The Pickups

Biography

Long-running Christchurch trio (originally a duo under the name the Twin Towers… then the Distractions, finally settling on the Pickups in October 2003) fronted by William Daymond, with Isaac Mawson and Jared Kelly.

A fixture of the Christchurch and then Wellington live scenes for the best part of a decade before releasing their aptly titled debut/retrospective ‘Finally… The Pickups’ in 2010. Mawson’s then-girlfriend Bri Yaakoup (later of Frase + Bri) played keyboards for a period in 2005-2006

Taking elements of classic Flying Nun acts like the Chills and the Clean, psychedelic West Coast pop-rock and the free-wheeling fun of the Monkees and the Beach Boys as their primary inspirations.

Daymond and Mawson both moved to Wellington – Daymond is a member of both the Axemen and Terror of the Deep, whilst Jared Kelly has been a member of Palace of Wisdom and Coal.

Members

  • William Daymond (Guitar/Vocals, 2002-2010)
  • Isaac Mawson (Drums, 2002-2010)
  • Jared Kelly (Bass, 2004-2010)
  • Bri Yaakoup (Keyboards, 2005-2006)

Discography

  • Finally… The Pickups (2010 Worship the Owl 001)

Links

The Palace Of Wisdom

Biography

The Palace of Wisdom originated in 1999 when well established Christchurch rock’n’roller Ben Johnstone (Guitar/Backing Vocals – Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Incisions) got together with intimidating vocalist Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell, adding hooky guitar riffs to O’Connell’s hurricane force vocals. The resulting recording was released as part of the No Thanks To New Zealand On Air compilation in 2000. Matt Alien (Hi-Tone Destroyers, Black Panthers, Space Dust, Slavetrader) joined on drums, with the line-up complete by English bassist Ian Lloyd.

With Lloyd’s departure in late 2000, ALC5 (yet another Hi-Tone Destroyers member) joined the group on Bass, however after a year with the group he was also replaced, this time by the legendary Mick Elborado (Scorched Earth Policy, The Terminals, Gas, The Axemen, Drowning Is Easy etc), who became a mainstay in the group and is responsible for the bands huge, over-driven bass sound on the excellent Pills EP.

The group then started to rotated through a number of drummers with Nick Harte (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks, Black Albino, CM Ensemble, The Urinators) in February 2002, Tim MacDonald (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks) in March 2003, Simon Nunn (Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine, The Undercurrents, Kate in the Lemon Tree, Weaponized, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) in December 2003, and then Chris Andrews (a million lights, Mysterioball, Idols of Eve, Pop Hits City, O’Lovely) in November 2004.

This line-up was the longest of the group, though recordings from this era (which lasted almost 4 years) are limited to Stuck In The Suck. After a disastrous recording session at Christchurch’s MAINZ, and other internal issues – Mick Elborado left the group. Jared Kelly (The Pickups, Blue Moon) then joined in May 2008, with Andrews and Kelly switching instruments after their first practice.

2008 was a particularly important year for the group, recording the Common Threads EP with the lineup of O’Connell (Vocals), Johnstone (Guitar), Andrews (Bass) And Kelly (Drums) Before Stink Magnetic‘s Aiden Moody (Bad Evil, Grand Chancellors) joined as a 2nd guitarist, moving down from Palmerston North. This was an important change for the group as in late 2009 founding guitarist Ben Johnstone left to raise a family in Canada, and Moody took over his lead guitar duties.

Both Kelly and Andrews left for other towns in 2010, however Ox enlisted the help of drummer Michael Summerfield (The Undercurrents, Cowboy Machine), before Andrews rejoined in early 2011 on bass guitar. The group played the very last show at historic Lyttelton venue El Santo Porteno, just 2 days before the February 2011 earthquake. This disrupted the progress the group had been making, with guitarist Moody moving on to form surf group The Grand Chancellors.

The group resurfaced in early 2012 with Jared Kelly once again playing drums (replacing a departing Summerfield), with John Harris (Lonely Harris Club, Doctors, BnP) quickly establishing himself as their latest guitarist. Summerfield would eventually find himself back in the group after a hilarious stage moment at the (now bull-dozed) New Brighton Tavern which saw Kelly replaced mid-set by multi-instrumentalist Rhett Copland, and this line-up played quite a few shows over the next couple years.

