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Blam Blam Blam


Blam Blam Blam was a politically-charged underground pop act with touches of post-punk guitar. The origins of Blam Blam Blam lay with The Plague. Led by stage performer, poet and song-writer Richard Von Sturmer’s, late 1970’s punk-theatre troop The Plague brought together a young Mark Bell, Tim Mahon, Andrew McLennan and Ian Gilroy as supporting musicians to a wild performance collective, known for their 3-front people (Von Sturner, Charlotte Wrightson and future Fetal Productions cohort Sara Fort) performing naked, save for body paint.

The Plague graced the stage of a number of festivals from 1977 till 1979 and recorded 4 original songs – though they wouldn’t be released until 2012. Eventually the 4 musicians would splinter off to form their own group; The Whizz Kids. As the Whizz Kids (which included a 5th member – Kit Snoid as drummer; eventually replaced by Don McGlashan) they played a flurry of high-profile shows across New Zealand in just 8 months; however the group only released a solitary single which came after they had already splintered in August 1980.

Ian Gilroy left the group to join The Crocodiles, and a stream-lined trio of Bell, Mahon and McGlashan reconvened as a new group – Blam Blam Blam, with McGlashan as lead vocalist (and adding Euphonium to their sound) – though Mark Bell’s Pop Mechanix bandmate Dick Driver was their vocalist for a brief period.

The group saw out 1980 and early 1981 with shows up and down the country, including a spot at the Sweetwaters festival and on bills to support Propeller RecordsClass of ’81‘ compilation. 1981 would prove to be the pivotal year for the group; with their two immense signature songs ‘There is no depression in New Zealand‘ and ‘Don’t fight it Marsha (it’s bigger than the both of us)‘ both being released and promoted with excellent, theatrical music videos:

The early EP and singles were followed up with debut LP ‘Luxury Length‘, the trio spending a frustratingly long time in the studio; however the result was worth it – ‘Luxury Length‘ is a New Zealand classic.

During 1981/2 the members of Blam Blam Blam were involved with a number of side-projects under different names:

  • Zolo and the Bantams was a one-off 7″ single produced under the guidance of the Manurewa Community Project in 1981, and featuring all 3 members of Blam Blam Blam along with a long list of fellow Auckland-based musicians.
  • The National Party was a 2nd one-off single – this time a satirical release (titled ‘Close the Universities and Schools’) cloaked in fake National Party letterhead artwork. Chris from Counting the Beat podcast played it on his radio show podcast.

Blam Blam Blam were big favorites around New Zealand in 1981-1982; however things came to a sudden, dramatic early conclusion in May 1982 when Tim Mahon was involved in a serious car accident after a late show in Eltham, Taranaki. Don McGlashan left for Europe with From Scratch and Blam Blam Blam were no longer a group; however they have reformed on several occasions, including releasing a split-LP with the Netherworld Dancing Toys in 1984.

Mahon and Bell continued to be active members of the New Zealand music community through the 1990’s, however it was McGlashan who would go on to find the most fame, with his latter group The Mutton Birds becoming a New Zealand institution.




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