The Weeds

Biography

[Profile thanks to Tim Davey]

The Weeds were around for about a year in the mid-80’s, formed with the intention of having fun and seeing just how stupid they could be, while also entertaining people. The band provided a great distraction for its members from the more ‘serious’ music they were making in other groups at the time. The name supposedly came from the fact that all the members were quite skinny at the time.

Robert Scott and Michael Morley had been playing together in the Pink Plastic Gods in late 1984. Following the end of the group Scott (Bass, Vocals) And Morley (Guitar, Vocals) got together with Jeff Harford (Vocals) and Chris Healey (Drums) and The Weeds was born. All except Healey had had much experience in other bands; Scott had been in The Clean and was front-man with The Bats, Morley was in Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos and Harford had played with Bored Games. Following the tragic end of Doublehappys in mid-85 Shayne Carter (Guitar , Vocals) And John Collie (Drums) were also added to the line-up. An odd feature of the group was that they had two drummers.

Every gig they played involved some sort of dress-up theme which the whole band would participate in. One night they would be playing draped in foliage and weeds, another would be in glam gear or bad taste clothes. Their most outrageous ‘dress-up’ was playing in their underpants on the town hall stage as support to the Verlaines and the Rip at a 4XO dance. Their only out-of-town gigs were at the Gladstone in Christchurch as support to Look Blue Go Purple and in Auckland at Windsor Castle. The latter gig didn’t go down very well and the band realised that dressing up stupidly and playing music was best done only around people who knew you.

The essence of the weeds was not about serious music or writing meaningful lyrics but about having a good time. A review by Sharon Guytonbeck following a gig at the empire spelt this out:

with a couple of friends helping out The Weeds were a lot of groovy fun. Who needs ‘Live Aid’ when you can have this. Yes, The Weeds confirmed my belief that Dunedin is where it’s all happening musically. We don’t need the rest of the world when we can be at The Empire with The Weeds.

– Critic 6/8/85

Band rehearsals were for the sole purpose of writing new material which gave their on-stage sound a very fresh feel. In mid-85 the band made some recordings at Dockside Studios on Wharf St which emerged as the Flying Nun single ‘Wheatfields’, a very Velvets-influenced piece that buzzed along with the chorus line ‘It’S Been A Hard Day On The Wheatfields …’. further recordings were made later in the year at Chippendale House which to this day remain unreleased.

By late 1985 the members of The Weeds were being pulled away by their other musical projects and the band faded away. Scott continued with The Bats and Carter And Collie went on to form Straitjacket Fits. Morley was later involved in Dead C, Gate and This Kind Of Punishment while Harford became part of My Deviant Daughter.

The Weeds played only around 15 gigs but will almost certainly be remembered by everyone who saw them for their mix of shock, humor and good music.

Members

  • Robert Scott (Bass/Vocals, 198?)
  • Michael Morley (Guitar/Vocals, 198?)
  • Jeff Harford (Vocals, 198?)
  • Chris Healey (Drums, 198?)
  • Shayne Carter (Guitar /Vocals, 198?)
  • John Collie (Drums, 198?)

Discography

Links

This Kind Of Punishment

After Nocturnal Projections went their seperate ways in the early 80s, the two Jefferies brothers formed This Kind Of Punishment, a group that expanded their song-writing capabilities, and the punky style in which Nocturnal Projections had created. This Kind Of Punishment’s albums are quite often eery and detached, with Peter’s voice cutting through the shards of piano and guitar like it was deathly silence. Over the years the brothers accumulated a large list of contributors, with Andrew Frengley, Gordon Rutherford, Michael Harrison, Maxine Fleming, Michael Morley, Alastair Galbraith, Shayne Carter and the burgeoning talents of Grant Fell and Chris Matthews (who would later take the essence of the Matthews penned ‘Sleepwalking’ as the basis for a Headless Chickens track – and make it a hit).

This Kind Of Punishment have had a huge impact on the darker side of New Zealand rock, and their 1st two releases are well worth seeking out. By 1984 TKOP were a four-piece comprised of the two Jefferies brothers, Fell and Matthews – and played live consistently, touring the nation with Jay Clarkson‘s Expendables (from which the tkp live ’85 album is culled).

