Zanzibar

NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!

Also known as: Old Star Tavern, Star Tavern, Lion Tavern

Location: 343 Lincoln Road, Addington

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Current Status: Demolished

Active as a live music venue: 1980’s

People of Note: Tony Peake (Zanzibar, 1984), Chris (Anzak?) (Burning House Promotions at Old Star Tavern, 1986? – 1987?)

Capacity: –

All-Ages: No

The Old Star Tavern (aka The Star Tavern, Lion Tavern) was a large old Pub on Lincoln Road, not far from Hagley Park that sprung to life with live entertainment during the mid 1980’s.

Circa 1984, local Punk and Dance impresario (and general taste-maker) Tony Peake was responsible for booking bands at the large, popular Gladstone venue, alongside Al Parke. Meanwhile up in Auckland Peter Urlich was establishing the original Zanzibar dance-club in Auckland – and was planning a similar spot in Christchurch with the help of local proprietor John McCarthy, who owned the Old Star Tavern.

Peake was brought in to establish a new nightclub within the pub, taking the same name as the Auckland venue and putting on regular nights, DJing a mix of Post-Punk, Dance, Dub, Hip-Hop – whatever he saw fit.

We spent a lot of time making sure it had a great stereo… through his connections through University Bookshop he was importing records to play. He’d bring all sorts of records in. We used to have special nights, we used to go down to this factory and get skins, giant bits of polystyrene and we’d paint big pictures, like pop art and put up big lights. For the 60’s night we did a giant Emma Peel pop art for the girls’ toilets. We did one called the Waterfront Night, which Tony particularly enjoyed. We hired all the scaffolding in town and a dance group danced up there. We made friends with these transvestite performers and they would do acts in between the shows.

-Christian Carruthers, from The Christchurch Press Obituary of Tony Peake.

Peake would eventually bounce back and forth from Sydney, before starting up The Edge nightclub on Hereford Street.

Later on, one-time Solatudes bassist Chris (Anzak?) began putting on shows as Burning House Promotions at various spots around town, including the University Student Association, as well as gigs like those featured in the poster below promoting The Max Block and The Terminals. The money raised by these shows was in aid of Audio Access, an 8-track studio that had started up on Bedford Row and captured music for the likes of All Fall Down, Tall Dwarfs and The Terminals themselves.

Old Star Tavern Poster from Nostalgia Factory / Rob Mayes.

History

  • 1984: Tony Peake ran the venue as Zanzibar
  • 1986?: Burning House Promotions start booking shows at Old Star Tavern.

Links

The Terminals Antiseptic Album Release Party

The Terminals Antiseptic Album Release Party

Legendary psych/garage band The Terminals play a rare show in support of their latest album, Antiseptic. Joining them are Richard Maybe’s Passion for Nature, Colt 45, Les Baxters and Dog Power.

$15 on the door

The Pin Group: Article on Ambivalence

Roy Montgomery
Roy Montgomery

There’s a short film from 1981 by prominent Christchurch multi-dimensional artist Ronnie van Hout that’s been well-circulated on Youtube recently.

The film opens with an evocative poem by (Pin Group contributor and early member) Desmond Brice, backed by guitarist Jon Segovia. The footage eventually cuts away to the equally evocative bass playing of the Pin Group’s Ross Humphries, running through the opening rumble of the brilliant ‘Ambivalence’, which is of particular note as it was the very first single distributed by Flying Nun Records.

In a general sense I think it was the accumulation of hard-to-get DYI punk, post-punk and obscure 60s vinyl coming from the UK and the US shared amongst a handful of folk committed enough to fork out large amounts of cash to pay for imports that led to a realisation that if no-one else was going to back the equivalent energy and garage aesthetic here then we had better put up or shut up.
– Roy Montgomery

Ross Humphries
Ross Humphries

A young Roy Montgomery bites his lips as he builds the intensity in his guitar playing, carefully looking over his shoulder at Humphries as drummer Peter Stapleton brings the song to full velocity. The sound is muffled, but Montgomeries husky baritone still powers through the murk – “I don’t know how to react to you, or even if I should” goes the opening line.

I think the lyrical content from Peter Stapleton and Desmond Brice was very filmic and atmospheric albeit rather bleak and fraught in a psychological sense. Desmond made no secret of his lyrics as recriminations or self-recriminations and used to refer to himself as Jim Despondent at the time – a not-too-subtle Doors reference.
– Roy Montgomery

The film gives a glimpse of a defining era in Christchurch music; free from the hype that would be thrust upon the Dunedin scene within the next few years.

