Forty years ago – This act ends with a bang

GARY STEEL loves interviewing obscure and entertaining NZ bands. Back in 1983 Moving Targets had big plans. Where are they now?

Moving Targets have a rather explosive show. To cap off an evening’s performance, these guys from Whangarei let off detonators – just in case the crowd are not blown away already.

In fact, in Napier recently, they almost blew the audience away – and themselves offstage. They had an extra powerful detonator that night.

Says vocalist John Addison (aka Addo): “This big one at the front – we’d never used it before – just went BFFFFF! Spud (Charles Rex Dahl) got blown out of his kit. Hit the back wall, shrapnel went everywhere. And this guy right in the front copped one between his eyes. He was bleeding out of his head and everybody was going ‘What happened?’ They were all ducking, climbing under the tables.”


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Moving Targets are no Kiss-type spectacle, however. They don’t want people going along expecting explosions and far-out gimmicks. In fact, the emphasis is firmly on the spontaneous. It’s the unpredictability factor of the in-band and band-audience repartee that makes Moving Targets contending entertainers.

The band use the words “entertainment” and “performance” a lot. “We’re hackers, not musicians,” says Addo. I would disagree. Watching the band perform at the Cricketers Arms in Wellington recently, they were tight and hard. As Addo says: “What we do is not strange. We’re not doing arty, unrecognisable music or anything like that.”

Onstage, the most formidable presence is drummer Spud. With his shaven head and solid physique (1979 junior men’s silver medalist, hammer throw) he looks like some kind of metronomic incredible hulk behind his kit.

The ongoing play-fighting-playing of vocalist Addo and ex-Mangaweka’s vocalist Bones provides the rest of the visuals, and all the laughs. Bassist John Knox is, true to type-cast, content to do his bit in keeping the rhythm machine grinding over – thought he is prone to surprise all occasionally, too.

Moving Targets have been together for approximately seven weeks though most of them have played music together before. In fact, says Addo, many of his original songs that comprise the bulk of their repertoire began in previous bands with several of the same musicians.

They are avid believers in bands playing original material.

“The people that run the pubs, and most people that go to pubs, want covers. If that’s what we’ve got to do I’d rather not do it,” says Addo.

Moving Targets are now managed from Wellington. Next step, conquer the provinces.


+ This story originally published in The Times on the 10th of April 1983. If anyone knows what happened to Moving Targets and its members, let us know!

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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