Brilliant 90’s Christchurch sludge-rock outfit comprised of Brett Lupton, Daryl Kirk and Mike Brassell (Hiss Explosion).
Took a thoroughly DIY, low-budget approach to release a series of warped, discordant guitar albums, based around excellent guitar-work and an inventive, lo-fi and somewhat sloppy (in a good way) approach to recording songs.
The group was formed by Brassell (aka ‘Michael J. Hex‘), Lupton (aka ‘Virgil Reality’) and Original Drummer Andrew Meier (aka ‘Hat’ – who would go on to have an involvement with Flying Nun Records and as station manager for Christchurch’s RDU radio station). Lupton and Brassell’s flat was dubbed ‘Hex Central‘ and took on a position as a central place for local muso’s, with a huge amount of house parties and performances while the duo were in residence. This spot (on Barbados street, not far from Christchurch Polytech) would continue to be a low-rent house party location right up until the Christchurch Earthquakes (later as ‘Glory Hole‘).
Bellbird Pictures have released a wonderful documentary about the group; covering the struggles the encountered attempting to expand their audience, their staunchly independent production techniques and refusal to ‘play the game’, plus covering the demons that both fueled and fractured the group (both Lupton and Brassell were functional drug addicts).
After Hat’s departure in 1993, Darryl Kirk (Lawrence O’Blivion) joined the line-up – the line-up that would record the bulk of the bands output. In their last line-up Pete Mitchell became the new drummer, whilst Vaughen Watson (The Undercurrents, Pumpkinhead) joined as bassist.
Eventually Brassell left Christchurch for Dunedin, forming the guitar loops and drums duo Hiss Explosion with Mitchell and finding more suitable work as a coordinator of venerable Dunedin music venue and record label Arc Life. Under his direction the label flourished, a reflection on Brassell’s strong commitment to building a community.
Sadly Michael Brassell passed away suddenly in 2004 after a bout with pneumonia. I helped Fleur De Lis organize a (musical) wake for Mike here in Christchurch, whilst a 2nd wake was held in Dunedin. I wrote about Mike’s passing here.
- Michael Brassell (Michael J. Hex, Hiss Explosion, Whitey Hiss, Canhex, guitar / vocals / bass, 1992 – 1996)
- Brett Lupton (guitar / vocals / sampler, 1992 – 1996)
- Andrew Meier (drums, 1992)
- Darryl Kirk (Babels, Fuel³, Loafer, Snuffbox, The Mothgods, drums / keyboards, 1993)
- Peter Mitchell (The Renderers, Hiss Explosion, drums, 1993 – 1996)
- Vaughen Watson (Pumpkinhead, bass, 1993 – 1996)
- Feeding The Ground cassette mini-album (1992, Flat City, FC005)
- Whip Me Honey EP (1994, Failsafe Records, SAFE027)
- Mastermistakemaker (1995, Failsafe Records, SAFE028)
- Spastic Sarcastic (1996, Noseflute, NF011)