Screaming Meemees

Excellent, and highly popular post-punk / new-wave pop act out of auckland in the early 80s. Achieved unprecedented success with the release of ‘See Me Go’, a lovely poppy early single in the distinct Mee Mees style that managed to top the New Zealand charts without any radio play, purely on the popularity of their live shows and word of mouth.

How many times was this [‘See Me Go’ 7″ on Propeller] recorded and mixed. We finished the mix and went on tour, only to receive a “remix” that the marketing guy at Festival had done. It was unlistenable, although we were told that he’d substituted it for our mix on the release. A quick call to the pressing plant meant ours was substituted, the other one was quietly dumped, so the official release was ours. The funny thing was the marketing guy never noticed…..4000 copies in a week and number one…in fact the first NZ single to enter at 1.

Simon Grigg: taken from Griggs’ Propeller archive website.

The Mee Mees were soon to be touted as New Zealand’s most popular band with their rollicking debut If This Is Paradise, I’ll Take The Bag, and toured as part of the Screaming Blamatic roadshow in 1982 to huge crowds, a defining moment for New Zealand post-punk (championed by start-up label Propeller Recordings) – but their success was short lived with members Tony Drumm, Michael O’Niell, Peter Van Ver Fluit and Jon ‘Yoh’ Landwer going their seperate ways after the ‘Stars In My Eyes’ single in 1983.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Can’t Take It’ Split 7″ Single [1981 W/ Newmatics Ripper Rip013]
  • ‘See Me Go’/’Till I Die’ 7″ Single [1981 Propeller Rev8]
  • See Me Go Ep [1981 Propeller Rev8x]
  • ‘Sunday Boys’/’At At’ 7″ Single [Propeller Rev15]
  • ‘”F” Is For Fear’/’Orson Welles’ 7″ Single [1982 Propeller Rev18]
  • If This Is Paradise, I’ll Take The Bag [1982 Propeller Rev203]
  • ‘Stars In My Eyes’/’Days Go By’ 7″ Single [1983 Propeller Rev22]
  • Stars In My Eyes 12″ Ep [1983 Propeller Rev22x]
  • Stars In My Eyes [Compilation 1992 Propeller Rev501]

Awards Etc
RIANZ Awards 1981


  • Most Promising Group Of The Year: Screeming Meemees

See-Also

Spelling Mistakes

[The Spelling Mistakes ‘Feel So Good/Hate Me Hate/I Hate’] tied for first single [with The Features recorded debut]…also sold around a thousand and briefly broke even until Phonogram heard it and asked for their compilation advance cheque back..oh well.
Simon Grigg: taken from Griggs’ Propeller archive website.

2nd generation Auckland punk band featuring Nigel Russell who succumbed to the pressures of a boot-boy fan-base at the turn of the 80s. Released a double-album compilation on Fast Food some 23 years after originally forming, after several reunion performances during the late 90s. One of their most well known singles – the creatively titled ‘Rena’s Piss Flaps’ is reportedly based on Once Were Warriors actress Rena Owen.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Reena’s Piss Flaps’ 7″ Single [1980 W/ Whizz Kids Ripper Rip004]
  • Feels So Good 7″ Ep [1980 Ripper]
  • Hate Me Hate Me Ep [1980 Ripper Rev2]
  • We Still Hate The Spelling Mistakes [Compilation 1998]
  • Epileptic Apocalypse 1979 – 1999 [Compilation 2002 Fast Food]

See-Also

Suburban Reptiles

Attention grabbing flash-in-the-pan first-wave Auckland punkers, based around James Salter (Aka Jimmy Joy – Saxophone), Claire Elliot (Zero – Vocals), William Prendergast (Billy Planet – Bass), Trish Scott (Sissy Spunk – Guitar), Brian Nichols (Shaun Anfrayd – Guitar) and original drummer Des Edwards (who turned up later in another short-lived punk band – Junk) soon to be replaced by Mark Houghs (aka Buster Stiggs) who had been playing in Neil Finns’ early outfit After Hours – before he left to join his brother in Split Enz.

