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The Cartilage Family


The Cartilage Family were a short-lived Dunedin 4-piece group featuring a stellar line-up who all went on to significant other groups. No official recordings exist, however well known journalist (and former owner of Records Records) Roy Colbert did manage to record the 2nd of their two shows; June 11th 1983 at the Empire Tavern.

I lived at 772 Cumberland Street with Graeme Downes, Peter was next door with Terry Moore and Kathy and Martyn Bull. He wrote ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ about my other flat-mate at 772, who we’d carry ceremoniously around the house when he was rigid like a plank, comatose on Datura.

Peter and I began jamming. We busked a few times in George Street. ‘Bad News For Jesus’  (“God got married and had another son”) was one of Peter’s early one-chord ones that we belted out for a generally unappreciative Dunedin public. Kathy and Lesley were mates, and Lesley was part of the Kaikorai Valley High School crew I’d known since I was 12.

Shayne Carter (AudioCulture profile of The Cartilage Family)

Gutteridge brought several of his to-be-signature tunes to the group – ‘Born in the wrong time‘, ‘Can’t find water’, and ‘Boat with no ocean‘ ended up on ‘Singles‘; an EP he recorded with his next group The Great Unwashed (alongside his former Clean bandmates David and Hamish Kilgour). The 4-piece practiced for quite some time; not particularly typical for Dunedin bands:

At some practices, there was so much tuning and discussing song construction that LZP started bringing along her knitting. I would sit on the bass rig, bored out of my skull. Peter was very particular about how his songs would be played by us stringed instrument holders. Dunno if he ever tried telling LZP how to play drums.  Once we were learning ‘Can’t Find Water’ and Peter decided my bass line was all wrong, he tried to get me to play something more to his liking. Shayne came to my rescue, telling Peter, ‘Leave her alone, let her make up what she wants’ – which, by the way, did not suck.

Francisca Griffin (AudioCulture profile of The Cartilage Family)

Colbert’s live recording is a fairly rough 30 minutes, with crowd chatter (“Cath? Can you chuck my cigarettes over?”) and typical early 1980s tape noise; but you scan still hear the chrysalis of some great songs forming. It’s really interesting to hear this early version of ‘Can’t find water‘; with an absolute wall of guitar; both Carter and Gutteridge pushing the needle into the red. Some of the songs are clearly Carter’s creations – ‘Fun Fair’, ‘Shallow Shallow’ and ‘Stench’ (dedicated to Roy) – virtually prototype Doublehappy’s numbers. There’s also a rather raucous take on Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze.

Though he never played with the group; David Kilgour came along to practices – forming the concurrent group Craven A with Gutteridge and Paris, along with Terry Moore. The Great Unwashed would soon steal Gutteridge away; Carter would form the Doublehappys with his old bandmate Wayne Elsie, and Kathy Bull and Lesley Paris were back together in Look Blue Go Purple.

Peter Gutteridge passed away in 2014.



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