Coconut Rough Profile

Glen Moffatt
4 Feb 2020

Coconut Rough bounded into the national consciousness in 1983 with debut single ‘Sierra Leone’ – close to four minutes of synth-laden pop mastery that was difficult to escape let alone ignore.

A super group of sorts whose pedigree took in The Whizz Kids, Blam Blam Blam, Street Talk and The Swingers, Coconut Rough created an instant buzz and were signed to Mushroom NZ. They recorded an album and sent it to their label boss in Australia. Then they waited … and waited … and waited …

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Coconut Rough - As Good As It Gets (Mushroom NZ, 1983)
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Andrew McLennan at Auckland's Mainstreet with Coconut Rough.
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Live at Mainstreet - The Narcs and Coconut Rough (1983)
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Coconut Rough press release, 1984.
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Coconut Rough - Sierra Leone (1983)
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Cover of the Coconut Rough single Magic Hour, penned by Phil Judd. Cover painting also by Phil Judd. (Mushroom NZ, 1984)
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Coconut Rough, 1984: clockwise from left - Mark Bell, Eddie Olsen, Stuart Pearce, Bones Hillman and Andrew McLennan.
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Back cover of the single sleeve, Coconut Rough - Magic Hour (Mushroom NZ, 1984)
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Whistle While You Work, the 1983 CBS live album recorded at Auckland's Mainsteet Cabaret for Radio With Pictures. The Narcs and Coconut Rough each had a side.
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Coconut Rough - Sierra Leone single label (Mushroom Australia, 1983)
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Coconut Rough - Balancing Act (B-side to As Good As It Gets, Mushroom NZ, 1983)
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Coconut Rough, 1983. From left: Dennis "Choc" Tuwhare, Paul Hewitt, Andrew McLennan, Mark Bell, Stuart Pearce.
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Side 2 label, Coconut Rough LP (Mushroom NZ, 1984)
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Coconut Rough's self-titled LP (Mushroom NZ, 1984) – front cover painting by Phil Judd.
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Coconut Rough - Sierra Leone single label (Mushroom NZ, 1983)
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Coconut Rough - Sierra Leone back cover (Mushroom Australia, 1983).
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Back cover of Coconut Rough - As Good As It Gets (Mushroom NZ, 1983)
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Coconut Rough - Sierra Leone picture sleeve single (Mushroom Australia, 1983)
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The original Coconut Rough, May 1983. From left: Dennis Tuwhare, Stuart Pearce, Andrew McLennan, Paul Hewitt and Mark Bell.
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Back cover, Coconut Rough LP (Mushroom NZ, 1984)
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Coconut Rough - Sierra Leone picture sleeve, back cover (Mushroom NZ, 1983)
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APRA Silver Scroll, Auckland, 1984. From left: Narcs manager Peter Fairhall, unidentified, Coconut Rough's Andrew McLennan, DD Smash manager Roger King, and promoter Mike Corless.
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Coconut Rough - As Good As It Gets (Mushroom NZ, 1983)
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Coconut Rough - Sierra Leone "extended dance mix" (Mushroom NZ, 1983)
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Coconut Rough, August 1983: Stuart Pearce, Paul Hewitt, Andrew Snoid, Dennis "Choc" Tuwhare, Mark Bell.
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Trivia:

Former Split Enz and Swingers guitarist Phil Judd painted the cover of Coconut Rough’s self-titled album. Judd was even invited to join Coconut Rough for their final tour.

‘Sierra Leone’ by Coconut Rough was one of just four NZ Top Ten hits in 1983, reaching No.5. Dave and the Dynamos’ ‘Life Begins At 40’ was the only locally made No.1; ‘Outlook For Thursday’ by DD Smash peaked at No.3, and the Netherworld Dancing Toys EP got to No.10.

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Members:

Andrew McLennan - vocals

Mark Bell - guitar

Dennis "Choc" Tuwhare - bass

Stuart Pearce - keyboards

Paul Hewitt - drums

Bones Hillman - bass

Eddie Olsen - drums

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Labels:

Mushroom Records

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