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

King Loser Clip

Awesome old clip of King Loser, interviewed before the release of their 2nd album ‘You cannot kill what does not live’ (so it’d be 1994 or 1995?):

King Loser Interview / Surf Lost Video

Rik Starrr

Appearing as a one-off 7″ single in 1995 (during a speight of similar projects from the likes of King Loser and the 3D’s side-projects such as Chris Heazlewood‘s solo debut Spacious etc), the rather dubiously Australian-themed ‘A Sort of Holiday’ single was something of an undiscovered gem – and the recording debut of Auckland wacko Edmund Cake (aka Edward McWilliams.

Though the single itself went nowhere, Cake later resurfaced as a critical member of bizarro-pop trio Breast Secreting Cake (later redubbed to the slightly less vulgar Bressa Creeting Cake), who in turn released a heck of a debut album and the left-of-centre video-hit Papa People.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • A Sort Of Holiday [1995 Flying Nun FN338]

See-Also

Sandoz Lab Technicians

Fairly free-improv and underground Dunedin-based group comprised of James Kirk (one time King Loser member, along with the Glen Campbell Experience), Tim Cornelius, Nathan Thompson and occasionally Mark Curragh.

Sandoz Research Laboratories was where Albert Hoffmann accidentally discovered LSD in the ’20s. There’s always been quite a heavy drug influence in the band. You’ve come across it.
– Tim Cornelius on the band names origin, taken from the Sandoz interview with Opprobrium

A fairly constant stream of releases on their own Blunt Instrumentals label, often comprised of off the cuff ramshackle performances (particularly their earlier recordings which date back to late 1993). With Curragh living in Australia, Thompson formed Unspecified with Cornelius, and Curragh and Thompson with Curragh, both as off-shoot additional side-projects.

Thompson keeps himself very busy by also performing in the Flies Inside The Sun off-shoot Sleep.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Lost Early Recordings Cassette [1993 Blunt Instrumentals Bint000]

  • Sandoz Lab Technicians 8″ Lathe-Cut Ep [1994 Blunt Instrumentals Bint001]

  • Big Shiney Ship Lathe-Cut 7″ Ep [1994 Blunt Instrumentals Bint002 / Bint004]

  • Live! And 12b Cassette [1994 Blunt Instrumentals Bint003]

  • Sandoz Lab Technicians Cassette [1995 Blunt Instrumentals Bint008]

  • Daily Light [1995 Blunt Instrumentals Bint009]

  • Sleeping Beneath The Clay Lathe-Cut 7″ Ep [1996 Blunt Instrumentals Bint011]

  • Sandoz Lab Technicians [1996 Siltbreeze Sb-55]

  • The Tale Of The Pixielamb [1997 Lotus Sound]

  • An Ounce Of Birds Blood Lathe-Cut 7″ Ep [1998 Blunt Instrumentals Bint012]

  • Synaptic Acres [Metonymic]

  • The Three Imposters Triple 8″ Lathe-Cut Ep [Crawlspace]

  • Let Me Lose My Mind Gracefully [1998 Corpus Hermeticum Hermes027]

  • Everythings Fifteen [2004 Celebrate Psi Phenomenon 1007]

See-Also

SF

The short-lived Sean O’Rielly project that spawned a 7″ on Flying Nun, during their mid 90s side-project series (which also spawned Ghost Club, Spacious, and Chris Heazlewood‘s solo career).

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Cat Face’/’Semi’/’Sleepy Hollow’ 7″ Single [1996 Flying Nun Fn357]

See-Also

Sferic Experiment

Guitarist Chris Heazlewood and drummer Sean O’Rielly (both pre-King Loser fame), violinist Susan Ballard, Gavin Shaw (Childrens Television Workshop), and Greg Cairns experimental / avant-garde outfit from dunedin. Kinda exploded back in 1989, with the remains casually reissued on Drunken Fish post-breakup. The album itself (eight mile) is a murky, lo-fi live recording of occasionally brilliant swamp-rock.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Bunny Liver Cassette [1989 Xpressway X/Way14]

  • ‘Sci-Fi’/’Hi-Fi’ 7″ Single [1994 Drunken Fish Dfr-08]

  • Eight Mile [1996 Drunken Fish Dfr-16]

See-Also

Sheep Technique [01/07/2008]

My very last Sheep Technique (kiwi music show on student radio station RDU); with Paul, and with an aborted interview with Cindy (previously known as Sandra) from former Flying Nun single band 25c.

