We are up to issue 4 in our series of digital republications of the Garage zine. In this issue there is coverage of The Puddle, Look Blue Go Purple, The Chills, Victor Dimisich Band and cover stars Doublehappys. Plus former Garage contributor Ian Henderson (Fishrider Records) has written a piece on Garage below, and even further below is another podcast compiled by editor Richard Langston.
GARAGE FANZINE 4 BY IAN HENDERSON
In the mid-1980s I was an idealistic young music fan stuck in godforsaken Invercargill as the rest of the country experienced a cultural revolution. Wanting to do my part to further the cause I went to the local paper, The Southland Times, and told them they should be paying more attention to local music and to the great new independent releases, mostly from Flying Nun Records. I offered to do this for them. To my surprise the music page sub-editor (a fellow Smiths and Go-Betweens fan as it turned out) said “OK”.
At the same time I came across the first two issues of Garage. Excited to find there were people elsewhere writing passionately about the music I loved, I reviewed them in the Southland Times in April 1985. I noted that; “Garage is a scruffy, sprawling work of art, full of good ideas, but disjointed and chaotic. All vital ingredients for a fanzine.”
I’m not sure if it prompted a sales spike for Garage in Southland but it did prove a good career move for me. Upon seeing the review Garage editor Richard Langston asked me to write for the fanzine. Such was the pace of publication (it burned briefly and brightly within a three year period from 1984 to 1986 – “three years of perfect bloody wonder” says Richard) it took me until the final edition, Garage #6, to make my contribution.
Richard also invited me to come stay when I was next in Dunedin. When I did eventually turn up at Garage HQ Palace Flophouse he was no longer living there and wasn’t even in town. However, the Palace Flophouse owners were used to Richard inviting people to stay and not telling them so took me in without any fuss.
I was rewarded for my brief association with Garage with the unimaginable wealth of musical enlightenment, arcane indie-pop knowledge and enduring friendships. Plus the occasional use of Richard’s Triumph Herald to go to gigs whenever I was in Dunedin, even though only 2 forward gears worked and the brakes mostly didn’t.
Garage #4 brought changes: “real names for starters because we now have enough people writing for us so one or two people don’t have to hide behind pseudonyms”. Real names like Alastair Agnew, Bruce Russell and London correspondent David Swift (in his spare time a writer at the NME, it says). By Garage #4 production values had soared – it was being printed properly instead of by sneaking into Richard’s older brother’s work at weekends to use the photocopier there.
The quality of the writing had also taken off. The snotty opinionated charm of the first 3 editions continued – check Richard’s classic cover-story review of the The Doublehappys career. But there was extra confidence and a desire to record the history of some of the earliest Flying Nun bands. All of which made issues 4, 5 & 6 of Garage such essential documents. Then and now.
Ian Henderson is still mildly obsessed with weird alternative pop music. He lives in Dunedin now and runs a tiny record label called Fishrider Records dedicated to “psych-pop from below the underground” including recent albums by his brother’s band The Puddle, for which he also plays drums.
GARAGE ISSUE #4 PODCAST
1. The Bats – North by North (R.Scott, P.Kean, K.Woodward, M.Grant, 1987)
2. The Clean – Odditty (D. Kilgour, H. Kilgour, R. Scott, 1983)
3. The Verlaines – Lying in State (G.Downes, 1985)
4. Exploding Budgies – Kenneth Anger (D. Mitchell, G. Eisenhut,J. Murray, 1985)
5. Scorched Earth Policy – Turn Your Eyes Away (M. Elbarado, P. Stapleton, M. Heney, B. Crook, A. Cocks, A.Dawson, 1985)
6. Victor Dimisich Band – Claude (P.Stapleton, S.Cogle, A. Meek, T.O’Grady, M.Heny, 1983)
7. Bird Nest Roys – Ain’t Mutatin’ (D. Saunders, D. Roy, P. Moerenhout, T. King Big and Little Ross, W. Wakefield, 1985)
8. Look Blue Go Purple – As Does The Sun (D. Roughan, K. Bull, L. Paris, N. O’Malley, 1985)
9. The Great Unwashed – Small Girl (D. Kilgour, H. Kilgour, P. Gutteridge, 1983)
10. Tall Dwarfs – Scrapbook (C. Knox, A. Bathgate, 1985)