During the mid-1990s, there was an explosion of live punk and hardcore shows across Auckland and Hamilton. All-ages shows were common (especially until the drinking age was lowered from 20 to 18 in 1999). There were also strong connections to the Wellington scene, though there isn’t room to include it here. Musicians from the scene took the DIY approach into the new millennium, leading to chart success for The Bleeders and five years of globe-trotting for Sommerset, while others took up long-term careers in the music industry. The starting point can be traced back to one seminal band – Balance.


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Mike Hall, Balance. - Photo Dean Cameron collection

Stefan Thompson (Balance, Sommerset): “I met Rhys [Williams] at one of the first Salad Daze shows. We were 19 and found out about Ben [Lythberg], who was only 14 but liked hardcore and could play drums. Jay Howson volunteered for vocal duties. At that time, if you were straight-edge or listened to hardcore you’d soon meet anyone else with the same interests ... The next incarnation of Balance was with Kieren [Cooney] from Salad Daze singing and Darryl playing drums. Slowly Fugazi crept in as a big influence. We tried to practise in Kieren’s garage in Mt Eden but we were way too loud for the old peoples’ home across the road … Then Kieren quit the band and was replaced by Cyrus [Facciano] (aka Gulack). We went on to play every little community centre and church hall we could find. Ponsonby Community Centre was great, if the gang who had their headquarters underneath didn’t come up and attack anyone.”

Amber Easby (Kafuey): “I started going to Balance shows in 1994. They handed us a flyer outside a Nothing at All! show at John Baker’s place on Kingdon Street. I was 16 and the legal drinking age was still 20. I liked punk/‘alternative’ music, but international shows were sporadic at the time (especially all ages shows) … The first time I saw Balance play was at Knox Hall in Parnell. The show was pretty wild, people were swinging from the rafters and I think the police came (probably one of the reasons the venue became harder to use before it closed altogether). I didn’t know him at the time but I remember Dominic Hoey drunkenly grabbing the mic and falling off the stage.”


Dominic Hoey (Witness): “I first started going to shows in ’94. At the time I was rapping but didn’t start a punk band until a couple of years later ... It was exciting. A real crazy mix of people and bands. There was fuck all happening back then so you had people from all walks of life coming to shows – there would be 200-300 people. It was political to an extent. Lots of animal rights activism and a strong anti-corporate sentiment. There’s also a vulnerability there and an openness that went in the face of the staunch culture of the time. Most of the shows were in community halls since they had to be all ages (I’d say the average age was 16) and I guess that in itself was political.”

Stefan Thompson (Balance, Sommerset): “We had a short stint with Rowan Coffey from Bygone Era singing, but after he left, we started Logan’s Run which more back to our hardcore ‘roots’. Balance had played with lots of the Hamilton bands who were taking a similar approach (playing all the community halls until you were banned) and Logan’s Run got to play at a woolshed down there. I don’t know how we managed it as Jay [Dougrey] who was singing (drummer from Pacecar/Sommerset) was a terrible teenage driver. He was in the fast lane going over the Bombay Hills and the van’s transmission blew. Luckily cars from Hamilton came to pick us up and the show happened. After Logan’s Run, Rhys, Ben and I decided to start Balance up again. We had a girl called Jack sing for a few practices which I really liked but we ended up with a friend of hers, Mike [Hall].”

Dean Cameron (Balance, 1157 Records): “I was good friends with the guys in Balance and always helped with their shows. When Stefan announced that he was leaving, it was on the road in the South Island. The others said – ‘you should play.’ I said – ‘I don’t wanna play with you guys, you guys are dicks.’ I hadn't played bass for some time but the band was taking a couple of months break – Ben was going snowboarding. So I just got familiar with playing again and learnt all the old songs. We didn’t keep that many of the old songs, just worked on the material that ended up the album, One Existence [1997].”

