Pop Mechanix

Every Day In May – Day 21: 1981! Instalment #2

May 25, 2016
2 mins read

The idea? Every day in May, to mark NZ Music Month and 38 years of his own rancid opining and reportage, Gary Steel will present something from his considerable behind. Personal archive, that is. In 1981 I was to be found weekly in Wellington’s Evening Post reporting on the latest Kiwi pop news in a column called, um, Counting The Beat. Here’s the second instalment.

The_Swingers_-_Practical_JokersPRACTICAL JOKERS IS the title of The Swingers’ debut album, out Monday. Produced with difficulty – drummer Bones Hillman had an arm injury at the time of the recording sessions – it is, howoever, rumoured to be as magnificent as we knew it would be.

Phil (Budd) Judd’s boys will be launching a nationwide tour in October and welcome along for the ride is Wellington three-piece group The Steroids. Our local heroes warm up by touring the North Island this month. The Mockers will also be playing with The Swingers at their Wellington performance, though their future is looking a little shaky.

hero_thumb_meemeeswindsorSurprise of the year last week was a New Zealand single reaching number 1 on the national record charts. That lucky disc is ‘See Me Go’ by North Shore pop opportunists The Screaming Meemees. Yes, it is a great radio song (so how come I haven’t heard it on the radio?)

Also on the recording front, Aucklandeers The Dum Dum Boys have a first, independent LP called Let There Be Noise out on Bondage Records. This hard dose of relentless punk is available from 11 Hanui Place, Massey, Auckland.

Neoteric Tribesmen
Neoteric Tribesmen

Other recordings out in the near future include a posthumous novelty double single by the Herco Pilots and vinyl from Taste Of Bounty and Jason Sad. Neoteric Tribesmen, who jammed with The Cure while they were in Wellington, are planning an eight-track, limited edition cassette for the end of the month.

Split-ups include Rebel Truce and Mad Ranks. But being positive, we see that two groups have risen from the ashes of The Spelling MistakesGreen Eggs And Ham and Whose Remains.

Pop Mechanix
Pop Mechanix

Pop Mechanix are still battling with Sydney courts over their name. In the meantime they are billed as NZ Pop. More drastically, apparently the band has dropped almost its entire repertoire in favour of new, unknown material. Also in Sydney, our own Tigers and Knobz are reported to be drawing the crowds and ex-Crocodiles vocalist Jenny Morris is recording her first solo album.

The classic punk single ‘Saturday Night: Stay At Home’ by New Zealand’s Suburban Reptiles was seen to change hands for a figure said to be well into the three-figure mark at a Los Angeles record convention last week. Suburban Reptiles included a certain Phil Judd.

The old Split Enz LP Frenzy is finally going to be released in America due to their current success there – a mere three years too late. It will sell for mid-price.

1599030An interesting magazine of comics comes from Dunedin. Arresting Tales’ originator Quentin Roper draws the cartoons to the inspiration of rock music and the magazine shows this influence.

Straight Records is the new recording venture planned by Williams and Cooper Productions. More details as they come to hand.

Wellington’s new venue for live bands, Studio Seven, is now hiring a disco for two weeks as an experiment after two weeks of low returns with live attractions. Come on people, don’t you want to see real bands? GARY STEEL

Notes: I can still see the wizened old sub-editors at the Evening Post, fags perpetually hanging out of their mouths, and their derision/incomprehension at my contributions to their august daily. These were six-o’clock swill guys who mostly talked about rugby and racing, literally. Imagine their reaction to names like the Dum Dum Boys, titles like Let There Be Noise, and a record label called Bondage!






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

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