JPS Experience Profile

aka Jean-Paul Sartre Experience
Russell Brown
20 Mar 2014

Perhaps the definitive band of Flying Nun Records' second wave, the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience – or as they were later, more manageably called, the JPS Experience or just JPSE – not only left a memorable, and surprisingly diverse catalogue, but went on as individuals to play their part in several other classic acts.

The core of the band, David Yetton and Dave Mulcahy, first played together in school groups, and then in what was described in an early RipItUp interview as "a seven-piece band that played free-form rock" in the Christchurch suburb of Woolston. In 1985 they met Invercargill native Gary Sullivan through a mutual friend who was experimenting with magic mushrooms, reading Sartre and suffering a consequent existential crisis. Thus inspired, the three dubbed themselves the Jean Paul Sartre Experience.

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JPS Experience, May 1993
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Precious
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JPS Experience in 1992 as a five piece with Russell Baillie at right-rear
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Flex
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Slip (live at the Gluepot, Auckland, 24 August 1990) Bob Sutton collection
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Into You
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A poster for 1989's The Size of Food album
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Ray Of Shine
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I Like Rain
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Automatic (live at the Flying Nun 10th Anniversary, Powerstation, Auckland, NZ, 10 September 1991) Bob Sutton collection
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Elemental (live at the Gluepot, Auckland, NZL, 24 August 1990) Bob Sutton collection
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Breathe
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Jean Paul Satre Experience at the Gladstone, Christchurch, 1986. The decorations were cut up milk bottle tops
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Inside And Out
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JPS Experience (clockwise from top left) - Gary Sullivan, Jim Laing, David Yetton, David Mulcahy
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Bleeding Star, the final album produced by Mark Tierney, released in 1993
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Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, November 1989
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Jean Paul Satre Experience at Chippendale Hall, Dunedin, March 1986
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JPS Experience at Christchurch's Subway club
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Jean Paul Satre Experience at the Gladstone, 1986
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Jean-Paul Satre Experience at Chippendale House, Dunedin, August 1987
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Gary Sullivan at the Gladstone, Christchurch, 1986
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Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - Jim Laing, Gary Sullivan, David Mulcahy, David Yetton
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JPS Experience at The Subway, Christchurch, year unknown
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The US cover Jean-Paul Sartre Experience's 1986 album, Love Songs. The album was released on the small Communion label in the United States.
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JPS Experience, Martin Phillipps (misspelled) with visuals by Projector Mix at Auckland's The Gluepot, June 1991. This was the first time the name Projector was used by the soon to be called Projector Mix.
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Crap Rap
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Jean Paul Satre Experience at Chippendale Hall, Dunedin, March 1986
Members:

David Yetton - bass, vocals

Gary Sullivan - drums

David Mulcahy - guitar, vocals

Jim Laing - guitar, vocals

Russell Baillie - keyboards

Matthew Heine - guitar

Labels:

Flying Nun


Communion


Matador

Trivia:

The band's name came from a friend who was, according to Mulcahy, "going through a really bad time, getting really depressed and reading Jean-Paul Sartre. He used to say he was having these amazing experiences with with Jean-Paul Sartre."

Russell Baillie is now the entertainment editor at the New Zealand Herald

Crush won the 1993 NZ film award for best film score (shared with now acclaimed Aussie movie composer Antony Partos) and featured Greg Johnson on trumpet

A widely-believed rumour held that the band amended their name under legal threat from the estate of Jean-Paul Sartre itself. It wasn't true, but it was a good story.