Stefan (Balance, Sommerset): “I quit Balance around ’96. I was actually in both bands at the same time and I remember one show we played together at Frisbee Leisure Lounge on Symonds Street where Sommerset played earlier in the line-up. I had a big ugly beard I grew on tour, so went home to shave it off before playing the Balance set. When I got onstage, Mike [Hall] told me not to touch my guitar, thinking I was some stranger! …  It was great to have Bubba [Dean Cameron] take my place as he’d been so close to the band. It worked out for the best as Rhys wanted to get back to playing straight-forward hardcore and I wanted to have some melody in what I played … Sommerset was named after the character in the movie Se7en. Not the best name but not the worst. In England they all thought we would be cider-drinking hicks.” 

Meanwhile in Hamilton

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Ghidoragh at Thistle Hall. - Photo Brian Holloway collection

Brian Holloway (Ghidoragh): “Things started around ’93 with some shows out in a barn near Te Pahu. Local skaters had built a ramp inside and some guys organised a few shows there. Bands from Auckland like Face, Big Lizard (incl. Mark ‘Cash’ Gibb from Season of Evil and Evil Priest, etc) and Prolapse came down to play at those. In ’94 Balance played in Hamilton and Structure (later called Lifeblood and Shinkasta) played their first shows in Auckland. Sick of It All (from New York) did an all-ages show at the Frankton Railway Hall in April of 1995 that had a big influence. Loads of kids came down from Auckland (their Auckland shows were R20) and it became this sort of legendary show that bonded the two scenes together and inspired a lot of people to start bands.”


Aaron “Bones” Carter (Arkane, Daredevil): “We were in school around Form 4 – 13 years old. Gus Row (Andre Row's dad) used to put on Non-Toxic gigs for up and comers. We started playing shows (we were terrible lol) and that’s where we first heard about Gift, Quickslide, Balance, Ghidoragh, 8 Count and Shinkasta. We were hooked from the first show – the vibe, the angst, self-expression and real cool people who eventually became our friends.”

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Shinkasta at the Meteor in Hamilton, 25 April 1997. L to R: Stu Barris, Bennett Row, Mark Newbold, Andrew Hugill. - Photo Bennett Row collection

Brian Holloway (Ghidoragh): “We started Ghidoragh in mid ’95 and the interactions between the Auckland and Hamilton scenes in those early days was really great. Lots of the bands would hang out and sleep on people’s floors after the shows ... It didn’t matter in those early days what sort of music you were playing – it was mostly hardcore or punk stuff but some of the earlier Hamilton shows had bands with drum machines and Trinket (who later became The Datsuns) played one of them too. There was bunch of straight-edge kids and a bunch who were vegetarian or vegan but it didn’t matter who was or who wasn’t … As far as the Hamilton scene goes in those days, the guys from Shinkasta were a huge part of it. Bennett Row and Stu Barris helped to organise a lot of shows and Mark Newbold brought in a lot of records from the States. Mark also started the Hamtown Smakdown shows years later. All three of them went on to play in other bands too – Bennett in Daredevil; Stu in State of Grace, Soul Creepers and Sommerset; and Mark in The Red Shift, Vargas, and Evil Priest. A bit later, Andre Row was another person who put on a lot of shows and played in a bunch of bands too [Vendetta and Blazon].” 


The Growing Scene

Dean Cameron (Balance, 1157 Records): “I guess there were a number of cliques within the whole punk hardcore scene. There was the straight-edge scene which was quite big, especially in Auckland and Hamilton where there were lots of all-ages shows. Then you’d have the pop punk kids and the skater/surfer kids who were more into playing bars, parties etc. Then there were bands that were a bit more melodic – like Witness and Sommerset, who worked well with all.”

Evan Short (Dayone, Kitsch): “I got involved with the hardcore scene through friends who were already going to shows. Balance was the only actual hardcore band I remember from around ’94 ... I remember going to a show at the infamous Dog Pound in Newton and meeting Nick Melchior for the first time. We argued about punk vs. metal for about two minutes before I tried pointing out we were listening to death metal playing on the stereo – it was Earth Crisis ‘Firestorm’. Nick corrected me: ‘Dude, this is hardcore ...’”


Jeremy Toy (So To Speak, Sommerset): “I was hanging out with Evan Short and Matt Short quite a bit. We were living on the Shore and we’d come over for the punk rock gigs in town. The main bands were Balance and Kitsch plus we all loved Ghidoragh and Witness too. Witness had two singers – Jay Dougrey and Scott Yakiwchuk (who has passed away now) – and Dom [Dominic Hoey] played drums. They were the coolest.”

