The Clean was never a band to stand still. Several times during the 80’s they broke up, then reformed for a European, New Zealand or American tour, and all three members relocated at least once during these crucial years. So when Rob Scott arrived in Christchurch in the mid 80’s, he decided to form a 4 piece through his garden-city colleagues that would act as an exercise point for his by now prolific song-writing ability.
Switching from bass to guitar meant that the brilliant husband and wife combo of Paul Kean (Detroit Hemorrhoids, The Basket Cases and the mighty Toy Love – primarily bass, but also guitar) and the multi-talented Kaye Woodward (guitar, violin, mandolin etc) took over the rhythm section, with experienced drummer Malcolm Grant (who had played with the likes of The Vacuum and The World) at the throne.
Their first album Daddy’s Highway is considered a masterpiece, a jangle-pop classic showing the groups tendencies for stunning, harmonious guitars, sing-a-long vocals and pounding rhythms. The single ‘North by North’ is a brilliant example of what’s flawed with the international music scene – a song so appealing, carefree and yet focused can go essentially ignored in-spite of itself.
The Bats never really accumulated a particularly strong following throughout the 80’s and 90’s, as their albums continued to sprout up (the brilliant The Law of Things and Fear of God being my favorites) – they were confounded to minor-league college radio airplay, even in their hometown.
With Scott’s movement back to Dunedin in the early-mid 90’s, their output became less prolific, but their popularity saw a considerably upswing during the mid to late 90’s, with the release of the Couchmaster album (and the ‘Courage’ single) and their considerable presence on the soundtrack to the brilliant Topless Women Talk About Their Lives television series and motion picture.
Its safe to say that the bats are now seen as one of the great Dunedin Sound bands, mixing jangle-pop with their own tendencies for melodic vocals, small-town themes and homegrown ethics. They’re a band that prefers a low profile, yet deserves the attention of the world.
They still continue to tour, though Scott’s relocation means this happens much less often – but the remaining Christchurch members formed Minisnap in the late 90’s, with Kaye Woodward providing taking the lead.
- Robert Scott (Electric Blood, Gina Rocco And The Rockettes, Mr Big Nose, Pink Plastic Gods, The Clean, The Magick Heads, The Weeds, Raith Rovers, vocals / guitar, 1982 -)
- Kaye Woodward (Minisnap, The Sundae Painters, guitar / bass / vocals)
- Paul Kean (Detroit Hemorrhoids, Playthings, Toy Love, Minisnap, The Sundae Painters, bass / guitar / vocals)
- Malcolm Grant (The World, The Builders, Minisnap, Six Impossible Things, Trillionaires, drums)
- Michael Summerfield (Cowboy Machine, Dogfish, The Palace of Wisdom, Tacoma Mould, Minisnap, live viola)
- John Christoffels (Minus Two, Dark Matter, Les Baxters, The Renderers, The Terminals, Vague Secrets, live cello, 2017)
- By Night 12″ EP (1984, Flying Nun Records, FN024)
- And Here Is Music For The Fireside 12″ EP (1985, Flying Nun Records, FN031 / FNE22)
- Made Up In Blue/Trouble In This Town/Mad On You 12″ Single (1986, Flying Nun Records, FN060 / FNUK1)
- Daddys Highway (1987 Flying Nun Records, FN079 / FNE23)
- Block Of Wood/Calm Before The Storm/Candidate 7″ Single (1987, Flying Nun Records, FN084)
- 4 Songs 12″ EP (1988, Flying Nun Records, FN104)
- Compiletely Bats (Compilation 1988, Flying Nun Records, FN Bat001 / FN143)
- Law Of Things (1989, Flying Nun Records, FND30239 / FNe33]
- Smoking Her Wings/Mastery/Passed By 7″ Single [1990 Flying Nun Records FN124]
- The Black And The Blue/Watch The Walls 7″ Single [1991 Flying Nun Records FNk11013]
- Boogie Man/Jetsam/Mama Come Watch Cd Single [1991 Flying Nun Records FN K11033]
- Fear Of God [1991 Flying Nun Records FN217]
- Silverbeet [1993 Flying Nun Records FN260]
- Courage/Mind How You Run/Slow Alright/The Wind Is Sad Cd Single [1993 Flying Nun Records FN261]
- Live At Wfmu 7″ EP [1994 Merge Mrg058]
- Under The Law/Spill The Beans/Sir Queen(Live) 7″ Single [1994 Flying Nun Records FN291]
- Spill The Beans Cd EP [1994 Flying Nun Records FN291]
- Couchmaster [1995 Flying Nun Records FN301]
- Afternoon In Bed EP [1995 Flying Nun Records FN341]
- Thousands Of Tiny Luminious Spheres Compilation [2000 Flying Nun Records FN413]
- At The National Grid [2005, Pocket Music]
- The Guilty Office [2008, Arch Hill Recordings, AHR036]
- Free All The Monsters [2011, Flying Nun Records, FNCD513]
- The Deep Set [2017, Flying Nun Records, FNLP568]
- Foothills (2020, Flying Nun Records, FN593)