Found videos from the 1990s

Windswept beachiness, urban Balkan, Christchurch in the before time, racial unity, straight down, a ’90s fashion parade, tattoos, Auckland cool, velvet painting, getting seductive, and a bad lip sync.
Continue reading Found videos from the 1990s

Found videos from 1997

A fluffy bra, nightclub, a prison, a derelict swimming pool, three lifts and an escalator.
Continue reading Found videos from 1997

The Narcs “Leap of Faith”

1997-the-narcs-leap-of-faithWell, the “Leap of Faith” video is ok, but it’s no “Diamonds on China”. In 1997, the Narcs – possibly put into cold storage after the 1987 stock market crash – emerged from hibernation with a new album, recorded in Hamilton.

“Leap of Faith” is subdued. It’s a mild rock song based around the band performing the song in a field, along with an evening performance and footage from downtown Auckland, including the newly opened Sky Tower. All this is overlaid with graphics of the song lyrics. They’ve been handwritten in a decorative style that is all very ’90s. The graphics gently float over the video, never quite legible enough to serve as karaoke lyrics.

While “Diamonds on China” has a glorious manic mid-’80s vibe to it, “Leap of Faith” has a more relaxed, reflective feeling. It’s the ’90s and these guys are well grown up.

Best bit: the hilltop triple fist-punch. Yeah!

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… ghosts from the past.

The Mutton Birds “April”

1997-mutton-birds-aprilAnother video from the Mutton Birds’ London years. Don is dressed like a 1960s sex therapist (probably ready to treat “Come Around” era Don after all the love-triangle trauma going on there) and he and the band perform the song in front of a giant rotating flower. It’s all a bit Austin Powers.

And here’s the curious thing – “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” was released in the UK in September 1997, and “April” was scheduled for release the same month but was cancelled. It makes me wonder if the film’s release suddenly threw an unintentionally groovy new perspective on the video, prompting its last-minute ditching.

Whatever the reason, it’s a pity because “April” is a good song. It’s a classic Mutton Birds song, all storytelling and wicked melody.

As well as the band’s psychedelic performance, we also get black and white glimpses of April, wandering about in an eveningwear. But she feels like a footnote in the video. More focus is put on the wheel of Don, spinning like an omnipresent, multitentacled god of pop.

Best bit: Don’s turtleneck jumper, which occasionally makes his head look like it’s floating.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Best… the old gang together again.

Head Like A Hole “Keith”

1997-hlah-keithHLAH get sleazy for this video, dangerously foreshadowing their 1998 sexually themed album “Are You Gonna Kiss It or Shoot It?”. The video starts with the band playing the song in two locations – a small crimson painted room and another room filled with random objects including an electric sign reading “Stench in progress”. There are also glimpses of bondage gear, just to stick it to society.

Booga plays Keith, a muttonchopped, drunk, sweaty Elvis wannabe. He staggers about in a bar, ignored by other patrons, but seeming quite certain of his awesomeness.

Keith also has a day job at a local sex shop, selling dildos to sleazy customers. Actually, sex shop Keith might actually be Keith’s gay alterego.

The video includes a few nighttime scenes around Wellington, including some choice scenes of dudes on skateboards being pulled along Cuba Mall by dogs, while various people decent upon the notorious Hole In The Wall bar, just around the corner on Vivian Street.

HLAH reemerge in a grungy old warehouse, all wearing bondage gear. PVC is an merciless fabric, making the HLAH lads look less like sexy porn stars and more like suburban BDSM enthusiasts. I’m sure Keith would approve.

Best bit: the dogs pulling skateboards. Mush mush!

Director: Ian McCarroll
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… spin the wheel of Don.

Greg Johnson “My Ship Is Sitting Low”

1997-greg-johnson-my-ship-is-sitting-lowThis video has plenty of humour, crazy and cameos from the bFM cool kids. Greg Johnson described it as one of his favourite videos because it was so much fun. The Paul Casserly-directed adventure starts with Greg in the back of a cab, getting grilled by the taxi driver on his music style.”Oh, just songs, you know.”

Greg is dropped off at a bold turquoise-painted house, where he sings his song of friendship and drinking to a cat on the doorstep. Nearby three young women (including Jodie Rimmer) read wrestling mags, while a paperboy (Marcus Lush) tries to cram the thick ’90s paper into the tiny ’50s paper tube on the letterbox.

Meanwhile a stressed-out businessman (Graeme Hill) suffers a car breakdown outside Greg’s house, while the paperboy is bothered by a pesky kid and her waterpistol.

