Ripper

Legendary and short-lived indie punk label that debuted right on the cusp of the New Zealand underground explosion (i.e. they predate and are noted as a precursor to Flying Nun). Ripper was basically where New Zealand punk first surfaced with the likes of the Suburban Reptiles, the fleetingly popular Swingers, Scavengers etc – basically the cream of the early New Zealand punk scene.

Get hold of the ak79 compilation – later reissued as a joint release (with many bonus tracks) through Flying Nun and Propeller which was Rippers’ key archival document, and one of the finest compilations any New Zealand label has ever put out.

Compilation Discography (picks in bold)

  • AK79 [1980 RPR1]
  • Hauraki Homegrown 1980 [1980 RPR2]
  • Ghost Milk Soup [1981 RPR005]
  • Rip Shit Or Bust 12″ ep [1983 rip026]

Scavengers

High-profile first wave Auckland punk outfit (archivists declare them THE original New Zealand punk outfit) who actually evolved out of the 1b Darlings, a glitter and glam r’n’b cover act dating back to 1976 comprised of Michael Simmons (soon to be Mike Lesbian – vocals), Marlon Hart (Mal Licious – bass), Simon Monroe (Des Truction – drums) and Paul Cooke (Johnny Volume – guitar). During late ’76 and 77 the band laid low, practising and cultivating their attack on new zealand, with a slew of imported british singles as their inspiration.

With the explosion of punk in New Zealand in min ’77, they steeped forward into the limelight, bringing the punk spectacle to Auckland along with the Suburban Reptiles, and brought out a couple of singles (including the fantastic anthem ‘Mysterx’ – later used in a telecom ad!, and the even better ‘True Love’), featured on the AK79 compilation. In the early 80s the Scavs had a number of line-up changes, eventually renaming themselves the Marching Girls and then relocating to Melbourne – producing an underwhelming EP.

They eventually had an album produced post-humously (from their some-what limited recordings) in 2003 with their self-titled (Scavengers) release.

Discography (picks in bold)

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]

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The Swingers

Phil Judds short-lived pub band turned superstar outfit. With Counting The Beat they became an overnight sensation, a stripped down successor to the punk bands that came before them (The Scavengers and Suburban Reptiles), The Swingers were Judd and ex-punks Bones Hillman and Busters Stiggs – a rough around the edges rock outfit with the most familiar guitar intro in New Zealand music (its now the soundtrack to a million K-Mart ads..) and a killer riff. They eventually went through rough times, with Ian Gilroy and Andrew Mclennan eventually drafted into the line-up. Their popularity soon waned, with Judd’s interest going into other projects.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘One Good Reason’/’All Over Town’ 7″ Single [1980 Ripper Rpi002]
  • Practical Jokers [1981 Ripper Rpr004]
  • ‘Counting The Beat’/’One Good Reason’ 7″ Single [1981 Ripper Rpi012]
  • ‘It Ain’T What You Dance It’S The Way That You Dance It’/’Flak’ 7″ Single [1981 Ripper Rpi015]
  • ‘One Track Mind’/’Distortion’ 7″ Single [1981 Ripper Rpi019]
  • ‘Punch And Judy’/’In The Middle Of Nowhere’ 7″ Single [1982 Ripper Rpi022]
  • Starstruck [Soundtrack 1982 Mushroom]

See-Also