Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Nov 24

Bloodfire - Lighters up dub
Foxy Brown - Fast car
Colm K and the freestyle mellowship - Dancing skulls - main mix
Richie Phoe - Eyes on the prize
Lord Echo feat Lisa Tomlins - Thinking of you 
BT Express - Give it what you got
Bobby Byrd - I know you got soul
Roots Manuva -Witness - Jesterman's bionic Barkay rub
New mastersounds - Nervous
Jackson 5 - The love you save
Port authority soul band - Superstrut
Philadelphia international allstars - Let's clean up the ghetto - Danny Krivit edit
IQU - Witchcraft
DJ Smash - Dah boodah
C Swing - Hoodlum
Maxayn - Bailout
Estere - Cruel Charlie
The Orb feat Lee Scratch Perry - Soul man - Villad Remx B
U Roy and Francois K - Rootsman
Toots and the Maytals - Monkey man
George Faith - Midnight hour/Yaya (medley)
Butch cassidy sound system - Echo tone defeat
Ray Charles - I got a woman
Madhouse - Six

Friday, November 23, 2012

RIP Bruce Morley

Bruce Morley in his back garden, 2008. Photo: Richard Cotman
Reknowned Auckland drummer and percussionist Bruce Morley has passed away, on Thursday 22nd November.

NZ Musician reports that "He had been unwell for an extended period with a recurrent cancer that had severely limited his normal high energy activities. Bruce was widely loved and held in high regard as a writer, drummer, percussionist and vibrant personality, with a quick wit and extensive back catalogue of personal tales and jokes. He will be sorely missed by NZM and numerous fellow musicians."

From NZ Herald, Nov 24: "MORLEY, Bruce Roland. Passed away on November 22, 2012. Loved partner of Sue and father of Matthew, Sam, Joe, Dan, Jesse and Roland and Grandfather of 11. A celebration of his life will be held at the Parnell Tennis Club, Maunsell Road, Parnell at 1pm on Tuesday 27 November 2012. Friends and family welcome. ENSOM Funeral Services Auckland (09) 524-6765."

From NZ Musician profile on Bruce, by Chris O'Connor (Oct/Nov 2006 issue).

"In the past few months Bruce Morley has played at Government House with The Dominion Centenary Concert Band (DCCB); Auckland University with the Prohibition Big Band; the Kings Arms with poet Murray Haddow; the Whitianga Scallop Festival with Tauranga’s Kokomo; Luxembourg Gardens with the Vitamin S Free Improvisation Collective; an art gallery fundraiser for a Warwick Broadhead theatrical extravaganza and the annual Concert Band Festival in Auckland Town Hall.

He has sat in with Caitlin Smith’s drummer-less group at the Rakino Island Jazz Festival; performed in an Arts Festival special in Nelson with Mark Hadlow; played a theatre season of the musical ‘A Funny Thing Happened On The way To The Forum’; and had a solo spot in composer Brigid Bisley’s ‘Waitakere Overture’ with the Waitakere City Orchestra for the opening of the new Civic Centre and Arts Laureate Awards. He has also played a duo with Puddle survivor George Henderson at the Indie Club; and at ‘old-time’ dances as far apart as Kelston and Belmont. Meantime he’s been gigging with the Louis Prima-styled Swing Cats.

Bruce is the ‘foley’ (sound effects) drummer for the touring children’s show ‘The Magic Chicken’, is rehearsing with singer/songwriter Immi Paterson’s new band George and Queen, and is putting together two very different jazz groups: an “absolutely traditional” trio called Mister Jelly Roll with clarinetist Yvette Audain and Mike Ryan on tuba; and the Pole Winners (a tribute to the poll-winning Barney Kessel/Ray Brown/Shelly Manne trio of the ‘60s) with Many Hands’ guitarist Kevin Timm and Auckland Philharmonia bassist Daniel Stabler.

