Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mr Knox and the nun

From Forced Exposure #18, 1993. Chris Knox cover and extensive 29 page interview. Was available online at Tallyho.co.nz, seems to have vanished. 

Flying Nun's 30th anniversary passed in November last year, with much hoopla. There's certainly some great music in their catalog that's worthy of celebrating. And then there's the likes of Marching Orders and Eric Glandy......

The footnotes accompanying the article written by the Forced Exposure interviewer for his Chris Knox are delightfully blunt, take these two examples...

"Big Sideways were a largish funk band with a horn section. They recorded for Unsung Records, but who cares? They are most notable for having provided work for bassist Justin Harwood prior to his joining The Chills..."   "Netherworld Dancing Toys were another bunch of Flying Nun losers. A 'soulful' Dunedin band formed in 82, they recorded three records for Flying Nun ... before signing w/ Richard Branson's Virgin label and eating utter shit."

The comment on "Netherworld Dancing Toys were another bunch of Flying Nun losers"  references the previous note in the article, on the band Marching Orders.

Flying Nun are widely acknowledged for introducing some acts that were very influential both here and overseas, especially in the US. What isn't so widely acknowledged is that Flying Nun was responsible for introducing the wider NZ public to Jackie Clarke.

Clarke was part of Gisborne band Marching Orders, who put out a 12-inch single on Flying Nun in 1983 called The Dancer - watch them play it live on TV show Shazam here. According to Chris Knox (in the Forced Exposure interview), Marching Orders getting on Flying Nun was Doug Hood's doing. "One of them [the band] was one of Doug's old boyhood mates, so Doug couldn't say no."

The interviewer from Forced Exposure asks about some of the other 'questionable projects' (as the interviewer puts it) from that era, like Netherworld Dancing Toys...

Knox: "Roger was very keen on them. I've never been able to understand why. A few of the aberrations were mine as well. Like Phantom Forth.... nobody bought it [The Phantom Forth release]. And Roger didn't particularly like it. But then there was a problem with peoples' families who had bands... you know how it is."

The Forced Exposure interview reveals that Knox met Doug Hood when Hood moved to Dunedin from the town Hood grew up in, Te Kuiti. Hood came down for a holiday and ended up settling in, according to Knox. Knox's flatmate prior to Doug was named Sarge, who was a good mate of Doug's and was a roadie for a band called OK Dinghy, who later became Dragon.

from Forced Exposure #18, 1993, p40.

And then there's that FNun pisstake country act, the Eric Glandy Memorial Big Band, featuring Don McGlashan amongst its members. Yes, Don McGlashan was on Flying Nun.

Chris Bell asked  McGlashan about it in this 2005 interview, originally published at NZBC.net.

What do you remember about making the only LP ever recorded by the Eric Glandy Memorial Big Band, ‘Adrenal Glandy: Songs of Love, Hate and Revenge’?

“Eric Glandy was the most important artist of his era, although you wouldn’t know that from the band’s live shows, recordings, or rehearsals. We hit our peak before our first practice, actually. Before we even thought about having a first practice, in fact — and from then on it was a sickening spiral downhill into recording industry hell and substance abuse. Those we influenced will certainly say that we didn’t influence them, but deep Jungian therapy will reveal that we did.”

This UK McGlashan fansite lists the band members (or their fictitious aliases) as "Desi Belle, Delta Don, Rocky Bordeaux, Eric Glandy, Manolito Klein, Priscilla-Lou Mary-Jane, Red Mcwhirter, Blind Spot and Hank Tudor."

From the original piece on NZBC.net: "Pictured is the Eric Glandy Memorial Big Band in the 1980s. Who says white men don't suit the blues? 'Delta' Don McGlashan is on the [far] right, next to NZBC Director-General Rob O'Neill touting the Fender bass (no, it's not really him, merely a more youthful facsimile); Sally Hollis-McLeod is at the back wearing the B-52s wig; Derek Ward (Listener designer) is front-centre in the brown suit; and Lindsay Marks is second left in the white jacket.  [note: Rob O'Neill is now business editor at the Sunday  Star Times.]

A comedy country act featuring two real musicians (McGlashan and Marks) along with a number of guests, the EG Memorial Big Band played original songs in costume. Some of the material was "brilliant", says NZBC blogger and audiophile Stephen Stratford. 

"Lindsay's Cowgirl Afterglow was my favourite, along with McGlashan's The Ballad of Kelvin. Kelvin, as I recall, was always delvin', and entered into an inappropriate relationship with his mother… or possibly a cow." Sadly, most other facts about the project appear to have been lost in the mists of internet time, and 'Delta Don' was reluctant to disclose just how much Stephen's copy of 'Adrenal Glandy: Songs of Love, Hate and Revenge' might be worth today, assuming he could be persuaded to part with it..."

RELATED: Flying Nun sound and pictures ( FNun artwork)

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