Suburban Reptiles vocalist Zero (Clare Elliott) at The State Dance, Auckland, 18 February 1978. - Jeremy Templer


Some things are arguably meant to be and Clare Elliott’s arching influence on our musical legacy is one such thing despite only being actively in a band in Aotearoa for a mere 18 months. Forty-seven years have passed since the Suburban Reptiles first walked onto a stage in Auckland and just over 45 since they, somewhat chaotically, stepped off that stage forever. And yet Clare’s unexpected passing on 26 March 2024 has caused a massive outflowing of love and admiration. For her as a woman who made a definable difference in the – then, even more – male-dominated and aggressively macho music industry. And more simply as a friend, a mother and a humble and very generous soul, albeit one with a wonderfully incisive sense of humour that never seemed to wilt.

I’m writing this about 18 hours after Jimmy had messaged me to tell me that Clare – Zero, or just plain Z as we affectionately knew her – had passed away unexpectedly in Auckland that morning. Jimmy is Jim Salter, once artistically known as Jimmy Joy (and earlier stage names); he was both the saxophonist and co-founder of the Reps, and the band’s acknowledged spiritual leader. Billy Planet, who passed away in 2022 was the band’s political conscience and Zero was its pure soul and stylistic guide.

Like many, I’m devastated by the news. She was my friend and sometimes my guide for almost 50 years. – Simon Grigg, Suburban Reptiles manager, AudioCulture founder, narrator

The Suburban Reptiles in Queen Street, Auckland, 21 October 1977. Zero is second from left. - Simon Grigg collection

Jim Salter, a Suburban Reptile

In 1976, the coolest people in Auckland were living in 1926. The rest of us were in 1971. When I met Clare, she was hanging with the Deco set: fox furs and jet jewellery. A matter of months later, she was Zero and we were punks trying to figure out what punks might look like. We had no instant media, so Zero’s sense of style was a big influence on the look in those very early days.

She was always a visual artist – I’d seen photos of a teenager’s sculpture, a man’s head, that an art critic might call “fiercely expressive” - but now she became a performer. She became the face and the presence of the Suburban Reptiles, and it wouldn’t have worked without her. She had to find the confidence and the attitude to front a band that, frankly, provoked dissenting opinions. She did it because she believed in it. She put a huge amount of energy into a performance, usually exciting audiences, but on occasion being attacked and once arrested (for being, um, fiercely expressive).

Zero checks her makeup in Jimmy's shades, June 1977 - Photo by Simon Grigg

Simon Grigg

How did I meet Clare? I was talking to my friend David Blyth about this. I met Clare through a mutual friend, a loveable but sometimes inspiring rogue, Marc Barron, who in turn had been introduced to me by David in 1973. Marc had seen Clare in a café in a basement in Customs Street, downtown Auckland, where she, aged about 16 and newly arrived in New Zealand from Sydney, was working part-time and Marc had decided that he wanted to ask her out. Oddly, Marc, who was never lacking in confident bravado, asked me to accompany him down to the café as moral support. I did and Clare and I talked for an hour or so while Marc fumed.

We became close friends, part of an increasingly inseparable group which involved music (we were absorbed by the once folky and now newly eclectic Split Enz, loved Hello Sailor, as much for the crowd as the music, Space Waltz and the challenging Dr Tree), theatre, gay bars and anything else we thought more interesting than the still mostly monochrome city. Clare and I often talked books and shared a passion for Mervyn Peake. Jimmy met Clare when she asked me to engineer a meeting with the tall Bowiesque young man who she’d seen me talking to in the University Student Quad, which was central to our world. I did, at the Globe Hotel one afternoon. The interest had long been mutual and they were quickly a very edgy item in a city that aspired to be more than its narrow constraints seemed to permit. It was the era of Bowie, early Roxy, Hot Licks magazine, and an explosion of young artists, alternative filmmakers, designers and photographers. Auckland felt like it was on the cusp.

The story of the beginnings of the Suburban Reptiles has been told so many times it doesn’t need repeating here, but the late afternoon I went over to Jimmy’s flat at 10 Ponsonby Terrace to suggest we form a punk band, Clare was there, and I remember it was automatically assumed that she would sing in what was at best little more than an excited idea. It was never really discussed as we tried to work out what exactly it was – what this thing called “punk” was. Billy, too, was Jimmy’s flatmate and, similarly, he was the unquestioned instant third member (on bass). We had a name before we knew what we were naming and that was Jimmy’s “Reptiles” with, I’m pretty sure, Zero’s “Suburban”. It worked and within a couple of weeks the idea had more members – two guitarists, a chorus of sorts and a drummer called Des after I proved inadequate.

