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

Heazlewood

guitarist chris ‘ca$h guitar’ heazlewood is best known for his work in seminal auckland (by way of memphis, and a little southern california thrown in for good measure) scuzz-surf guitar demi-gods king loser, though he produced a couple of 7″s and a collected album of his solo material in the mid 90s – which is very worth getting hold of.
essentially a kiwi kid brought up on the likes of lee hazlewood, chris’ voice is down-trodden and dead-pan, and his guitar explosive in a kind of ultra-fuzzed and loose surf-guitar style. before king loser made their mark nationally, heazlewood developed an underground following with the eclectic sferic experiment, and also the short-lived olla.
discography
picks in bold

  • ratfink a booboo! [1990 a one-off productions]
  • hellmouth 666 cassette [1991 xpressway X/WAY 23]
  • ‘surfs up in malibu’/’no fear of falling’/’skronk’ 7″ single [as heazlewood 1993 flying nun FN222] rn
  • ‘they slaughter small children, don’t they’ 7″ single [1993 turbine Tur004] rn
  • ‘badge or medallion?’/’speed’/’aero’ 7″ single [as heazlewood 1995 flying nun FN354] rn
  • the ron asheton club 7″ ep [1995 crawlspace SPACE003] rn
  • ca$h guitar [1996 flying nun FN398]

recommended songs
download from mp3.co.nz

  • surf’s up in maliburn
  • euro discorn
  • everything is forgottenrn

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