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Punk Cosmonauts for The New Kids Generation: The Calearo Drive

My first band’s debut live performance was for Craig Spraggen’s birthday party somehere in Grey Lynn late 1992.

The Calearo Drive started as a flat band. Justin, Glen and I all lived in a huge house on Napier Street in Freeman’s Bay. Our friend Dean of Ponsonby hung out there all the time and he became our drummer. Justin played bass, I played guitar and Glen was our Brian Eno contributing fucked up noises with his huge clunky 8-bit Mirage sampler.

Glen didn’t end up playing this gig as he was away. We roped in another flatmate Dave as Glen’s replacement.

The Calearo Drive were pretty much a freeform noise band although we never really discussed what our overall musical philosophy or aim was. It was quite likely that everyone in the band had a different idea of what was going on. My friend Paul described us once as ‘Punk Cosmonauts for The New Kids Generation’ which I quite like. Pretty much we just wanted to make a racket and see what happened.

We had decided that it would be a good idea to play a cover. We chose The Plastic Ono Band’s Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mommy’s Only Looking For A Hand In The Snow) even though we had no idea how to play it. I think we just listened to it once and said yeah let’s do that. David’s sister Nicola said that she could sing it so we were all set. Blues riff + wailing; people will love it.

We got there late afternoon and spent hours setting up all the while fielding phone calls from Craig the birthday boy who didn’t want to arrive until there was a decent number of party peeps in the place.

When everyone did arrive my nerves started to play up. The place was full of AK R’n’R ‘celebrities’ including the Rip It Up editor, all of King Loser and everyone I had ever written negative things about in my semi-obnoxious fanzine writing days. It probably would have fazed me more had I cared or even expected them to like us but that was not the aim so when it was time we all opened fresh beers and turned up and let loose.

The performance itself was a bit of a blur. I remember we were loud. Really really loud. I remember turning around and seeing Dave sitting behind the Mirage with a huge grim on his face. I remember Nicola yelling at me over the volume asking when it was her turn to sing. I said “now” and so she did. I remember Justin putting his bass down plugging a mic into Dave’s amp and playing tremoloing feedback. I remember my amp started crackling and cutting out but it sounded cool so it didn’t bother me.

When it was over King Loser and a few others said we were cool and a bunch of people whose opinions I didn’t rate said we sucked. The former comments was nice and the latter’s didn’t bother me. I had just played exactly the kind of music I wanted to make and my post gig high lasted for a week.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cameron permalink
    August 10, 2009 12:45 pm

    that gig was fantastic.

  2. David permalink
    August 20, 2009 8:57 am

    I have no memory of this but can recall Dean being a really impressive drummer.

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