Australia and New Zealand Music

Topic from Brian Ware…

When I was married (previously), I ran a company called ‘ANZ Imports’.  There was a place for me to advertise, “One Step Ahead” – so we took out an advertisement in that ‘magazine’ and went to town!

I duly went to New Zealand 7 x times – but only once to Australia (we’re talking 1980 – 1987); both of those places are wonderful countries and I am pleased to say I went to both of them.  I ended up with a LARGE collection of New Zealand music (I even had business cards printed up, “Specialist in New Zealand Artists”) – NEWS FLASH!  Nearly everything that got released in Australia got released in NZ.

The man I worked for during that time, Tony Harrington, was my facilitator for all of this (he was who actually owned ‘ANZ Imports’).  The world was a very different place that long ago; The NZ dollar was about half of a US dollar, so I could offer, well…everything coming out of both Australia and New Zealand!

During  1980 – 1987, not everything from Australia and New Zealand got a US release.  But a lot of great stuff was being released there!  (However, I have 3 x shelves of NZ music, yet only really 1 x shelf of Australian music!).  The big Australian groups were Icehouse (also known as The Flowers), INXS, Midnight Oil…the biggest NZ group was Split Enz.

And, yes, some groups got US issues – Mental As Anything, and (eventually) Split Enz.

My personal favorite group was The Swingers (Phil Judd from Split Enz!).  They never came and played here (that I know of) – they only had one LP, but it was very, very good!

I remember Split Enz LP’s (remember, seasons reversed) “resting in a customs-house bed”, so we could not sell ‘em – and that was for an LP + 12”!  (Not a very good one, as I recall – remember being disappointed with “Conflicting Emotions”?)  The NZ issue had both an LP & 12” single.

During my many visits to NZ, I got to meet Blam Blam Blam (who were uncooperative), Dick Driver (Who never had much anything for me to sell), and Mike Chunn (of Split Enz, who got me dubs of the Split Enz clips, at a time when that was impossible otherwise!).  I remember watching Tommy Adderley perform in Takapuna!  I also remember going to the farewell show of Split Enz in 1984…that didn’t last!

But in 1987, the LP pressing stopped in NZ; at the time, that seemed to be a death sentence!  Australia quickly took up pressing CD’s for both Australia and New Zealand.