All of which is really a ‘localised’ version of what he did for many years back then; touring New Zealand and Australia with performers such as comedian Spike Milligan, singers like Cilla Black, Tony Christie, Johnny Farnham and Cleo Laine, and most of our own top pop and MOR performers. At age 65, this guy is still busy.

It’s difficult to know where to start, because you don’t seem to have spent any length of time with one person or group - why is that?

Well, I never actually planned that. I came to Auckland from Hastings in the late ‘50s with this vague idea about playing the drums, and by the time I actually got started, far too late at 21, I was already married with a child on the way. I didn’t have time to muck around once I realised what I wanted to do, and all the gigs here were taken by the guys who deserved them - people like Tony Hopkins, Don Branch, Bruce King, Barrie Simpson (who was a great inspiration) - because they could play, and had a few years experience on me.

I took some lessons from Frank Gibson Snr, and eventually went to Sydney in 1964. As I was kinda too old to hook up with rock bands and lout about, I went into the club scene, learned to sight-read music very quickly, started backing acts, and it just went from there. I’m essentially self-taught because I had to be. In retrospect, I’m glad it went that way. I’ve had a huge variety of musical experiences as a freelance musician, and the band business can be pretty fraught. I tell the kids, if you’re gonna commit to a band, make sure it’s the Rolling Stones!...

Covering so many different styles, you must have a variety of favourite players and influences? 

We all probably have a primary inspiration: in Hastings it was Fred Huse, a local legend. I still think Shelly Manne is the greatest of all time, because he never let his intelligence get in the way of his swing, and vice versa. Quite recently I’ve felt a growing affection for Charlie and Ringo.

But times change, and if you keep your ears open there’s always some new guy, and something new to learn, every day. I’m really interested in Terry Bozzio’s solo works, and Thomas Lang was the most impressive player I’ve seen in the 40-odd drum clinics I’ve been to. Locally, I go out and listen a lot, and I’m usually the oldest person in the room. There are some younger guys here who can really play.

Black Friday special wax

photo: Chicago Sun Times
Check Real Groovy Records for some Black Friday vinyl special releases...

"BLACK FRIDAY – the day following Thanksgiving Day in the USA – is the beginning of their Christmas Shopping season and it’s become a major retail event for the music industry. There will be scores of Limited Edition LPs, singles and box sets and Real Groovy will be stocking a lot of it.

We’ll have many of the titles – but because most are in limited quantities and aren’t despatched until the last minute, we won’t know exactly what we’ll be getting until the day – and because of the time zone difference, not all will arrive beforehand. We will be receiving stock all day and probably Saturday as well!

We’re expecting stuff from Mayer Hawthorne, Lee Hazelwood, Band Of Horses, Coheed and Cambria, Incubus, John Mayer, M83, Gaslight Anthem, Tomahawk, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Skrillex, Velvet Underground and many more…

So check it out online – the Record Store Day Website is a good place to start – and if there are any releases that you desire, swing by Real Groovy – you may be one of the lucky ones!"

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Unitone hifi video

From 1992, a sunny, chipper wee video from Unitone Hifi, featuring Teremoana, my man Bobblyon (Hallelujah Picassos, 2R2S) and Just One. Directed by Josh Frizzell, and released as a single on Deepgrooves (and on the compilation Deep in the Pacific of Bass). Props to Bobbylon for wearing a Hallelujah Picassos t-shirt in the vid.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Marbecks closing/opening....

photo: Material Creative

From design company Material Creative, via Twitter: "@MaterialC: The new @Marbecks_co_nz cafe on Hobson st is coming along." They suggest it will be open this week.

The original Marbecks store in Queens Arcade is closing down (after 77 years), around March 2013, confirmed by staff. They also told me the Hobson street site (near the Heritage Hotel, ex Farmers bldg) will be a cafe only at this stage, no decision has been made on whether to include a music store there. They also said the builders were still in the new cafe site, so it was unlikely to open this week. Marbecks head office is located in Hobson st.

