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Drowning Is Easy


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.

A history of Drowning Is Easy:

Ian, Mick and Andrew were in the same Fifth Form class at Shirley Boys’ High School in 1977. With the arrival of punk rock, we started creating band names and song titles, even a few lyrics along with other classmates although none of us at that time possessed any musical instruments or ability. Nor were there many punk records available at that time. In 1978 a few classmates bunked off from the school sports and spent the day listening to records and it gave us an ambition to come up with our own music and form a band. There was a new guy in our Sixth Form study period called Craig with a talent for writing some incredibly witty poetry.

Craig’s stepfather had a set of drums from his earlier life, and by early 1979 an early band line up gelled under the name The Immaculate Execution practising at Craig’s house. This line up featured Ian and Mick on vocals or guitar (but not both at the same time), Desmond Brice on bass and lyrics, and Craig on drums and lyrics. During this era Craig came up with the lyrics for early versions of “The Day William Tell Missed” and “Someone Fucked Up The Future”. However a lot of time was spent “shuffling names and ideas around on pieces of paper.” Unfortunately none of the members had the musical competency necessary and the band went into abeyance.

Some time during 1979/80 Mick and Craig took lessons in bass and drums respectively. Desmond went on to The Hard Sums and an early version of The Pin Group. Ian joined another band The Threat, later The Regime, having been shown how to play an E-shape chord on the guitar. The Threat/Regime didn’t last very long although the Regime did record a version of Ian’s song “Trend” with Ritchie Venus on guest guitar and lead vocals.

Wind forward to early 1981. Ian (guitar, vocals), Mick (bass, vocals) and Craig (drums, vocals) started rehearsing again together with Andrew Vallance on keyboards. The name of the band came out of a preferential voting process with Batman’s Favourite Jelly just pipped at the post by Drowning Is Easy.

Ian Blenkinsop
Drowning is Easy – Lost without a map

The band developed an entirely original set of songs using some of Craig’s old lyrics and many new band efforts. At that time new fads would come through every few months, so the band had pastiches fitting various genres. For example “Towaway Zone” was a nod to rockabilly, “I Hate Rudi” was ska, and our hit novelty song which came along a bit later in the heavy metal genre was “You Explode Me Woman”.

Drowning Is Easy’s first live performance in June 1981 was at the Christchurch Polytechnic Cafe along with 5 other new Christchurch bands including Mainly Spaniards and The Droogs.

At this time the Gladstone would put on bands 6 days a week, with newer bands getting Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday nights. The next 3 gigs were the 13th, 14th and 15th July 1981 with Desmond Brice’s new band Hey Clint under the banner of “The Immaculate Execution Revue”. After this gigs were quite sparse for several months, as the booking agents at the Gladstone had taken a dislike to Drowning Is Easy’s music.

The band went into Tandem Studio and recorded 3 songs “You Explode Me Woman”, “Loup Garou” (lyrics by Desmond Brice) and “Spoons For Christ”. These were later released on records, however the novelty song “You Explode Me Woman” became something of a minor hit on Radio U for a few weeks. This in turn gave the band a new lease of life and being welcome again at the Gladstone.

Performances became more regular in early 1982, sharing early weeks at the Gladstone or Star and Garter pubs with Mainly Spaniards and The Pedestrians. A couple of other highlights were a support slot for Beat Rhythm Fashion at the Gladstone, and a multi-band line up in a basement at the Arts Centre organised by Bill Direen.

Drowning is Easy – Spoons Für Christ

By the end of March 1982 the band had reached the end of its life and the final gig was at the Star and Garter on 31 March 1982.

Ian (briefly) and Mick went on to form Scorched Earth Policy with Peter Stapleton and Mary Heney. Desmond Brice put the respective two halves in touch with each other.

Later Craig (briefly) joined Ian with Wade Churton in The McGoohans.

Andrew did not take part in any further musical projects. Mick went on to play in a multitude of further bands. Craig performed poetry and on acoustic guitar later in the 1980s.

Ian Blenkinsop

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 2 songs from their Tandem Studios recording sessions alongside 2 songs taken from a live show at the Star and Garter pub in Christchurch, 1982.




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