Southern Front

Biography

The last evolution in the chain for the core of the Christchurch punk rock movement this band were made up of the members of Unauthorised, Desperate Measures, and Evasive Action.

The band were moving well away from their punk roots despite their punk followers wish that they’d never play anything else, developing an interesting post punk sound a la Killing Joke, dark and interesting thanks to Vandenhoven’s wandering melodic basslines and Johnston’s hooky guitar playing.

The band released one album “Southern Front” through Failsafe Records which was mostly recorded at Tandem Studios with engineer Eric Johns, guitarist with 70’s disco stars Heat Wave (hit single “Boogie Nights”), and co-produced by Rob Mayes (first production job), singer Heapworth, and Vandenhoven.

The last track on the album is actually from the group’s Evasive Action line-up recordings, though it was sung by Heapworth and not Evasive Action’s main vocalist Eugene Butcher so technically it was a Southern Front recording. This track was recorded at Nightshift Studios.

The band filmed a video for the track for $100 at 4 am on the hills overlooking Christchurch using the talents of one Peter Bannon, who went on to be one of New Zealand top fashion photographers, though obviously not on the basis of this rough-and-fast video.

Hepworth left for Australia soon after the release of the album, and the band continued on with Gibson singing and drumming. The band later took on singer Alan Clark (Banshee Reel) and recorded one song at Nightshift studios before splitting. The song was never released.

– Failsafe Records

Members

  • Eric Vandenhoven (Bass)
  • Phil Johnston (Guitar)
  • Mark Gibson (Drums/Vocals)
  • Harry Heapworth (Vocals/Guitar)

Discography

Links

 

Channel Four

Biography

An early pop punk band featuring Eugene Butcher (later of Desperate Measures and Evasive Action), David Gent and Michael Harrallambi (both of Dance Exponents).

Never saw this band but ‘You Were The One‘ (Failsafe Records‘ ‘Accident‘ compilation) is a pretty good example of catch pop punk/new wave stuff. The Exponents used to do a cover of this song in their live set.

– Rob Mayes of Failsafe Records

Members

  • Eugene Butcher (Vocals, 1981)
  • David Gent (Bass, 1981)
  • Michael Harrallambi (Drums, 1981)

Discography

Links

 

Desperate Measures

Biography

Desperate Measures were Christchurch’s answer to pop punk, a couple of years after the whole Sex Pistol thing, but they were fun and had a few good songs for all the punk posturing. They had a reasonably heavy following, or it seemed so at the time.

The band featured Eugene Butcher – vocals (now doing something in multi media in London where he has lived for 10 years), Eric Vandenhoven – bass guitar (later of Evasive Action, Southern Front, Iceland, Champion Beat and now doing chef things in Auckland), Shane – guitar (now runs an Auckland recording studio), Greg – drums.

The band managed to record and self release a 4 song EP 1984, as well as a live to multi track set which ended up as the first Failsafe records release, ‘Wasted Again’ (b/w ‘Unauthorised’).

As with many rough punk bands the measures spawned a number of talented musicians, notably Eric Vandenhoven, who’s inventive bass playing went on to encourage and influence many local musicians.

– Rob Mayes

Members

  • Eric Vandenhoven (Bass, 1981 – 1984)
  • Eugene Butcher (Vocals, 1981 – 1984)
  • Shane O’Neill (Guitar, 1982 – 1984)
  • Greg Hussy (Drums, 1982 – 1984)

Discography

  • Desperate Measures EP [1982 Desperate Times DT216]
  • Desperate Measures [1984 w/ Unauthorised Failsafe SAFE001]

Links

 

Evasive Action

the follow on group from desperate measures (1984-5). the line up change featured the drummer of unauthorised jeff paris, and vocalist harry hepworth on guitar, and vocals for the accident compilation track ‘agony’ inspired by a true christchurch case where a mental patient was kidnapped and tortured by other mentally unstable patients. nasty stuff. desperate measures eric vandenhoven on bass and eugene butcher again on main vocals. the band pooled the musical styles of their 2 source bands to write and play a harder darker punk pop, or a lighter song based hard-core punk, which ever you prefer.
discography
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