b artists

The Black Panthers


Late 90’s sleaze rockers out of Christchurch and featuring Garden City rocker extraordinaire Matt Alien (aka Matt Johnson also of The Hi-Tone Destroyers).

Made a habit of being even more extreme than The Hi-Tones, with Matt constantly baiting the audience (not having to play guitar freed him up to provoke the surly members of the audience).

Alien was joined by Bob Cadillac (aka Rob Buick), Ayatolla Blitzkrieg (Vaughen Richardson) and Leon Zchvargo (aka Matt’s brother Ben), and put out a small issue self-titled release on the local Kato label in 1998.

Both The Hi-Tone Destroyers and The Black Panthers used the disclaimer ‘No Squares or Hippies!’ on all their posters and releases, though bassist Blitzkrieg was always accompanied by a handful of hippy girls eager to throw marmite-stained underpants at him while he performed.

The group was less prominent than the Hi-Tones, and disappeared once Alien relocated to Auckland forming the similarly minded Slavetrader.


  • Matt Johnstone (Vocals, 1996? – 2003?)
  • Ben Johnstone (Drums, 1996? – 2003?)
  • Vaughen Richardson (Bass, 1996? – 2003?)
  • Rob Buick (Guitar, 1996? – 2003?)


  • Hey Hey 7″ single (1998, Kato Records, KR79)
  • The Black Panthers (2001, Kato Records, KR003)



h artists

The Hi-Tone Destroyers


During the mid 90’s, no man represented the Christchurch underground rock movement more than Matt Alien (aka Matt Johnstone).

As the leader of blue-revivalists The Black Panthers and his long-surviving scuzz-rockers The Hi-Tone Destroyers Matt was the equivalent of Iggy Pop to Detroit, Jim Morrison to California or (perhaps) Chris Knox to Auckland.

He managed to combine a little bit of each into his stage-performer, a drug-fueled, leather-pant wearing masochist who would bait his audience, sing lewd lyrics and absolutely roar on the guitar – totally encapsulating rock’n’roll at its dirtiest.

The Hi-Tone Destroyers were a little less raunchy than their Black Panther brothers – despite sharing half the same members, but had the swagger of the MC5 at full-force and could deliver the goods at any moment – usually at a punishing volume.

They spent a good decade playing parties and self-releasing scuzzy, amateur recordings, until the rock’n’roll revival hit full swing in 2002, resulting in Matt’s abandonment for Auckland (and warmer shores) to chase success., forming the group Slavetrader.


  • Matt Johnstone (Guitar/Vocals/Drums, 1995 – 2002)
  • Ben Johnstone (Bass/Vocals, 1995 – 2002)
  • Pat Faigan (Drums, 1995 – 1996?)
  • Don Campbell (Keyboards, 1995 – 1998?)
  • Simon Nunn (Drums, 1996? – 2001?)
  • Alan Cameron (Keyboards/Guitar, 1996? – 2001?)
  • Nick Hodgson (Drums, 1998?)


  • ‘Icepick’/’Motorcity Rumble’ 7″ Lathe-Cut Single [Solarphonic]
  • Play The Music Of The MC5 7″ Lathe-Cut Single [Solarphonic]
  • ‘I’ll Put A Spell On You’/’Sonic Reducer’/’Now I Wanna Be Your Dog’ 7″ Lathe-Cut Single [Solarphonic]
  • ‘Headache Head Headache’/’No Way Son’ 7″ Single [1996, Kato Kato2]
  • Born WithoutAn Off Switch [1996]
  • Enter The Lair Of The Black Flame Cassette [High Tension House HTH016]
  • Light Up Your Life [2001]
  • Modern Rock Can Kiss Our Ass Cassette [2001 Stink Magnetic]
  • Calling All Destroyers [2005 Archival Compilation, Kato]
  • Burn In The Fire Of… [2011 Archival Live Release from 2008 show at Venus Cafe]
  • Stay High! [2011 Archival Compilation]



m artists

Matt Alien

Matt Alien, ex-Christchurch rok outlaw, ex-Auckland rok-pack leader, now basing himself out of the Sydney wastelands in OZstralia..
Here he fronts up up with his third solo album in the 10+ year period in which he’s been dabbling in solo recording, concurrently with whatever rock rumble gang (Hi-Tone Destroyers/Black Panthers/Slavetrader), he’s been attaching his reckless riffing personality to….rn
All of Mister Alien’s preferred rok legends extend influences here, be it Kiss/T-Rex/Rolling Stones/Dead Moon/Sabbath/ Thin Lizzy/Motorhead..
10 tracks birthed in the bedroom, but could still be easily struttted live in any scuzzy venue in the omniverse..
A touch of electronic twiddling even crops up here…is this a case of such artists as Chrome/Can/Suicide also being imbibed on the Alien Lissening menu??rn– Andrew Tolley of Kato Records

picks in bold

  • Matt outta hellrn
  • Fuck Blues [2008 Kato]