Well schooled in street-level decadence, the notorious Christchurch proto-punk group cut their musical teeth dispensing cover-heavy sets with songs by David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed at the DB Gladstone and Hillsborough Tavern in Christchurch before stepping out for shows in Dunedin and Wellington.
Early on, they had flamboyant Māori female impersonator Arthur Manawatu up front and a three-guitar line-up of Mark Wilson (formerly of The Basket Cases), Mark Spence (keys) and Steve Marsden (also vocals), completed by Neil Spence (guitar), Frankie Steentjes (bass) and Steve's twin, Eric Marsden (drums).
Heading south again in October for Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin shows, they returned to Auckland in late March 1981. Their sole record release was the pop punk ‘Auckland Tonight’ backed with the jerky new wave stylings of ‘Getting Jumpy’. The record was recorded with sound engineers Doug Hood and Steve Kennedy at Harlequin Studios in September 1981 and released on Auckland indie Ripper Records. The single made it to No.19 on the New Zealand Singles Chart in November 1981.
An Andy Shaw-directed video for ‘Auckland Tonight’ showed the group touring the seedier city sights. The Androidss bowed out after farewell shows in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch in late 1981.
Their song ‘Mr Fish’, recorded live at Christchurch's Gladstone Hotel, also appears on Failsafe Records’ Accident Compilation.
Frankie Steentjes was later in Not Really Anything.
The Androidss reformed for reunion shows in 1987 and again in 2007. Sadly their numbers have thinned in recent years, with Steve Marsden passing in 2009, his brother Eric in 2011, Neil Spence in December 2014 and Frank Stenjees in July 2015.
Steve Marsden - guitar, vocals
Eric Marsden - drums
Mark Spence - keyboards
Neil Spence - guitar
Frankie Steentjes - bass
Mark Wilson - guitar
Formed as Lincoln Road Loonies.
Named after Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
Auckland Tonight was retitled Christchurch Tonight for hometown shows.
Eric and Steve Marsden were twins. Steve died in 2009 and Eric in 2011.
Iggy Pop watched The Androidss at the seedy British Hotel in port town Lyttleton one night – they played him their famous extended version of The Passenger as Pop sat to the side of the stage.