Henry Oliver (So To Speak, Die! Die! Die!): “I’d been trying to start a band with my friend Dominic since moving to Auckland at the end of 1998. One day the remnants of one failed attempt – which didn’t include Dominic – drove out to Browns Bay to meet this guy Jeremy Toy who was meant to be good at every instrument and had a room we could play in. Our band, So To Speak, was a simple, screamy hardcore punk band ... We were around for the start of the end of the hardcore punk scene that I was involved in – roughly mid-90s to early-00s. The best bands around when we started were Witness and the first incarnation of Sommerset. Both featured Christian [Humphreys], who joined So To Speak on drums when Jeremy later moved to guitar.”

Jason Ennor (Muckhole): “The local bands we were closest to at first would’ve been bands that preceded us in the surf scene. Punk covers bands that played the Barfly parties on the Kestrel [ferry]. The only band name I remember is Dick Large and the Corndogs. We were probably more aligned to the internationals, which is why we got so many support slots early on: Green Day, Pennywise, Offspring, Suicidals.”

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Sam Icke, Kitsch. - Photo by Gareth Shute

Sam Icke (Kitsch): “We met travelling bands and helpful people through religiously attending shows in New Plymouth. That, in turn, led to opportunities in Auckland. Muckhole were especially accommodating, dragging us around the North Island surfing towns and adding us to shows on Auckland’s North Shore. At the same time, we also focused on winter tours and tapped into the punk meets skate/surf/snow scene nationwide [Kitsch, Balance and Muckhole all played the Warped Tour in 1999].”

Jason Ennor (Muckhole): “Kitsch were definitely our go-to support band. When they decided to move from New Plymouth to Auckland, I told Dan [O’Neill – Kitsch’s drummer] he could live with my mum in Browns Bay. He stayed for a few weeks before finding a flat.”



Aimee Banks (Foamy Ed): “All the girls In Foamy Ed knew each other before me. I’d only been playing guitar for a year, but they wanted a girl guitarist so I was the only option. We went in the Rock Quest, just playing covers mainly. We were terrible, but getting a couple of wins gave us a boost ... The bands we were covering were grungy bands like Babes In Toyland, so it verged on punk already ... Our sound guy also worked with Kitsch and convinced them to let us open their sold-out show at Masonic Tavern with their friends from Whangarei, VC. We made friends that night and continued to play shows with those bands.”

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An early Foamy Ed show in Hamilton. Left to right: Aimee Banks, Fleur Park, Lani Purkis. - Photo Aimee Banks collection

George Clark (DSM, Evil Priest, Coming Of The New Messiah, The Bleeders): “DSM started in the music room at Kelston Boys High School around ’95. It was a lunchtime escape for a bunch of punk kids to play covers from NOFX to Chaos UK, DFL to the Exploited. A friend suggested that because we were a three-piece we should be called Dexter, Schneider and Moe – DSM for short ... One of our friends had a family friend who was a bit older than us, and was into hardcore so we heard shit like One King Down and 25 ta Life, a lot of NYHC like Cro Mags and Madball. This was eventually how we were introduced to the 1157 crew. Those guys became good friends, put us on shows and genuinely looked out for us. Before that, we were just baby Westie punks so it wasn’t until we were introduced to the hardcore scene that it felt like we had somewhere we belonged.”

DIY Record Labels

Amber Easby (Kafuey): “By the time I was 18, I was regularly going to shows at local halls or punk-run spaces like Black Lagoon on College Hill. I would drive to shows in Hamilton, Palmerston North and Wellington ... I saw Ghidoragh play for the first time in Hamilton in someone’s lounge. I loved them. I asked my parents to borrow some money and offered to put out Ghidoragh's first album [Invincible Deluxe, 1996]. That's how I started Kafuey. John Baker introduced me to a local pressing plant and a printer to make the cover. I hand-stamped and assembled the 500 covers myself. It took months for the CDs to come back. I initially gave the band 100 copies and had to figure out how to sell the rest, so I organised a release show. That was the first show I put on. I was friends with Sommerset so put out their first EP, then did compilations with bands from around the country.” 


