Letter of the month
Great to see Flying Nun getting the recognition it deserved (RC 396). Sadly no mention of the great Skeptics and we await with baited breath the re-release campaign devoted to the band. Now they warrant an article of their own.
Being the parochial redneck I am, I do have to take umbrage at the statement “New Zealand was still dominated by Opportunity Knocks-style covers acts”. That geographical isolation meant that the rest of the world missed out on so much great music that had come before. The odd act managed to export its talent, but mainly across the Tasman Sea to Australia, which claimed ownership (eg, Split Enz). In the decades leading up Flying Nun some remarkable music was recorded here and I would recommend John Dix’s book Stranded In Paradise for a reasonably thorough overview. There is a goldmine waiting to be discovered by the reissue companies in the Kiwi back catalogue.
HMV have started well with the A Day in My Mind’s Mind sets (three volumes so far) but most of the material comes from its own vaults. The Human Instinct have had a good reissue series of their albums, in Germany. For me, the most neglected band is the great Ragnarok of the 70s. Sadly only two albums were produced, the self-titled debut and the remarkable Nooks. Both albums were released on labels without the initiative or resources to promote the band and are very different as female vocalist Lea Maalfrid left between them to follow a reasonably successful international career as a songwriter. There were many others worth investigating, The Underdogs, The La De Das, The Fourmyula, Space Waltz and on and on.
Check out any of the bands mentioned on YouTube or have a good Google of NZ rock and I guarantee there is treasure for all. Thanks for a great magazine and at least remembering that we are tucked away down here with sound systems blasting away – pity you don’t often get to hear it.
by Garth Browning
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