Jimmy Joy, Zero, Buster Stiggs, Billy Planet, Bones Hillman. Taken for a fashion shoot by an Auckland Star photographer, October 1977.

David Herkt, writer, TV director

At the beginning of 1977, Zero was a beautiful grey-eyed, bleached-blonde embodiment of the times. Still an art-school student, she would soon front Aotearoa’s Punk Rock Revolution. For the next 18 months as the vocalist of the Suburban Reptiles, she would become the centre of media furore. Her cool response to manufactured outrage was infinitely revealing.

Watching Zero on-stage was to confront the era. New Zealand was in a price-frozen depression and getting an overseas LP was a rarity. To have her performing in bright, high-keyed stage lighting, or just as often in daylight, was to discover someone who had an energy that was palpable. She radiated presence. She brought a bigger world home.

Her fashion sense was inimitable. She created high style from opportunity shop finds, or repurposed uniforms, caps, or long beige woollen coats. She was the mistress of make-up, sculpting her cheeks and eyes with finesse. She created styles that were widely adopted. She led. 

In the lights of Zwines, 52 Cuba Street (Wellington), or the Classic Theatre on Queen Street, Zero was everybody’s dream-girl, a heartache, and a platinum-lit star. With her then-partner, Jimmy, the saxophonist in the Reptiles, they embodied all the possibilities that seemed to be just there for the catching…

It was an allure only enhanced by the chaos that seemed to follow every Suburban Reptiles gig or tour. Somehow, the final implosion was even more devasting. The superb poster featuring Zero and the Idle Idol’s Jamie Jetson for a State Theatre gig on Saturday, 28 October 1978, would never fulfil its promise.

State Dance, October 1978. The Suburban Reptiles were advertised but split shortly before this and were a no-show - Design: Philip Peacocke. Simon Grigg collection.

SG: Throughout that period, especially in the first six months or so, we played the media. It was great fun as we concocted outrage which was gobbled up without question or edit by the tabloids eager for a front-page headline, but the fun had a probably inevitable darker kickback, and an excursion I’d arranged to Wellington in August 1977 to play the Students’ Arts Festival turned ugly when thugs assaulted some of us.

The upside to media coverage was the appearance of a growing number of young followers, kids we would see at every single gig. Initially, there were a tiny handful, then a dozen or so which grew to fifty and eventually to the very low hundreds by the end of the year. Zero was central to the media furore, partially by design and partially because this strident, vocal and visually striking young woman was a natural magnet, so much so that a big part of this growing number of fervent band followers were women – often not much more than girls – who were drawn to Zero and everything she stood for.

Sandra McEvoy (née Jones), Idle Idol, early Suburban Reptiles fan

How to express what a beautiful, gracious, witty and kind person she was? So brave, adventurous and strong. How she lit up a room and stage. And how endlessly welcoming and sweet she was to me as an awkward 14-year-old drawn to her glowing presence. She was my epitome of glamour and charm, and I loved her. Always will.

Jamie Jetson and Sandra Jones, Idle Idols at Zwines - Photo by Fiona Clark

Yvette Parsons, actor and former Alien

Darling Zero: mercurial, dazzling, lightning bolt smart, funny as fuck, goddess.

I was a teenage punk, and you had my heart, lock stock and barrel, the moment I met you. I followed you around ever after. You in ankle socks and pointy stilettos, black winged eyes, doing the twist. The Reptiles were my idols; your inimitable smokey voice and Jimmy’s soaring sax. Just so good. I can still see you on the stage in Rocky Horror at His Majesty’s, so in your element and so captivating as Columbia. When everyone went to Sydney, I followed you there too in ’79. Climbing through the boarded-up window of a derelict building with Simon, to be mesmerised by your performance in Sideshow's Café Debris – still one of the most magical experiences of my life.