Jodie Rimmer, meanwhile, has truly alarming hair – short, bleached, spiked. Total ’90s raver kid. Is this the part of the ’90s we’ll remember?

The song is all about the fun of getting a bit munted, but judging from all the action in this neighbourhood, these people should stay away from the booze.

Best bit: the cat – chilling on the front steps in a world of crazy.

Director: Paul Casserly
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a muttonchopped, drunk, sweaty Elvis wannabe.

Bike “Circus Kids”

1997-bike-circus-kidsIt’s another excursion into the slow-motion world of Bike. Shot in gloomy black and white, the band perform the song in front of a backdrop painted with a circus mural.

Andrew Brough is back wearing his giant round sunglasses. As he is a bespectacled man, I suspect his frequent sunglasses wearing is done for the same reason that Kirk Pengally of INXS often wore sunnies – because they’re more rock than clear glasses.

Cut with the band, we also see actual circus kids. A girl walks a tightrope and a guy slowly rides a bike along the tightrope (oh, a bike – clever).

We also see a boy in 1940s clothing wander about the circus, and he is terrified by a sinister clown who gives him a sinister clown look. The kid flees, but ends up being lured into a trunk by the tightrope girl. “Hooray! The circus has come to town!” sings Andrew Brough. This, guys, is irony.

Best bit: the magnificently flared nostrils of the scary clown man.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Marcus the paperboy.

Missing videos from 1997

February 1997

AKA Brown “Tonight Is Yours”

AKA Brown was Sam Feo of the Semi MCs teamed with the mighty Chong-Nee.

Annie Crummer “I Come Alive”

Annie Crummer has “I Come Alive”, another single off her Seventh Wave album. It’s a sweet, uplifting track.

Future Stupid “Rock Star”

My theory is any band who writes a song called “Rock Star” is deeply conflicted by their role in the entertainment industry. Future Stupid evidently have this concern. Here’s a live video.

Moana and the Moahunters “You Haven’t Done Nothing”

The Kiwi Hit Disc reckoned that Moana and the Moahunters cover of Stevie Wonder’s funky protest song — originally titled “U Haven’t Done Nuthin” — would appear on their second album, Rua, but it didn’t make it. It did, however, later show up as the opening track on the compilation album Southside Funk ‘N’ Soul (1985-1996), a collection of previously unreleased tracks.

Russell Harrison “The Best”

There’s no sign of the video from long-time Lotto presenter Russell Harrison, but there’s a non-NZOA-funded clip of this smooth R&B jam “Why You Wanna”. Russell plays three guys auditioning for a role by doing an improv seduction scene in a bar. The video starts at 0:20, but it’s worth watching the introduction, where he seems a bit annoyed by the video.

Thorazine Shuffle “Secret You Hide”

Thorazine Shuffle is listed as having received funding for their song “Secret You Hide”, but as far as I can tell this wasn’t released as a single and didn’t have a video made. Here’s a video of a 2018 live performance.

April 1997

Buckle “Swoon”

Buckle appears to have been a “jazzy, trip-hop” group. “Swoon” was their one and only funded video.

Cicada “Backstab”

“Backstab” was Cicada’s fourth and final funded video, but it doesn’t look like a video was made. But there are plenty of other Cicada videos online. Frequent Cicada video director Marc Swadel made a demo reel of five music videos for the five tracks off Cicada’s Oscillator EP: “Alpha Jerk”, “Sway”“Good”, “Spine” and “Winter” (which had a proper funded video made).

Eye TV “Snakes & Ladders”

“Snakes & Ladders” was the opening track from Eye TV’s third album, “Birdy-O”. The Nga Taonga has this intriguing description: “Band members run, push man in shopping trolley, and ride bicycles. They perform as a rival band with Christian placards on Auckland waterfront.”

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Lava Lava “Feel The Heat”

Dance band Lava Lava had “Feel The Heat” and a video which included “fire dancing on the top of Mt Eden, live footage from the TRU SCHOOL 97 tour and a Cadillac with licence plate SPADE!” If anything puts this video firmly in 1997 it’s “spade”.

Southside of Bombay “Running”

Southside of Bombay had the single “Running”.

June 1997

Ardijah “Love So Right”

Ardijah give a South Pacific update to the Bee Gees song “Love So Right”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Coelacanth “Choke”

Coelacanth were a four-piece alternative rock band. A bio of the band notes that they produced “four completed music videos, three of which never made it to air.” Is “Choke” one of those unaired videos?

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “I Wanna Know”

The Dead Flowers get really really pop with “I Wanna Know”. They must have been promoting the crap out of it because there are two live performances from TV shows – a delightfully degraded VHS copy of an appearance on Ground Zero, and this one from Ice TV. Nga Taonga describe the video as “The band play in a passenger waiting room.”

