The infamous Axel Grinders – a terrific Christchurch noise-punk / garage beat combo from the late 1980’s and early 1990’s formed by John ‘Segovia’ Markie, Pat ‘Duane Zarakov’ Faigan, and Martin ‘Brother Love’ Henderson, with Celia Patel (aka Celia Mancini, at that stage performing as Celia Pavlova) completing their early line-up.
The Axel Grinders started out by doing covers. They even covered “We Care A Lot” (Faith No More). They played hard-charging skate punk. They pretended they were shit hot skateboarders but none of them could actually skate. (laughs) They took action shots of themselves skating. It was pretty funny.
– Steve McCabe from an interview with Ryan Leach
Celia left the group some time in 1989 (she later said in an interview with Ryan Leach that she was kicked out for ‘being too Iggy’), the group would go on to record their signature tune ‘Apparatus of Love’ with Celia’s Stepford 5 band-mate Reta La Quesne stepping in as their new vocalist, releasing the single alongside the noisy B-Side ‘Don’t hurry, be sappy’ for the US Dionysus imprint.
Several lo-fi cassettes were produced by the group, though it took over 25 years for the full length release ‘Kill Them Twice!’ surfaced on streaming services, though no physical copies were produced prior to Patel’s passing in 2017.
- John Markie (Guitar/Vocals, 1988 – 1990)
- Pat Faigan (Drums, 1988 – 1990)
- Phil Prescott (Bass, 1988)
- Martin Henderson (Bass, 1988 – 1990)
- Celia Patel (Vocals, 1988 – 1989)
- Reta La Quesne (Vocals/Guitar, 1989 – 1990)
- Come Together Cassette (1989, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL001)
- The Trip/1989 Cassette (1989, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL002)
- Too Cool Cassette (1990, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL003)
- Etheric K.O. Cassette (1990, Sourpuss Recordings, AXEL004)
- Apparatus of Love (1990, Dionysus Records, ID074517)
- It’s in the bag Cassette (199?, Sourpuss Recordings)
- The Trip Cassette (1993 Reissue, Homebacon)
- Kill Them Twice! (2014, Imperial)
A well-known, yet thoroughly underground troop that often swelled in numbers (sometimes up to as many as 10 members in the mid 1980’s). The group have been known for their artistic endeavors as well as their music – with drummer Stuart Page (aka Stu Kawowski) a renowned film-maker and photographer.
Barely out of Cashmere High School, Steve McCabe played alongside Bob Cardy (aka Bob Brannigan – later to form the legendary Shaft up in Auckland) in a variety of pre-cursor bands, before Page jumped on stage at one of their shows. This was the birth of The Axemen, and the core line-up of all the groups earliest recordings.
The group released three albums on Flying Nun Records in the mid to late 1980’s – guitarist Dragan Stojanovic joining the line-up in time for 1989’s Derry Legend. Several releases on their own Sleek Bott imprint followed – following a very make-shift, punk approach to recording, their albums were often of-the-moment pieces…
The story of [Big Cheap Motel] is: Bob and myself went down to check out the Christchurch botanic gardens, the scene of the local council/”Big M” milk drink-sponsored “Summertime” concert-in-the-park series of free outdoor events, only to find the park plastered with billboard-sized posters of skimpily-clad young ladies advertising the sponsors wares.
We immediately proceeded home and wrote the enclosed set of ‘protest’ songs about the travesty, which were performed at the event, to the mild annoyance of the council & the sponsors.
– Taken from Mayday: The Little Stevie McCabe / Axemen / Sleek Bott webpage
- Steve McCabe (Guitar/Keyboards/Vocals, 1983 – )
- Bob Brannigan (Guitar/Vocals, 1983 – 2011)
- Stuart Page (Drums/Vocals/Trumpet, 1983 – )
- Dragan Stojanovic (Guitar/Vocals/Mandolin/Bass, 1989 -)
- William Daymond (Bass/Guitar/Keyboards/Drums, 2011 -)
- Mick Elborado (Guitar/Bass/Vocals, 1991)
- Paul Lee (Saxophone/Vocals, 1991)
- B. B. Ryan (Bass/Guitar/Vocals, 1991)
- Pete Rees (Vocals, 1991)
- Arthur Sheep (Saxophone, 1991)
- Shorty Hamilton (Drums, 1991)
- Jessica Walker (Violin, 1991)
Note: This is an abridged list of musicians listed on The Axemen’s various recordings – see the groups Wikipedia page for an extended roll-call.
- Big Cheap Motel (1983, Sleek Bott)
- Three Virgins Three Versions Three Visions (1986, Flying Nun Records, FN049)
- Derry Legends (1987, Flying Nun Records, FN120)
- Ak87 (W/ The Shit Pop Boyz 1987, Sleek Bott)
- Scary! (W/ The Sleek Bott Gang 1989, Sleek Bott)
- Peter Wang Pud (1991, Flying Nun Fn204)
- Dirty Den Sessions (1991, Sleek Bott)
- Recliner Rocker (1992, Sleek Bott #921)
- Three Rooms (An Elton John Tribute Album) (1992, Sleek Bott)
- Across The Universe In 27879 Days Ep (1992, Sleek Bott)
- The Axemen Singles Collection (Compilation 1998, Sleek Bott)
- Nutsack 7″ Single (2011,
- Sac Tap Nut Jam (2013, Spacecase Records, SCR006)