History Montage

Here I have attempted to record the history of many New Zealand bands who might not be remembered otherwise. If you have corrections, additions, or general comments, please email them to us.

- Rob Mayes

Scroll down to view the entire history, or use the menu at right to select a specific artist.

Genie And The Wild Children
With their New Age hippy name this band were a lot more than met the eye or ear as time would tell. The band consisted of 2 musically prolific writers in Guitarist / Vocalists David Hunt and Brett Lupton.

The Greens were a Christchurch 4 piece band and huge fans of the Clean.
The bands line-up was:
Andre van der Wenden - Bass
Tane Tokana - Drums (David Kilgour, Strangeloves)
James Moore - Vox / Guitar
Bruce Intemann - Vox / Guitar (Stark Raving Sane)

Tane went on to play with David Kilgour on his first album.

Hiding From Stan
Christchurch dark and weird pop.
John Chrisstoffels - Guitar, noises and effects
Pete Mitchell - Drums (Flat City label, Renderers, Squirm)
Johnathon - Bass
Micheal Bell - Vocals
[unknown] - Guitar

Hiding From Stan did one batch of eight songs with Rob Mayes on 4 track at Chrisstoffels' central city flat. Seven of those songs appear on the Failsafe Records "Escape My Room" album, and one appears only on the South compilation.
The Escape My Room album was initially released via the Grant McDonagh label, but initial dubs were of such poor quality that Mayes agreed to release the album on his label.

Initially a solo project for Johnathon Ogilvie (YFC) the material that appears on the South Compilation was recorded by Ogilvie on 4 Track at Mayes Gilby Street house. [more]

My Wild Violet
After the disbanding of Heartland Birss and Stokes went on to continue songwriting and recording and completed 4 songs at Audio Access Studios. "The Truth Won't Change" is one of these songs.
Rob Mayes later rejoined the band and after a few name changes they became Dolphin.

Nigel Mitchell
Solo project for Christchurch musician Mitchell, who was previously a member of the group the Rue.. [more]

The starting point for two key members of the Christchurch Music Community, Pihed featured Andrew Penman on Bass / Vocals (Rhubarb Collective, Golf Course Alligators, Salmonella Dub - Curious George Records), Tom Mahon - Guitar / Lead Vocal (Rhubarb Collective, Strange Loves, Holy Toledos, Del Burgers), Caroline O'Neil - Vocals (Blue Marbles), Bede Pascoe - Electric Piano, Andrew Cavanagh - Drums (Rhubarb Collective) [more]

Skin Darlings
Lars Cawley - Vocals
Pete - Guitar
Rob Mayes - Bass / Programming
Initially a duo based around Lars' distinctive vocal style and guitar, the band recorded sessions with Mayes at his Gilby Street house, Mayes joining the band after adding bass to these sessions. The band performed live a couple of times including one Zanzibar gig where the band performed their rendition of the Postman Pat song. The band's best effort "Bells Of Hope" remains unreleased. Lars has gone on to be involved in dance and techno music, and now does computer stuff and also is a published comic artist.

Smacc Riflemen
Pete Sweeney's band after Spatback, Smacc Riflemen were a much more rock oriented outfit featuring Sweeney on Vocals and guitar and Grant on drums, and a bass player whos name has been forgotten.
The band recorded at Rob Mayes Gilby Street home and "Violent Lance" is from those sessions.
The band eventually split with Grant and the bass player working together on further projects and Sweeney reportedly moving to Auckland.

Tall Dwarfs
The well-known vehicle for Chris Knox and Alex Bathgate. "Song Of The Silence" was taken from a live concert by the Tall Dwarfs at Christchurch's Zanzibar / Old Star venue. This version is of particular interest because it features back-up from The Bats on Bass, 3rd guitar and drums.
The track was mixed live by Rob Mayes and recorded directly to cassette.

Early work from two influential New Zealand artists Mike Hodgson and Angus McNaughton, who pioneered work in New Zealand's electronic music scene.
This track, "Function 2.3.2", was recorded on 4 track using Failsafe's mobile studio and mixed at Mayes Gilby Street home during the South Sessions.
Tinnitus released a number of self recorded and distributed cassettes before both McNaughton and Hodgson moved to Auckland to live and work. Tinnitus eventually released an album of work on the Flying Nun label before the pair went their separate ways, Hodgson to follow up his interest in visuals, working as Projector Mix, an audio and visual experience.
McNaughton continues his work as owner / operator of Incubator Studios, producing many of New Zealand's finer recordings including the highly successful Headless Chickens second album. He joined the Chickens for a stint on keyboards but left the group soon afterwards.
He has worked in a number of DJ / Electronic outfits presently in Sound Force.

