Screening on Prime, this Wednesday, May 22, as part of the Prime Rocks series, The Exponents – the documentary – takes a look at The Exponents – the band. Starting off back when they were The Dance Exponents. Commissioned to help celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary it’s a very fine TV documentary feature – the 60 minute film gathers a lot of great footage, offers new interviews and fresh perspectives.
And if does one thing very well – one very important thing too – it makes a case for The Exponents as one of New Zealand’s great bands; for Jordan Luck too as one of the country’s great pop songwriters.
Those early gigs from the days at the Hillsborough Tavern; Jim Wilson calling up Mike Chunn and telling him to take a punt; the band’s debut single is Victoria, an enduring hit and concert favourite to this day.
From there Luck pours out songs at an incredible clip, great pop songs, smart, sharp, with hooks galore.
There was a hint of Aussie pub-rock, there was a bit of the new romantic and new wave music of the time, there was something distinctly Kiwi about the sound overall, the lyrics particularly – these very fine story-songs are part of the fabric.
The band heads to Aussie, then back to New Zealand, then there’s the trip to the UK, the rebrand to – simply – The Exponents. It’s been that way ever since. The band nearly breaks up, fires members, has others leave, or threaten to, has a band member die, then Jordan gets on another great run of songwriting and new classics pour from the pen, are drizzled out from the stage.
Sporadic reunions make way for perennial summer holiday shows – and the band keeps on delivering.
There’s plenty of in-house rumbles – and we get the scoop here. We also get the plug, obviously. There’s a new Greatest Hits album and a brand new release that has the band finally getting around to recording some of the earliest material, cast-offs from back in the Dance Exponents days.
It’s a good story. About a very good band.
It’s essential viewing. Be sure to tune in this Wednesday. You’ll love it. It’s as good as a one-hour TV documentary about The Exponents could be. And then it’s a little bit better, even, than I was expecting. Set your recorder up; it’s a keeper.