The only member with significant live playing experience was drummer Jason Ennor who had been in the Malchicks. The other band members were Sean O’Brien (vocals), Scott Patterson (guitar) and Aaron Peck (bass).
The singer Sean had got into punk via the surf scene. In 1996 he said, “You get into music when you’re about 15. A friend’s older brother was in a board club band who were into Dead Kennedys and Stiff Little Fingers. Most of the stuff that influenced Muckhole was mostly West Coast US hardcore like Good Riddance, Bad Religion, NOFX and 10 Foot Pole. But I get pissed off when we’re called ‘So-Cal punk’ because we’re also into bands like Prong, Tool, Quicksand and Fugazi.”
The young North Shore band came to the attention of Wildside Records boss Murray Cammick after the then Rip It Up staff writer John Russell (who would go on to edit Real Groove magazine 1998 to 2004) saw the band live at Kurtz Lounge, Symonds Street in May, 1995. The band recorded tracks at Progressive Studios in June, 1995 and gave a cassette of the tracks to Wildside and the label was impressed by the songs and were keen to release the recordings ASAP. It was decided to do a cassingle only release before Xmas 1995 on Wildside via distributor Festival Records.
The band ripped through songs at such a frantic pace punters were amazed at how Jason Ennor drummed so fast. John Russell wrote in Rip It Up (December 1995), "Muckhole blast through a set that makes it a joy to be alive, and unbelievably blows their awesome May Kurtz Lounge show to pieces. Energised to the point of spontaneous combustion.”
The next time the band were due to play Kurtz Lounge they had to cancel. The night before their drunk bass player had dived into a swimming pool at a party and as he was bleeding he went to hospital. An X-ray was taken and he was allowed to go home. The next day he got a phone call, the essence of which was, “Stand up, stand still, we’re sending an ambulance as your neck is broken.” Aaron Peck gained a cast around his neck, but was able to play the Big Day Out in January 1996.
The band also opened for the original UK punks, the Sex Pistols at the Super Top Tent, Mt Smart Stadium.
In 1996 four tracks from the Progressive Studios sessions were released on a four track CD EP Where's The Corndogs? A video was made for ‘Don’t Wanna Know You’ and other live favorites were also on the CD – ‘Overdrive’, ‘Subterfuge’ and ‘Muckhole Theme Song’. The cover art included all four members floating face down in a swimming pool surrounded by bobbing beer bottles. The release was on the newly created Felix label which allowed Wildside to move some new signings to a new distribution deal with a second distributor, BMG.
When groups from the contemporary US punk/hardcore scene started to tour New Zealand, Muckhole were the obvious band to choose as the support act, so the band got to open for every touring punk act including Green Day at Auckland's Logan Campbell Centre, Offspring at Auckland's Powerstation and Pennywise at Tauranga Memorial Park Hall and in Napier. The band also opened for the original UK punks, the Sex Pistols at the Super Top Tent, Mt Smart Stadium. Muckhole opened the show and were followed by Californian band Goldfinger, with expat Simon Williams on bass.
The May 1997 album Kooza was recorded at Lab Studios, Auckland and co-produced and engineered by Chris Van De Geer (guitarist in Second Child) who had previously worked with Garageland. The album gained excellent press reviews and a significant video exposure via NZ On Air funded videos for ‘Cool Guy’, ‘Pop Out Punk’ and ‘Not Like U’.
The group could headline at Auckland’s Powerstation to a big crowd of heavy-drinking surfers and punk fans but tours outside their hometown were often hastily organized and ill-conceived all-ages events. The band produced a very fine T-shirt that read: “MUCKHOLE, PISSED SINCE 1994.” There was reputedly a girlfriends only T-shirt, “I LOVE MY MUCKHOLE.”
After Kooza the band were keen to finance their own album and do an indie distribution deal (or P&D deal) via Wildside, but the label declined as they were not set up to distribute directly to record stores, so Muckhole took their second, rawer album Fresh Muck to Global Routes distribution company. Several of the band members promptly embarked on their OE, so they were unable to tour extensively to promote Fresh Muck. Sean O'Brien told Rip It Up magazine in February 1998, "We're definitely not splitting up, we're having a break. We'll be back next summer."
When members retuned from London there was a reunion gig planned for the Kings Arms but it was decided that going for a band dinner at a Kingsland restaurant might involve less rehearsal time.
Aaron Peck passed away in December, 2016.
A notable gig in Muckhole’s brief history was a 1997 Xmas Eve Party at the North Shore skate shop Off The Lip where noise control were called, so the PA was moved to the front of the shop to face in the opposite direction. With a young surfing and skating audience wanting something to do on Xmas Eve, Muckhole played their new album three times. All good things come to an end and in the early hours of Xmas morning the police were called and the crowd dispersed.
Jason Ennor - drums
Sean O’Brien - vocals
Scott Patterson - guitar
Aaron Peck - bass