We shared a love of clowns. If anyone even vaguely hinted that they didn’t like (or god forbid were scared of) clowns, you were always primed to go into fierce battle on behalf of the clowns! Your artistry was boundless. I was speechless when I saw the Punch & Judy puppets you made. Complete works of art. And I still crack right up remembering the voices you and Kev did for them, Punch and Judy and all. What a joy. Darling, darling Zero. So much fun. I will miss your friendship, that Cheshire grin and the warmest eyes I’ve ever looked into. A beacon of love going out to you Zero. Love you forever. X

SG: The band lost members, gained others (Buster Stiggs on drums, Bones Hillman on bass and, briefly, Johnny Volume on guitar), made a record and had a hit-and-run policy of gigs, much like early Split Enz who were the template, avoiding pubs. Throughout this period Zero was the public face of our media scrums, complicated by a conundrum of sorts with the band being split between two competing visions: Zero, Jimmy and Billy, the originals, wanted to make music that didn’t have any commercial imperative, whilst Buster, increasingly assertive, had aspirations driven in part by the fact that many of his friends were in Split Enz or used to be. He craved success.

Buster Stiggs, Suburban Reptile, Swinger

I ran into Zero at art school and was amazed by her dress sense and fantastic makeup, and by her boyfriend Jimmy who looked Bowiesque. I heard thay had a punk band called the Suburban Reptiles. Yes, please. I basically talked my way into the band on the fact that I had written songs with Neil Finn, and I had a drum kit. Up until then, I had only jammed along to records like ELO, nice simple beats, out at Malmsbury Villa (made famous in an early Enz song) in Kohimarama. I got the gig, and after the first rehearsal, I started writing songs for the Suburban Reptiles. (2017)

Riverhead Rock, 1978: - Zero gets arrested for swearing on stage. - Photo by Murray Cammick

Johnny Volume, Scavenger, Suburban Reptile

I woke this morning to a message telling me that Zero had died ... I was stunned. 

We (The Scavengers) first met Clare and the Suburban Reptiles one Sunday night at a cinema showing Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf. They looked different, like we did, and we became instant friends. We sat together for the movie, laughing at Des [Truction] doing a bird with an ice cream cone for a beak impression which pissed off the art-movie crowd. Aging hippies telling us to shut up. Things were about to change though.

We saw a lot of each other for the next 18 months and we made a lot of music. I joined the Reptiles for a short while and moved into Billy’s house in Ponsonby. We spent many hours in the basement learning songs and getting to know each other.

I hadn’t seen Clare for decades, but we got on well back in the punk age, and we wrote to each other occasionally years later in the social media age. I hope you had a good life Zero. You certainly made your mark. I’m glad to have been there for some of it. RIP my friend.

SG: It was a rift that would eventually destroy the band. 1978 was a year of internal and sometimes external conflict (on the unwise nationwide pub tour that Buzz booked). Buster got his wish in the end but his success would come later with another trio, The Swingers. Along the way, a fracturing band, with Phil Judd as producer and guest musician, would create a single, ‘Saturday Night Stay At Home’. In 2000 it was voted the best New Zealand single of all time in a B-Net poll.

Picture sleeve from the 7" Suburban Reptiles - Saturday Night Stay At Home (Vertigo, 1978)

James Pinker, the Features

It’s hard to express the emotion I have when confronted by the loss of Clare.

I knew and loved her first as Zero – a punk wahine toa with so much style. At the time it was always with Jimmy, her then-partner, the sax player and Bowie lookalike that I was so utterly in awe of. Their combined fashion sense was like a massive lightning rod across a barren New Zealand.

The band was just amazing – more attitude than expertise – in a scene ridden with old pub rockers and woody old folksters. I saw them quite a few times: University of Auckland “dances”, at the long-gone State Theatre on Symonds St, and the infamous gig at the National Students’ Arts Festival at Victoria University, Wellington. I’d driven down, fanboy as I was, with Phill Robinson and Mike Molloy. We had a nascent punk-pop group, the City Slitz, infamous more for what we never did (ie, play very much). But we graffitied a lot. I followed the Reptiles around the Wellington streets, gorging on their pouting rancour, fashion and high-stakes attitude. Yes, a lot of bravado but it was so damn exciting. They even made it into the local papers.

Zero with The Suburban Reptiles at 52 Cuba Street, Wellington, May 9, 1978. - Simon Grigg collection

I became the drummer in The Superettes, a rowdy, super-fast punk outfit that eventually transmogrified into the Features. One night, I found out that all the Reptiles were coming to see us at an Upper Queen St club. I was completely star-struck and virtually unable to play: my hero Zero was in the crowd, it was all I could do to contain myself. It was a horror gig – we had a band punch up afterwards – but somehow, we got the nod of approval. A few years later, Zero said she loved the band and that I was considered “a mascot”.