Evan Short (Dayone): “I started recording hardcore bands, before playing in any. I recorded a compilation record for Kafuey with 10 songs from five bands in Hamilton in ’98 [All We Have Is Metal], featuring Vargas, State of Grace, Vendetta, Arcane and Dayone. Dayone had, up until the release of that compilation, been called The Creed, but for obvious Scott Stapp reasons they renamed. I joined not long after.”

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Mike Teague from Dayone at Ellen Melville Hall, Auckland. - Photo Andy Morton collection

Dean Cameron (Balance, 1157 Records): “We just wanted to release our own music and we all lived at 1157 New North Road, so that name popped up … We did the early Balance records and recorded the last Balance show and released it, so that had DSM and State of Grace on it too. Kitsch played our last show as well – we did an all-ages and an R20. We didn’t really play bar shows, so we needed some bands that did, so they did the R20 gig. That was 1999 and we essentially split up after that because members were going overseas … Rhys, Ben and me did meet up when we were in New York. Ben was working for Sick Of It All at that time and they just said – ‘look guys, do you want to play with us out in New Jersey next month?’ We were like – ‘yeah sure.’ Our friend Lawrence Heap was there, so he just sang. Then we called it a day.”

Amber Easby (Kafuey): “The scene gradually became less punk, more hardcore and less inclusive in its nature so I stopped putting out music but I think Sommerset used the label name on some of their later releases, perhaps for continuity.”

Dean Cameron (Balance, 1157 Records): “It did get quite aggressive around 98/99. It was frustrating because we heard that from people who said – ‘I’d really like to come see you play, I’m interested in what you do, but I don’t feel comfortable.’ That kinda sucked. We didn’t really like that side of it.”

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Muckhole - Sean O’Brien, Scott Patterson, Jason Ennor, Aaron Peck. - Photo by Murray Cammick

Sean O’Brien (Muckhole): “The song ‘Broken Record’ is definitely a stab at the straight-edge crew who were so ‘holier than thou’ at the time. More specifically, some of those lyrics are about a well-dressed straight-edge kid in Palmerston North who haggled at the door to get in for under the $5 cover charge and then lectured me on how we were ‘sellouts’ because we had major label distribution.” [Muckhole were signed to Felix, so were distributed via BMG].

Aimee Banks (Foamy Ed): “The reason we did our first release was because we won a bar competition, so we had money to spend at York Street … I don’t know if we even thought of approaching a label. Everyone just seemed to take the initiative – every band did their own merch, everything was quite DIY. Someone knew someone who did T-shirts and someone knew where to press CDs.”

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Day In The Life poster at Real Groovy, advertising the release show at the Powerstation, Auckland. The compilation was put out by members of Wellington band, Blake, and featured Sommerset, Kitsch, Dayone, Foamy Ed, Blake, and Brubeck. - Aimee Banks

Evan Short (Dayone): Concord Dawn had only started in early ’98 and was very much a bedroom project that neither Matt or I thought would really go anywhere. By 2000 both Dayone and Concord Dawn were equal priority but it was easy enough to balance the time between the two. There were never any conflicts, in fact we even did a tour together.” 

H Walker (Midium Records): “Midium started from the umbrella of Kog Transmissions (a mostly electronic label). Dayone was our second release. It had a strong tip towards the mathy vibe and we were actually more of an ‘experimental’ label, it just happened that that experimental elements spread across a few genres ... By 2005, Midium wasn’t under the greater label [Kog] umbrella and I signed New Way Home because it had many of the same people as Dayone. Chris [Christian Humphreys] and Rom [Romilly Smith] were a great duo of riff-makers and their EP had many of the same great elements which made Dayone fearsome.”

Dean Cameron (Balance, 1157 Records): “When I came home in 2001, I decided I wanted to get back into music. I just thought if there was a band I was interested in, then I’d see what I could do. The DIY approach had got a bit tired by then, because the records were selling well, so I started using a distributor. Missing Teeth was the first record I released coming back. I’d press 500 copies and sell them relatively fast. You wouldn’t keep re-pressing them, they’d just say – ‘oh great, let’s do another one’. Then the next EP would do just as well. The distributor would keep ringing – ‘we need more, we need more.’”