The original Marbecks store in Queens Arcade has recently seen the consolidation of the Marbecks Classical store, which shut down and relocated to a corner of the existing store.

Roger Marbeck sold the family business to the CD and DVD Store in late 2006, and they changed the name of their stores to the Marbecks brand. They also opened several destination stores, in Dunedin and Palmerston North.

"... Yorkshireman Alfred Marbeck was a music fan who arrived from Sheffield and formed the store in 1934 with his brother in-law Noel Wade.

Wade left and Marbeck's sons Murray and Haydn joined the store in 1947. Haydn left the company in 1990 and was replaced by Murray's son Roger, who focused on popular music.For eight years during the 1990s Marbecks developed a large-scale outlet in Queen St, which later closed...

...Roger Marbeck bought Ode Records and is now operating in the wholesale side of the business." Source: NZ Herald.

Marbecks  shut its Rotorua store in July this year, the owner of that franchise noting that "nationwide the Marbecks chain had gone from 45 to six (soon-to-be five) stores in the past four years."

The Lambton Quay store shut in April, after trading for 17 years (previously as The CD & DVD Store). Marbecks closed its retail outlet at Wellington Airport in January.

ADDED: Local musician and former Marbecks employee Dudley Benson weighed in on Twitter on the Marbecks closure of Queens Arcade: "Marbecks - so sad, so inevitable. I worked there when those Christian fundamentalist capitalists bought a great store & began f#cking it up ... Now thanks to their atrocious 'rebranding' etc people have lost their jobs and we're minus some outstanding knowledge and NZ music history."

ADDED Nov 28: NZ Herald has picked up the story, with the inaccurate headline "Marbecks quits Auckland music scene after 78 years". Marbecks Browns Bay is still open, and is branded as Marbecks (not the CD and DVD Store, as the Herald's correction at the bottom of their story suggests - it looks like they got this information by looking it up on Google Street View, except the photo of the Browns Bay store is from 2009, before all their stores rebranded. I asked Marbecks via Twitter if the Browns Bay store was branded as Marbecks and they said yes it was).

.NZH reports the Marbecks Cafe in Hobson St is opening today, and the closing down sale at Queens Arcade starts next week.

ADDED Nov 29: Marbecks have released a statement via their Facebook page (with photos of the new cafe), from boss Roger Harper, have posted it below...

ADDED Dec 2: via Twitter, I saw this from @stevegallagher: Judging by the "last Christmas sale ever" signs, Marbecks Dunedin appears to be closing down.

I asked Marbecks about this via Twitter they responded: "no, not closing down, there will be changes to the store increasing cafe/food offer & reducing retail footprint."They will retain some music retail, and up to the middle of next year they'll be getting.lots of stock from other stores.

Marbecks are also appealing for former Marbecks/CD and DVD Store staff  via the Marbecks Facebook page to get in touch if they want some work over the holidays, as the Queens Arcade store has been overwhelmed with customers since the news was announced.

ADDED Jan 7, 2013: TV3 covered the closure of Marbecks Queens Arcade on their evening news on Jan 3, watch the story here. "The owners of the old store say closing down is a commercial reality. People get their music online now, so they're going to focus more on developing their cafes. “It's just change, you know,” says Marbecks managing director Roger Harper. “Things have evolved over time. We've had a great run in the music business, but that business model just can't be sustained.”

Otago Daily Times reports Marbecks Dunedin is shifting its focus away from music and books to the cafe side of its operation. Store manager is David James, ex Dead Flowers.

ADDED March 12 2013: Marbecks have announced they have started a 20% off everything sale at Queens Arcade: from their Facebook page... "Marbecks Queens Arcade as we know it will be closing at the end of March, we hope to retain a small footprint in Queens Arcade - but the range and selection we have enjoyed for so many decades will be a thing of the past. Get in quick to enjoy 20% off store wide before we close the doors - discount is off the marked price, and excludes customer orders, gift cards and online purchases."

