Say Yes To Apes were a bit of a notorious southern rock outfit formed by Kevin Smith (guitar / vocals – well-known for his tv acting), Pat Faigan (drums – Spacedust etc) and Steve Watson (bass / violin / synth), born out of the earlier Picnic Boys. Releasing a handful of home-made lo-fi tapes on their own TV Eye label, and eventually even some vinyl the boys developed a firm following with a shambolic approach to rock; with Smiths’ vocals at times recalling Lou Reed.
Later joined by Tim McCleod, Say Yes To Apes were the last and most successful of the TV Eye collective. TV Eye released Watsons’ Legacy Of Ears, and Smiths’ Hyphen-Smythe solo material, all with distinctive hand-scribbled sleeves and home-brewed production techniques. Each of these releases are now highly rare and thoroughly collectable, especially with Kevin Smiths’ tragic death in 2003.
Discography (picks in bold)
- Who’s That [1983 TV Eye Apes001]
- The Decline And Fall Of Say Yes To Apes [1984 TV Eye Apes003]
- The Brainshake Cassette [1984 W/ The Impeccable Nasals TV Eye]
Short-lived independent tape-label primarily focused around the recordings of the late Kevin Smiths’ Say Yes To Apes (who feature on every one of their compilations), along with Smith (who played solo as Hyphen-Smythe), label head Steve Watson (Legacy Of Hearing) and their other bands comprised of members Pat Faigan (aka Duane Zarakov), Tim Mcleod, Phil Howe and others – mainly the Picnic Boys and the Smith/Watson duo Hyphen-Ears.
Picks In Bold
- Werdicats Cassette [1983 Tveye006]
- I Just Flew In From Invercargill, And Boy Are My Arms Tired! Cassette [1984 Tveye009]
The infamous Axel Grinders – a terrific Christchurch noise-punk / garage beat combo from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s formed by John ‘Segovia’ Markie, Pat ‘Duane Zarakov’ Faigan, and Martin ‘Brother Love’ Henderson, with Celia Patel (aka Celia Mancini, at that stage performing as Celia Pavlova) completing their early line-up.
The Axel Grinders started out by doing covers. They even covered “We Care A Lot” (Faith No More). They played hard-charging skate punk. They pretended they were shit hot skateboarders but none of them could actually skate. (laughs) They took action shots of themselves skating. It was pretty funny.
– Steve McCabe from an interview with Ryan Leach
Celia left the group some time in 1989 (she later said in an interview with Ryan Leach that she was kicked out for ‘being too Iggy’), the group would go on to record their signature tune ‘Apparatus of Love’ with Celia’s Stepford 5 band-mate Reta La Quesne stepping in as their new vocalist, releasing the single alongside the noisy B-Side ‘Don’t hurry, be sappy’ for the US Dionysus imprint.
Several lo-fi cassettes were produced by the group, though it took over 25 years for the full length release ‘Kill Them Twice!’ surfaced on streaming services, though no physical copies were produced prior to Patel’s passing in 2017.
- John Markie (Guitar/Vocals, 1988 – 1990)
- Pat Faigan (Drums, 1988 – 1990)
- Phil Prescott (Bass, 1988)
- Martin Henderson (Bass, 1988 – 1990)
- Celia Patel (Vocals, 1988 – 1989)
- Reta La Quesne (Vocals/Guitar, 1989 – 1990)
- Come Together Cassette (1989, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL001)
- The Trip/1989 Cassette (1989, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL002)
- Too Cool Cassette (1990, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL003)
- Etheric K.O. Cassette (1990, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL004)
- Apparatus of Love (1990, Dionysus Records, ID074517)
- It’s in the bag Cassette (199?, Sourpuss Recordings)
- The Trip Cassette (1993 Reissue, Homebacon)
- Kill Them Twice! (2014, Imperial)
legacy of ears was the alias of steve watson, a member of the collective behind the picnic boys and say yes to apes, who put out some tape releases on their tv eye label in the early 1980s. legacy of ears later joined with kevin smiths’ hyphen-smythe alias to form the hyphen-ears duo.
picks in bold