Bible Black – Hell of a Woman
The Renderers – Low to the Ground
The Clean – Point that Thing Somewhere Else
25c – The Witch
Front Lawn – A Man and a Woman
25c – Don’t deceive me
The Good Housewives – Concerto in D Minor
The Stones – See Red
Spacedust – Too Much Action
3Ds – Outer Space
Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine – Woman By My Side (Mexican Man)
Ticket – Mr. Music
Shaft – The Downhill Racer
Scorched Earth Policy – Sunset on the Loading Zone
Scavengers – Mysterex
Toy Love – Bride of Frankenstein
Reduction Agents – Urban Yard
Blam Blam Blam – There is No Depression in New Zealand
Pop Art Toasters – What Am I Going to Do
Tomorrows Love – 7 and 7 Is
King Loser – 76 Comeback
Straitjacket Fits – Life in One Chord
Palace of Wisdom – Found and Lost
Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos – All of This
the Bats – Block of Wood
Snapper – Snapper and the Ocean
Bitch – Wildcat
Die! Die! Die! – Sideways Here We Come
The Androidss – Auckland Tonight
Lawrence Arabia – Half the Right Size

Snort

Christchurch hard-rock all-girl group with a line-up that changed quite a bit over time. Members have included: Reta Le Quesne (Bass/Vocals), Joanne Billesdon (Lead Guitar), Sharon Billesdon (Bass, then Drums), Lisa Preston (Drums, then Keyboards), Fluer de Lis (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals), Nina Kaye (Guitar, then Bass), Carla Rotta (Drums). They recorded 2 singles which were made in Belgium with Demolition Derby.

Snort are influenced by heavy metal and 60’s garage mainly which results in a crossover of the two creating a heavy trash amalgam. the material snort write about range from love songs to songs about psychotics running over Elvis impersonators, songs about the devil, fast cars and of course how to scare men.
– Fleur De Lis

After playing a vast amount of shows through-out the early 90s (including winning a Battle of the Bands competition), and recording material at Nightshift Studios (some of which appeared on Peter Mitchell’s Flat City compilations), De Lis left to become a mother again, with Carla Rotta joining on drums, Preston shifting to keyboards for a while, and Nina-Kaye joining on guitar. Fleur later surfaced with her band the Dialtones, whilst Lisa, Joanne and Sharon later appeared (with Rustle Covini) as the Lo-Liners, Rita Le Quesne has surfaced in a number of groups including the Axle Grinders.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Cave of Love 7″ single [Demolition Derby]
  • Hell Have No Fury Ep [1995 Kato]
  • ‘Hey Creep’/’Cos I’m Evil’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [Spinning Clock]

See-Also

Space Dust

Biography

A Christchurch institution of absent idols (only John Christoffels still resides in the garden city from the classic line-up), dating back to 1993 but seldom surfacing more than a single gig every couple of years. The group was original formed by Duane Zarakov, Mick Elborado and Brother Love – with Zarakov’s sister Violet up-front in her first band, and Christoffels on bass.

Beatle! – Originally intended as their debut release

A series of guitarists and organists came and went over a productive period during the mid 1990’s, with the group recording 3 albums and cutting a number of releases on vinyl for both American (18 Wheeler, Carburetor) and New Zealand (Kato, Homebacon, Stink Magnetic) labels.

The debut ‘Beatle!’ got stuck unreleased for a period as the label behind the release (18 Wheeler) went on an unexpected hiatus.

 

US Pressing of Debut Single

The group managed to tour the United States with a make-shift line-up comprising the core trio of Violet Faigan, Duane Zarakov and Brother Love, with Doug Pearson and John Allen joining the line-up – without Violet they became the Brother Love band.

The group enjoyed some visibility with their songs included on the New Zealand feature film ‘Snakeskin’, which coincided with the release of their 1999 CD ‘No Kissing In Public’. The single ‘Too Much Action’ was given a video and his probably their most well-known song. The album was reissued by Powertool Records in 2014.

Violet Faigan moved to Auckland, so for a period the group was comprised of Faigan, Zarakov and the Constant Pain duo of Roddy Pain and Cameron Bain, though further line-up changes continued up their too (Sean O’Reilly on bass and occasionally Brother Love would venture North from his new home of Wellington to complete the line-up).

Members

  • Pat Faigan / Duane Zarakov (Drums)
  • Violet Faigan (Vocals)
  • Mick Elborado (Guitar / Organ)
  • Marty Henderson / Brother Love (Guitar)
  • John Christoffels (Bass)
  • Matt Alien / Matt Johnstone (Guitar)
  • Matt Middleton (Clarinet)
  • Anabel Alpers (Organ)
  • Doug Pearson (Synthesizer / Violin)
  • John Allen (Bass)
  • Lisa Preston (Organ)
  • Bill Fosby (Guitar)
  • John Segovia (Guitar)
  • Rob Haarkman / Rock Hardman (Keyboards)
  • Cameron Bain (Guitar)
  • Roddy Pain (Guitar)
  • Sean O’Reilly (Bass)
  • Simon Cumings (Electronics)
  • Chris Heazlewood (Guitar)
  • Rich Mixture (Drums)

Discography

  • ‘Cool Car’ 7″ Single [1994, Homebacon / 18 Wheeler, EWR-008]
  • Beatle! [1995, 18 Wheeler, EWR014]
  • First To The Future [1995, Carburetor Records]
  • No Kissing In Public [1999, Homebacon Music]
  • Live 93 Cassette [Stink Magnetic, MAG24]

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