Which Palace’s recorded output completely stagnant Ox formed a new group with guitarist Dave Branton named The Ruling Elite, which eventually picked up Andrews (switching to 2nd guitar). Eventually both groups began utilizing talented free-form drummer Rory ‘IRD’ Dalley – with the new group quickly writing and recording a whole swag of new recorded output, whilst Palace remains a tight live-act-only type of group.

Over the course of the last 15 years the group has played a string of high-profile support slots, including The Chills, The Datsuns and of particular note – US group Dead Moon, who the group cover (‘Unknown Passage’) and are of particular importance to vocalist O’Connell with their never-say-die attitude to Rock’n’Roll. The Palace of Wisdom’s set is augmented by a number of re-interpreted covers, often quite removed from the originals, or obscure in their origin – this includes The Great Unwashed‘s ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ (as ‘Sending Him Away’), and Joy Division’s ‘Sound of Music’.

 

Members

  • Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell (Vocals, 1999-)
  • Ben Johnstone (Guitar, 1999-2009)
  • Matt ‘Alien’ Johnstone (Guitar, 1999-2002)
  • Ian Lloyd (Bass, 1999)
  • Alan ‘ALC5’ Cameron (Bass, 2000-2001)
  • Mick Elborado (Bass, 2001-2007)
  • Nick ‘Harte’ Hodgson (Drums, 2002-2003)
  • Tim MacDonald (Drums, 2003)
  • Simon Nunn (Drums, 2003-2004)
  • Chris Andrews (Drums/Bass, 2004-2010, 2011-)
  • Jared Kelly (Bass/Drums, 2008-2010, 2012)
  • Rhett Copland (Drums, 2012)
  • Aiden Moody (Guitar, 2008-2010)
  • Michael Summerfield (Drums, 2010-2012)
  • John Harris (Guitar, 2010-)
  • Rory Dalley (Drums, 2015-)

Discography

  • The ‘P’ EP [2001 Self-Released]
  • Candy Pants [2002 Self-Released]
  • Pills EP [2003 Self-Released]
  • Stuck In The Suck [2006 Self-Released]
  • Burnside EP [2008 Self-Released]
  • Common Threads EP [2009 Self-Released]

    Links

  • MySpace
  • BandCamp
  • Facebook
  • LastFM
  • Photo’s on Flickr

The Axemen, Transistors, Poetry and Connie B

Connie B
Connie B

The Axemen are one of the great underground New Zealand groups. With a huge wag of releases over the years either on their own label or various others through out New Zealand and the world, they always seem to bring something eclectic and catchy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of eclectic – the rest of the performers this night at the Darkroom were certainly that. From the straight-up, super-fast punk of the Transistors, the surf-guitar soloist Connie B to the Poetry of Gorgeous Disorders.

Stevie McCabe of the Axemen
Stevie McCabe of the Axemen

Check out the rest of the photos here.

Shaft

Shaft is the now long-standing vehicle of prominent song-writer Bob Cardy (aka Bob Brannigan), original sludge-rocker guitarist for the Axemen and a stalwart of the New Zealand underground scene. As The Axemen faded away in the early 1990s, Cardy put together the Auckland-based Shaft with Tony Rush (bass – moved to Wellington and joined the Users) and Rich Mixture (drums – joined the Rock’N’Roll Machine), with former Axel Grinders guitarist John Segovia (who left to form the Radio Kings) joining soon after.

Several line-ups have come and gone over the bands gradual development, with Mark Peterson (bass – ex-Straightjacket Fits) and cameron rowe (keyboards – ex-Brunettes, coming and going with shaft currently employing Ben Maitlin (guitar – Box Car Guitars and brothers Sam and Stu Kett (bass and drums respectively).

In 2004 Shaft finally got themselves together long enough to release their first full-length album, with Open Sesame coming out on Lil Chief under the assistance of Bob Frisbee on production duties.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Pooty Ep [1996 Zero Zero007]

  • I Just Wanna Have Your Baby Ep [1996 Zero Zero010]

  • Cheap Candy Ep [1999 Action!]

