Psych-influenced Wellington-based psuedo punk outfit that proved to be the starting point for legendary Puddle front-man George Henderson (Guitar / Vocals), along with Chris Plummer (Drums), Susan Ellis (Keys / Vocals) and Richard Sedger (Bass). With many song-writers in their line-up, and with addition of Mark Thomas as a second guitarist, the Spies had a unique and eclectic sound, with songs veering in many different directions.
Unfortunately the band was short-lived, only lasting 8 months through 1979 and putting out a solitary 7″ release from a band set-list that was almost all original – though with left-field covers of Pere Ubu’s classic Non-Alignment Pact and Thomas Leers’ ‘Private Plane’. Soon the majority of the band, plus additional friends and like-minded muso’s reconvened in Christchurch to establish a secluded band house where both the And Band and the even more eclectic Perfect Strangers lived, wrote, practised, and performed.
Discography (picks in bold)
- ‘Give Me A Reason’/’Daddy Was A Dj’ 7″ Single [1980 Ripper Rip010]
Extremely discordant and unusual Christchurch-based 4-piece comprised of George Henderson, Susan Ellis, Richard Sedger and Mark Thomas. Put out a joint untitled and notoriously hard to find EP with Perfect Strangers in 1982, before Thomas left the band for their sister outfit, replaced by Lindsay Cooke.
The And Band – We Are Right (1982)
The And Band were an outgrowth of influential but undiscovered Wellington punk-oddities the Spies. When feed up with the limitations of the Wellington scene, the band, along with several of their friends relocated to a small Christchurch flat, sharing a recording space (and the actual 4-track) with the perfect strangers. The And Band and Perfect Strangers basically shut themselves inside for 6 months, working together to pool their resources and struggling to find any opportunities to play live (their and in particular Perfect Strangers free-form approach to playing was hardly a crowd-pleaser).
Both bands essentially split on the release of the EP, with members scattering across New Zealand. Henderson soon established the long-time underground favorites the Puddle and has achieved a bit of cult celebrity for his unusual approach to making music. The EP stands as an intriguing document of two notoriously outcast bands.
Picks in bold
A shambling blues-rock trio of notorious obscurity – their split 12″ EP (with The And Band – who shared member Mark Thomas), they existed for a short time playing underground gigs in Christchurch around 1981. Bill Vosburgh ended up recording a split EP as Junkanoo, before forming the Bill Fosby Assassins (with Duane Zarakov), and later joining the Homebacon gang on Brother Love‘s Rock’N’Roll Criminal.
Picks in bold