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

 

Brouhaha

Biography

Semi-acoustic 4-piece from Wellington fronted by Aaron Watson with David Leahy, S. C. and D. L. Clever.

Their sole albums varies between Don McGlashan style balladry and and even a bit of uptempo ska.

Members

  • Aaron Watson (Vocals/Guitar)
  • David Leahy (Bass)
  • S. C.
  • D. L. Clever.

Discography

  • Livelong (1997, Yellow Eye Records, EYE009)

Links

 

From Scratch

successful improvised percussionary troupe based around phil dadson (who had played with scratch orchestra in the uk in the late 1960s), formed in auckland in 1974. over the last 3 decades the troop has had various different line-ups – even swelling to 13 members at one point. over time the line-up has featured wayne laird, geoff chapple, don mcglashan (who arrived after the disintergration of blam blam blam), james mccarthy, neville hall, walter muller, darryn harkness, .
continuing to play in a live capacity and releasing all varities of media (including written maerial!) featuring their percussive endeavours, from scratch is currently comprised of dadson, shane currey and adrian croucher, with recent activities involving a variety of local and international contributors.
discography
picks in bold

  • drum/sing & pacific 3,2,1 zero (part one) [1984 flying nun FN041]
  • gung ho 1,2,3d [1985 flying nun FN085]
  • songs for heroes [1991 rattle RAT-D002]
  • fax to paris [1993 rattle RAT-D003]
  • pacific 3,2,1,zero (part 1) and eye-drum [1994 pacific international]
  • global hockets [1999 scratch records]
  • global hockets vhs [2000 scratch records]

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