I met Alan and Andy in 1980 they had the Steroids going by then and were putting on some big shows. They had a practice room opposite Pidgeon Park and I used to hang out with them there a lot and I would do some roadie work for them.
They both had this special thing going on – Andy with his sound mind technical nous and Alan’s constant flow of ideas. They got things done and they did them well.
Wellingtonzone was at the town hall and featured four local bands – the Mockers, Digits, Steroids and Beat Rhythm Fashion. It was released as an album and the Steroids put out a few singles around then too. I got involved with helping out backstage and got a good insight into the workings of a big show and became part of their inner circle.
When I formed the Spines Andy always made sure we got the best sound and we became part of each other’s teams.
Like Beat Rhythm Fashion, the Steroids were always having trouble with their drummer and I remember the night Alan took me up to their practice lab and they showed me what they were doing with synthesisers and programmed drums.
I had no inclination to go down that road because I always had the great drummer in the band but we did have mutual goals to push boundaries and yet keep melody and form and so we did a lot of gigs together.
It worked really well the contrast – Ross Burge, me and Wendy blasting away then the Body Electric’s cool operatic drama or the other way around. We toured together promoting our records – Pulsing and Punch.
I’m not sure exactly how it happened but Wendy wound up replacing Andy on bass in the Body Electric after that tour and I continued on as a solo act supporting them at their shows with just my Gretsch and delay pedal. When we played in Auckland I had back-projected slide images of my paintings that went with the songs – it was a pretty big show and not rock and roll at all. I also slipped away to record Act Your Age at Last Laugh in Vulcan Lane on that trip.
By this time Andy had established himself as the best PA guy in Wellington. He continued to play bass for various acts like Flesh-D-Vice and Shona Laing and then joined me in the Spines through most of the 90s.
Alan went on to become the famous producer and I would always visit him when I was in Auckland. He’d show me the latest technology and I’d play him my new songs. We did some recording together too but I’ll save that for another story…