RIP Peter Gutteridge

On Monday, September 15th I saw an innocuous Facebook post by Doo Ragnarok, aka Duane Zarakov, aka Pat Faigan – a fairly typical post by Pat, who spends a great chunk of the day posting excellent youtube clips of classic songs – in this case The Great Unwashed‘s ‘Born in the Wrong Time’, which is one of my all time favorite songs, Kiwi or otherwise.

However the responses to this wonderful song were different than usual – a whole heap of sad comments. This is how I found out Peter Gutteridge – founding member of The Clean, The Chills, The Great Unwashed and his own group Snapper – had passed away that morning.

Peter Gutteridge
Peter Gutteridge, After performing at the Darkroom in 2012

Pretty soon the rest of the world had caught up on Peter’s passing – Simon Sweetman seemed to have the first story online about his passing, and this interview from Mess and Noise back in April last year seems to be the most informative insight online in to who I believed to be New Zealand’s greatest song-writer.

I took the photo above back in 2012 after catching Peter play a live acoustic set at Christchurch’s Darkroom Bar back in 2012 – Peter was very conscientious about his appearance, making sure I drew as much of the ample character in his face as possible. I got just two shots; the above color shot which seems to portray fire and brimstone, a swaggering but downtrodden character. However the 2nd shot I took (below) seems to show another side of Peter – there is warmth and frailty in his eyes – a complete transformation.

Peter Gutteridge at Darkroom Bar 2012
Peter Gutteridge at Darkroom Bar 2012

Considering the depth of Peter’s music, this transformation is not surprising. Though known for the huge walls of feedback and straight for the jugular approach of songs like The Clean’s ‘Point That Thing somewhere Else’ (which he was always keen to remind us – he wrote at the age of 17), he also had a deeply emotional, quiet side – Snapper’s ‘Gentle Hour’ and several of the Great Unwashed’s song hint at this.

I managed to catch Peter playing a couple times in the past 2 years, with the reformed Snapper playing at the 2013 Camp A Low Hum being a particular highlight – it was great to see Peter passing the baton to a new generation of Dunedin kids, with a backing band that included Bad Sav‘s Hope Robertson and Though Creature‘s Danny Brady.

Peter Gutteridge with Snapper
Peter Gutteridge with Snapper at Camp A Low Hum 2013

So Monday was a very sad day in New Zealand Music. We’ve lot one of our greats, a fantastic song-writer that has just begun to resurface after a long absence from the public eye.

Rest in peace Peter.

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

David Kilgour

This week I got to interview one of my idols – New Zealand Music legend David Kilgour; who’s song-writing, singing and guitar-work has been a cornerstone of the New Zealand sound since the Clean first surfaced in 1979.
Tell me about your new album ‘The Far Now’. Rather than producing the album in the States (like 2004’s ‘Frozen Orange’ Nashville), this latest album is a purely back-home release?
In a lot of ways the recording of Frozen Orange in nashville came about by serendipity and coincidence. The Far Now approach was to record when we had a song or two or three, keep them fresh and then wait till the next batch turned up and so on and so forth.The Far Now was released in the USA on Merge and in Australia on Remote Control.

The Album was produced with the Heavy Eights, Solo, and with the help of Alan Starrett what did Alan bring to the project?
Once we had the basic tracks recorded Alan came up to my house and recorded for a day. I think all his contributions were pretty much recorded in one hit. I tend to let Alan do whatever he wants on whatever instruments he feels suits the track. Alan is very good at first takes being his best takes.

Are you a collaborative song-writer?
Well I co wrote a lot of songs with the Clean etc. And more and more the Heavy 8s are contributing to the songs. Especially Alan and Tony

David Kilgour

as a strong song-writer behind the seminal flying nun 3-piece the clean, david kilgour developed his own style of country tinged psychedilic rock-guitar playing, earnest vocals and a distinct kiwi sound that he made all his own. kilgour (and his backing band the heavy eights) have a more relaxed sound than the signature sound of early clean (closer to the post-clean great unwashed sound), trading scott’s chugging bass and the punky approach of the clean’s early recordings for a melodic approach.
in the late 90s, with the cleans’ drummer hamish kilgour now living stateside, the heavy eights became david kilgours main output, and each new recording further fleshed out kilgours voice as a solo song-writer. in particular, 2002’s excellent a feather in the engine (and the subsequent cracks in the sidewalk ep) hold their own, or even surpass each of the cleans’ later-era albums.
in 2001 kilgour received the new zealand order of merit for his ‘services to music’, having been a force in music since the late 1970s. in 2004 kilgour signed to ben howe’s arch hill label for the domestic release of his next album, forzen orange – to be released in september.
discography
picks in bold

  • david [1989 cleano productions / alley oop fanzine AILEYOOP1]
  • ‘you forget’/’splash yr jewels’/’nothing (vol. 1)’ cassette and promotional 7″ single [1991 flying nun FN219]
  • here come the cars [1991 flying nun FN220 / FN487]
  • sugarmouth [1994 flying nun FN282 / FN488]
  • spiritual gas station 7″ / cd ep [1994 flying nun FN308]
  • first steps and false alarms [1995 ajax AJAX040-2] rn
  • david kilgour and the heavey eights [1997 flying nun FN397]
  • ‘the bootlegger’/’dirty hallway’/’down mekico’ 7″ lathe-cut single [self-released]
  • ‘way down’/’vernon’/’walking’ 7″ lathe-cut single [self-released]
  • ‘my sky’/’instrumental 1 + 2’ 7″ lathe-cut single [self-released]
  • ‘i lost my train’/’instrumental 2’ 7″ lathe-cut single [self-released]
  • ‘i caught you lookin’/’way down here’ 7″ lathe-cut single [self-released]
  • a feather in the engine [2002 arc life arclife016]
  • cracks in the sidewalk ep [2002 arc life arclife017]
  • frozen orange [2004 arch hill]
  • here come the cars reissue [2004 flying nun FN487]
  • sugarmouth reissue [2004 flying nun FN488]
  • the far now [2007 arch hill]