Pop Mechanix

aka NZPOP, Zoo, Splash Alley

Commercial power pop, second wave and energy rock and roll. Pressed for a genre name for their sound, Splash Alley, who became Pop Mechanix, came up with plenty, but were confined by none.

Pop Mechanix were part of the new wave of groups in the late 1970s and early 1980s that breathed the same air and shared ideals with punk. They were committed to recording their own songs, to revitalising rock and roll and returning it to the dance floor, to making it relevant to teens and post-teens again. With a full live list and one of the most under-valued catalogues in New Zealand rock and roll, they succeeded in doing so.

Dick Driver with Splash Alley at Auckland's Mainstreet, early 1980
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
Chris Moore playing at Auckland's Mainstreet in upper Queen Street in early 1980 on Splash Alley's Into The Eighties tour
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
Pop Mechanix circa 1986: Kevin Emmett, Paul Mason, Andrew McLennan, Chris Moore and Paul Scott
The 2010 hits and singles compilation Now-Then: One Hit Windows issued by Failsafe Records as part of its comprehensive Pop Mechanix reissue series
Kevin Emmett at Mainstreet in Auckland on the band's trip north in early 1980
Splash Alley at Dux De Luxe, month unknown
Andrew "Snoid" McLennan with Pop Mechanix at Auckland's Windsor Castle, September 1980
Photo credit: Photo by Bryan Staff
Jumping out a Window (1981 TVNZ Version)
Splash Alley: Chris Moore, Paul Mason, Dick Driver, Paul Scott, Kevin Emmett
Celebration of the Skin (1986)
Celebration of the skin - Live TV appearance (1986)
Splash Alley: Kevin Emmett, Chris Moore, Paul Mason, Paul Scott and Dick Driver
Dick Driver on the Into The Eighties Tour in early 1980. The venue is Mainstreet in Auckland.
Ritz was recorded and released twice as a single. This version, produced by Mike Chunn, was the band's second single, issued via RCA in late 1980.
In 1980 Mainstreet was one of the key gigs in Auckland and any out of town band was held up to some scrutiny by the partisan Auckland crowd. Splash Alley passed the test but were advised that their name needed to be changed. Back in Christchurch they became Pop Mechanix.
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
Beat Goes On (1987 Friday Night Live)
Paul Scott and Dick Driver at Auckland's Mainstreet in early 1980. They arrived in Auckland as Splash Alley, whereupon Radio With Pictures' Barry Jenkin advised them that a name change might be helpful - Pop Mechanix was the result.
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
Pop Mechanix in 1986: Paul Mason, Brent Williams, Kevin Emmett, Andrew McLennan and Paul Scott
Splash Alley: Chris Moore, Kevin Emmett, Paul Mason, Paul Scott and Dick Driver
Pop Mechanix supporting Jimmy And The Boys in Canberra in 1981
Rip It Up's news item on Dick Driver's departure, September 1980
The 1985 self-titled Pop Mechanix EP on John Doe's Hit Singles label
Pop Mechanix's classic Jumping Out A Window, released in March 1981 on Mike Chunn's new XSF label (via CBS), it was the first with Andrew Snoid on vocals and was produced by Eddie Rayner. It would reach No. 21.
Private Military (1982)
An Australian CBS publicity shot for NZ Pop
The second release of Ritz on a single was under the name NZPOP, issued a year after the RCA version, this time on Mike Chunn's XSF label and as a double A-side with Holidays
Jumping out a Window (second version, 1981)
The Ritz (1981)
Pale Sun (1987, Friday Night Live)
Splash Alley (l to r) Paul Scott, Richard Driver and Paul Mason at the British Seaman's Club, Christchurch, 1979
Pop Mechanix's debut single Now b/w Radio Song, released in September 1980 on Ripper Records
Splash Alley trying to convince an Auckland crowd at Mainstreet in early 1980. Barry Jenkin – the important Doctor Rock – was one who was convinced, as was Mike Chunn, then a partner in Ripper Records who signed the band shortly thereafter.
Photo credit: Photo by Grant Philpott
Three members of the final lineup of Pop Mechanix at Auckland's Wildlife, 1987/88: Mark Bell, Peter Warren, and Andrew McLennan. Paul Scott and Paul Mason are out of shot.
Photo credit: Dean Morman collection
The Pop Mechanix advertise Now at Record Warehouse, 1980
Keep it up (1982)
The 1982 Cowboys and Engines album released under the name Zoo. The artwork was by Paul Pattie
Pop Mechanix in late 1980 with Eden Security's Alby Carr: l to r - Kevin Emmett, Paul Scott, Paul Mason, Andrew Snoid, Alby, Chris Moore
Texas, originally a Splash Alley song, backed with Cowboys, was Pop Mechanix's fourth single, released in 1982 on Mike Chunn's XSF label. 

Paul Scott - bass

Paul Mason - guitar

Dick Driver - vocals

Andrew McLennan - vocals

Kevin Emmett - drums

Chris Moore - guitar

Brent Williams - guitar

Mark Bell - guitar

Peter Warren - drums




Hit Singles





Dick Driver would later, as Richard Driver, become a household name as host of Radio With Pictures, beginning a lifetime career in TV which includes producing the 2003 Give A Whirl TV series.

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