Another night I seemed to have been beamed down to another planet. It was a massive after-party at the incredible party house (and later my abode) in Birdwood Crescent, Parnell. The Rocky Horror Show was in town and Zero was a star in it. I recall her arriving, late of course, but with the entire cast as an entourage and I thought I’d landed in a Kenneth Anger or perhaps a Ken Russell movie. I was probably speechless for much of the party as my voyeuristic impulses took over. Zero looked so beautiful and so magnificent.

A few years later we all ended up living in the same hood, in Sydney’s notorious King’s Cross. Still somewhat in awe and somewhat mystified by the now defunct Reptiles, I seemed to have landed back in Zero’s orbit and her warm supporting embrace. She would come to whatever musical adventure I was on regardless of the genre and always have something sharp, supportive and on point to say.

A friend and confidant, one who took no prisoners, who spoke her mind and always had a youthful twinkle in her eye.

SG: One of the most powerful moments in New Zealand music video – perhaps in New Zealand music – is the opening few moments of the ‘Saturday Night’ clip. The song roars to life instantly, Zero arrives a few seconds later and at 12 seconds her face is full screen, staring directly into your eyes as she launches into the famous “Living out of a suitcase ...” lyric. She lifts her arms to eye level, sharpens the glare, and sings the second line: “Life at a breakneck speed”. She now owns you for the next two minutes and 20 seconds. It’s an extraordinary moment but for anyone who had been following the Suburban Reptiles for the previous year, it was also nothing new. That’s exactly what Zero had been doing to audiences in the Classic Cinema, at Disco D’Ora, at Wellington’s 52, at whichever unusual venue the band determined to play at next.


SG: The irony was that the ‘Saturday Night Stay at Home’ video illustrated that Buster already had exactly what he needed to capture the world. Don’t change a thing.

Rachel McCarthy, Zwines kid, punkette, friend

I was a shy little thing in my first year of university when I first heard about Zero. Her fame preceded her, and I was, frankly, awestruck.

Because that’s what Zero did: awe people. She was a force of nature who fronted the Suburban Reptiles with a ferocious passion and equally supported women’s rights and our freedoms, so much so, that her actions changed our free speech law. All of this in the late ’70s in very conservative New Zealand.

I was frankly terrified at first of this vision in a black bin-liner, but I was soon wearing similar! I was always a punk at heart, I think, and it took women like Zero to show us we can express ourselves however we bloody well like. A trailblazer.

She was always just awesome, and I hope she understood what an amazingly positive effect she had on people – particularly on women.

Redmer Yska, author, journalist

Oh Zero. I’ll never forget that first night in 1977 I saw you swagger with the Suburban Reptiles, up at the Union Hall at Victoria University. I’d never seen a more dangerous blonde with a zippier haircut and a more insouciant sneer. I managed to quake and fall in love at the same time.

I know it was all about Bowie (everything was in those years). But it felt tumultuous and it still does; almost like witnessing the bonfire of the counterculture in real time, the death (by punk pitchfork) of a thousand hair-farmers. I rushed off and wrote a pretentious undergraduate review, quoting Ezra Pound and William Butler Yeats (‘After Us the Savage God’). Loved your work. You changed my life.

Redmer Yska reviews The Suburban Reptiles for Rip It Up

Tim Mahon, The Plague, Whizz Kids, Blam Blam Blam, Zwines kid

I saw them three times, that I can remember. Twice at the Auckland University café and once at the premiere of [David Blyth’s movie] Angel Mine.

To a young punk, the Suburban Reptiles were the epitome of cool. Zero had a stage presence that demanded you look and look again the music was chaotic noisy and anarchistic. Zero was the eye of the storm and indeed the storm in itself. Dressed in a black rubbish bag she owned the stage. She was the punk movement. It was an empowerment of Kiwi lassness that led to a generation of independent empowered women in bands, out the front of bands and holding their own in a sea of testosterone-fuelled boys. She had style – they all did, but her style was more dangerous, more shocking than lads could ever be. I also remember the posters that went up all over Auckland that said, “The Suburban Reptiles are playing nowhere f**k you”. At the Angel Mine premiere, she played with two versions of the Reptiles: neither would have been much good without her.