ADDED April 10 2013: Marbecks offline, Queens Arcade revived by Roger Marbeck

ADDED: Another photo from Material Creative posted Friday Nov 23, of the floor at the new Marbecks Cafe in Hobson st...

photo: Material Creative

Added Nov 25: I went for a walk down Hobson St and took some photos of the new Marbeck cafe. Entrance is down an alley off Hobson st, cafe is below street level.

Standing outside Heritage Hotel, looking up Hobson st. X marks Marbecks Cafe entrance

Had a look thru the door...

On Hobson st, their signs advertising the new cafe coming soon

From Marbecks Facebook page: "Marbecks Queens Arcade - a great legacy. Marbecks Kitchen - a new beginning.
The recent news that we are closing our Queens Arcade store at some stage early next year has natu
rally caused a lot of discussion in the market, and sadness on the part on our many loyal customers, many of whom fondly remember purchasing their first record at “Marbecks Queens Arcade”. But “Quitting the Auckland Music Scene” as the NZ Herald [28Nov12] put it – absolutely not! You’ve got to love the media, they just write what they want. We hope that we will remain part of the Auckland & New Zealand music scene for many years to come, just in a different way.

You can imagine that making the decision to close the store was an extremely difficult one, and only made after trying a number of options and considering many others. I could write an extremely long article, a book even, of all the changes & challenges that we have faced over the past decade as our industry has undergone significant change. I have read so many “The Day the Music Died” stories over those years, that I have no desire to add another one. The fact is our whole industry from artist, to music company, to music lover, has dramatically changed over the past few years, from piracy to itunes, to spotify, the way that we discover, enjoy and consume music has changed forever, and no longer supports the business model that the specialist music retailers thrived in for the past 50 years. 

As someone else in the music industry once said “Mistakes, I’ve made a few...” and yes we have, as it seems every armchair expert/blogger seems very keen to point out to us. Of course we’d do things differently if we had our time over again, but as passionate as we are about music & our customers, i suspect there is nothing we could have done to effectively combat, arguably, the largest technology shift there has been in history. 

Over the years, we’ve loved every moment of the music business, our wonderful customers, and of course the music itself, from classical to country, to punk, to hardcore and everything in between; in short, we’ve had a great ride. The Marbeck family, their wonderful business and store, their legendary customer service & knowledge, will live long in the memory long after the store is closed early next year. 

However, sad though closing Queens Arcade is, it is by no means the end of the Marbecks story. In the past few years we have begun to open cafes – Lambton Quay in 1998, Wall St Dunedin in 2009, and Palmerston North in 2010. This week we have just opened our first Auckland cafe in Hobson St [next to the Heritage Hotel], “Marbecks Kitchen” and even though we do say so ourselves, we’re rather pleased with it. It’s a great space, feels good, and has many connections to our music heritage – come in and check out our “Nod to Bob” collage wall. We’re very positive about Marbecks future in hospitality. Many of the emotions evoked by music are also evoked by food. Good music and good food are wonderful partners, and we believe that our passion & creativity for music will hold us in good stead in the hospitality business. Come in and enjoy Hobson Street, or any of our other cafes. We love great coffee, Supreme , mmmmmm, as much as great music, we hope you do too. 

We may well keep retailing music for many years to come, either through stores or online at and yes we do have our own digital store at We’ll keep looking for a business model that works in this brave new world, but if we need to change, we will. 

In the meantime, if you’re in Auckland [or visiting] get down to Queens Arcade to talk the talk with the most knowledgeable music staff in NZ, or to bag a bargain, or just for one last time pick up a great CD or LP [somewhat ironically vinyl is the fastest growing part of the business] – some of our wonderful CDs & DVDs may never see the light of day in New Zealand again. That is sad. Thanks.

Roger Harper - Marbecks

Freebass IV, Dec 92

Freebassing - By Paul Casserly, Stamp magazine Dec 1992.