Montgomery had been a keen purveyor of British and American Rock’n’Roll since his teenage years, avoiding the “oompah, thigh-slapping ‘schmaltz’ music” of Germany (he lived in Cologne with his British Mother and German father till the age of 5) and formed his first, in-name-only band – the Psychedeliks.

The only one with an actual instrument was me. I had a Diplomat six-string electric bought from Sedley Wells as a package with an amplifier that dated back to the late 1940s and which took about a week to warm up. I couldn’t play guitar at all at the time but I did come up with the band name and the spelling of it and I decorated the drum kit made out of crates with “crazy” lettering. We were as influenced by the Monkees as we were by anything really countercultural.
– Roy Montgomery

Peter Stapleton
Peter Stapleton

However at this stage in his live Montgomery was more music fan than musician, a regular at local non-pub gigs at venues like the Caledonian Hall and English Park where he can remember “an Epitaph Rider bailing me up in a toilet to scrutinise the Maltese Cross I had hung around my neck”. The Pin Group didn’t start taking shape until around 1980, pre-cursor groups ‘Compulsory Fun’ and ‘Murder Strikes Pink’ uniting Montgomery with Ross Humphries.

I was still learning to play guitar so three-chords/three minutes/buzzsaw music was the norm. The Saints were a big influence for me at that time. But we had a few atmospheric, brooding, plodders that anticipated the Pin Group modus operandi a year or two later.
– Roy Montgomery

The early Pin Group recordings were not particularly well received – mostly due to the crude murky quality of the recordings and pressing, a teething issue of the fledgling label. To add to that their live shows ended up a little odd, to say the least.

Typical audience reception to the Pin Group was bemusement as far as I could tell. I remember Bill Direen doing headstands on the dancefloor of the Gladstone to one of our songs but I think he was making some sort of Dada anti-art statement. On another night two women in bondage gear whipped one another for another number while a vibrator buzzed happily on a nearby beer-soaked table. Dancing and other expressive audience participation was not common for us so we had to be grateful for what we got.
– Roy Montgomery

However over the past 30 years the group’s reputation has grown substantially, partly due to the later success of the groups members (Peter Stapleton and Ross Humphries with the Terminals, and Roy Montgomery in a solo capacity), but also the powerful nature of the songs themselves. When Roger Sheppard was reunited with the Flying Nun label in 2010, creating a definitive Pin Group release was high on the labels list of priorities. Packaged with artwork by van Hout and mastered by Montgomery and engineer Arnie van Bussel, the release (named ‘Ambivalence’ after the terrific debut single) lays bare the gloomy, dark and dynamic sound of the Pin Group.

Over the course of the double-albums 20 songs (compiling all previous releases plus a live recording rescued from Montgomeries Earthquake damaged home) the listener is treated to gloomy, powerful songs that not only evoke a certain vision of Christchurch but indeed New Zealand at it’s darkest.

 

Complete Interview here.

[Published in an edited form by the Christchurch Press, Sep 21st 2012]

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

Vague Secrets

Greg Bates, John Chrisstoffels (The Terminals, Paul Girl and Logan Paul. Featuring the talents of local Christchurch scene stalward Chrisstoffels, Vague Screts only put out a single self-titled album in 1985 before fracturing into other projects.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Vague Secrets [1985 Radar Records Rdr101]

See-Also

Xpressway

Xpressway was formed by Bruce Russell in 1985 to release his then-fledgling Christchurch band the Dead C, live archival recordings from This Kind Of Punishment and the debut solo material from Alastair Galbraith. Over the course of the next 23 (mostly cassette-only) releases, Xpressway, Russell and his comrades themselves formed an ever-growing niche-market of dark, brooding releases, mostly in lo-fidelity form, but full of character.

Xpressway was the label that set the careers of Stephen Cogle, Peter Stapleton and Brian Crook (between them being a major part of Victor Dimisich, Scorched Earth Policy, the Terminals and the Renderers), the Jefferies brothers and David Mitchell in motion, quite an achievement. Their brilliant compilations Xpressway Pile-Up and Making Losers Happy were re-released by overseas labels in the early 90s, hastening the influence of these inspiring 23 releases.

Russell ended the label once they had achieved global recognition, as he had always intended Xpressway to be a stepping-stone toward competent distribution, and they had achieved that by the early 1990s with American labels like Siltbreeze, Drunken Fish, and Kranky and European labels Turbulence, Ajax and Raffmond picking up a fair portion of the labels many talented musicians. Russell then launched Corpus Hermeticum – an outlet for even more challanging music (mostly by his own personal pool of musicians, but expanding into even overseas experimental and underground musicians).

