Pop Mechanix Profile

aka NZPOP, Zoo, Splash Alley
Andrew Schmidt
7 Nov 2014

Commercial power pop, second wave and energy rock and roll. Pressed for a genre name for their sound, Splash Alley, who became Pop Mechanix, came up with plenty, but were confined by none.

Pop Mechanix were part of the new wave of groups in the late 1970s and early 1980s that breathed the same air and shared ideals with punk. They were committed to recording their own songs, to revitalising rock and roll and returning it to the dance floor, to making it relevant to teens and post-teens again. With a full live list and one of the most under-valued catalogues in New Zealand rock and roll, they succeeded in doing so.

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Splash Alley at Dux De Luxe, month unknown
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Private Military (1982)
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Dick Driver on the Into The Eighties Tour in early 1980. The venue is Mainstreet in Auckland.
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The Pop Mechanix advertie Now at Record Warehouse, 1980
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RipItUp's news item on Dick Driver's departure, September 1980
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Kevin Emmett at Mainstreet in Auckland on the band's trip north in early 1980
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Jumping out a Window (1981 TVNZ Version)
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In 1980 Mainstreet was one of the key gigs in Auckland and any out of town band was held up to some scrutiny by the partisan Auckland crowd. Splash Alley passed the test but were advised that their name needed to be changed. Back in Christchurch they became Pop Mechanix.
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Splash Alley (l to r) Paul Scott, Richard Driver and Paul Mason at the British Seaman's Club, Christchurch, 1979
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Splash Alley: Chris Moore, Kevin Emmett, Paul Mason, Paul Scott and Dick Driver
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Andrew "Snoid" McLennan with Pop Mechanix at Auckland's Windsor Castle, September 1980
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The 2010 hits and singles compilation Now-Then: One Hit Windows issued by Failsafe Records as part of its comprehensive Pop Mechanix reissue series
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Pop Mechanix in late 1980 with Eden Security's Alby Carr: l to r - Kevin Emmett, Paul Scott, Paul Mason, Andrew Snoid, Alby, Chris Moore
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Celebration of the skin - Live TV appearance (1986)
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Pop Mechanix in 1986: Paul Mason, Brent Williams, Kevin Emmett, Andrew McLennan and Paul Scott
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Three members of the final lineup of Pop Mechanix at Auckland's Wildlife, 1987/88: Mark Bell, Peter Warren, and Andrew McLennan. Paul Scott and Paul Mason are out of shot.
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Ritz was recorded and released twice as a single. This version, produced by Mike Chunn, was the band's second single, issued via RCA in late 1980.
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Chris Moore playing at Auckland's Mainstreet in upper Queen Street in early 1980 on Splash Alley's Into The Eighties tour
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Jumping out a Window (second version, 1981)
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Splash Alley trying to convince an Auckland crowd at Mainstreet in early 1980. Barry Jenkin – the important Doctor Rock – was one who was convinced, as was Mike Chunn, then a partner in Ripper Records who signed the band shortly thereafter.
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Celebration of the Skin (1986)
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Pop Mechanix's classic Jumping Out A Window, released in March 1981 on Mike Chunn's new XSF label (via CBS), it was the first with Andrew Snoid on vocals and was produced by Eddie Rayner. It would reach No. 21.
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Paul Scott and Dick Driver at Auckland's Mainstreet in early 1980. They arrived in Auckland as Splash Alley, whereup Radio With Pictures' Barry Jenkin advised them that a name change might be helpful - Pop Mechanix was the result.
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Pop Mechanix circa 1986: Kevin Emmett, Paul Mason, Andrew McLennan, Chris Moore and Paul Scott
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The 1982 Cowboys and Engines album released under the name Zoo. The artwork was by Paul Pattie
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Pop Mechanix's debut single Now b/w Radio Song, released in September 1980 on Ripper Records
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Pale Sun (1987, Friday Night Live)
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Splash Alley: Chris Moore, Paul Mason, Dick Driver, Paul Scott, Kevin Emmett
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Splash Alley: Kevin Emmett, Chris Moore, Paul Mason, Paul Scott and Dick Driver
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Beat Goes On (1987 Friday Night Live)
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Keep it up (1982)
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Pop Mechanix supporting Jimmy And The Boys in Canberra in 1981
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Dick Driver with Splash Alley at Auckland's Mainstreet, early 1980
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An Australian CBS publicity shot for NZ Pop
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The Ritz (1981)
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Texas, originally a Splash Alley song, backed with Cowboys, was Pop Mechanix's fourth single, released in 1982 on Mike Chunn's XSF label. 
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The 1985 self-titled Pop Mechanix EP on John Doe's Hit Singles label
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The second release of Ritz on a single was under the name NZPOP, issued a year after the RCA version, this time on Mike Chunn's XSF label and as a double A-side with Holidays
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Members:

Paul Scott - bass

Paul Mason - guitar

Dick Driver - vocals

Andrew McLennan - vocals

Kevin Emmett - drums

Chris Moore - guitar

Brent Williams - guitar

Mark Bell - guitar

Peter Warren - drums

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Trivia:

Dick Driver would later, as Richard Driver, become a household name as host of Radio With Pictures, beginning a lifetime career in TV which includes producing the 2003 Give A Whirl TV series.

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Labels:

Failsafe


Ripper


Hit Singles


RCA


CBS


XSF