Forty years ago… NZ post-punk band Rank And File

March 31, 2022

Back in 1982 GARY STEEL had a bit of a chat with Auckland post-punk group Rank And File.


Rank And File with former Spelling Mistakes drummer Julian Hanson (RIP) far right

Rank And File (affectionately christened Wank And Smile by themselves) made five dollars’ profit between them at one gig on their first national NZ tour last month.

“The usual is just under breaking even”, says an unidentified* band member about the tour.


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The Auckland band passed almost unnoticed through Wellington recently. Their shows, divided between their own brand of rock’n’roll and ‘60s pop trash classics, were a perfect excuse for a rage, but few came to the party.

“Basically we’re in it for a good time. No pretensions.” Are you serious musicians? “We’re serious. Music is my life.” (Alan Whicker accent).

R&F have been going since ’79, professional since June ’81. The lineup has been fairly constant, except for drummers (they’ve been through six). Their music has changed from r’n’b to what it is now. “We used to have a cult following but it died off…”

Apart from appearances on several un-noteworthy compilation albums, the band has yet to surface on vinyl. This will be rectified when they record an EP, and possibly an album (for Ode) this month.

They have no illusions about the NZ scene. In Auckland, they say, they are shunned by the business because they don’t fit an image. Overseas is the obvious option: “We’d prefer to go to New York, but Mental As Anything (who they recently supported) wanted us to go to Australia and give us work over there.”

Rank And File are: Steven Orthodox (vocals, trumpet), Geromax (guitar), Robert Chaste (guitar), Timmy Tornado (bass) and Julian Hansen (ex-Spelling Mistakes, drums).

*Note: I don’t remember conducting this interview or even seeing the band but I probably recorded the interview and couldn’t distinguish between voices on the tape to identify who said what. It seems they never got to record that EP.

Originally published in Wellington’s In Touch magazine.

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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