I woke up this morning and Facebook reminded me that a year ago I was very nearly killed by a runaway car – I was lucky to survive. Just like the time I nearly fell to my death at McLaren Falls when I was eighteen or almost drowned at Ocean Beach at the turn of the millennium.
There was another time too…
Ever since I wanted to be able to play lead guitar solos I always thought it would be the perfect way to die – electrocuted during a moment of bliss in front of a big crowd.
Over the summer of 81/82 the Spines played a few large outdoor gigs. There was Summer City at the Dell and at various parks around Wellington. We had put out Fishing our first record and were getting some good reviews in New Zealand rock magazines.
That original line-up of Caroline Easther, Rob Mahoney and me, supplemented by Neill Duncan on sax were going from strength to strength with our ska/post punk sound. We played a big festival near Woodville called Brown Trout where Neill got his head smacked by a gang member just before we went on stage and a strange fair in Masterton with DD Smash and the Knobz where I got a shotgun pushed in my face by a different gang member.
Caroline and I had become close not long before she left the band and there was some kind of writing on the wall. I was writing songs about it like Spineless and Loving In Coats.
It was the first time I’d met Ross and within an hour he learnt the songs and was ready to do the gig – it happened pretty much the same way two years later when he actually joined the band full time.
When we get to the venue there is a large crowd there and we kick off really well – people up dancing and it felt good.
I could see the Birch brothers from Beat Rhythm Fashion in the front row and dedicated Fishing to them.
It started to rain heavily suddenly with the wind blowing from the south – straight on to my Gretsch.
In those days I didn’t play much lead guitar but during Loving In Coats I started to feel sharp/dull jolts up my right arm and there were sparks on my lips whenever I brushed the mic.
I was standing in a puddle of water and thunder rained down – it wasn’t the vainglorious end I’d imagined all those years before thankfully. It was terrifying – waiting for Thor to take his best shot and playing on.