Ted Brown was (and still is!) a great songwriter and performer. I saw him opening for the Mutton Birds in 1993 and he blew everyone away. But yet chart success eluded him. His biggest hit was when the Strawpeople covered “Love Explodes”.
“How is the Air up There” was a 1966 hit for garage rock locals the La De Das. Ted and his Italians keep the crunch of the La De Da’s original version but give it a bit of jangle and some smoothness.
The video has hints of the psychedelic world of the ’60s. The band perform the song against a blue studio background, lit in red. It comes across a little sinister and menacing, with the shadows and red light looking like all that’s missing is a pitchfork and stick-on devil ears.
We also see the band in a more civilian form, shot in colour within a slightly psychedelic oval frame, with Ted in bad-ass mirror glasses. Maybe that’s the problem. The video seems a bit too badass. It’s sarcastic, sneering, aggressive. It’s a great song but the video feels like Ted is angry at me and I don’t like that feeling.
Best bit: Ted’s impeccable pronunciation of “air” and “there”.
Note: in 1995 a DLT remix of the song was used as the theme music for TV3’s New Zealand music show “Frenzy”.
More business from Christchurch grunge unit Pumpkinhead. With a song called “Third Eye”, I would be extremely disappointed if the video didn’t include low-tech animated third eyes. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Pumpkinhead perform “Third Eye” in a yellow lunar setting and in a pub.”
Spurred on by popularity from the “Once Were Warriors” soundtrack, Southside of Bombay make a house record, with the highly danceable “Umbadada”. But Southside haven’t lost track of their reggae roots – the song has a message of unity and living forever.
In 1995 the Feelers won the prestigious South Island Battle of the Bands competition. Part of the prize included a single and music video released through Wildside. That song in question was “The Leaving”, with the music video directed by James and Matthew of the Feelers and camera by future Feelers music video director David Reid. The song obviously didn’t have the impact of later single “Pressure Man”, but it was included as a track on the band’s debut album.
Wonderkind have “Destiny Change”, an upbeat dance song about a teen prostitute. There was a lot of that in the ’90s – upbeat dance music about really depressing social issues. Here’s a very 1997 remix of the song.
Another track from Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey, this time with “Watching Me Drown”.
Maree Sheehan “Might As Well Shout”
The Kiwi Hit Disc described “Might As Well Shout” as a “fast-paced, catchy dancefloor number”. It features backing vocals from expats Mark Williams and Australian Idol vocal coach Erana Clark.
Papa “For What It’s Worth”
This is pretty much impossible to Google (it’s not a unique song title). I don’t know who Papa was, but it might be related to the record label, Papa Pacific.
Meanwhile in the world of non-NZOA-funded videos we find “Manic (Is a State of Mind)”, the first music single from Jan Hellriegel’s second album. Filmed in Sydney, it takes place in a gloriously garishly painted art deco house (not a visual effect, the YouTube description notes!), and features a very sinister looking cafe fridge.
There are 17 videos missing from 1993, including two Hamilton bogan rock classics, early work from guys who’d go on to more success in Stellar and Splitter, and the return of Kiwi rock legend Larry Morris. Continue reading Missing videos from 1993