Dead Famous People Profile

Amanda Mills
11 Dec 2020

Dead Famous People, the band formed by Auckland musician Dons Savage, ironically never became famous, but skirted the edges of the local scene in the mid 1980s before moving to the UK. They signed to Billy Bragg’s Utility label, and released EPs and compilations before fading away quietly, becoming an obscurity in New Zealand music history.

However, this changed in October 2020, when Dead Famous People returned with their first official long playing album Harry (Fire Records, 2020), a testament to Savage’s songwriting talents, and artistic vision.

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Dead Famous People - B-side to Lost Persons Area (Flying Nun, 1986)
Dons Savage, 2020.
Dead Famous People - Barlow's House (1986)
Dead Famous People - Postcard from Paradise
Drummer required advert, Dead Famous People, 1987. From Book of BiFim, 1987.
Dead Famous People, London, 1988. From left:  Jenny Renals, Wendy Kjestrup, Biddy Leyland, Dons Savage, and Gill Moon. 
Dead Famous People, supporting Billy Bragg, Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Rd, 1989. Peter Gabriel and Chrissie Hynde were in the audience. 
Dead Famous People, 1987.
Dead Famous People - All Hail the Daffodil (La-Di-Da Productions, 1991)
Dead Famous People - Harry (Fire Records, 2020)
Dead Famous People - Lost Persons Area (Flying Nun, 1986). The cover is by US photographer Elliot Erwitt. 
Dead Famous People's debut gig, Performance Cafe, Auckland, 1986. With Bekka Taylor on drums.
Dead Famous People - A-side to Lost Persons Area (Flying Nun, 1986)
Dead Famous People, at the Bedford UK venue Esquires, 1990. "Trying a new lineup after we disbanded, which didnt work out," says Dons Savage. From left: Biddy Leyland, an unidentified bass player, Spider Etienne, Dons Savage, and Paula Richards. 
Dons Savage, Warkworth, 2018.
Dead Famous People, Albert Park, Auckland 1987. From left: Jenny Renals, bass; Mo Moss, drums; Biddy Leyland, keyboards; Dons Savage, vocals, and Wendy Kjestrup, guitar
Dead Famous People, Borderline, London 25 February 1989.
Dead Famous People at the Victoria Park rehearsal rooms, Auckland, 1987. From left: Robyn Tearle, Wendy Kjestrup, Biddy Leyland, Dons Savage, Jenny Renals. 
Dead Famous People, Gluepot, Auckland, 29 May 1987.
Recording at The Lab Recording Studio, Auckland, 2018. Engineer Ollie Harmer at left.
Dead Famous People - Looking At Girls (Fire Records, 2019)
Dons Savage, 2018.
Dead Famous People - Arriving Late in Torn and Filthy Jeans (Utility, 1989)
Dead Famous People, Secret Girls Business compilation (Global Routes Music, 2002).
Dead Famous People performing at Kennington Park, London, 24 June 1989.
Labels:

Flying Nun


Utility


La-Di-Da Productions


Fire Records

Members:

Dons Savage - vocals

Wendy Kjestrup - guitar, vocals

Jenny Renals - bass

Robyn Tearle - drums

Mo Moss - drums

Gill Moon - drums

Elizabeth Leyland - keyboards