Soon after, an arts festival, “the nit-picker’s picnic,” dissolved this amalgam and a single 1986 performance with the line-up of the jefferies brothers, michael morley and shayne carter saw the end of the band.
– Dan Vallor: taken from Popwatch #9

Cakekitchen), whilst Fell and Matthews (and one-time TKOP contributor Johnny Pierce) were already establishing Childrens Hour, the fore-runner to the ever-popular Headless Chickens.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • This Kind Of Punishment [1983 Flying Nun Tkp001]
  • A Beard Of Bees [1985 Self-Released Tkp002] Rn
  • 5 By Four Ep [1985 Flying Nun Tkp003]
  • In The Same Room [1987 Flying Nun Tfp004]
  • Tkp Live ’85 [1988 Xpressway X/Way 02]
  • A Beard Of Bees Cassette Reissue [1990 Compiled Reissue Xpressway X/Way 15]
  • This Kind Of Punishment [1993 Reissue Roofbolt]
  • In The Same Room / 5 By Four [1993 Reissue Ajax]

See-Also

The Cakekitchen

Biography

After the demise of This Kind Of Punishment, Graeme Jefferies recorded a solo EP called ‘Messages From The Cakekitchen‘, and needed to form a band to perform the material in a live environment:

[Started] as a two piece guitar, vocal and drum project with drummer Robert Key (The Sombretones) agreeing to help Graeme play a series of live shows at The Rising Sun Tavern on Auckland’s notorious Karangahape Road to promote the then new release on Flying Nun Records messages for The Cakekitchen.

The 2 piece format (an idea used by The White Stripes to great effect years later) evolved into a more easily palatable 3 piece lineup with the inclusion of young Auckland bass player Rachael King.

Together they toured New Zealand 3 times, recorded two albums worth of material and made a healthy impact for themselves before calling it a day and going their separate ways in April 1990

– Graeme Jefferies

With the band going in different directions, Graeme formed a new Cakekitchen in London with expatriates Keith McLean and Huw Dainow, recording the ‘How Far From The Sun’ album and touring Europe and then the States, securing a deal with homestead records in New York just as things were falling apart in England.

Jefferies had soon again relocated – this time to France, and with the departure of his London backing band he started recording with french multi-instrumentalist Jean-Yves Douet.

With ajax releasing Jefferies back catalog in Europe (including the long out of print This Kind Of Punishment material), the new Cakekitchen duo recorded two of their most acclaimed releases; ‘Stompin Thru The Boneyard’ and ‘Devil And The Deep Blue Sea‘.

What they (The Cakekitchen) lacked in personal, they more than made up for with hands, legs and fingers, managing at one time or another to play 6 different instruments during the course of their sometimes over two hour long shows
– Graeme Jefferies

This configuration of The Cakekitchen lasted until 1995, securing European distribution through the Raffmond label, and stateside through Merge along the way, touring 7 countries and playing many high-profile festivals and performance slots.

Graeme resurfaced in Bavaria with another duo, this time using Raffmond boss (and a member of The Notwist) Marcus Archer as a collaborator on analogue 8-track recordings which eventually constituted the everything’s going to work out just fine album.

The Cakekitchen continued to tour (including an american jaunt with The Mountain Goats) using many different musicians (Stefanie Bohm, Marion Gerth, Andre Richels, Paul Lemp, Steven Keusch, Dieter Roseeuw, Herbert Dee etc) releasing ‘Talking To Me In My Sleep‘ and the soundtrack to the successful German film ‘Sonnenallee’ for director Leander Hausmann.

More live work followed in 2002 when Graeme played solo for the first time in 10 years when he took to the road with Robert Scott‘s ‘Creeping Unknown‘ package tour.

The tour was a healthy 14 shows and after jamming with Robert in a hotel room in Dortmund Graeme joined his band at the end of the night to play some additional songs with them such as the classic Flying Nun chestnuts “Tally Ho” and “Anything Could Happen”.

The traditional two piece Cakekitchen line-up was even resurrected for a couple of the shows on this tour when at the Munster and Koln shows Herbert joined Graeme on stage for the entire set.

– Graeme Jefferies

‘How can you be so blind?’ was recorded with Michael Heilrath and released in late 2002, with Marcus archer rejoining to fill in the percussion roles.

the performing line-up continues to fluctuate, with Graeme performing through-out Europe utilizing many different configurations for an increasingly eclectic Cakekitchen.

A very active documenter, Graeme tracks the bands history and current progress on the excellent Cakekitchen website. (where Graeme’s various quotes have been taken from).

Members

  • Graeme Jeffries (Vocals/Guitar/Piano, 1990 -)

Discography

  • The Cakekitchen 12″ EP (1990, Flying Nun Records, FN126)
  • Time Flowing Backwards (1991, Homestead, HMS156)
  • World Of Sand (1992, Homestead / Raffmond, HMS176)
  • Far From The Sun (1993, Homestead / Raffmond Raff003)
  • Stompin’ Thru The Boneyard (1994, Merge / Raffmond, RAF012)
  • Bald Old Bear EP (1995, Merge / Raffmond)
  • Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (1995, Merge / Raffmond, RAF017)
  • Everythings Gonna Work Out Just Fine (1996, Merge / Raffmond)
  • Talkin’ To Me In My Sleep (1999, Eggbox)
  • How Can You Be So Blind? (2003, Hausmusik)

Links