Evolution of Sound

Aaron “Bones” Carter (Arkane, Daredevil): “When we formed Daredevil (1999-2002) it started to get heavier, we used to drop our guitars down to C which was real monster sounding. I was just trying to copy Disembodied really. Misled by Lies were on the scene too, they were very underrated! ... Everyone was getting a bit older and chilled out and the scene was the most fun for me at that time. After Daredevil broke up, I dropped out of the scene for a few years occasionally showing up at shows but Dave Jordan [from One Must Fall/Fallout], Ryan Jordan [From Bare Knuckle Brawl and 21 Guns] and Dylan Walker [from The Warpath] really carried the torch for Hamilton hardcore into the millennium.”

Henry Oliver (So To Speak, Die! Die! Die!): “So To Speak started dissolving when bands like Sommerset were getting bigger and The Bleeders were starting. Half the band wanted to get tighter and more serious, while the other half wanted to get drunk, eat hash cake, jump into the drums and just kinda see what happened on any given night. I was part of the latter half. And that largely is symptomatic of what happened to that scene. Some went towards pop punk and the new wave of emo, some into a kind of tech-metal and some into a more post-punk inspired, art-school adjacent scene. That’s where I went. I met Andrew [Wilson] and Mikey [Prain] who’d just moved to Auckland ... After a few months, I moved to bass and joined them in Die! Die! Die!”

George Clark (DSM, Evil Priest, Coming Of The New Messiah, The Bleeders): “DSM did its thing for about five years. We toured Oz a few times and made some good friends in the hardcore scene there. Around 2001 DSM came to an end, with Dan moving to Oz …I was already in Evil Priest and Coming Of The New Messiah. As much as Evil Priest was a hardcore band with some classic and thrash metal influences, there seemed to be a real party vibe to some of those early shows. Hardcore kids, punks and metal heads all got into it. I think in those early days, it had what you’d consider a cult following. It was raw as fuck too.”


Great Expectations

Jeremy Toy (So To Speak, Sommerset): “I was living with Ryan [Thomas] when Chris left Sommerset so they asked me to join, which was awesome because I had all their records. I was at jazz school and ended up quitting it because Sommerset were touring so much in Australia. And I was already busy playing with Julien Dyne [originally drummer in Wellington hardcore group, Diecast] in what would later become Opensouls.”

Dean Cameron (1157 Records, Balance): “Sommerset really opened up the idea of Australia in the ’90s. Balance went over after them, but we were in slightly different cliques. We went to that more hardcore side of things, but Sommerset had options for radio and playing more mainstream shows. They toured with 28 Days who were massive in Australia and sold tens of thousands of records. Sommerset even released a split with them.”

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Sommerset headlining a packed show in Adelaide. L to R: Stefan Thompson (back to camera), Ryan Thomas, Jeremy Toy (obscured). - Photo Jeremy Toy Collection

Stefan (Balance, Sommerset): “With the release of Fast Cars, Slow Guitars [2002] we had a manufacture and distribute deal with Shock. Things starting to fall apart personally and the only thing that made sense was Sommerset. I ditched my Masters in Sociology and fully worked on getting the band going … Sommerset’s first European release was through a German backpacker called Nanouk who slept on my couch and had the Get Up and Go label. Mike Phyte played here with his band although that release [through his Phyte label] went nowhere as he put nothing into it. We ended up buying back a big portion of those US-released records and selling them on tour instead. I’m not even sure how we ended up with a Japanese deal. I just remember some crazy guy calling up in the middle of the night ... The 2003 overseas tour was a real eye-opener. It was amazing to see how many underground places there were in Europe. The culture differences were more than I thought they’d be and the weather was awful. We slept on air mattresses we blew up every night and crammed all the gear into a small van, which we unloaded into where we slept every night. I was a little OCD and woke early to pack the van as I didn’t like how anybody else did it. I got sick as soon as I got there but luckily we had a huge jar of antibiotics that a doctor friend had supplied.”