Freebass are bassist Steve Harrop, his brother Ben on trombone, Nathan Haines on sax. Ben Holmes on alto. Ben Gilgan on keyboards, and Ritchie Campbell on drums. The band are new, (just 3 months old) but their brand of 'Acid Jazz' has already attracted a trailer-load of attention - partly because of young achiever/saxman Nathan Haines, but mostly because the music is so immediate and impressive.

The fusion of jazz and funk comes from the various backgrounds of the members - jazz players like the Harrops, and funksters like Gilgan who has played backing for the likes of Tina Cross, Ardijah and Randy Crawford.

'Acid Jazz' was coined in the UK in the mid eighties. ''It happened when all those English labels took black horn players and put them with a DJ backing rather than a live band'' explains Steve Harrop. Unlike Jazz Committee, Freebass perform all their own material and they practise!

''We never rehearsed with the Jazz Committee but now we've been forced to, which is great. We've had to get off our arses.''

The departure of Haines (who has gone back to New York to continue his scholarship) isn't an ideal part of the 'road to bigger things' but Harrop is certain the group will continue unharmed. ''It's a shame, but there are other players out there. Things will go on , but it will be different."

Nathan will appear, however, on a live album which has just been recorded at Cause Celebre and is due for release early next year. As for the interest (the album deal with Deepgrooves coming just weeks into the band's lifespan), Harrop is surprised. "Mostly by the people who aren't associated with jazz; the interest from them wasn't something I was expecting."

As for the name: ''it's spelt b a s s'' comes Harrop's well practised reply, 'FreeBASS!"

The Freebass album was digitally reissued in 2010, see here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy birthday!

Cheery birthday shout out to the one like STINKY JIM, his mighty bloggeration stylings have been going down for four years this very week. To celebrate, Jim has posted another of his fine mixes, this one on the loungey tip. Enjoy! DL too.

"Being as it’s a bit of a special week with 4 years of bloggerating under the proverbial belt here’s a rather special mix, one that quite a few have claimed as their favourite. As you can tell from the excess stereo test records, spoken word wibblings and intrepid interjections this came at a time when the op shopping was still running hot, and we were heading off in the sky blue Valiant, most weeks, in search of the crackly goodness. There’s hidden layers in some of that dialogical nonsense, for those who care to indulge in such aspects..."

Fat Freddys vs JetJaguar, unreleased jam

From Jet Jaguar: "In 2010 I remixed FFD - one version ended up on the single 'The Raft', but the other was never released. So here you go." The version that did get released is below...

Monday, November 19, 2012

3 The Hard Way - All around

I recently found this video and digitised it, from the TV3 music show Frenzy. Video directed by Clinton Phillips, graffiti art by DLT. For more 3THW, check the interview below, also from Frenzy.

NZ Hiphop Summit Dec 8

The NZ Hiphop Summit is a one day free event packed with entertainment and urban cultural extravaganza that offers visitors the opportunity to experience the dazzling and spectacular day.

It returns for 2012, being held at Mt Roskill Youth Zone, 740 Sandringham Road, Auckland, on Saturday 8 December, with:

Live music
Live performances
Educational history panel discussions
Hip hop workshops (MCing /songwriting), DJing, breaking, beatboxing, aerosal writing)
Colourful air-brush & graffiti art exhibitions
Hiphop stalls
Community charitable support stalls
NZ music industry experts panel discussion

International guest speaker: King Excel (Universal Zulu Nation World Council Member)
To learn more about King Excel and other special guests please visit and look under Panel Discussions

Children and young people are spoiled for choice of music, art, workshops and entertainment

Along with a concert called Bring The Noise featuring Aotearoa's home grown hiphop and emerging new talent, it will be a day that the whole family will enjoy and remember.

Expected to become a major fixture on Auckland's event calendar, this year's theme is a dedication and salute to the Mighty Universal Zulu Nation.

