AXEMEN Profile

Patrick Faigan
21 Oct 2014

AXEMEN, formed in 1983, are notorious for an anarchic style of rock and roll with a multi-media "total art" approach. Founding band members Steve McCabe and Bob Brannigan are both extremely prolific songwriters.

Although Brannigan would eventually depart in order to concentrate on leading his garage rock band, Shaft, the long term on-and-off partnership with McCabe resulted in the ongoing release of an enormous output of recordings, mostly in a home-made cassette format but also including vinyl & CD releases on such labels as Flying Nun and Siltbreeze.

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Wellington 2014
November 2009 poster for Local 506, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Big Cheap Motel - Live at Permanent Records, Chicago, USA 2009
Three Virgins (1986)
The AXEMEN at Auckland's Whammy Bar, 2011
Rock'n Roll Legend (1987)
The AXEMEN at the Pyramid Club, Wellington, September 2014
Stevie McCabe, Dragan Stojanovic, Stu Kawowski and Bob Brannigan, North Carolina 2009
The AXEMEN tag Christchurch in 1984
The AXEMEN 1991: Stevie McCabe, Bob Brannigan, Stu Kawowski
The first ever AXEMEN poster from 1983, later used as the first of two 2009 US tour T-Shirt designs
The AXEMEN recording, 2009
Stevie McCabe in Columbus, Ohio, 2009
Mourning of Youth (1987)
AXEMEN on TV3's Yahoo (1992)
Screenprinted poster from the 1980s
Little Stevie McCabe with a big guitar, 2011
Bob Brannigan reading Garage, 1985
The AXEMEN and friends at Auckland's Whammy Bar, 2009
Little Stevie McCabe and fans, Memphis 2009
Drink For The Heart... (1985, directed by Lawrence Lens)
Carmen on Ice (1987)
Sickh & Tyred 7-inch sleeve. A split release with Times New Viking in 2009, it was released for the tour and only available at the gigs.
The AXEMEN, 1984: Stevie McCabe, Bob Brannigan, Stu Kawowski
Stu at the end of the 2009 US tour
The first AXEMEN cassette Equinox from 1983
The AXEMEN at Peterborough Studios, Chrischurch 1984
The 2011 NZ tour poster
The cover for the 2009 digital release of Beat It, recorded live at the Star & Garter Hotel, Christchurch, November 1983
Nutsack (2009) Live on Radio WFMU, USA
Stevie McCabe, 1983
A 2011 Australasian tour flyer
A Scar is Born, 1984
Photo credit: Design by Stu Page
The poster for the September 2014 show at Wellington's Pyramid Club
Stu Kawowski in New York City, 2012
Dragan and Bob at Graceland, Memphis Tennessee
Sac Tap Nut Jam, 2013
The AXEMEN on The Grassy Knoll, Dallas, 2009
Stu Kawowski, 2012
DJ Stevie McCabe at Mighty Mighty, Wellington, 2010
Photo credit: Design by Stu Page
Stu Kawowski in his High Street Ink Inc. studio in Christchurch, 1984
Philly, 2009
Stevie McCabe recording 3 Virgins, 1985
The 2011 Australian Tour poster
Derry Legend recording session at Writhe Studio (1987), left to right: Stu Kawowski, Dragan Stojanovic, Little Stevie McCabe and Bob Brannigan
The AXEMEN, Morgantown, West Virginia 2009
Stevie McCabe, Stu Kawowski and Bob Brannigan, Christchurch 1980s
The sleeve for 2013's Sac Tap Nut Jam, released by US label Spacecase Records
Bob Brannigan at the Stax Museum, Memphis, 2009
One of the 3 Virgins mastertapes
Steve McCabe and Stu Kawowski recording on the train to Whangarei, 1986
The Wharf With No Name (1989)
The AXEMEN at The Mercury Lounge, NYC, 2009
Stu and Bob with the test pressing of Big Cheap Motel, 2009
Bob Brannigan with George Jones, Texas, 2009
Stevie McCabe, Stu Kawowski and Bob Brannigan
Photo credit: Photo by Renée Barrance
The current – since 2011 – AXEMEN lineup: Stu Kawowski, Dragan Stojanovic, Stevie McCabe, William Daymond
Stevie McCabe and Steve 'Humann' Pfauter, a Los Angeles punk legend, LA 2009
The AXEMEN on the site of the failed music festival Neon Picnic in January 1988
Photo credit: Stuart Page collection
Handcut stencil poster, 1985
Stu at Sun Studios, Memphis 2009
The AXEMEN in Columbus, Ohio 2009
Nutsack (2009) side AA of the 2011 AXEMEN Nutcracker Suite Australian tour 7-inch
The Axemen write to Russell Brown at Rip It Up. The letter itself is lost in time.
AXEMEN - Point That Thing (Golden Dawn 19/12/14)
The AXEMEN as one with nature at Totaranui Beach, Golden Bay, 1986
Stu Kawowski at EMI Lower Hutt to master 3 Virgins, 1986
Stu Kawowski and fan, Morgantown, West Virginia 2009
The AXEMEN at Mighty Mighty, 2011
The AXEMEN at the Ambassador, Pt. Chev, Auckland 2009
Nutshack Redemption Song, 2011, side AAA of the AXEMEN Nutcracker Suite Australian tour 7-inch
The 2009 Siltbreeze vinyl reissue of the 1984 Big Cheap Motel cassette
Stu Kawowski, Dragan Stojanovic and Bob Brannigan, May 2009
US T-Shirt logo, 2009
The AXEMEN at Hell Farm in the early 1980s
Sac Tap Nut Jam graphic, 2013
Be My Slave (2009) Live on Radio WFMU, USA
The 1984 Big Cheap Motel cassette

Flying Nun


Spacecase Records

Sleek Bott


Bob Brannigan - guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals

Stu Kawowski - drums, vocals

Steve McCabe - guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals

Dragan Stojanovic - guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals

William Daymond - bass, vocals