The Palace Of Wisdom

The Palace of Wisdom originated in 1999 when well established Christchurch rock’n’roller Ben Johnstone (Guitar/Backing Vocals – Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Incisions) got together with intimidating vocalist Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell, adding hooky guitar riffs to O’Connell’s hurricane force vocals. The resulting recording was released as part of the No Thanks To New Zealand On Air compilation in 2000. Matt Alien (Hi-Tone Destroyers, Black Panthers, Space Dust, Slavetrader) joined on drums, with the line-up complete by English bassist Ian Lloyd.

With Lloyd’s departure in late 2000, ALC5 (yet another Hi-Tone Destroyers member) joined the group on Bass, however after a year with the group he was also replaced, this time by the legendary Mick Elborado (Scorched Earth Policy, The Terminals, Gas, The Axemen, Drowning Is Easy etc), who became a mainstay in the group and is responsible for the bands huge, over-driven bass sound on the excellent Pills EP.

The group then started to rotated through a number of drummers with Nick Harte (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks, Black Albino, CM Ensemble, The Urinators) in February 2002, Tim MacDonald (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks) in March 2003, Simon Nunn (Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine, The Undercurrents, Kate in the Lemon Tree, Weaponized, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) in December 2003, and then Chris Andrews (a million lights, Mysterioball, Idols of Eve, Pop Hits City, O’Lovely) in November 2004.

This line-up was the longest of the group, though recordings from this era (which lasted almost 4 years) are limited to Stuck In The Suck. After a disastrous recording session at Christchurch’s MAINZ, and other internal issues – Mick Elborado left the group. Jared Kelly (The Pickups, Blue Moon) then joined in May 2008, with Andrews and Kelly switching instruments after their first practice.

2008 was a particularly important year for the group, recording the Common Threads EP with the lineup of O’Connell (Vocals), Johnson (Guitar), Andrews (Bass) And Kelly (Drums) Before Stink Magnetic‘s Bad Evil joined as a 2nd guitarist, moving down from Palmerston North. This was an important change for the group as in late 2009 founding guitarist Ben Johnstone left to raise a family in Canada, and Aiden Moody (Bad Evil, Grand Chancellors) took over his lead guitar duties.

Both Kelly and Andrews left for other towns in 2010, however Ox enlisted the help of drummer Michael Summerfield (The Undercurrents, Cowboy Machine), before Andrews rejoined in early 2011 on bass guitar. The group played the very last show at historic Lyttelton venue El Santo Porteno, just 2 days before the February 2011 earthquake. This disrupted the progress the group had been making, with guitarist Moody moving on to form surf group The Grand Chancellors. The group resurfaced in early 2012 with Jared Kelly once again playing drums (replacing a departing Summerfield), with John Harris (Lonely Harris Club, Doctors, BnP) quickly establishing himself as their latest guitarist.

Of the course of the last 13 years the group has played a string of high-profile support slots, including The Chills, The Datsuns and of particular note – US group Dead Moon, who the group cover (‘Unknown Passage’) and are of particular importance to vocalist O’Connell with their never-say-die attitude to Rock’n’Roll. The Palace of Wisdom’s set is augmented by a number of re-interpreted covers, often quite removed from the originals, or obscure in their origin – this includes The Great Unwashed‘s ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ (as ‘Sending Him Away’), and Joy Division’s ‘Sound of Music’.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • The ‘P’ EP [2001 Self-Released]
  • Candy Pants [2002 Self-Released]
  • Pills EP [2003 Self-Released]
  • Stuck In The Suck [2006 Self-Released]
  • Burnside EP [2008 Self-Released]
  • Common Threads EP [2009 Self-Released]

See-Also

a million lights

The first (documented) recording alias of Chris Andrews – I.E. the creator of this website. In 2004 I compiled a 4-song EP of original recordings and got them pressed in the very limited capacity of 20 copies through Peter King, down in Mt. Somers (in a single day!, June 24th 2004), each with a unique cover and hand-numbered. The music contained within varies between low-key melodic tremblings on the a side, to caustic, but carefully controlled feedback-entrenched drones and shards of sound (extract with the help of cubase’s many distortion tools – from a bass guitar) on the b of an 8″ lathe-cut.

This highly limited 8″ lathe comes to us from the beautiful islands of New Zealand, a place known for it’s exquisite experimental music. These four short compositions by Chris Andrews heavily feature bass as a predominant instrument. Their minimalistic structures and instrumentation give the four tracks on “a million lights” an open-air feeling. It’s like soaring through the night sky, breathing ice cold air into your lungs. i love how sparse these pieces are. Both “Build 2” and “Thumping Around” show off a sense of melody. While these tracks are all instrumental, these two have a catchiness to them that will lodge itself firmly inside your skull
Brad Rose; Foxy Digitalis

This EP is actually an archival release, constructed from some of the most thematically aligned instrumental pieces in my recording archives, which date back to around 2000. playing primarily bass guitar, but also a little keyboard and rudimentary drumming, the ep is a work of studio-production, and differs quite markedly from my live band, the diana mckay led post-punk 4-piece Idols Of Eve.