SG: In mid-1978, Gary Glitter saw Zero in a TV news piece when he arrived in the country for rehearsals for that year’s touring Rocky Horror Show, and suggested she be head-hunted for the role of Columbia. So it was, and the choice was deemed an enormous success marred only by a fall in Auckland when Zero tumbled off the stage into the His Majesty’s orchestra pit, grazing her leg and cracking her sternum which meant painkillers for the rest of the season.

The cast of the 1978 New Zealand Rocky Horror Show: Sharron Skelton, John Collingwood-Smith, Raynor Burton (rear), Sal Sharah (front), Gary Glitter, Keith Richardson (rear), Jenni Anderson (front), Paul Johnstone and Zero (Clare Elliot). - Paul Johnstone collection

Meanwhile, the Suburban Reptiles ungracefully imploded, but punk was a fading aspiration by then. The scene she had, probably more than most, created, quickly devolved into an increasingly violent sequence of conservative clichés. Sydney beckoned and she and Jimmy crossed the Tasman in mid-1979. Billy went to school and Buster found his Enz in The Swingers.

David Herkt

Zero would then tour New Zealand with The Rocky Horror Show. She would move to Sydney and work with Michael Matou’s Sideshow troupe on shows like Café Débris in an abandoned hotel on William Street, or their spectacular performance in a grand Sydney theatre using two hundred years of costumes from the Beijing Opera. Punk was meeting High Art. She’d be a cover-model, feature in a hairdresser’s posters, always be an artist, a puppeteer and maker of puppets. She would become a partner to ex-Masochist, Kevin Grey, a mother of two, Alex and Lily, and a grandmother to Lane. 

Bernadette Ludwig (aka Boom Boom La Bern), performer, singer, general force of nature 

Boom Boom La Bern was a part of Cabaret Conspiracy, the emerging alternative performance arts scene and also worked with Sideshow remembers Zero's days in Sydney.

A Goddess of cheek and beauty – a Botticelli Venus – a woman of the Moon has left us. In this very early morning light, a huge full moon is brushing the tops of the palm trees as the sun starts to rise. And I am back with a rowdy gaggle of fledgling goddesses. We roamed and rampaged around Sydney encouraging each other to belong to a new and creative version of Mother Earth. Crank up the sound system girls because at my age it probably won't be too long until I'm there too and we put the band back together for a celestial tour.

We wore feathers as weapons, pearls as bullets. We were unashamed of the female human body whatever size, unapologetic of our talents and marched breast-to breast on Women’s Day in sequins, wearing tampons as earrings and chanting “MENstruation” in front of terrified policemen.

We were flung across oceans to different parts of the planet but there was no distance between us. And we gave birth. Zero and I were pregnant with daughters at the same time. Lily and Kartini were born only a few weeks apart, and Zero hoped these two powerful young women would someday meet. Zero had tried to come for the annual “KaBoom Day” in Bali but ... finances?! We also forgot to earn money.

This year, “KaBoom Day” on May 11th is dedicated to Zero who had hoped to be here for it. It’s a day for mothers and daughters, women, dance, feasting and celebration. I'm hoping we can put some money together for Zero’s daughter to come.

Ironically, Zero was such a 10++++. A more than complete person. Never a puppet and one of the greatest beings I have ever known.

Zero fronts the Suburban Reptiles at the Students Arts Festival, VUW, Wellington, August 1977. - Stuart Page

Martin Raphael, musician and performer

One of three ex-Kemp Company performers who founded Sideshow, and was the music director.

Meeting Zero in Sydney in 1979 was as natural as the dawn of a new day. Yet, I remember a certain shyness in both Zero and Jimmy Joy who, at that time, presented together in most things. Five minutes after landing in Sydney, they were introduced into our Sideshow Theatre Company world. 

Zero and Jimmy immediately embraced our values, ideas, schedules and, ultimately, performances. At the same time, they contributed so much. Zero had already performed in the iconic Rocky Horror Show and punk band Suburban Reptiles in New Zealand, and it showed. She possessed the skill of a magician turning the initial idea of a character into a fully-formed persona on stage. Her abilities complemented those within the company but, of greater importance, raised the bar.

Her first major role was of The Duchess in our production, Café Debris. Hers was an exquisite portrait of pain, loss, ageing, and satire. It was a black comedy drama musical, and she possessed the best voice in the company; her character’s song ‘Poor Gutter Girl’ deliberated on the torture of the central character and the death of hope. Her performance still sends shivers down my spine.