George Clark (DSM, Evil Priest, Coming Of The New Messiah, The Bleeders): “I came into the Bleeders in 2002, before we had a name for it. Ang [Angelo Munro] asked me if I wanted to have a jam with them. Ang and I had been good mates for years, and I was already mates with Hadleigh [Donald] from hanging out with our West Auckland crew, and his band Kid Nuisance had played with DSM. Ian [King] I had recognised from some gigs, but it was the first time I had met Gareth [Stack] ... At one rehearsal we were running through part of a song and when we came to the end, everyone switched into the next part without having planned it beforehand. It was like some telepathy shit. That single moment had me hooked. After a few more jams, the name The Bleeders came about. It was actually Dean Sacred, one of the Evil Priest singers that came up with the name.”

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The Bleeders performing at Big Day Out. - Photo by Gareth Shute

Dean Cameron (1157 Records, Balance): “The Bleeders wanted to be a rock‘n’roll band and play all over the world. They were enthusiastic and worked hard. That was one of the main reasons for their success. Though obviously they had something musically and it was good timing because they fitted into what was going on internationally.” 

George Clark (DSM, Evil Priest, Coming Of The New Messiah, The Bleeders): “By the end of ’03, we were taking every gig we could get, playing with punk bands, hardcore bands, rock bands. We got out of Auckland as much as we could. We did Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and some orientation gigs in Christchurch and Dunedin with Sommerset at the start of ’04. This was the first time I got to play in the South Island, for some of us it was the first time we even set foot there.”


Dean Cameron (1157 Records, Balance):A Bleeding Heart [2003] was a demo EP basically. Just a weekend at York Street done for next to nothing, mixed and everything in a couple of days. I had no idea how it was going to go, but it just took off. It sold five thousand copies at that time and plenty more since. We were licensing tracks to TV shows and making music videos and doing funding applications. It got tough, because the bigger a band gets, the more money is going out, even if more money is coming in. So I had no problem when they finally decided to do their album with Universal.”

Stefan (Sommerset, Balance): “The Say What You Want [2005] recording sessions were the beginning of the end of Sommerset. I was more interested in my Danish girlfriend (who is now my wife, we live in Denmark with our two kids) and then Jay just got sick of doing it too. He quit but recorded the songs with us. We toured Europe with Stu [Young] from Ritalin playing drums. Luckily he is an awesome dude and we all had a good time but the writing was on the wall. Milon quit after that European tour and we had Beltsey from Mindsnare play on an Australian tour. It just felt like we were trying to keep something together which was falling apart. We played a last show and I flew to Denmark the day after. Of course we played some reunion shows a few years later.” 


George Clark (DSM, Evil Priest, Coming Of The New Messiah, The Bleeders): “After a few more years, numerous tours of Australia, recording the first Bleeders album in the States, playing with Jerry Only’s Misfits in London, recording a second album back where we recorded our first EP, and even more NZ tours, we found ourselves in Toronto and it got cold. We ended up in Canada because it was cheaper than the UK and easier to get into than the US. We played a few gigs there, but as time went on, we were just getting poorer and the lifestyle was starting to take its toll, so we decided to put the whole thing on hold. In the end this was completely necessary for everyone’s sanity in the long term. Since then we’ve joined up to play shows and every time the response has been as good as, if not better, than some of the shows that we played when we were a full-time band. In the end, I got to do some shit that will be some of the best memories I’ll ever have. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Looking Back

Dean Cameron (1157 Records, Balance): “After Balance ended, Ben played in a US band called Snapcase for a while then rose up through the roadie scene to become a production stage manager for acts like Rancid, Offspring, Jason Derulo, Ricky Martin and The Goo Goo Dolls. Rhys formed a band with Roger Miret from Agnostic Front – Roger Miret and the Disasters. They released a bunch of records and were signed to Hellcat quite early on ... Mike came home and continued to play music – playing bass in Pluto and working as a session musician too. I released his band, Nightchoir, on 1157 even though it was quite different stylistically. He just didn’t want to go through the main channels with labels etc, so I was just helping out really … Obviously I’m a lot older now and I haven’t released a record for a while, but I’ve been working in the music industry since 2001 [for Recorded Music NZ].” 

