Vapor and the Trail was a fast-paced garage-rock covers band led by the always entrepreneurial Al Park – The group acquired the former Mollet Street Market space (in central Christchurch) as a practice space which eventually became a very communal performance venue; they put themselves forward as Christchurch’s pre-eminent punk group as it’s popularity exploded around 1977.
The Trails never recorded – and much like most of Parks’ various groups the majority of their setlist was made up of covers:
The band’s early sets were composed overwhelmingly of 1960s pop/r’n’b covers, stripped-down and cranked up…although there was some genuinely punk material culled from imported albums (the Ramones first and second, three or four selections from the Heartbreakers “L.A.M.F”), The Trails (and to a greater degree The Detroit Hemroids) might best been seen as an allegory to the back-to-basics ‘Pub Rock’ popular in London in pre-punk years.From Wade Churtons’ Glam, Punk and Scorched Earth Policy
Mollet Street became a beacon for creativity; extending well beyond local bands:
A sweep of the programme shows theatre and comedy, movies, magicians, tapdance, a Kidz Xmas Party, mime, a dance troupe, and a bush band among bands like The Doomed, Clean, Enemy, Johnny Velox and the Vauxhalls, Citizen Band, Rough Justice, and the Waterfront Blues Band.Al Park talks venues, musics, gigs (AudioCulture)
Eventually Al Park moved on from the Trails, forming his next group; Old Denis with the respected New Zealand artist Bill Hammond on drums.
- Al Park (Louie and the Hot Sticks, Old Denis, Big Elvis, Odessa, Red Hot Blues Band, Helen and the Hound Dogs, Latter Day Sinners, Park/Hattaway, Runaround Sue, Al and Elmore, Al Park and His Pals), guitar / vocals)
- Leigh Perry (Louie and the Hot Sticks, guitar)
- Ian Whitehead (vocals)
- Dick Cotterill (bass)
- Karl Swanson (drums)
- Murray Olds (drums)
- Terry Bird (guitar)
- Blair Allchurch (The Doomed, guitar)