In our huge production of Beauty and The Beast, Zero played a number of roles, once more contributing artistry and stability within an increasingly large cast. The next major production was Hi Spots, staged at the New Tivoli. Again, Zero played a number of roles but her most unforgettable was that of The Goddess Venus – presented in a huge scallop shell, dressed in nothing but endless strings of beads. She wore a magnificent headdress with a microphone housed in its centre: this allowed her to sing ‘India Song’, a French song originally sung by Jeanne Moreau from the movie of the same name. [She was] sultry, sexy, ravishing yet lonely and alone. Her image lifted the entire auditorium and, at the same time, her impassioned yet weary delivery destroyed any promise of love.

The next production was Eva Peron with Matou as Eva and Zero as her mother. Essentially a satire on the whole story, Zero’s portrayal was hilarious.

Anything she was charged with became her complete focus. Her remarkable intellect, her sensibilities, passions, humour, adaptability, and personal experiences provided an impeccable palette from which to create.

All Zero created with us was memorable. I am privileged to retain her memory, to have worked with her, and blessed to have known her.

Zero fronts the Suburban Reptiles at the Students Arts Festival, VUW, Wellington, August 1977. - Stuart Page

Jim Salter

Our paths diverged after Sydney, but Zero raised a family back in Auckland with her long-time partner Kevin. She started to make puppets: a beautiful full set of Punch and Judy characters and the portable theatre to show them. I haven’t seen any better. The faces, especially Punch’s, have the same, okay, fiercely expressive look as her early sculpture. Zero did the study, learnt Punch lore and then she was performing again.

In all of the tributes, the posts and comments, one strong thread is the inspiration that she was to other young women and girls at the time she was fronting the Suburban Reptiles. But also, there are all the comments on her warmth and thoughtfulness, her self-effacing quality, her intelligence and empathy, her creativity. Many of those comments are from people she hadn’t seen for 40 years and that’s a tribute in itself.

David Herkt

In private, she drank endless cups of tea, wore boy’s pyjamas to bed, and loved op-shops and garage sales. She admired Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy of novels intensely. Her voice was husky and her laugh full. She was modest – perhaps, ultimately, too incredibly modest for someone who changed the times so completely and meant so much to so many people.

The last time I visited Zero in her home there were the usual arrangements of shells and coral and vintage toys, books and knick-knacks in all the colours of the ancient seaside like the encrustations on a hermit crab’s shell. It was a comfortable room and that is where I will remember her.

Zero in a Rocky Horror fashion shoot for the Auckland Star, October 1977


Sonya Waters, musician

Zero felt like a legendary figure in the Auckland punk scene. Sadly, I never met her or saw the Suburban Reptiles play live as they had already broken up before I started playing in the Instigators. But I knew who Zero was from the illustrious photos and the celebrated stories other people told.

To me, Zero was the image of what a feminist punk girl should be, with her daring stage presence, glamorous short hair and heavy eye makeup, and rebellious spirit. She seemed a larger-than-life character who wasn’t afraid to challenge the establishment or tell the audience to fuck off if she was being harassed.

It was a hard time to be a woman in a band. Thank God for Zero!

Domanik Nola, aka Miss Dom, broadcaster

Over the decades, Zero’s name has become legendary. An inspiring female figure and performer, she was a true local trailblazer. Her sense of style set the standard and taught the local punk girls how to dress. No one locally quite rocked as she did!

Zero was a national treasure and as such is an essential thread in the tapestry that is Aotearoa music. She was an absolute inspiration to many, me included.

Geoffrey Scott Blanks, owner of The Classic Cinema, Auckland 

The Suburban Reptiles played often at The Classic in 1977 and 1978

I shall say a little prayer when I am shuffling around upstairs at The Classic tomorrow.

Jimmy Joy and Zero - Classic Cinema, Auckland, 3 December 1977 - Photo by Jonathan Tidball

SG: Fifty years is a very long time to have known someone. We were just kids, but here we are. We were a tight group and many of the people mentioned on this page are now gone. Eighteen months back, we (as in the tiny number of people who sat in a room in late 1976 with an ‘idea’) lost Billy Planet (William Pendergrast to the taxman) which was traumatic for us all. Now Zero is gone. So many thoughts and memories but one makes me smile. It was October 1979 and I arrived, nervous as hell, in Sydney for the first time (to live). Zero, Jimmy, David Herkt and his partner John had gone ahead and were waiting at the airport. Zero looked like nothing on this planet as I walked out. She hugged me, stood back and said, “the family is back together” and I was fine. She was like that.