Snappy Tribute To Peter Gutteridge, RIP

September 15, 2014
2 mins read

SnapperPETER GUTTERIDGE DIED today. It probably won’t make the TV news, but to me, as a member of The Clean, but particularly the Great Unwashed and Snapper, that makes him a really, really important figure on the NZ music scene. That Great Unwashed double EP is probably in my all time top NZ 20. And as for Snapper…

So by way of a hasty tribute, here’s a ‘Band File’ from RTR Countdown magazine, published in December 1988. I barely remember talking to them. It was in some pub that they were playing in later that evening. Down near the railways station. Interviewing bands together can be hazardous, because they play to their internal dynamic, and tend not to open up and talk real sense, lest they’re torn asunder by band mates. I must have the original transcript somewhere. The gig was messy, faltering, but when they hit their stride, Snapper were at least on a par with Bailterspace in terms of sheer performance hypnotism by fire.

Name Of Band:


City Of Origin:


We In The Band Are:

Peter Gutteridge, Alan Haig, Dominic Stones and Christine Voice

Track Record: Formed two years ago. Originally just Peter and Alan as The Phromms, recently QEII recording grant enabled an EP for Flying Nun release due out anytime. Have traversed the length of NZ once as a unit, astonishing a few but unnoticed by the major populace.

Why They Do What They Do:

“I called a cat Snapper, the cat died and the band got called it… the cat was about to join as keyboards player at the time. It had natural style. God I loved that cat… I’ve still got the skidmarks outside to remind me. A smudge on the road. I think a motorbike got it. It was an assassination.”

Alan was an original Chill, on hand for their first, critically acclaimed trip to London, and did time with The Verlaines. Peter started in The Clean, spent time with The Chills, and then “wandered the wilderness for a good many years” before rejoining Clean members in The Great Unwashed, and playing with the Elpaca Bros, Puddle and numerous one-offs. Christine started out in theatre, played in The Elevators and all girl group The Delaweres. Dominic’s first group was Auckland’s Birdnest Roys, after which he’d “had enough of Auckland” and shifted to Dunedin which is “a good place because people will come along and see unknown bands.”

“When Snapper music really gets there, it hits this groove which is so solid, it almost becomes instinctive,” says Peter. “We try and hold it and make it even more intense, whereas a lot of bands hit that groove once in a while but back off from it. Right from The Clean one of the kinds of songs I’ve written has always been a cyclic, repetitive, hypnotic thing. Snapper’s the only band I’ve been in that really gets into it.

“Those notes that hsnappercanongateappen that nobody plays… there’s this whole area of notes and melody that no-one’s actually playing. It’s something that’s born out of this collision of everybody playing…

“I think our music is accessible.”

Dominic: “I’d be upset if my Mum didn’t like it.”

Peter: “My Mum hates it.”

Alan: “My Mother doesn’t say anything.”

Dominic: “Depends upon your Mum really.”

Where They’ll Be In A Year’s Time:

I’ve got no idea. Who knows? New York. 1989 we’re going to record an album. It’s the only way you can make these songs for all time. Sooner or later this band will go, and that’s it. But Snapper’s got a lot to do yet. GARY STEEL

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

1 Comment

  1. Sad to see a great muso go. Saw Snapper at The Tramways Hotel(lounge bar) Wellington. Talk about musically intense & loud. They sure hit their straps that night. EP & “Buddy” clip still a great listen. Bailterspace a good comparison. Farewell to a rare talent…

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