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Shaft is the long-standing vehicle of prominent song-writer Bob Cardy (aka Bob Brannigan), guitarist for the Axemen and a stalwart of the New Zealand underground scene. With a rotating cast of musicians backing him, Shaft always sounds like Shaft; a terrific band brimming with brilliant, dynamic and catchy songs.

The Axemen called a bit of a hiatus at one point, when Steve fell off the wagon. It was 1992, Bob was living with his wife Ingeborg in Auckland at the time, and he had all these songs, so I just took my drums around. It was just the two of us for quite a while, then one day we were out driving around and we pulled in to get some gas up on Ponsonby Road, and there’s John Segovia (Axel Grinders) filling up his car. We had quite a history, we’d known him for years in Christchurch but didn’t know he was up in Auckland. Bob says “Don’t feel like playing a bit of guitar with us, do ya?” and he says “Fuck yeah!”

Stu Page – from AudioCulture profile of Shaft

Danny Mañetto joined the group to solidify the original line-up, and made use of Rich Mixture’s studio space and production skills.

This line-up, along with multi-instrumental input from Rich Mixture, recorded the Pooty EP, which featured the gorgeously produced ‘Downhill Racer’, replete with lavish strings and multi-tracked vocal harmonies. A Stuart Page directed video of suitably cinematic silliness ably illustrates this New Zealand indie classic, one that somehow never made it into mainstream consciousness.

AudioCulture profile of Shaft
Shaft – Downhill Race. Directed by Stu Page

As The Axemen faded away in the early 1990s, Cardy put together the Auckland-based Shaft with Tony Rush (bass – moved to Wellington and joined the Users) and Rich Mixture (drums – joined the Rock’N’Roll Machine), with former Axel Grinders guitarist John Segovia (who left to form the Radio Kings) joining soon after.

Several line-ups have come and gone over the bands gradual development, with Mark Peterson (bass – ex-Straightjacket Fits) and Cameron Rowe (keyboards – ex-Brunettes), coming and going with Shaft currently employing Ben Maitlin (guitar – Box Car Guitars) and brothers Sam and Stu Kett (bass and drums respectively).

In 2004 Shaft finally got themselves together long enough to release their first full-length album, with Open Sesame coming out on Lil Chief under the assistance of Bob Frisbee on production duties.

After a lengthy period without any mew material the group resurfaced with a BandCamp only single ‘Meteor in your Mind’ in 2016:



  • Pooty EP (1996, Zero, Zero007)
  • I Just Wanna Have Your Baby EP (1996, Zero, Zero010)
  • Cheap Candy EP (1999, Action!)
  • Open Sesame (2004, Lil Chief, LCR008]
  • Down At Your Life (2006, Lil Chief, LCR018)


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