Jimmy Joy (Brett Salter) and myself were going to form a jazz band, but, in late 1976, after having been shown a live review of the Sex Pistols in NME by film director David Blyth, decided that this punk thing had more going for it.
– Simon Grigg: taken from Griggs’ propeller archive website.

Under Simon Griggs management, the Reptiles dressed in stark and desheveled clothing, often in Nazi regalia, and attempted to draw attention to themselves making their live debut (borrowing Split Enz’s gear, no less).

Though far removed from the political uprising of their inspiration motherland of England, punk did make a major impact in New Zealand homes in 1977, and few bands were as attention-grabbing as the Reptiles. Billy Planet later switched instruments, replacing both original guitarists with Bones Hillman (who had made his name in the Avondale Spiders) bringing along his bass, and of course his unmistakeable punk-Hitler moustache with him.

They recorded 4 tracks at a 1977 session under Tim Finn (who according to Grigg fell asleep 10 minutes into the sessions) for phonogram, though only ‘Megaton’ and ‘Desert Patrol’ would turn up on their single with the other tracks (‘Razor Smile’ – which featured on the Angel Mine soundtrack, and the excellent ‘Coup D’Etat’) eventually compiled together onto the ‘AK79’ compilation in 1993.

Zero eventually went on to play Columbia in the stage version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show – joining the british king of glam, Gary Glitter. Reforming with Zero on vocals, Stiggs and Baldock on guitar with the Split Enz connection increasing to include Phil Judd on bass and Paul Crowther on drums they now took on a new wave approach – ousting Jimmy Joy. Pretty soon the band had disbanded, with Zero leaving for Sydney with boyfriend Joy.

Discography (picks in bold)

    ‘Saturday Night Stay At Home’ / ‘Desert Patrol’ 7″ Single [1977 Reissue Ripper]
    Suburban Reptiles 7″ Ep [2004 Reissue Raw Power]

See-Also

Propeller

Biography

Simon Griggs’ punk, punk-pop and two-tone label from the early 80’s.

Has occasionally resurfaced with one-off releases (including the follow up label Furtive – who had the distinction of debuting The Tall Dwarfs lengthy recording career) and has compiled a number of the labels low run 7″ singles into some very memorable compilations.

Propeller was instrumental of The Screaming Meemees phenomenal success, securing the rarest of the rare, an independently released New Zealand number one single with ‘See Me Go’ in 1981 – paving the way for future success from the likes of Flying Nun.

Propeller (like its short-lived successor Ripper) was initially formed to release the great catalog of underground punk bands that were still relatively unheard outside their regional fan-bases at the turn of the 80’s.

With the original two releases from The Features and Spelling Mistakes, respectively; Propeller started a swell of activity in the New Zealand scene that would eventually be documented by the Bigger Than The Both Of Us compilation LP, which featured releases from both Ripper and contemporary labels.

Propeller currently operates as Huh! Records, the home of revivalist hip-hop outfit 3 The Hard Way and Grigg’s various compilations, such as the reissued Bigger Than The Both Of Us, and the Give it a Whirl documentary soundtrack, both with domestic distribution through major-label Universal NZ.

Compilation Discography

  • The Class Of 81 [1981 REV201]
  • Doobie Doo Disc [1982 REV206]
  • We’Ll Do Our Best [1983 REV209]
  • Its Bigger Than The Both Of Us Double-Lp [1988 2rev210]
  • Ak79 Reissue [1993 Joint Reissue Venture With Flying Nun REV503]
  • Give It A Whirl Double-Cd [2003 REV504]
  • Its Bigger Than The Both Of Us Reissue [2003 REV505]

Contact Details

  • Propeller Records
  • PO Box 6284
  • Auckland 1036
  • New Zealand [postal address]

Links