Jay Clarkson

aka They Were Expendable, The Expendables, Breathing Cage

Jay Clarkson sits uncomfortably in the South Island indie continuum. She didn’t play the folk pop card, thump the garage rock drum or end up shaping sound or free noise. Her path was a determined and singular one.

A prolific songwriter who time and time again found the players to bring her music out in bands They Were Expendable, The Expendables, Breathing Cage, The Matches and solo, Clarkson’s songs are still revealing their worth over 30 years on. 

The Expendables - Liberal Cad
Jay Clarkson and the Containers in the rehearsal room.
Photo credit: Richard C Wallis
David Mitchell poster for The Chills, Expendables, Exploding Budgies at Mainstreet, Auckland 1984
Photo credit: Mike Corless Collection. Design: David Mitchell
Breathing Cage
The Playthings at Christchurch's Gladstone Hotel, 1980
Photo credit: Photo by Gordon Bartram
The Playthings with Paul Kean, Christchurch University 1982
Jay Clarkson & The Containers - Far (2021)
The Expendables - Michael Kime, Jay Clarkson, Robert Key
Jay Clarkson and bassist Marc Howe, Breathing Cage, 2019
Photo credit: Alister Reid
Breathing Cage - Gary Sullivan, Jay Clarkson, Greg Malcolm-Boelee, Michael Kime
The Playthings at Christchurch's Gladstone Hotel, 1980, playing with The Gordons, hence the shared drumkit
Photo credit: Photo by Gordon Bartram
Jay Clarkson - Walk Away (1999)
They Were Expendable - Big Strain, 1983
Jay Clarkson takes a selfie next to a Jay Clarkson and the Containers gig poster.
Playthings - Coloured (1981)
Jay Clarkson - Boy With The Sad Hands (1987) Bob Sutton Collection
Jay Clarkson performing in Glasgow
Photo credit: Leesa Tilley
Jay Clarkson
Jay Clarkson
Photo credit: Nigel Yates, P2020-026-001-012, Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago
Jay Clarkson performing at Dog With Two Tails, Dunedin
Photo credit: Sam Clarkson
They Were Expendable - Big Strain (1983) Rob Mayes Collection

Nick Strong - guitar, bass

Robert Key - drums

Chris Matthews - drums

Graeme Jefferies - guitar

Gary Sullivan - drums

Michael Kime - bass

Greg Malcolm - guitar

Johannes Contag - bass, vocals

Justin Barr - bass

Janine Saundercock - vocals

Dave Toland - drums

Nick Carter - guitar

Donna Sheene - vocals, percussion

Russell Hoffman - keyboards

Jay Clarkson - vocals

Jay Clarkson - guitar, bass


Flying Nun


Tall Poppy

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