took on a distinct persona (Pat Faigan became Duane Zarakov, Lance Strickland became Tribal Thunder) and the band played up their over-the-top american inspiration. thankfully it wasn’t all show, as King Loser laid down some of the meanest guitar and hottest songs this country has even seen, and deserved far greater recognition than they actually received.

After an exceedingly prolific 3 years the group faded away – essentially disbanded by late 1997. Mancini would resurface in short-lived Auckland group Mothertrucker.

A live performance of a reunited King Loser surfaced in 2015, with the group going on to play a handful of reunion shows up and down the country – however any hope of the group continuing was lost when Celia Mancini passed away in September 2017.

Members

  • Glen Campbell (Vocals, 1991)
  • Chris Heazlewood (Guitar/Vocals, 1991 – 1997, 2016)
  • Celia Mancini (Organ/Vocals/Bass, 1991 – 1997, 2016)
  • Sean O’Reilly (Drums/Guitar, 1993, 1995 – 1997, 2016)
  • Duane Zarakov (Drums, 1991 – 1994?)
  • Gregg Cairns (Drums, 1991?)
  • James Kirk (Drums, 1993 – 1994)
  • Peter Jeffries (Drums, 1993)
  • Billy TK (Guitar, 1994)
  • Steve Dean (Drums, 1994)
  • Tribal Thunder (Drums/Guitar, 1995 – 1997, 2016)

Discography

  • Supersonic Hi-Fi (1993 Turbulence/Flying Nun Records, TUR005/FN299)
  • Tie Us Down 7″ EP (1993, 18 Wheeler, EWR-005)
  • Stairway To Heaven 7″ Single (1994, Flying Nun, FN283)
  • You Cannot Kill What Does Not Live (1995, Flying Nun Records, FN309)
  • Caul Of The Outlaw (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN382)
  • Troubled Land Single (1996, Flying Nun Records, FN394)

Links

Mothertrucker

Biography

Celia Mancini‘s post King Loser band, consisting of herself on vocals and guitar and various other contributors such as Clayton Noone, Cameron Bain (formerly of Constant Pain) and many others, as the band had trouble keeping line-ups.

More heavy metal (in the Deep Purple or Black Sabbath sense) than King Loser, the band disintegrated with Mancini’s decline (she has struggled with drug and alcohol issues).

According to Noone though, Mancini was in positive spirits in late 2001 – having a great night reuniting with Chris Heazlewood for an impromptu King Loser performance.

Noone’s label Root Don Lonie For Cash released the Mother Trucker debut, which he has described as being bloody good.

Members

  • Celia Patel (Vocals / Guitar)
  • Clayton Noone (Bass)
  • Cameron Bain (Guitar)

Discography

Links