1988 - 1991

Christchurch based three piece featuring Failsafe's Rob Mayes - Bass / Guitar, Kevin Stokes - Guitar / vocals, and Stephen Birss - Drums. [more]

Loves Ugly Children
This Christchurch band formed in 1989 with Vocalist Simon MacLaren coming from shoe gazer Cure style 'Blue Flesh Syndrome' who also contained half of another dark pop outfit Lurch in Drummer Stuart Britten [more]

J.M Kelcher
After the split of Sneaky Feeling bassist John Kelcher worked on solo material on his four track, basing himself in Christchurch. The resulting eight songs were released on 1991's Personal Disorganiser album. All bass, drums, guitars, vocals and various noises were played by Kelcher. [more]

Little Dead Things
Christchurch five piece the Little Dead Things formed out of the ashes of All Fall Down and Genie And The Wild Children. [more]

Dunedin-based outfit who recorded 2 tracks with Mayes on a Dunedin trip. [more]

Holy Toledos
Formed in 1989, the Holy Toledos attracted a lot of attention. The release of the Forget And Forgive LP showcased them nationwide, not least to major record label Sony Music, who on the strength of this LP approached the band for a major deal. [more]

Formed in August 1989 The Lils were an Auckland-based group originating from Christchurch. Two New Zealand tours, one cassette EP and an album (available on CD and cassette through Failsafe Records) later their sound is undeniably true to their roots. [more]

1992 - 1998

One of the crop of great bands to surface for 1992's Operation Music Storm Competition 147Swordfish made the finals coming second and impressing judges and audience with their well-crafted sound and strongly melodic undercurrent. [more]

Atomic Blossom
The brain child of Christchurch musician Dean Karena.
Karena first came to local prominence with his previous band Naked Lunch in 1990. [more]

Melodic pop four-piece Chameleon was formed by Jazz School students Leigh Franklin and Julian Marchant late in 1993. [more]

Vehicle for the song writing talents of John Kelcher and Blair Parks. [more]

Feast of Stevens
Feast of Stevens were:
Andrew Coy guitar / vocals
Hamish Anderson guitar / vocals
Glenn Fletcher drums
with our first bassist
Andrew Leslie bass / guitar / vocals
Jon Trimble bass [more]

Christchurch group mining the darker textural landscapes.
The band featured:
Micheal Bell - Vocals
Tony Hallum - Bass
Ian Salek - Drums
Mark Tyler - Guitar

Keith were an Auckland band who came to the attention of Failsafe through mutual friends in the Lils who noticed their Pixies-style pop. [more]

Arising from the distant ashes of Blue Flesh Syndrome and Cell, Lurch were a combination of British shoe gazing and semi industrial riffing, with a touch of early Goth. [more]

The Malchicks formed in the late Eighties in the Auckland guitar scene, and rose to prominence with substantial radio play for an early recording of the song "Vanilla", which was eventually released on one of the BFM Freak The Sheep Compilations. [more]

Christchurch's premier grunge outfit Pumpkinhead came on the scene in the early 90's as a Red Hot Chilli Peppers covers band, building up a large following for their energetic performances. [more]

Semi Lemon Kola
Auckland based outfit started their time at the end of the eighties with a post shoe gazey British sound.
The band featured
Tosh Graham - Vocals
Rob Young - Bass
Deryck Hunt - Drums
Gareth Price - Guitar [more]

Formed in late 1993 by Rob Mayes, Springloader was principally a vehicle for Mayes' own compositions, predominantly melodic based indie rock, combining the pop of Mayes previous outing in throw, coupled with the heavy leanings of Dolphin, and a new darker extended edge, Mayes shifting to guitar. [more]

Hello - Meet Squirm - a band living in Christchurch New Zealand.
Squirm was born in 1992 when two friends Virgil Reality and Mike Hex joined forces with a rather anarchic drum-thrashing accountant named Hat to form a 'Progressive Art Punk Glam Rock Band'. [more]

