The GordonsApproximate time period - 1980 - 1982. Mark II - 1983 - 1985.
A very important band in Christchurch and New Zealand musical history.. The Gordons were Alistair Parker - Guitar / Bass / Vocals, John Halvorsen - Guitar / Bass / Vocal and Brent McLaughin on Drums.
The Gordons have been cited by Sonic Youth as a major early influence of their sound, and they inspired and still influence many acts in this country and abroad. They were reportedly the loudest band alive, and I can put my vote in to support this.
I saw them only once before Alistair Parker left the band after finding God (reportedly through drugs).

The band recorded and released 2 records first, one was the Future Shock EP, where Machine Song is taken from, and also an album, both originally self released but later done through Flying Nun.
The album was recorded and mixed in one all night session in an Auckland studio, so folklore has it.

Halvorsen and McLaughin later reformed the band without Parker, utilising Vince Pinker of En Can MA on bass. The band were more bombastic, less experimentally sloppy, more industrial under Halvorsen's lone guidance, but still they had some good songs and were LOUD.
An important live track 'Quality Control' was recorded and released on the Gordons 2 album (released in 1984), but it was in a re-arranged fashion and didn't capture the original song very well at all.
The Gordons 2 album seems to have been left to die probably as it wasn't very representative of the mythical first Gordons sound, but it wasn't that bad either. A more together sound, which probably worked against the whole Gordons thing. Some pretty good songs on it though.

Gordons Mark 2 faded away eventually with Halvorsen and McLaughin moving to Wellington and starting Writhe Recording Studios, and joining up with the Skeptics.
Alistair Parker eventually touched down on planet earth some years later after a slight music experiment with religious outing 'New Man' who I saw perform once at Christchurch Polytechnic.
They weren't too bad musically, and were an indication of the soon to be formed Nelsh Bailter Space.
Parker and ex-Clean Drummer Hamish Kilgour started jamming in 1986 and eventually took on art student Glenda on keyboards to form Nelsh Bailter Space. The band played their first gig in support of the Chills at the Carlton and were apparently good, and then a little abstract and arty too.

A series of gigs without Bassist highlighted some brilliant songs, showing Parker's new melodic, and sensitive songwriting skills.
An EP Nelsh was released, the band dropped the Nelsh from their name, enlisted bassist Ross Humphries (ex-Pin Group) on bass, lost him, enlisted ex-Gordons John Halvorsen, dropped Glenda, recorded Tanker album, played overseas, and eventually dropped Kilgour and replaced him with original Gordons drummer McLaughin. The complete original Gordons reformed, less bombastic, much more melodic and atmospheric. The band recorded a number of albums, moved to New York to live and work, and have continued to produce music and albums ever since.

Their recorded work has always been a mixture of a number of styles sitting on one slab of plastic. Parker is capable of writing the most sublime pop song, but there is also the tendency to hark back to the harder edges of the Gordons, particularly in Halvorsen spawned compositions.
Bailter Space have the material for a brilliant singles compilation when they get around to it.
Live the band can be inspiring and captivating. They can also bore you with their notoriously long gaps between songs while guitars and strings get changed.

They still have the same volume ethic of the Gordons, ie. too bloody loud at times, and the most ear-splitting gig I've ever attended was in fact a Bailter Space performance at the Carlton in Christchurch. Too much.

"Accident Compilation" - Various Artists (song Machine Song)

Back To New Zealand Music History


Failsafe Records, P O Box 3003, Christchurch, New Zealand ::