  • Open Sesame [2004 Lil Chief Lcr008]

  • Down At Your Life [2006 Lil Chief Lcr018]

See-Also

Vacuum Blue Ladder

The Vacuum Blue Ladder formed when Bill Direen joined Stephen Cogle (Bass / Vocals) and Peter Stapleton (Drums / Lyrics), who were also making music as the duo Victor Dimisich Band – a group that would later release an EP on Flying Nun, and can be seen as the starting point for the more recognized Terminals, plus Stapleton and Cogle’s many variations. However – the Vacuum were quite different from these future groups, as Direen was an important creative force in the group who added his own color to their sound and songwriting.

The members took advantage of their connections to the album importing business, encompassing inspiration from the most obscure (in New Zealand’s mid 70s environment) corners with the likes of the Velvet Underground and West Coast U.S. psychedalic artists the 13th Floor Elevators (along with the staple Nuggets bands)… the very best in gritty, noisy and creative garage rock.

Like before we were in Vacuum we had a backyard band sort of thing. We used to play in this room down the back of my parents’ house. A woman called Theresa played guitar with us and we wrote songs. The ones we did with the Vacuum, most of the songs were written by Bill, which was a source of conflict eventually, and so we took our songs and did them with the Victor Dimisich Band
Peter Stapleton

Guitarist / Vocalist Theresa Mcquire joined and left in 1976, making way for Direen to front the band, and soon Peter Fryer had joined on violin. The combination of Direen and guitarist Allen Meek created a rift in the band, with Cogle and Stapleton restricted to the side-lines.

…They got pretty close. Peter and I would come along (to practise), and Bill and Allen would’ve spent a long time working things out. In the end, it sort of goes, that I got fired, by Bill. ‘Cause I didn’t mix with him. I remember.. Peter meeting me over the christmas period, we sort of had a christmas break, and he said oh, Bill wants me to tell you that you’re out (laughs). And I said oh, that’s fine, it suited me. And I was replaced by Segovia
Stephen Cogle: taken from Have You Checked The Children?

Jon ‘Segovia’ Markie (soon to make his name with the Axemen and later Shaft) joined Direen, Meek and drummer Malcolm Grant (the Bats) on bass to complete the final line-up of the Vacuum in 1979. The band eventually dissolved in the very early 1980s, but resurfaced with the short-lived Kaza Portico – Segovia in the mostly-covers outfit the Volkswagons, and later in Ritchie Venus‘s Blue Beetles.

Direen eventually took the shortened Vacuum as the name for his theater group, and continues to write, act and perform to this day.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also

Above Ground

Biography

One of Bill Direen‘s many groups from the early 1980’s, with a young Maryrose Crook (of the Renderers) on Bass, Stu Page (The Axemen) on Drums and Bill’s partner Carol on Keyboards.

Members

  • Bill Direen (Vocals/Guitar, 1983)
  • Stu Page (Drums/Vocals, 1983)
  • Carol Direen (Keyboards, 1983)
  • Maryrose Crook (Bass, 1983)

Discography

  • Gone Aiwa [1983 Prototype Publications Pp013]
  • Above Ground [1983 Independently Released]

Links

 

Steve McCabe

(lil’) stevie mccabe has been an underground force in new zealand since the early 80s, playing a punky form of rock’n’roll through a variety of bands, and even touring the united states with christchurch institution ritchie venus.
discography
picks in bold

  • sweat it out [1986 sleek bott LSM1]
  • country linesman [1987 sleek bott ]
  • omegabyte [1987 sleek bott ]
  • germ 7″ ep [1987 sleek bott ]
  • it’s acadmic [1988 sleek bott ]
  • yardbird [1988 sleek bott ]
  • lindy lou [1991 sleek bott ]
  • houndstooth [1992 sleek bott ]
  • rock’n’roll hound-dog [1992 sleek bott ]
  • never-ending party [1992 sleek bott ]
  • generations [1998 sleek bott ]