Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sitting up front / Elivisi by the wheel

Just a thought on media weirdness and the journey that erroneous data can take. In particular I’m thinking today of the reportage drivel that was the core of much of the reporting of Pauly Fuemana’s untimely death. I could write a book on the misreporting of the whole sad OMC saga, you never know where that thought might lead, and Peter Mclennan nailed it rather well here and here.

As he says: How does a one man band break up and reform?

And that’s the line in the recent bullshit that’s really got on my nerves.

Someone, and god knows who it is changed this more correct line in the OMC Wikipedia story:

By mid-1995, OMC had broken up but Fuemana used the group's acronym as a solo artist.

which in itself, I admit, is confusing in the article’s context as it refers back to the original Otara Millionaire’s Club, as appeared on the 1994 Proud album, which featured Pauly and who did indeed break up at the end of 1994 (not 1995), Pauly turning up at Alan Jansson’s door afterwards saying he wanted to carry on and Alan telling him to use the OMC tag. The agreement they made that day, and in subsequent documents that I wrote on their behalf, was that OMC was both or either of them.

That wiki confusion would have been fixed by some smart and quick editing.

But it was not to be. The editing that took place by this person on 6 December, 2009 changed the article and invented a ‘breakup’ date in 2000, without anything approaching evidence, and completely changed the factual drift of the, admittedly half baked original.

That mistake was, when the Pauly Fuemana page was created on 31 January this year (rather than re-directing to the OMC page as had been the case), carried across to the new article and then used as research data by endless nonsense stories like this, created by thoroughly lazy reporters who don’t seemingly have access to telephone or email to check data. And that linked story is now used as the citation to back the erroneous data in the Pauly Fuemana page, taking it full circle. How Bizarre indeed.

The simple truth is that OMC could not and never did ‘break up’ as they were never a group….it was a studio concept put together by Alan Jansson and Pauly. When Alan and Pauly stopped working together in 1998 (until they found themselves in the studio again after I engineered it in early 2005, but that’s another whole story), Paul carried on using the name with Alan’s agreement. He recorded demos and more under the name. Nothing ever ‘broke up’.

That shitty Stuff story also tells the viewer that the shot of Paul in a black suit and polo neck, in a red European sports car (taken whilst we were in the UK) is:

A still from OMC's music video

Which, in the real world, just happened to feature Paul in a gorgeous Polynesian styled shirt (man, he could dress) driving two others (Sina Siapaia and a  Filipino guy called Pil who was a last minute stand-in because brother Pele (DJ Soane Filitonga) hadn’t showed for the shoot) in a 1968 Impala. The video ain’t that hard to find.

But, myself I’ve always preferred this vid, which features half the High Street kids of the day and I helped script. Check out his smile (and the dude with the cellphone ….bricks rule):

Monday, February 15, 2010

I knew a man / He told me of a land….

The first Zodiac release in the era It’s been a project I’ve spent more than few leisure hours engrossed in and on.

I’m not sure that it will change the world but I’m well aware of the woeful state of the online documentation and presentation of so much of New Zealand’s music history. There is of course the wonderful 50s and 60s encyclopedia of New Zealand rock’n’roll presented online by Bruce Sergent, but it hasn’t been updated in many years and remains unfinished.

There are other bits and pieces and the NZ History site has some wonderful stuff. But it’s all very patchy out there and if the intent of my website is narrowed down to one thing it’s to try and document parts of our popular history that has largely remained undocumented in detail.

With that in mind I decided, a couple of years back, to put together a singles discography of what may be NZ’s most important record label, Eldred Stebbing’s legendary and groundbreaking Zodiac, and it’s associated bits and pieces.

With Eldred’s passing last year it seemed timely to finally finish this, or at least take it to a publishable standard, and post it, which I did a few days ago. This does however remain a work in progress and I’ll add more images and data as it and they become available.  The work of Chris Bourke, who’s forthcoming book on NZ music pre-rock, is one that I’m gagging to get my hands on, and Chris and historian John Baker have helped immensely.

There are some acts that defy my research and I’ve been especially hampered by the fact that I’ve mostly done it from Asia, with a brief burst in the Auckland library over January. Hopefully these come to light as this page goes live and people email me data.

All of these records pre-date my active involvement in making music and records in NZ but I both remember many of these tunes as anthems when I was a kid growing up listening to the ZMs and Hauraki, and was aware of the huge legacy that shadowed us when we began our labels in the early 1980s. These were the people that inspired us, and when I first met Eldred, in 1975, I was a kid in awe.

In other words, I’ve done this as a fan, and when I emailed Chris Parfitt of the Hi-Revving Tongues, who I loved as a kid, I gushed embarrassingly and self consciously when I started the email.

Maurice Gree & Dave Hurley I own about half these records, but made the decision not to scan every label as it would swamp the page, which goes on enough as it is. And I’m aware that it’s mostly a trainspotter’s world here, but I hope the less nerdy amongst us can jump in and take a bit of history away.

It’s scary how organic all these bands were..people went from group to group and grew with the label..the likes of Glyn Tucker, another one of my heroes, who recorded for Zodiac first in 1960 and last in 1968, with at least three acts. And it’s also very obvious how much of an impact The Beatles changed the pop world. Simply put, there was Zodiac pre Fab 4 and Zodiac post Fab 4. They changed everything overnight and opened the door to the thing we now call Rock.

So, here it is, The Zodiac 45 listing, a rather silly thing to do but it’s been an obsessive bit of fun and there is more to come at some stage.

PS. The image on the above left is only loosely Zodiac related. It’s a private image taken in London of two members of The Human Instinct before they returned to Zodiac and recorded two of the label’s finest albums. Its shows Maurice Greer and Dave Hurley in Regent’s Park during the heights of Pepperism and is, I think, quite fab.