Every Day In May – Day 22: 1981! Part 3

May 26, 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 third instalment.


Screaming Meemees
Screaming Meemees

TEENAGE POPPERS THE Screaming Meemees are basking in the glory of a Number 1 hit – a rare phenomenon for New Zealand bands.

A follow-up to ‘See Me Go’ will be released in December to time with the Meemees’ first extensive nationwide tour. The Meemees, who are from Auckland’s North Shore, are contemplating recording their first album early in the new year.

Wellington’s original, under-rated avant-garde rock group Naked Spots Dance is recording a first, 30cm single for release on Bunk Records and it will hit the streets in November.

Naked Spots received an enthusiastic reception on their first out-of-town foray to Christchurch.

Beat Rhythm Fashion
Beat Rhythm Fashion

Also out on Bunk (which hasn’t quite died, just scaled down somewhat) anytime now is the second single by local boys, Beat Rhythm Fashion – the haunting, ethereal ‘Turn Of The Century’ backed by ‘Song Of The Hairless Apes’.

(By the way, Naked Spots seek a singer, while BRF search for one to bang the drum).

Release of The Swingers album Practical Jokers is now scheduled for the first week of October. Egg on my face department: their drummer is in fact Ian Gilroy, not Bones Hillman (bassist) as stated in my previous column.

Popshots is the exhibition of rock photography by New Zealand photographers showing this week and next at Silvios record shop (upstairs). Photos featured include those of locals Charles Jameson and Evening Post lensman Peter Avery.


verlaine2Unknown locals Riot III have an interesting Springbok tour related single, ‘1981’, in the shops. This one sneaked up unannounced.

Auckland movements: Newmatics have their double-A side ‘Riot Squad’ out on Furtive Records, the defunct Herco Pilots have their double EP and The Valentinos have their as-yet unnamed single debut due for late in the month.

Speaking of Auckland bands, The Techtones have broken up after a well-attended farewell tour but leave us with a goodbye present in the form of an independently recorded album, T123.

Their drummer, Chris Burt, will be filling the currently-vacant drum stool of Beat Rhythm Fashion on their first Queen City sojourn later this month. They are to play at Mainstreet. BRF’s beautiful ‘Turn Of The Century’ single, which the band claims even appeals to grandparents, is out this week.

Neoteric Tribsemen
Neoteric Tribsemen

The Neoteric Tribesmen have completed their nine-track cassette which is due, along with a comic book, in a couple of weeks. The Neoterics played Rawa House last week, a cosy new venue which has hosted jazz group Primitive Artwork (sic) and Naked Spots in recent weeks. With Studio Seven down the drain, it is the only place left for non-alcoholic music consumption. GARY STEEL

Notes: It’s amazing how introverted these columns seem now. Where’s all the coverage of mainstream pop? This was NZ’s independent scene just before the advent of Flying Nun. Sadly, anything that wasn’t under the wings of the Nun was headed towards obscurity or lost in time. Who knows what that Neoteric Tribsemen cassette was like? To my knowledge, it’s never been reissued. Same with Naked Spots Dance, Techtones, etc. There is a patchy but partly brilliant Beat Rhythm Fashio compilation available through Rob Mayes’ Failsafe label.

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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Every Day In May – Day 23: More Thrilling New From 1981!

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