SHORT HAIRED ROCK n ROLL
Growing up in Mangere, South Auckland was the epitome of suburban boredom for me and lots of other snot flick working class kids.
One afternoon I was cruising around with my friends in my shitbox Austin A40 and we pulled into Robbie Van Der Lisdonk's place behind the gas station on Massey Road. It was the first time I met Robbie. Robbie had a drum kit and showed me the rudiments of counting the beat.
I bought a drum kit on tick the next day and put an ad in the Auckland Star the same day 'Drummer, experienced, seeks band members'.
I bummed around in learner bands for the next couple of years. I jammed with some inner city types a few times and hooked up with Richard Stillwell, later of The Superettes. Richard and I would go to Zwines in the early days and check out bands trying to steal a bass player for a band we were trying to put together called Antimusic. Then the boys told me I needed to get up to the Globe and watch Hello Sailor who were doing Lou Reed covers. I missed them but went up one night when Vox Pop were playing. I bumped into Johnny Volume from the Scavengers and told him I was keen to start up a punk rock band. 'That's really all you need to get going then' he said.
After a few false starts with Antimusic, Siren got going. We did jukebox punk and new wave covers and a few of our own songs. If you saw us you might remember 'I Wanna Be A Suppository'.
We had a ball for most of the time. Mostly sober (but often not) we shared gigs with the other bands of the 78 - 80 era and saw most if not all of the rest of them at gigs around the town.
We ran the Cavern night club until it went bust and had a semi residency at The Squeeze on Fanshaw street. It was, as they say, the best of times.
We were part of the huge chorusline to the more famous bands like Toy Love and Flight X7, Citizen Band and The Spelling Mistakes. Frank Zerox and The Duplicators and Proud Scum. The Bootboys hated us but tolerated us because we let them into The Cavern. Just to keep us in line they let Twink beat up our singer. We let her beat him up as well.
Of all the bands I saw around that time one band has always stuck out as being the icon of what it was to be in that type of band at that time. The Terrorways. They were formed from the Scavs audience and started life as Rooter before becoming The Terrorways. They were pretty rough to start with but they got real good, real quick. I saw them one night at the short lived Basement around from Durham Lane and they were so fucking hot that night.
The Terrorways had the songs. They were cool enough to do the corny covers that no one else thought of doing - Be My Baby, Lipstick On Your Collar and of course She's A Mod. They also had killer originals like Never Been To Borstal.
Whenever I talk to anyone about Punk Rock I always sum it up with The Terrorways and Never Been To Borstal because, for working class louts the song is a soundtrack to our youth. No, I have never been to borstal, but I never stopped trying. The cops really were just too slow.
When punk came along it gave a lot of people a 'place' that wasn't there before. It wasn't a new place to be, because we'd always been there, we just didn't know what to call it. So it got called punk and we didn't care what it was called because now we knew there were others. Lots of them. In bands. Playing our music. Playing it loud. Not caring so much about the smoothing out the rough edges as rubbing those rough edges up against others to get a reaction. And any reaction would do.
Did we grow up, or did we just grow older?
For some, it's clearly the latter.
Floating around in our mental scrapbooks and record collections are some incredible memories. Toy Love at the Windsor on a Saturday afternoon. The Battle of the Bands where Proud Scum demanded to be declared winners or they'd stage a riot. The Aliens at Zwines. The Terrorways anywhere. And Ak79, the record that stands as our endorsement of what it was all about.
On Saturday night, November 22nd 2008 Proud Scum, The Scavs, The Spelling Mistakes, The (X) Features and The Terrorways dusted off the guitars and the songs and went around one more time.
I took my camera and tried to get some good shots of the replay.