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

Whizz Kids

Westlake Boys High Boys Tim Mahon and Mark Bell were North-Shore punks back in 1978, initially as part of the ‘Avant-Punk-Theatre’ act the Plague.

[The Plague’s] major claim to fame came with their naked live performance (albeit covered in paint) at the 1979 Nambassa Rock Festival in front of 30,000 confused hippies
– Simon Grigg

Eventually the musically inclined trio in the Plague – namely Mahon, Bell and Ian Gilroy, ended up splitting to concentrate on the music side of things, and released a split single (with the Spelling Mistakes) as The Whizz Kids. Fairly soon Gilroy left to join the Swingers, so Don McGlashan was drafted in as their new drummer, with the band redubbed Blam Blam Blam.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

The Clean – Compilation

Flying Nun [1986 Compilation]

In 1978 the New Zealand underground scene was on the verge of explosion. The Enemy, Bored Games, and The Spelling Mistakes were showing that New Zealand could produce great punk music, and all with a great ‘do-it-yourself’ gusto. The Enemy later developed into seminal early 80s punk outfit Toy Love, and with their eventual collapse, guitarist/vocalist Chris Knox formed the infamous lo-fi pioneer duo the Tall Dwarfs with fellow Toy Love member Alec Bathgate. David Kilgour was a great fan of the Enemy, and had developed a relationship with the musicians that made up the Dunedin scene at the time. In 1978 he set about learning guitar, then forming a band that would eventually capture the essence of the 2nd wave of New Zealand underground music, the so called ‘Dunedin Sound’.

After a period of almost 2 years and a plethora of line-up changes, Kilgour settled on his brother Hamish on drums and original bass-player Peter Gutteridge (who after leaving the band before the majority of their output was an original member of the Chills, The Puddle, and then eventually his own band Snapper). This formation would go onto write a handful of The Clean‘s early songs, and eventually resurface in 1983 as The Great Unwashed (for a short tour and subsequent album), but it was robert scott (also of the bats) who secured The Clean’s line-up in late 1979.

After touring haphazardly for there first three years of existence (often supporting The Enemy), Kilgour was propositioned by young upstart Roger Shephard, who had come up with the idea of forming a record label to release The Clean’s noticeably inspirational music to the masses. Shephard put together Flying Nun records in 1981, and The Clean’s breakthrough single Tally Ho! Was the label’s 2nd release (following The Pin Group’s ‘Columbia’). Featuring a young Martin Phillips on organ accompaniment and recorded for no budget whatsoever, the single rocketed into the New Zealand charts – which was considered impossible for a self-distributed minor label recording at the time. Phillips’ catchy, driving organ and the gentle sing-song nature of Kilgour’s vocals had immediately struck a chord with the New Zealand public, but the band failed to fully capitalize on this early success.

Over the course of the next two years, the clean only put out two EPs, Boodle Boodle Boodle was recorded by Doug Hood and features a stunning array of pop-classics (“aNything Could Happen”, “At The Bottom” and the Gutteridge penned classic “Point That Thing Somewhere Else”) and the equally superb ‘Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-So Sounds So-So, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten’ EP (track highlights included the instrumental “Fish” and jangly masterpiece “Beatnik”).

This complacency with relative seclusion eventually led to a number of self-imposed band break-ups, and delayed their eventual debut album release till 1990, which brought Vehicle – by which time the Clean had become a part time band for all three members, due to the demands of their various other musical exploits.

Compilation documents the high-times of the early Clean. Released by Flying Nun as an LP (then re-released during the 90s cd reissuing phase), the album gathers together Tally Ho! And the original 2 EPs, several tracks from the ‘Oddities’ self-recorded album, as well as live material recorded crudely on a fan’s cassette recorder.

The quality of the recording is of no concern though, as it becomes immediately apparent on listening to these lo-fi masterpieces that the clean were on to something special. From the twin-guitar and bass onslaught of pounding pop opener “Billy Two”, the chugga chugga bass and steaming lead-guitar of “At The Bottom”, through to the quirky pop highlights of “Beatnik”, “Oddity” and “Hold On To The Rail” – there isn’t a single dud in this wonderful archive of one of pop-rock’s truly great bands.

Ear-marked by a stunning live rendition of signature tune “Point That Thing Somewhere Else”, the live tracks are murky, but show the band in full flight. Waves upon waves of guitar distortion, pounding bass and drums and kilgour’s enigmatic, hushed vocals characterize a band that did more for the New Zealand live scene than any other band has done before or since.

Rough and ready, this is a compilation of the most well-honed, dynamic guitar music your ever likely to hear. Simmering solo’s, bass that gets your foot tapping, and primal, aggressive drumming lead to a winning combination. Though the Clean may have since failed to live up to the expectations that this album documents, they have become a crowning monument for New Zealand in the history of pop-rock, and i’d recommend anyone with more than a passing interest in music to give this classic a try.