Sun Sonic Thing
Formed out of the ashes of the highly regarded Immaculate Sun, Sun Sonic Thing feature both Tony Hallum - Guitar / Vocals, and Ian (Isaac) Salek - Drums from that band, plus Wayne Leary - Bass (post-Blue Flesh Syndrome, pre-Lurch).
Sun Sonic Thing didn't achieve many live performances but built a strong following from a session of recordings they did on 4 track cassette, from which "Daylight" is taken. These tracks were played on heavy rotate on local student radio and are quite startling for their power and quality.
Only "Daylight" has seen official release, included on the Good Things Compilation.
The band later split, with Salek and Hallum going on to form Hoover, and Leary to form Lurch.

Originally formed in 1991 with:
David Hunt - Guitar / Vocals
Kelvin Hastie - Bass
Dean Chiplin - Guitar / Vocals
Jeff Cochrane - Drums [more]

This Will Kill That
Wellington band This Will Kill That emerged under a wall of guitar noise to create a driving and engaging sound, hooks buried deep. [more]

The strange and confusing career of Throw has spawned some of the more successful and impressive releases for the Failsafe Label.
The band sprung from Failsafe boss Rob Mayes' desire to create a studio-based songwriting ensemble which would have a transitional line-up as the song required. [more]

Five piece outfit formed in early 1993. The band were inspired by the Avalanche pack and quickly honed their sound toward the dark and heavy side typified by their Good Things inclusion track "Whore". The band self-released a CD of their post-Good Things work.
The band comprised:
Hayden Sharp - Guitar / Vocals
Stephen Nicholls - Guitar
Hamish McCaul - Drums
Andrew Hampton - Keyboards
Walter Friedel - Bass
The band continued to perform and refine their sound until they finally disbanded in 1996.

1994 - 1995

Formed in 1994 the four piece Chicane rapidly gained a strong following in their home town of Christchurch. The band features the vocal and guitar talents of Dean Chiplin who was last seen on the Failsafe Label on the Avalanche Compilation playing guitar for Supertanker. [more]

Cicada are an Auckland Based guitar-oriented band. Since forming in 1992, CICADA have recorded and successfully aired many demos on student radio throughout the country and have amassed considerable live experience, including support slots for touring international acts such as Fugazi and Yage. [more]


Delphy sprung into existence after members Kevin Stokes - Guitar / Vocals, Rob Mayes - Bass / Guitar, and Tracy Thompkins - Drums decided to change their name from Dolphin due to the number of London-based bands with that word in their name.

1999 - 2005

Alpha Cast
Alpha Cast are a three piece Dunedin based band who formed in late January 2003. In the short time they have been together, Alpha Cast have already achieved considerable success. Alpha Cast play an original brand of melodic indie rock and take pride in that they have been compared to at least a dozen different bands with no common denominators arising. [more]

Degrees K
degrees.K is music, it is energy, it is rolling rock. It is 4 persons creating something musical and sharing it with other persons. It is jolly good fun.
" This particular example is a huge sounding, almost symphonic conglomeration of sonic youth guitar vandalism and heavy rock dynamics...this is too interesting to ignore. Truly alternative rock".- Revolver Magazine, AUS. April 2003 [more]
Since their inception in 1999 three-piece Christchurch rock band Hooster have had more than their share of entertaining and double-edged moments.
The band consistently garner support and accolades for their brand of approachable melodic power rock, while encountering a bewildering array of comic and confusing side trackings. [more]
Eskimo are the rock triumvirate of David Mulcahy (ex JPSE, Superette, and currently Spider), Rob Mayes (Throw, Springloader, Dolphin & Failsafe head honcho), & drumming wonder Michael Daly (YFC, Leadleg, Splinter). [more]
Formed as an instrumental guitar and drums duo for a one-off performance to help out some friends who needed a support band Substandard's chemistry was ripe for more musical adventures and gained momentum with the addition of a bassist.
Style wise the band mines similar musical territory to bands like Mogwai, Bailterspace, HDU, the Subliminals and Sonic Youth, with just a whiff of darker Cure and Joy Division in the rhythm section. [more]
It's a music project rather than a band, founded on songwriter, bassist, Guitarist, Sound Engineer and Producer Rob Mayes, and various guest vocalists and musicians. [more]
Rob Mayes solo project. More info coming soon.

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