Al Park Profile

Rosa Shiels
8 Aug 2019

Al Park has been at the heart of music in Christchurch for decades. A face about town and a cog in a music wheel that keeps turning, despite the major crises that have beset the city and its port in recent years. Say his name out loud in many quarters and there will be a chorus of, “Yeah, Al – lovely guy”, especially if you are a working performer, involved in music in some other way or just an active listener.

Rangy and personable, Al blew into Canterbury on a tail wind out of Wellington in 1975 and decided to stay put. Over the years he has set up and played in many popular pub-rock bands, from Vapour and the Trails, Louie and the Hotsticks, Old Denis, Big Elvis and others, peppering the songlists in step with the times and his originals. He also appeared as the menacing pimp in the Dance Exponents’ 1982 video for ‘Victoria’.

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Candice Miller, Lyttelton singer-songwriter, with Al Park. 
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Al Park in Vapour and the Trails, late 1970s. 
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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'Victoria' by the Dance Exponents, 1982; Al Park appears early in the clip.
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Poster for the launch of 'Better Already - the Songs of Al Park', Blue Smoke, Christchurch, 15 February 2019.
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Al Park, centre, with his son AJ Park at left, and his brother, Bryan Park.
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Advertised often as "Hot Sticks", as on this business card, Al Park always refers to the band as Louie and the Hotsticks. 
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Al Park directing traffic as a striker for the Central League competitions, Wellington, c. 1969.
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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The Hotsticks reunite. From left: Wayne Jamieson, Al Park, Helen Mulholland, Jimmy Walmsley and Danny Wilson. In front, Wayne Beecroft, who died in 2018.
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Louie and the Hotsticks in their 1980s heyday. Al Park in front with, from left, James Walmsley, Helen Mulholland, Danny Wilson, Wayne Beecroft, and Wayne Jamieson.
Photo credit: Danny Wilson collection
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The man with the big hat is buying: Al Park, flanked by Adam McGrath and Jordan Luck (and many others), at the launch of 'Better Already', the tribute album featuring songs by Park. Blue Smoke, Christchurch, 15 February 2019.
Photo credit: Erik Norder
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Ticket for a Louie and the Hotsticks gig at Marine Tavern, Sumner.
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Cover sleeve of Al Park's early cassette album.
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Press advertisement for a double-bill at the Gladstone featuring Vapour and the Trails and the Vauxhalls; late 1970s. 
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Vapour and the Trails play a three-night season at Cave Rock, Sumner, late 1970s. 
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For one week only: Vapour and the Trails at the Marine Tavern, Sumner - late 1970s. 
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Al Park outside his former venue, Al's Bar. 
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Delaney Davidson sings Al Park's 'Blue Afternoon', 2019
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Al Park interprets Bob Dylan at the former Creation, 2005. 
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Mollet Street hosted an invitation-only party after the Graham Parker and the Rumour performed in Christchurch, 4 September 1978. 
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Helen Mulholland and Al Park during a Louie and the Hotsticks performance.
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Advertisement for Al Park and the Latter Day Sinners, at the Harbour Light Theatre, Lyttelton, 30 October 2004. After the damage caused by the February 2011 earthquake, the Harbour Light was demolished in April that year. 
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Advertisement for Junkit - Al Park's junk shop in Christchurch, mid-70s. 
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Al Park advertising a hair product in his days as a footballer, c. 1968. The caption under the photo reads, "Allan Park, winger, Petone, Central League 1st Division." Wellington's Evening Post said: "If you think George Best has long hair, you should see this guy.”
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'Better Already - the Songs of Al Park', a 10-track tribute album produced by Delaney Davidson in 2019 featuring musician friends of Park.  
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Al Park's 'Blue Afternoon', video by Jody Lloyd, sung by Delaney Davidson
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Al Park around the time of the release of the tribute album 'Better Already', 2019. 
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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US-style advertisement for the Hot Sticks, 1987, for a gig at the Marine in Sumner. Photo taken by Jae Renaut outside the British Hotel, Lyttelton. 
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Al Park performing at the Wunderbar in Lyttelton.
Photo credit: Mark McGill
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Vapour and the Trails, with Ian Whitehead on vocals, playing outdoors at the Christchurch Town Hall, late 1970s.
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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Vapour and the Trails, late 1970s. From left: Terry Bird, Al Park, Murray Olds, Leigh Perry.
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"Louie and the Hotsticks didn't need to travel outside of the South Island because we did so well here. We had a huge fan base." - Al Park, speaking to Bryan Hunt, 2004.
Photo credit: Al Park collection
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A warning as much as a news item: the Vandals are appearing on Radio With Pictures, late 1970s. 
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