Southern Front

Biography

The last evolution in the chain for the core of the Christchurch punk rock movement this band were made up of the members of Unauthorised, Desperate Measures, and Evasive Action.

The band were moving well away from their punk roots despite their punk followers wish that they’d never play anything else, developing an interesting post punk sound a la Killing Joke, dark and interesting thanks to Vandenhoven’s wandering melodic basslines and Johnston’s hooky guitar playing.

The band released one album “Southern Front” through Failsafe Records which was mostly recorded at Tandem Studios with engineer Eric Johns, guitarist with 70’s disco stars Heat Wave (hit single “Boogie Nights”), and co-produced by Rob Mayes (first production job), singer Heapworth, and Vandenhoven.

The last track on the album is actually from the group’s Evasive Action line-up recordings, though it was sung by Heapworth and not Evasive Action’s main vocalist Eugene Butcher so technically it was a Southern Front recording. This track was recorded at Nightshift Studios.

The band filmed a video for the track for $100 at 4 am on the hills overlooking Christchurch using the talents of one Peter Bannon, who went on to be one of New Zealand top fashion photographers, though obviously not on the basis of this rough-and-fast video.

Hepworth left for Australia soon after the release of the album, and the band continued on with Gibson singing and drumming. The band later took on singer Alan Clark (Banshee Reel) and recorded one song at Nightshift studios before splitting. The song was never released.

– Failsafe Records

Members

  • Eric Vandenhoven (Bass)
  • Phil Johnston (Guitar)
  • Mark Gibson (Drums/Vocals)
  • Harry Heapworth (Vocals/Guitar)

Discography

Links

 

Unauthorised

Hard core punk outfit, pretty serious about their music. The band feature Jeff Paris (Drums), Harry Hepworth (Vocals), Mark ‘Gibby’ Gibson (Bass), and Phil Johnston (Guitar). The band released half an album, the other side of Desperate Measures – ‘Wasted Again’ release, featured fast and dense punk tunes. Hepworth And Paris went on to Evasive Action and later Hepworth, Gibson, and Johnston went on to Southern Front, with Vandenhoven from Desperate Measures.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Desperate Measures

Biography

Desperate Measures were Christchurch’s answer to pop punk, a couple of years after the whole Sex Pistol thing, but they were fun and had a few good songs for all the punk posturing. They had a reasonably heavy following, or it seemed so at the time.

The band featured Eugene Butcher – vocals (now doing something in multi media in London where he has lived for 10 years), Eric Vandenhoven – bass guitar (later of Evasive Action, Southern Front, Iceland, Champion Beat and now doing chef things in Auckland), Shane – guitar (now runs an Auckland recording studio), Greg – drums.

The band managed to record and self release a 4 song EP 1984, as well as a live to multi track set which ended up as the first Failsafe records release, ‘Wasted Again’ (b/w ‘Unauthorised’).

As with many rough punk bands the measures spawned a number of talented musicians, notably Eric Vandenhoven, who’s inventive bass playing went on to encourage and influence many local musicians.

– Rob Mayes

Members

  • Eric Vandenhoven (Bass, 1981 – 1984)
  • Eugene Butcher (Vocals, 1981 – 1984)
  • Shane O’Neill (Guitar, 1982 – 1984)
  • Greg Hussy (Drums, 1982 – 1984)

Discography

  • Desperate Measures EP [1982 Desperate Times DT216]
  • Desperate Measures [1984 w/ Unauthorised Failsafe SAFE001]

Links