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Balance, L to R: Dean Cameron, Mike Hall, Ben Lythberg, Rhys Williams. - Photo Dean Cameron collection

Sean O’Brien (Muckhole): “Our reunion show at the King’s Arms in 2016 was epic. I think we proved to a lot of people that either forgot, didn’t know or were too drunk at the time to realise, we actually teared the bag to a standard equal to the international acts of that time. And it was an awesome reunion for a lot of people who hadn’t seen each other for a very long time. The Weirdo element is bittersweet [bassist Aaron Peck aka Weirdo returned from Australia for the show, but passed away shortly afterward]. I wouldn’t trade that time with him for anything but that now comes with an immense sadness, that for him that was the best his life ever got.”


Amber Easby (Kafuey): “Something I’ve thought a lot more about in retrospect is the lack of women in visible roles in the scene during that period. There were only a handful of women playing music, but a lot more attending shows, taking photographs, contributing artwork and putting on shows. I started a label and putting on shows out of what I thought was a genuine enthusiasm for the music but on reflection, I gravitated towards an organisational role because that was more readily accepted. All the guys I knew picked up an instrument instead … DIY culture continued to be a huge influence in my life, in my politics, in the way I think. Those early punk/hardcore shows led to me booking venues like Pizza Pizza and promoting small tours. That led me to working on The White Stripes’ first New Zealand tour and then working for them internationally. It also made me think, quite naively, that I could open a bar [DOC]. It’s that mentality of not knowing how to do something properly, but figuring out your own way of doing it. When I started working for The White Stripes, I had no idea what I was doing working on that scale. But I figured it out. Even with the work I do now as a producer for film/TV, there’s the same kind of thought process behind the creative output.”

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Kitsch: Ben Crawford, Dan O'Neill, Todd Beeby, Sam Icke. - Photo Dean Cameron collection

Dominic Hoey (Witness): “The main influence on me from that scene was coming in contact with people like Stefan from Balance/Sommerset, Amber Easby, or Kerry Anne Lee [zine maker/artist originally involved with the Wellington scene]. If they wanted to do something – put on a show or make a zine, etc – then they’d make it happen. I also think it impacted on the way I perform [as rapper/poet, Tourettes], the amount of energy I try and bring to my live shows. I wouldn’t be doing what I do today if it hadn’t been for that scene and all the people involved with it.”

Aimee Banks (Foamy Ed): “In the end, everyone just seemed to go their separate ways. Lani was with Elemeno P, two of our members went overseas, and I went into working in the music industry. I started at Eccles and also worked with Peter Campbell for a long time – booking tours, travel and logistics. I did miss those times when we started when everyone was really down to earth and there was a sense of community. If we didn’t have that scene, Foamy Ed definitely wouldn’t have lasted as long we did.”

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The Bleeders: Ian King, Matt Clark, Hadleigh Donald, Gareth Stack, Angelo Munro. - Publicity photo

Brian Holloway (Ghidoragh): “I’m not entirely sure why Ghidoragh ended the first time around. I think a big part of it was just spending too much time together and not enjoying things. We started playing together again in mid-2012 ... We had a jam in Greg’s kitchen one weekend and it was so much fun we just kept it going. We’ve probably only played maybe eight-10 times in the last five years. Jobs and families don’t make things easy in that regard but we’ve probably written 40-50 songs in that time too, it’s still a lot of fun.”

Aaron “Bones” Carter (Arkane, Daredevil): “Garreth Steiner actually started the New Zealand Hardcore Past and Present page on Facebook. We played in bands together from the non toxic days and our band Arkane etc. I said – ‘Shit you have to make me an admin.’ Then we just put out our feelers and gathered old photos at the start ... I also put some of the old CDs on YouTube (including albums Luke Flintoff gave me before he moved to the States) ... Younger people who love hardcore have an appreciation of the older stuff and the older generation are like – ‘how the fuck did you find this?!’ I was talking to Sam from Antagonist not so long ago and he was saying growing up he loved Ghidoragh and Daredevil so I like to think we helped with that even though Antag is probably the best hardcore band NZ has produced … These days, I’m not sure if there is a place to have shows that’s as good as Stage 7, The Meteor or The Void. I think the scene is in hibernation waiting for the spark to be reignited, but our history is deep, important and significant. I just really want to make it so those great memories don’t fade for those times in people’s lives when it really mattered.”