Visit the event Facebook page at

Please email the organisers on if you would like to be part of the street team.

Big dumb future

My old band mate Gavin Downie (ex Picassos) asked me a while back if I had a copy of the music video for Future Stupid's song Big Dumb Future. After Gavin left the Picassos, he joined Future Stupid and was in this video. I managed to locate a copy, and have posted it online - watch out for the vocal spot from Slave (currently MC w Fat Freddys Drop), aka the Rhythm Slave.

I also found an item I directed for Ice TV (TV3) in 1995, while I was doing a tv production course. From memory, I hit up Richard Driver, the producer to let me get some work experience, and he said yes, amazingly enough. I came up with a piece on behind the scenes at a big music concert, this one was White Zombie. Future Stupid got the support slot, so I got them in the item too. Look for Jon Bridges moshing, it's pretty funny.

China Manchu and DLT

Adrian Woh/China Manchu. Photo by Haru Sameshima

Extract from an Welcome Home, an article by Emma Farry on four Asian New Zealanders, published in Stamp magazine, Dec 1993/Jan 1994. 

Adrian Woh, known onstage as China Manchu (formerly China Muffin), arrived in Auckland three years ago. He was 17, could speak very little English and had never been to school... now he writes and speaks English fluently, has a full time job in a bakery and spends the rest of his time rapping, toasting and practicing his singing.

“I've travelled all over Asia... I was crazy and got into a lot of trouble... and did petty crimes. I was born in Malaysia but I've lived in Hong Kong and Singapore. When I got to Auckland I thought it was so relaxed and easy. In this country I finally found myself and I'm now proud of who I am and what I do and my skin colour," Woh says.

"I used to be ashamed of my culture and of the European stereotypes... the way my eyes were and the fact that I had a centre parting and a round face..but different doesn't mean bad", twenty year old Woh says.

He has a number of Maori and Polynesian friends who have taught him about respecting himself and his culture. "I started doing research and realised that Polynesians are descended from Asians, so I give respect to all Polynesian peoples - they've taught me a lot." Woh says hiphop also taught him about himself and gave him an outlet to say what be feels is important.

"I take a hardcore hiphop gangsta approach even though I'm not a gangsta...I wanna be straight up and speak out proud. People should get conscious and speak out against whatever is not right in their lifestyle and the lifestyle of others. That's what I rap about. I don't wanna rap about everyday experiences - it seems like a waste of time.''

He doesn't consider himself to be political but "conscious'' which he believes is a totally different thing.

"It's just a matter of being aware of what's going on around you... with politics it just gets confused and complex."

He is happy that China's culture has stayed pretty much intact. He describes the country of his ancestors as "A staunch nation'' and is pleased that they are freeing up their society in terms of democracy and money-making, but not selling out to the West. He wouldn't want China to end up like either America or Japan.

"To me Japan is just like America.. they both do a lot of exploitation. They are becoming copycats of the Western way of life and I find that a shame."

Woh believes New Zealand is a special country because he has already been able to learn so much living here. According to him it is a more open society which allows more freedom than he ever found in Asia.

Although there are advantages about living here, Woh finds that sometimes mainstream culture still has difficulty dealing with the multiracial aspect of Auckland city. "Every day at work at the bakery I experience it. People will come in and look at the person behind me to serve them. Sometimes it annoys me and I feel like . throwing the tray in their face."

"People just don't realise how hurtful and unfeeling they're being. People aren't born racist it's just what they're taught and minds can be changed.''

"I basically wanna show people that whatever another man can do, a Chinaman can do it."

China Manchu appeared on DLT's debut album The True School, in 1996. Listen to his track below. It's very dope.

ADDED DLT saw this post and filled me in a little on China Manchu's whereabouts. DLT says the last time he saw him was about 3 years ago: "He lives out east I think he was teaching kids hiphop at a church in Glenn Innes last time I saw him."

Stamp mag cover featuring China Manchu, from