Buster Stiggs Stories

The Reptiles at the Dawn of Punk


“The Huia black and the scarlet band, the urgent word and the stern command, symbols all of the fine old school, proud in strength and mild in rule.”

Words to the school song boomed out every morning at school assembly. The dickheads got supreme adolescent pleasure by replacing the opening words with “The whore is black”. Followed by a universally reluctant listening to a classical piece played over the hall sound system. That was the extent of formal music education at Hastings Boys’ High School in the late 1960s and early 70s.

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The Swingers and This Year’s Model


The Swingers auditioned a lot of drummers. I was playing rhythm guitar, but none of the drummers seemed right. They were all good players but put their licks all over the music, rather than laying down a steady groove supporting the lyrics in the song. We kept it down to a three-piece, so that is how I became a drummer. It was a practical decision as well as a musical one. The band and a sound guy, with all our gear, PA, and lights, could tour in one van. 

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