Elevenfiftyseven Records

YouTube playlist

NZ Hardcore YouTube page

New Zealand Hardcore Past and Present on Facebook


The Bands


Steve D – vocals
Dan South – bass
Aaron “Bones” Carter – guitar
Garreth Steiner – guitar
Mark Seeney – drums


Jay Howson – vocals
Kieren Cooney – vocals
Cyrus Facciano aka Gulack – vocals
Rowan Coffee – vocals
Mike Hall – vocals
Stefan Thompson – bass
Ben Lythberg – drums
Rhys Williams – guitar
Dean Cameron – bass


Angelo Munro – vocals
Ian King – guitar
George Clark – drums
Hadleigh Donald – guitar
Gareth Stack – bass

The Creed (prior to becoming Dayone)

Andy Morton – drums
Ross Hawkins – bass
Rhys Williams – guitar
Ben Chadfield – vocals


Andy Morton – drums
Ross Hawkins – bass
Ben Chadfield – vocals
Ryan Thomas – guitar  
Rom Smith – bass (took over from Ross quite early on)
Evan Short – guitar
Christian Humphreys – guitar (Less Than Perfect line-up)
Mike Teague – vocals (Less Than Perfect line-up)


Bennett Row – vocals
Mark Seeney – drums
Mark Newbold – bass
Aaron “Bones” Carter – guitar
Christian Pearce – guitar


Dave McDermott – vocals
Duncan “Pepe” Long – guitar
Dan Smith – bass
George Clark – drums

Evil Priest

Dean Parkin (aka Dean Sacred) – vocals
Mark “Cash Dog” Gibb – vocals
Duncan “Pepe” Long – guitar
Dan “T-Dubz” Anderson (aka Dan Sacred) – bass
Mark Newbold – bass (after Dan left)
Matt “Wadzy” Wadsworth – guitar
Captain – guitar
George Clark – drums
Mark “Wurzel” Seeney – drums (after Matt left)

Foamy Ed

Fleur Parker – vocals
Aimee Banks – guitar
Lani Purkis – bass
Katherine Millar – drums
Mieke van der Walle – guitar (replaced Banks briefly, then band went on with two guitarists)

Ghidoragh aka Ghidrah

Brian Holloway – guitar
Greg Broadmore – bass
Christian Pearce – drums


Sam Icke – vocals, bass
Dan O’Neill – drums
Ben Crawford – guitar
Todd Beeby – bass
Evan Short – bass (joined briefly while helping pre-produce The Burning Ground, 2005)

Missing Teeth

Seamus McLoud – vocals
Kolya DeReijger – guitar
Dean Judd – bass
Dave Hine – drums


Sean O’Brien – vocals
Scott Patterson – guitar
Aaron Peck – bass
Jason Ennor – drums

New Way Home

Richard Simpson – vocals
Christian Humphreys – guitar
Romilly Smith – bass
Scott Wotherspoon – drums


Bennett Row – vocals
Stu Barris – guitar
Mark Newbold – bass
Andrew Hugill – drums


Ryan Thomas – vocals, guitar
Jay Dougrey – drums, vocals
Stefan Thompson – bass
Christian Humphreys – guitar
Jeremy Toy – guitar (after Christian left)
Milon Williams – guitar (after Jeremy left)
Stu Barris (guitar)

So To Speak

Jeremy Toy – drums then guitar
Henry Oliver – vocals, bass
Pete Garmaz – guitar
Matt –- vocals
Saan Barrett – bass
Christian Humphreys – drums

State Of Grace

Ben Lythberg – drums
Stuart Barris – guitar
Christian Humphreys – guitar
Romilly Smith – guitar
Dean Parkin – vocals


Jack Tarrant – vocals, guitar
Mark Newbold – bass
Andrew Hugill – drums
Brad Thomson (guitar/vocals)


Scott Yakiwchuk – vocals
Jay Dougrey – vocals
Chris Humphreys – guitar
Romilly Smith – bass
Dominic Hoey – drums