Hallelujah Picassos Profile

Gareth Shute
14 Nov 2013

In the mash-up culture of today, it’s hard to recall how rigidly bands used to stick within a single genre. When Hallelujah Picassos arrived in the late-80s, they blasted away at people’s conceptions with their feral mix of indie rock, ska, hardcore punk, and hip-hop.

They loomed large over the Auckland live scene and with two key albums coming out through Wildside Records – Hateman In Love and Drinking With Judas – they set to take over the country.

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Johnnie Pain and Roland
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Smokin' and Fumin'
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Hallelujah Picassos - Lovers + (1992)
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Wildside Records publicity shot - Bobbylon, Roland, Johnnie Pain (front), Peter McLennan
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Johnnie Pain, Bobbylon, Roland (back), Gavin Downie (front), Peter McLennan
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
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Hallelujah Picassos' 2018 single Fire Sandpaper Face on their own Loopy Fruit Recordings label
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At the Auckland Town Hall opening for Violent Femmes, 1990
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Hateman in Love tour, 1992
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Outside Real Groovy Records, Auckland, May 1992
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Roland in The Lab during the Drinking With Judas sessions, 1993
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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On the road again: Hallelujah Picassos in the South Island, June 1992
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Hallelujah Picassos - Picasso Core Jukebox - 5-3-12 Radio Wammo
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Hallelujah Picassos on Cheese On Toast, 2011
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Clap Your Hands
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Drinking With Judas tour, 1993
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Promoting Hateman in Love, Real Groovy Records, Queen Street, Auckland, 22 May 1992
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Hallelujah Picassos
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Recording Drinking With Judas in The Lab, 1993
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Hallelujah Picassos at Kurtz Lounge, Symonds Street, Auckland 1994
Photo credit: Photo by Greg Riwai. Peter McLennan collection
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Johnnie Pain, Gavin Downie (front), Bobbylon (back), Roland (back), Peter McLennan
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Bobbylon, 1995 bFM Summer Series, Albert Park
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Walters. Peter McLennan collection
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Hallelujah Picassos at Kurtz Lounge, 1994
Photo credit: Photo by Greg Riwai. Peter McLennan collection
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The crowd in Albert Park, bFM Summer Series, 1995
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Walters. Peter McLennan collection
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Roland Rorschrach
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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The letter written by Pagan Records boss Trevor Reekie to Stamp magazine, 1990, humorously reacting to the band accidentally slagging him off in the previous issue
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Hallelujah Picassos between Napier and Gisborne, with manager Lisa Van Der Aarde and soundman/producer David Hornblow, 1993
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Rewind
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Bobbylon, Roland (back), Johnnie Pain (front), Peter McLennan
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Roland
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1992 press ad
Photo credit: Simon Grigg Collection
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Bobbylon and Stinky Jim live at the Easter Bunrush. The Gluepot, Auckland, Aotearoa, 3 April 1994. Directed by Ross Cunningham, sound by Anthony Nevison.
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Drinking With Judas, 1993
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Peter McLennan, Bobbylon, Roland, Gavin Downie, Johnnie Pain, circa 1995
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The Picassos at The Siren, High Street, Auckland, as part of Hit The Floor, August 5, 1989
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Lovers + poster, 1992
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Peter McLennan and Johnnie Pain in a side project, Two Thieves And A Liar
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
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Hallelujah Picassos, 2011
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Lovers Plus
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Hallelujah Picassos
Photo credit: Photo by Darryl Ward
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The 2011 Hallelujah Picassos reissue CD
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Hallelujah Picassos with manager Lisa Van Der Aarde
Photo credit: Photo by Darryl Ward. Peter McLennan collection
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Johnnie Pain, Peter McLennan, Bobbylon, Roland
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Bobbylon in the studio with the Picassos, February 2014
Photo credit: Photo by Johnnie Pain
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DJ Stinky Jim interviews Bobbylon - the Dirty Harry of New Zealand Dancehall. Includes live footage from the Easter Bunrush Sound System gig at the Gluepot Corner Bar, Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. Directed by Ross Cunningham
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1993 interview with Marcus Lush
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Roland, Albert Park, 1995, bFM Summer Series
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Walters. Peter McLennan collection
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Peter McLennan: Hallelujah Picassos - Rewind The Hateman interview
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The original lyrics to Black Spade Picasso Core, 1992
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
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Black Spade Picasso Core
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Members:

Roland Rorschach - vocals, guitar

Bobbylon - vocals, drums, bass

Johnnie Pain - bass, vocals, samples, keyboards

Peter McLennan - vocals, guitar

Gavin Downie - guitar

Patrick Brunton - bass

Tony de Raad - bass

Darryn Harkness - bass

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Labels:

Pagan


Wildside


Dinosaur Tapes

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Trivia:

The B-side of the Rewind single featured a cover of Air by HLAH. This favour was returned when HLAH covered the Picassos' song Hitskin on Spanish Goat Dancer (1994).

From 1989 onward, Roland and Bobbylon also played regular dancehall sets as Riot Riddum Sound System. Not to be outdone, Peter and Johnnie formed their own side-project in 1991, playing experimental loopy electronica dub as Two Thieves And A Liar. What’s more, The Picassos were often supported on tour by Lee Harvey, because Peter (on bass) and Bobbylon (on drums) played for a number of years as his backing band.

John's teenage band The Bellboys, from Taupaki, featured Brett Adams (The Bads) on guitar and vocals. The group had a residency at Russell Crowe's all-ages live club The Venue on Symonds Street. The band fell apart when Andrew Fagan headhunted Brett for the Mockers.

The track Marshall Law Dub was named after the darkly themed superhero comic, Marshal Law. The comic co-incidentally had a character named John Pain.

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