Children's Hour Profile

Andrew Schmidt
13 May 2013

When the smoke cleared on the Auckland post-punk explosion of 1981 and 1982, it revealed a brace of dark, emotionally and musically challenging acts. Children’s Hour’s Chris Matthews (guitar, vocals), Bevan Sweeney, (drums), Grant Fell (guitar) and Johnny Pierce (bass) stood out from that adventurous bunch.

The menacing quartet quickly garnered a rapid reputation for confrontational and disconcerting performance at the Rumba Bar, The Windsor Castle, Mainstreet, all-ages venue S.P.A.M. and on four trips south.

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The 1984 Looney Tours poster
Caroline's Dream
Bevan Sweeney, Laneway, 31 January 2011, Aotea Square, Auckland
Photo credit: Photo by Jackson Perry
Chris Matthews and Rob Mayes with Children's Hour at Laneway Festival, 31 January 2011, Aotea Square, Auckland.
Photo credit: Photo by Jackson Perry
A rare handscreened poster for the first Children's Hour EP Flesh, in 1983
Children's Hour 2005 reunion. Rob Mayes, Chris Matthews, Grant Fell, Bevan Sweeney
Children's Hour at Auckland's Rumba Bar: Johnny Pierce, Chris Matthews, Bevan Sweeney, Grant Fell
Photo credit: Photo by Carol Tippet
Members of Children's Hour busking on the 1984 Looney Tour. L to R: tour manager Dave Merritt, Bevan Sweeney, soundman Rex Vizible, Chris Matthews and Doublehappy's Shayne Carter.
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
On the Looney Tour - the late Johnny Pierce (Children's Hour), the late Wayne Elsey (Doublehappys), Dave Merritt (tour manager), Bevan Sweeney (Children's Hour), 1984
Photo credit: Photo by Terry Moore
Children's Hour at Christchurch's Gladstone (a 'F.Nun recording party') and Dunedin's Oriental, November-December 1984
Children's Hour at Auckland's Rumba Bar - l to r: Grant Fell, Chris Matthews, Johnny Pierce
Photo credit: Photo by Carol Tippet
The poster for Looking For The Sun, 2005, a live CD compilation of Children's Hour songs recorded between March 1983 and March 1984 at New Plymouth’s Bellblock, University of Otago and the Windsor Castle, issued by Failsafe Records.
Chris Matthews on 95bFM's Extended Play: Childrens Hour
Children's Hour's 1984 single, Ya! Ya! Ya! recorded at Progressive Studios by Doug Hood and Terry King.
Chris Matthews, Laneway, 31 January 2011, Aotea Square, Auckland
Photo credit: Photo by Jackson Perry
Grant Fell at the Children's Hour reformation at Laneway, 31 January 2011, Aotea Square
Photo credit: Photo by Jackson Perry
The Looney Tour, February 1984, with promoter Doug Hood, left, with hat
Photo credit: Photo by Terry Moore
Chris Matthews at the Children's Hour reformation, Laneway, 31 January 2011, Aotea Square, Auckland
Photo credit: Photo by Jackson Perry

Grant Fell - bass

Johnny Pierce - bass

Bevan Sweeney - drums

Chris Matthews - guitar, vocals

Rob Mayes - bass


Looking For The Sun, a collection of period live performances was released on Failsafe Records in 2005. The group re-formed with stand-in bass player, Rob Mayes, to promote the album.

In early 2011, they re-formed for Laneways festival in Auckland.