Compilation Discography
Picks In Bold

  • Xpressway Pile Up [1988 XWAY5]
  • I Hate Pavel Tishy’s Guts [1989? promo issued in 2 versions XWAY6]
  • Xpressway Pile=up [reissue with extra tracks 1990]
  • Making Losers Happy [1991]
  • Whats That Noise? 7″ album [1992]
  • I Hear The Devil Calling Me 7″ album [distributed by drag city 1993]

Contact Details

The Terminals

After a 12-year recorded absense, the Terminals finally return! One of Christchurch’s most-loved underground bands, the Terminal’s have laid dormant, playing one-off shows every year or so since their Flying Nun days, but with Brian Crook resurfacing back up in Christchurch, it was just a matter of time before a new album would resurface – that being ‘Last Days Of The Sun’ on American label Last Visible Dog.

The Terminals were an outgrowth of the legendary Scorched Earth Policy (well techinally, they were a reunion that stuck) that ended up putting out some of the best, and darkest pop-rock songs this country has ever produced. I can’t imagine describing the terminals without the phrase ‘rolling thunder’ coming to mind, as they play paranoid, disturbed songs full with doom and gloom (care of Peter Stapleton) over a backing of musical anarchy.

Revitalising scorched earth policy’s early 80s songs like ‘lolita’ and ‘mekong delta blues’, the terminals have released 3 albums under Flying Nun and an assortment of limited distribution releases on their own Medication imprint, and continue to play live on rare one-off occassions (with members spread across the country).

Comprised of Stapelton (Stand-Up Drums), Crook (Guitar), Mick Elborado (Keyboards), John Christoffels (Bass) and the Booming, Charismatic Voice of Stephen Cogle.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Disconnect 12″ Ep [1987 Flying Nun Fn091] Rn
  • ‘Do The Void/Deadly Tango’ 7″ Single [1990 Xpressway X/Way17] Rn
  • Uncoffined [1990 Flying Nun Fn116] Rn
  • Disease [1991 Xpressway X/Way19]
  • Cul-De-Sac [Compilation 1992 Flying Nun Fn239]
  • Touch [1992 Raffmond Raff001]
  • ‘Medusa’ 7″ [1993? Roof Bolt]
  • Little Things [1995 Raffmond Raff014-2]
  • Last Days Of The Sun [2007 Last Visible Dog Lvd-116]

See-Also

Bible Black

Biography

Brian Crook spent 1997-2000 in Port Chalmers with his partner / Renderers band-mate Maryrose in a lovely house on the hills above Port Chalmers, creating a dark and brooding selection of songs in Crooks’ own home studio.

Though Bible Black would eventually be taken on the road as a full-band, the album is almost exclusively a solo recording, with only vocal and organ contributions from Maryrose and Terminals vocalist Stephen Cogle.

Members

  • Brian Crook (Guitar/Vocals/Drums, 1997 – 2002)
  • Maryrose Crook (Vocals/Organ, 1997 – 2002)
  • Stephen Cogle (Vocals, 1997 – 2002)

Discography

  • Bible Black (2002, Arc Life, ARCLIFE019)

Links

 

Dissolve

Mid 90s outfit from the legendary Roy Montgomery, joined by former Remarkables guitarist [and fellow Christchurch resident] Chris Heaphy. Their excellent Third Album From The Sun features contributions from heavyweights John Chrisstoffels (cello, drums – the Terminals), Kaye Woodward (guitar, vocals – the Bats), and arnie van bussel (bass guitar – Night-Shift studio).

Discography (picks in bold)

  • That That Is..Is (Not) [1995 Kranky Krank005]
  • Third Album From The Sun [1997 Kranky]

See-Also

Drowning Is Easy

Biography

Formative and short-lived Christchurch post-punk band featuring Ian Blenkinsop (Scorched Earth Policy, The McGoohans, Gas) and Mick Elborado (Scorched Earth Policy, The Terminals, King Loser, Palace of Wisdom etc) along with Craig Davison and Andrew Vallance.

Formed in early 1981, and split in late march 1982, originally leaving behind only a split 7″ EP left to document their brief existence.

However in 2014 German label Unwucht (who have also released recordings from the likes of Bill Direen and Ritchie Venus) put together a retrospective 7″ EP release compiling their 2 Tandem Studio recordings alongside 2 songs taken from a live at the Star and Garter pub in Christchurch, 1982.

Members

  • Ian Blenkinsop (Guitar/Vocals, 1981 – 1982)
  • Mick Elborado (Bass/Vocals, 1981 – 1982)
  • Craig Davison (Drums/Vocals, 1981 – 1982)
  • Andrew Vallance (Keyboards, 1981 – 1982)

Discography

  • You Explode Me! Woman 7″ Split EP (1982, w/ Erich Zann and The Zeds, Tandem PR2012A)
  • Drowning Is Easy (2014, Unwucht, UN022)

Links