The Undercurrents

Excellent Christchurch guitar band that evolved from earlier group The Centre Will Hold. From that group Jamey Holloway (Guitar / vocals), and Nathan Bycroft (Drums) were joined by Nik O’Keefe (Bass, Vocals) and Marcus Winstanley (Guitar) to form the original line-up in mid 2003. This original line-up played in a low-key manner, with just Winstanley’s guitar adding an extra layer of Shoegaze type guitar into the mix (as he had done with previous band Barnard’s Star).

Eventually Bycroft left and after a short stint by Stephen McCarthy (Pine) the ever-versatile Simon Nunn (also of the Steffan Van Soest Hit Machine, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) filled the drummers seat more permanently, and beefed up their sound quite a lot. Michael Summerfield (Palace of Wisdom, Cowboy Machine) joined on viola, adding a level of country/folk inflection to their sound. The group managed to win the 2004 RDU Round Up band competition, released an EP with the help of Michael Brassell (aka Michael J Hex) / Arc Life Records and set up All Plastics – a small recording studio.

Simon Nunn eventually found himself committed to his regular gigs as a professional musician, so young drummer Matt Scobie (Black Market Art, T54) was brought in to replace him, and long-time bassist Nick O’Keefe also left, replaced by Vaughan Watson (Pumpkinhead, Squirm). The group has continued a low-key existence, with only a handful of shows a year and recordings few and far between.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Undercurrents (Blue Stripes) EP [2004 Arc Life]
  • Undercurrents (Big Ears) EP [2005 All Plastics]
  • Undercurrents EP (Black Birds) [November 2006 All Plastics]
  • Heavy Sky [July 2010 All Plastics]

See-Also

Slim

4-piece christchurch hard-rock outfit who made a bit of an impact in the late 90s through to 2002 with a few singles (particularly ‘Bullet In My Hand’, which receieved significant radio play) and a few high-profile support slots. Championed by the Wildside allumni, Slim were Aaron Hogg (Ex-Pumpkinhead – Lead Vox / Gat), Scott Mason (Drums / Vox), Donald Mcclure (Bass / Vox) And Simon Meehan (Gat).

Slim were also connected to the ever-popular Salmonella Dub vocalist Tiki performing sound duties, as well as being frontman Hogg’s former band-mate in Braaspadeak. The album took a loooong time to come out, with several of the key tracks being pre-released singles from their earlier days, and slim broke up not too long after.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Squirm

Biography

Brilliant 90’s Christchurch sludge-rock outfit comprised of Brett Lupton, Daryl Kirk and Mike Brassell (Hiss Explosion).

Released a series of warped, discordant guitar albums, based around Brassell’s excellent guitar-work and an inventive, lo-fi and somewhat sloppy (in a good way) approach to recording songs.

The group was formed by Brassell, Lupton and Original Drummer Andrew Meier (aka ‘Hat’ – who would go on to have an involvement with Flying Nun and as station manager for Christchurch’s RDU radio station), with the original line-up recording and releasing a cassette on Peter Mitchell’s Flat City label.

After Hat’s departure in 1993, Darryl Kirk joined the line-up – the line-up that would record the bulk of the bands output. In their last line-up Pete Mitchell became the new drummer, whilst Vaughen Watson (The Undercurrents, Pumpkinhead) joined as bassist.

Members

  • Michael Brassell (Guitar/Vocals/Bass, 1992 -1996)
  • Brett Lupton (Guitar/Vocals/Sampler, 1992 – 1996)
  • Andrew Meier (Drums, 1992)
  • Darryl Kirk (Drums/Keyboards, 1993)
  • Peter Mitchell (Drums, 1993 – 1996)
  • Vaughen Watson (Bass, 1993 – 1996)

Discography

  • Feeding The Cround Cassette (1992, Flat City)
  • Whip Me Honey EP [1994, Failsafe Records, SAFE027)
  • Mastermistakemaker [1995, Failsafe Records, SAFE028)
  • Spastic Sarcastic [1996, Noseflute)

Links

 

 

Wildside

Former Rip It Pp editor Murray Cammick formed Wildside in 1991, releasing material from Wellington acts Freak Power, Second Child and Rumblefish, but didn’t really become the icon of Wellington hard rock it was in the mid 90s until both Head Like A Hole and Shihad (who later changed their name to Pacifier then reverted back again) released their Wildside debuts.

With 2 of the biggest names in New Zealand rock under their belts (not to mention the likes of the Dead Flowers, and Christchurch act Pumpkinhead), Wildside cruised through the 90s, with album after album of high-quality hard rock.

Compilation Discography
Picks In Bold

  • Raw 1 [1995]
  • The Best Of Wildside [2002]

Contact Details

  • Wildside Email [Contact Email]
  • Wildside Records
  • Po Box 7012
  • Wellesley St
  • Auckland
  • New Zealand [Postal Address]

Catherine Wheel

Biography

No relation to the UK band of the same name, this one was formed in 1988 if it makes any difference. Following on from Genie and the Wild Children‘s Dave Hunt, Brett Lupton and Mark Tyler and with Paul O’Brien joining, the band became brilliantly adept at working up catch pop and indie rock numbers.

The band recorded 6 songs with Rob Mayes in the bands warehouse on 4 track yielding exceptional results, and self released minimal copies of it to friends. One track ‘Love and justice’ was included in the Pagan Records indie guitar compilation Positive Vibrations.

This batch of songs mined similar territory to the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience in their Flex EP phase, but with the Catherine Wheel’s own slanted style. Easily as good though.

Another series of recordings were completed at the same warehouse on 8 track yielding 4 more songs, none of which were released.the band also committed to tape a large part of their set at a recording session at Rob Mayes Gilby Street home but the sessions were scrapped due to difficulty with O’Brien’s drum sounds. These songs represented a wealth of cool pop songs, and most were not recorded again. Later developments in recording technology would have allowed correction of the original problem, but no use crying over spilt milk.

Catherine Wheel stumbled on to average success, the band always having trouble with live gigs, through technical difficulties, and in some cases stage fright. Eventually the band split with Lupton going on to form Squirm, Hunt went on to form Supertanker, and recorded and released material with Failsafe.

Supertanker went through a few line-up changes before folding, and Hunt eventually ended up as replacement guitarist for Christchurch grungsters Pumpkinhead. At Pumpkinhead’s demise Hunt joined David Yetton’s Stereobus project, joining after the release of the first album. Bassist Mark went on to collaborate with drummer Dave Deacon as the Sly and Robbie rhythm section of Christchurch working in Golf Course Alligators, Salmonella Dub, and 147 Swordfish, among many others.

– Rob Mayes

Members

  • Dave Hunt (Guitar/Vocals, 1988 -)
  • Brett Lupton (Guitar/Vocals, 1988 -)
  • Mark Tyler (Bass, 1988 – )
  • Paul O’Brien (Drums, 1988 -)

Discography

Links

 

Pumpkinhead

its hard to describe pumpkinhead. maybe riding off the likes of the infectious grooves, but with a mid-90s funk-metal edge (not as bad as it sounds) that distinguished them from just about everyone. hugely popular through-out new zealand for a short period, their singles ‘water’ and ‘nark’ were underground hits – but they ultimately faded away as their metal side became unfashionable. comprised of brent mulligan, aaron hogg, vaughen watson, jason harmon, jason peters and dave (francis) hunt.
discography
picks in bold