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After several false starts as a founding member of the Clean, the Chills and then the Great Unwashed, Peter Gutteridge was struggling to find an outlet for the sounds pent up inside him. Recording at home with a 4-track recording unit, he formed a new sound quite removed from the loose acoustic ramble of the Great Unwashed.

These recordings were created primarily solo, but with the occasional assistance of Alan Haig (Drums) and Ex-Bird Nest Roy Dominic Stones (Guitar) – culminating in a live support show for the Delawares featuring Gutteridge on Keyboards. Delawares guitarist Christine Voice was impressed and soon replaced Gutteridge on keyboards (and backing vocals), leaving Gutteridge free to lead the band (now officially named Snapper) on guitar.

The sound of Snapper grew and grew – Gutteridge began experimenting heavily with distortion and layering voices keyboard, adding thick, dense drones to their live and recorded sound. the debut self-titled ep was released and garnished critical acclaim, as the outside world was by now discovering the delights of the New Zealand underground.

The concept for their releases were to treat each instrumental passage as a layer of sound, songs rolled on and coalesced into a continuous amalgam of sound. this continued on 1992’s Shotgun Blossom – the bands first full-length release (after the best part of 5 years).

With the band taking their time between releases they eventually lost Haig (to be replaced by former Toy Love Drummer Mike Dooley) and Stones (who went on to form the 3Ds) in the process. ADM finally surfaced in 1996 to pretty much universal adoration – whilst some critics compared them to the departed art-punk (and synth pioneers) duo Suicide, others cited them as the inspiration for the new wave of drone-popsters such as Stereolab.

ADM was recorded with something of a revolving support line-up – Stones was replaced by Gutteridge’s old pal David Kilgour, whilst a young Demarnia Lloyd (yet to make her name with Mink or Cloudboy), Celia Patel (aka Celia Mancini of King Loser) and Voice provided backing vocals, with Dooley staying on as drummer.

In the late 90’s Gutteridge played tribute to his old band The Clean, playing guitar on High Dependency Unit‘s excellent cover of the Gutteridge-penned Clean classic ‘Point That Thing Somewhere Else‘, and occasionally ventured out with some live performances, focusing more on keyboard based songs (much like the early solo albumPure‘ and the ‘Alive‘ lathe cut release on Crawlspace Records).

For a long period in the 2000’s and into the 2010’s, not much had been heard from Gutteridge – despite Snappers reputation growing in retrospect. However he did eventually return to performing in a solo capacity – I captured a review and some profile pics at the Darkroom in March 2012.

Eventually Gutteridge put together a new line-up of Snapper featuring the likes of Hope Robertson (Bad Sav), Danny Brady (Thought Creature) and his nephew Jack Reid – This line-up made an electric performance appearance at Camp A Low Hum 2013.

Now firmly back in the swing of things with live performances, Gutteridge finally managed to play his very first US show – a makeshift band appearance in Brooklyn on September 1st, 2014:

Live at Palisades Brooklyn, NY, Featuring Erin Birgy from Mega Bog on drums and Zach Burba from iji on bass.

On September 1st of 2014, Peter Gutteridge played his first ever concert in the United States. He wound up playing by chance. The organizers of the show bumped into him at a Clean reunion, Peter was traveling with a plastic bag full of a few pedals and said that he was hoping to play a concert while in town. It matched up perfectly and he was added to this show at Palisades in Brooklyn.

Zach Burba – from the YouTube description

Back in New Zealand, things took an unfortunate turn:

Upon his return on September 12, 2014, he said he felt frustrated and the trip to America had not met his expectations, causing Customs officers to grow concerned about him. 

He was admitted to a mental health unit, only to take his own life days later.

Coroner Shortland said Gutteridge was a well-loved family member, friend and a person who tried the best he could within his frailties and imperfections.

“It was clear that his hastily-arranged tour of the United States set in place a chain of events that led to his very unfortunate death,” he said.

Musician Peter Gutteridge was failed by mental health services, coroner finds (Christchurch Press)

Peter Gutteridge died from an apparent suicide while at the Auckland Mental Health Unit, on September 14th, 2014. He was 53.




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