The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dr. Memory…New Zealand

10-24-07 Dr. Memory…New Zealand

In the 80’s, I was lucky enough to work for an independently owned and operated record distributor / importer. A business that was small enough that I had the ear of the owner / manager. In line with my personal interests, I talked him into allowing me to import LP’s from New Zealand.

I visited NZ 7 times in the 80’s – I was very into the music scene there, and I have great friends there to this very day. While it was Blam Blam Blam, The Swingers and Toy Love that I wanted to import and sell, we discovered that – at that time – the NZ dollar was rather weak, compared to the US dollar. It was more economical to import LP’s from NZ than it was from Europe or the UK.

To concentrate on something as specific and as ‘exclusive’ as New Zealand artists, I stopped paying attention to a lot of stuff that was happening in the US and the UK. I missed whole waves, ignored formidable artists – I didn’t care – I had my NZ artists!

Along with Blam Blam Blam, I got to see D.D. Smash, Hip Singles, The Gordons, Graham Brazier etc. I saw the 1984 “farewell” shows by Split Enz in Auckland.

I regard my interest in artists by region as a type of “cultural identity” that I possess. My culture is to be interested in other cultures. I remember hearing about someone (25+ years ago) that was “only interested in Irish music” – and I couldn’t fathom being interested in music by region, at that time. But, in 1980 – 1987 I was definitely a “New Zealand Music Expert”. I tried to get one copy of each and every record originated in New Zealand – of course, I had guidelines – I wanted ‘rock’ music. Ray Columbus & The Invaders was essentially the starting point of my interest.

It took a few years, but I eventually began liking Australian artists – Mental As Anything, Divinyls, Midnight Oil, Models, GANGgajang…it is my firm belief that the “Aussie Wave” was a little bit later than the “Kiwi Wave”.

Now I wait around for the few remaining items of interest from New Zealand to make it to CD. I chat with my NZ friends all the time – we talk about black music and / or Frank Zappa. Every now and again, something cool will arrive in my mailbox. Still waiting on a CD of The Crocodiles “Looking At Ourselves”, folks.

Strange that I had to cut some stuff out, in order to concentrate on one specific scene. It’s not the way I do things anymore – my whole last decade of interest in Japanese music has not involved any “exclusions”, fortunately. But I’m also not trying to get one of every Japanese ‘rock’ CD.

Did you ever try to collect music by region / genre? What place / genre was it? What were your guidelines? A place or a time? Or both?


Anonymous point that thing said...

My NZ music photo archive ...

1:00 PM  

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