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Peaches “Down In Splendour”

Another track from Debbie Harwood’s Peaches project, matching her favourite female singers with classic New Zealand songs. This time vocalist Leza Corban covers the Straitjacket Fits tune “Down In Splendour”.

Propeller “Repeat The Question”

Propeller have “Repeat The Question”, another track from their final album and their penultimate NZOA funded video. Here’s a live-ish recording.

Southern Tribe “Closer”

Southern Tribe was a solo project by Hamilton musician Andrew Newth (formerly of Love and Violence). Described by the Htown Wiki as an ‘elaborate looping’ video, the laid-back, instrumental “Closer” was directed by Greg Page. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Man lying prone on ground rises and follows a figure (who looks him) into building and observes other versions of himself. He throws himself from balcony, then rises .”

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1997

Mary “I’ll Be Seeing You”

Mary have their second video “I’ll Be Seeing You”. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The band perform against a white backdrop interspersed with brief shots of them in outdoor setting (city street, beach).”

Director: Sigi Spath
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Muckhole “Kooza”

“The past three years have left me bruised and broken,” Muckhole wail. Sadly the “Kooza” video isn’t online, depriving us of the visual depiction of this emotion.

Propeller “Refrain”

“Refrain” is the final video from Propeller. Farewell, Propeller.

October 1997

5 Go Mad “Too Bad”

5 Go Mad had two videos funded. “Too Bad” was the first track. According to Stephen from the band, the video was shot “in the back of an old monastery on Richmond Road”, and featured Jan Hellriegel.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bike “Anybody Know”

Just as I start liking the music of Bike, the videos start disappearing. “Anybody Know” is a an upbeat guitar pop track with gloriously noisy guitars.

Dead Flowers “Free”

Dead Flowers have the song “Free”, produced by Eddie Rayner. There are few traces of it online.

New Loungehead “Johnny 14”

New Loungehead were purveyors of very cool jazz. “Johnny 14” was the opening track off their album “Came a Weird Way”. Peter at DubDotDash takes a look back.

Director: Marc Swadel

December 1997

5 Go Mad “Above My Head”

5 Go Mad were a pop trio who won funding from the Recording Artist Development Scheme (RADS) run by RIANZ and Creative New Zealand “to promote emerging artists”. Rumour has it that the video for “Above My Head” was all but complete, but never made it off the edit suite (save for one VHS preview copy) due to reasons.

Director: Marc Swadel

B “So Long”

I talk about songs and bands that are hard to google, but this has to be the ultimate example: the band is called B and the song is called “So Long”. Do you know how many artists have a song called “So Long”? There are 12 songs with that name at Amplifier. But I finally managed to discover that B was Brendan Gregg of the Holy Toledos, and B also won RADS funding.

Director: David Reid
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Charlotte Yates “Console”

Charlotte Yates, probably best known for her work with When The Cat’s Been Spayed”, has the song “Console”. The Leeanne Culy-directed video was previously on Charlotte’s website, but in ye olde Real Video format. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Singer playing guitar under wharf by sea and in other locations.”

Director: Leeanne Culy
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dave Dobbyn “Waiting”

Dave Dobbyn has the upbeat pop track “Waiting”, with a hearty meandering melody. Here’s a live version.

Freaker “Mutilator”

Freaker were signed to Deepgrooves and “Mutilator” was an edgy instrumental track.

Lole “Comfort Me”

Samoan songstress Lole has “Comfort Me”. Instead here’s her song “Tu I Luga” which was used a David Tua’s entrance song in his big fight with Shane Cameron in 2007.

Pause “Only”

Pause was an early project by future Elemeno P guitarist Justyn Pilbrow, along with vocalists Jo Currie and Anna Copley. “Only” was their debut single, which Kiwi Hits described as having “eclectic rhythms and acoustic melody”. Deepgrooves describes the video as having been shot in black and white around Auckland, including breaking into the recently closed Auckland train station.

Director: Marc Swadel


Now let’s take a look at a video that didn’t have NZ On Air funding but that managed to make a huge impact despite its $250 budget. It’s “Jesus I Was Evil”, an ode to badassness by the late, great Darcy Clay.

Directed by David Gunson who filmed it with an assortment of cheap cameras, it sees Darcy performing at the Summer Series in Albert Park and being generally evil around town, which includes hoovering up a fat line of cocaine, played expertly by custard powder. The video ends with Darcy’s email address, back when email was still new. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision also hosts the video, with some good behind-the-scenes stories from the director.

Director: David Gunson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision