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Johnny Velox and the Vauxhauls


In September [1977], the nucleus of another band formed at Burnside High School.

Brothers Mark and Scott Brooks were guitarist and bassist and Findlay Calderwood became drummer. From Boys’ High came vocalist Michael Williams.

Initially the band were known as ‘Uncle Meat‘, but after they became a quartet they gave themselves a decisively punk identity. The new name managed to lampoon ‘Hoon’ culture and snipe at both middle-class and freak sensibilities.

Johnny Velox and Vauxhalls was again a four-piece band built firmly on the Pistols/Ramones model. Williams became the titular character, Mark and Scott Brooks became Kid Buick and Eugene Dipstick, and Calderwood became Dick Distant.

Though very young (all were in their mid-teens), the band’s instrumentalists had the funky long hair and flares of freakdom but like The Doomed crossed over with the slightly-ripped safety-pinned-opportunity-shop jacket aesthetic of punk.

Williams indulged his character’s glam-rock star roots and wore bright red dyed hair with his wraparound shades, slashed t-shirt and dog-collar choker.

Wade Churton ‘Glam, Punk and Scorched Earth Policy

In contrast to The Doomed’s slightly one-dimensional Pistols/English punk outrage, the Vauxhalls had a decidedly more ‘musical’ slant to their version of punk. In the absence of specifically ‘punk’ records for initial set-building material, the Vauxhalls utilised currently available music by acknowledged antecedents.

The early Vauxhalls quickly mashed together and eclectic glam / 1960’s set [covering Bowie, Eno, The Stooges, Roxy Music, Slade, The Who, Velvet Underground etc]… as well as joking covers of television advertisement jingles…

Wade Churton ‘Glam, Punk and Scorched Earth Policy

The group were a stalwart of the popular Mollett Street scene, playing alongside contemporaries such as The Doomed, Vapor and the Trails, Vacuum Blue Ladder and The Vandals. Once Mollett Street closed down they were regulars at The Strand.

By the time of the next major venue, The Strand, they had shed Johnny and were a three-piece who looked like amphetamine sheepdogs and played unrecognisably fast versions of ‘Mannish Boy’ and ‘Louie Louie’ as well as their own (even faster) classics like ‘Griffin’s Gingernuts’ and ‘Bob Brown For Sound’. The Vauxhalls were the quintessential local faves who no one else really understood. They played everywhere. 

Russell Brown

Andrew Schmidt put together a compilation called ‘Teenagers from Outer Space: Thirteen Christchurch Nuggets 1980 – 1983’, named after the sole recording by The Vauxhalls – if you check the link to Switched Out blog you may still be able to download this rarity:

Thank god The Vauxhalls managed to get into Christchurch’s Orley Studios in late 1980. That the recordings included a song this good is a bonus and real meat to the myth. Unfortunately by the time they got to record The Vauxhalls were minus Scott Brooks, the bass player so Mark Brooks plays bass and guitar. Martin Archbold drums. On the best track Teenager From Outer Space Mark Brooks lets rip ‘bout a quarter of the way through a wild chunk of garage R&B lead that burns the carpet. Unreleased.

Switched Out


  • Mark Brooks (Murder Inc., The Newtones, Street of Flowers, Guitar, 1977 – 1978)
  • Scott Brooks (Bass, 1977 – 1978)
  • Michael Williams (Vocals, 1977 – 1978)
  • Findlay Calderwood (Drums, 1977 – 1978)



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