In honour of NZ Music Month, Gary Steel climbs into the crumbling catacombs of his back catalogue, and disinters a different story Every Day In May (EDIM). Today’s piece isn’t penned by Steel at all, but a young chap by the name of Steve Braunias, one of the contributors to the magazine IT, published late 1982. And it’s about The Mockers.
Note: I’m ashamed to admit it, but I completely fucked up Steve’s surname the first time I published his work. To his credit, he continued contributing his lucid and funny prose – and general encouragement – to my next venture, TOM, a fortnightly ‘arts and entertainment’ freebie that ran for two-and-a-half years in Wellington. Re-published with the hesitant endorsement of its author.
(A tale without facile descriptions of how noses are twitched and cigarettes are smoked).
SINGER ANDREW FAGAN is happy to give an interview half-an-hour before The Mockers ‘farewell’ performance at Cosgroves as his ‘fans’ congeal at the door. He opens his mouth but all that’s heard is “Hey Andrew good luck in Auckland”, “Hey Andrew couldn’t come to last night’s gig but I heard it was a good one”, “Hey Andrew give me a ring tomorrow,” “Hey Andrew…”
He makes for the mailbox room of the Post Office and tells why the group are moving to Auckland, and returns waves to ‘punters’ who pass by.
The Mockers have a ‘following’.
So why are they leaving?
“It was inevitable,” he says. “I see bands who we were on a par with two years ago, but because they’ve gone to Auckland they get the hype, the media machine gets behind them. This machinery thing is geared towards Auckland. The money, the backing, the spotlight is there. Bands get built up on that without necessarily having much talent.”
The Mockers coulda beena contenda these past two years. But they didn’t get company recognition and were forced to release their last single, ‘Woke Up Today’ – a good commercial prospect – do-it-yourself. Fagan says it was a “wasted record, because of the lack of big distribution. I’ve still got a lot of copies at home.”
His first aim in Auckland is to “Play to as many people as possible,” and to that end, The Mockers have got a good month’s work ahead of them jacked up.
“I’m bloody excited to go to Auckland,” he says. “It’s a new beginning, like when we went underground in March this year, changed from a three-piece to a five and changed our style. We’d gone as far as we could as a ‘guitar band’… it just died.”
And so it is show-time. Hey Andrew and the lads play to a 200 fan-infested sweat box and play well. Their sound is hard and full, with neat changes in melody line. The girl from Ziggurat dances, and a few sadder faces singa longa few choruses. Cosgroves is happy with 700 dollars in the bucket, and Andrew Fagan, yachtist, ex-Wellingtonian, nice guy with an alright band, steers himself towards the Machine. STEVE BRAUNIAS