The piece de resistance of “a million lights” is the opening to side b, “Error 404.” With shades of Roy Montgomery and Windy and Carl, this spacey guitar drone is mesmerizing. A heavy low-end gives this track depth, and Andrews’ melodic tendencies shine through again. It ascends and descends through the clouds like a soaring bird. It’s an excellent track and deserves repeated listens. He closes the album with “Rebel,” which is reminiscent of the previous track. It’s like a more stripped down, heavily processed version of it. It’s a solid ending to a very solid release. I hope to hear more of Andrews’ material in the future
Brad Rose; Foxy Digitalis

On January 14th, 2005 I made my live solo debut at the ‘Southern Oscillations’ festival at Castle Hill, Central Canterbury. I performed a 40 minute set comprised of material from my simultaneously released debut full-length cd-r, coming on after krkrkrk artist / co-founder K-Mz Robinson (of NoTV / TMA-1).

The performance went well, playing to a small crowd on the opening night of the festival, drawing a good response and prompting a make-shift encore. Significant about the live performance was that i’ve now taken to playing guitar in a live capacity, just 3 weeks after purchasing my first (non-bass) guitar. using my pc for backing and live processing, the guitar is used primarily to spike the live sound with a higher register wave of sound, which can rise and fall between quite aggressive shards of noise to glacial waves.

Discography (Picks In Bold)

  • a million lights EP [2004 Self-Released]
  • Album [2005 Self-Released]

See-Also

Mike Hex [January 2004]

What does Arclife do for the Dunedin community, and specifically, what’s your role in the trust?

I’m not a member of the trust; there was a trust set up in the early days of the Arc Cafe, but now they are two different entities. This change happened last year so Arclife Records is now being run by myself, Thom Bell and Stephen Kilroy.

What’s Arclife up to at the moment? Major changes a-foot?

Apart from having a new company to run the label we received a $10,000 recording grant last year from Creative NZ to record three bands: Heka, Hiss Explosion and Kahu.

Have you been working with any up-and-coming artists or bands we should keep an eye out for?

We have a compilation [from] last year we hope to release soon. Heka are about to finally release their debut cd. Bob Scott (The Clean / The Bats) has a lost Dunedin folk songs cd coming out in march. I’m a big fan of the Undercurrents and hope to do something with them soon. There’s enough to keep us very busy for the next year, that’s for sure.

And Hiss Explosion? Any new recordings in the midst?

Thom Bell has bought this kick arse desk from Vancouver/Canada and we hope to marry that up to the 2″ 24 track tape machine we have down here and get busy in february.

How do the Hiss Explosion recordings differ from your solo outings? How does Peter fit in to the creative process?

Well, solo stuff is done by me at home on my old four-track dirt-tracker so it’s raw and ready and Hiss Explosion has been experimenting with bigger tape machines, so obviously the quality of recording comes down to tape width. I’ll always record and track in analogue tape. Can’t stand that pro-tools sound – too crisp and clean for me. Solo i’ll experiment more with sounds and objects etc.

The Hiss Explosion play Creation on Febuary 6th 2004 as part of the Waitangi Day Special along with International Telepaths (also from Dunedin), Into The Void, Substandard and Idols Of Eve

Mysterioball

Now defunct old christchurch punk band from the late 90s / early 00s based around core members kyle denovan on guitar and vocals, and myself (chris andrews) on bass and accompaning vocals. Starting with just the duo and playing to a small crowd at the green room, mysterioball had the loosest of punk asthetics, finishing their debut performance (which was actually part of a christchurch arts festival gig, coming on after a play!) with a swag of Springstein covers. All very fun, the group soon expanded to include denovan’s fellow flux capicitor member joe 90, an an estwhile drummer named Terry ‘the grieval deviant’.

After an unsuccessful party performance, Joe was dropped, and Mysterioball acquired themselves a saxophonist by the name of ‘Big’ Thom, who had achieved a touch of national celebrity thanks to an unhealthy little party trick. Thom had won a local bars how low will you go competition by performing a strange little routine that involved stapling his penis and testicle’s to a large wooden cross, dangling the cross between his legs, then setting the item on fire.. Not exactly something for squemish. The band played on, creating a number of badly recorded home-demo’s and playing to fair crowds at either the jetset lounge or (their favourite) the provincial, never really growing past their amateur approach, but always playing with a lot of energy and fun.

The summer of 2000 brought about a migration north for Thom and Terry – and without support Chris and Kyle disbanded the group, which by now had accumulated some 15 original songs, and went their seperate ways. Denovan later resurfaced with a handful of like-minded groups, even playing mysterioball songs with the rocking whores, whilst i went on to join Idols of Eve in 2003. Though Thom resurfaced in 2001 to play drums with Super-Yacht – a coloborative one-off performance alongside Denovan, myself, and the Idols‘ Diana McKaye and Jason Tamahana-Bryce, he soon disappeared again.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also