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Matt Alien


Matt Alien is the long-standing nom de plume of Matt Johnstone; a multi-instrumentalist born-frontman from the likes of Christchurch groups The Hitone Destroyers and The Black Panthers, Auckland group Slavetrader, and most recently Melbourne group Levitating Churches. Harnessing the swagger of early Aerosmith or AC/DC, but with a great deal more noise and the feeling that things might just fall apart at any moment.

I first encountered Matt Alien in the late 1990s at the innocuous location of an inner-city cafe, as the frontman of the ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek hard-rock group The Black Panthers. Bass-player Ayatollah Blitzkrieg (aka Vaughn Richardson) had slung Vegemite-encrusted undies (thrown by his ‘groupies’ – who appeared to be ring-ins) from the headstock of his bass while Alien let loose the sleaziest lyrics you could possibly imagine, provoking the hell out of an unsuspecting crowd. They were a fun band to be in-on-the-joke with, but pissed off an equal share of squares and hippies.

“No Squares or Hippies!”

Matt Alien

Alien’s solo recordings are raw, maximum rock’n’roll bursts of energy recorded in the most primitive, DIY manner to scratchy cassettes or polycarbonate lathes – a 1970’s rock god brought kicking and screaming into the 1990s and beyond.

There’s no production magic at play here – usually recorded live, straight to a TEAC Reel to Reel or a 4-track with minimal overdubs. kRkRkRk records tape label head Dave Kahn was a fan and was usually found at their Christchurch shows (or after-parties). Subsequently the ‘Matt out of Hell’ cassette (credited to Matt Alien and the Slaves of Elvis) came out on kRkRkRk.

The guitar wails, the drums roll and pop, the bass is layered in fuzz and distortion and Alien lets out the most audacious and genuine, but utterly creepy 70’s rock vocals you could ever hear.



  • Matt out of Hell (as Matt Alien and the Slaves of Elvis, 1995, kRkRkRk)
  • Blood on Satan’s Claw (1997, self-released)
  • Fuckblues (2008, self-released)
  • Tarantula (2010, self-released)
  • (You can’t) sell soul (2010, self-released)


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