Headless Chickens Profile

aka International Headless Chickens
Russell Brown
16 Apr 2013

From the radical edge to the top of the singles chart: Few bands here or anywhere have quite the span of the Headless Chickens.

Their story begins in Auckland in 1983, when Johnny Pierce (bass), Grant Fell (guitar) and Bevan Sweeney (drums) hooked up with a Westie kid called Chris Matthews (vocals, guitar) to form the dark, roaring Children's Hour.

Read more +
Healess Chickens - photograph by Stuart Page
Photo credit: Stuart Page
Headless Chickens, Powerstation, 4 December 1992
Photo credit: Mark Roach collection
Headless Chickens, 1990 - Michael Lawry, Grant Fell, Chris Matthews, Rupert E Taylor, Anthony Nevison, Bevan Sweeney
Headless Chickens recording Stunt Clown at Mandrill Studios, Parnell, Auckland, early 1988: Chris Matthews, Michael Lawry, producer Rex Visible, Rupert E. Taylor, Bevan Sweeney and Grant Fell
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
The Headless Chickens at Wellington's Shed Eleven, 1992, with Australia's Caligula, local heroes Gifted & Brown, and DJ Roger Perry
Early Headless Chickens: Michael Lawry, Rupert E. Taylor, Grant Fell and Chris Matthews
Fiona McDonald and Grant Fell (hidden) at the Big Day Out, Auckland, 1995.
Photo credit: Photo by Becky Nunes
Simon Grigg collection
The Gluepot, 1990
Headless Chickens reunion, The Powerstation, November 2008
Photo credit: Mark Roach collection
Headless Chickens with Salmonella Dub and Projector Mix at the University Of Canterbury, 1993
Fiona McDonald and Grant Fell at the Big Day Out, Auckland, 1995.
Photo credit: Photo by Becky Nunes
Simon Grigg collection
Headless Chickens live at 2JJJ, Sydney
Photo credit: Photo by Stuart Page
The cover for the Headless Chickens' 1988 Stunt Clown album, designed from a model made by Jacqueline Dwyer
The Auckland launch for Chris Knox's Jesus On A Stick comic - Tall Dwarfs, Headless Chickens and Goblin Mix, June 19, 1986
Photo credit: Graeme Hill collection
Secondtime Virgin
1987 - Chris Matthews, Michael Lawry, Grant Fell, Bevan Sweeney, Rupert E Taylor
Photo credit: Photo by Stuart Page
1980s Radio With Pictures interview
Micheal Lawry, Windsor Castle, 1986
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Chris Matthews, Grant Fell, Bevan Sweeney, Michael Lawry, Anthony Nevison
Headless Chickens, The Powerstation, 14 March 1993
Photo credit: Mark Roach collection
The poster for the first Headless Chickens EP on Flying Nun, 1986
Bevan Sweeney, Michael Lawry, Chris Matthews, Grant Fell and Fiona McDonald
Michael Lawry, Grant Fell, Fiona McDonald, Chris Matthews, Anthony Nevison
Gascrankinstation (live at The Gluepot, October, 1990) Bob Sutton Collection
Rheineck Rock Awards press release
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
Headless Chickens Australian reunion shows, December 2008
Photo credit: Mark Roach collection
Headless Chickens performing at the 1987 Rheineck Rock Award at Auckland's Le Bom, 1987: Michael Lawry, Chris Matthews, Rupert E. Taylor and Grant Fell
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Headless Chickens, 22 September 1995
Photo credit: Mark Roach collection
Chris Matthews, Bevan Larsen, Gerald Presland, Flex
Photo credit: Photo by Becky Nunes
Railway Surfing (live) Bob Sutton Collection
Rupert E. Taylor, HMV store, Auckland 1990
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Headless Chickens: Chris Matthews, Michael Lawry, Fiona McDonald, Bevan Sweeney, Grant Fell, Anthony Nevison
Chris Matthews, Gluepot 1987
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Anthony Nevison, HMV store 1990
Photo credit: Jonathan Ganley
Headless Chickens - Juice (1994)
George
Chris Matthews at the Big Day Out, Auckland, 1995.
Photo credit: Photo by Becky Nunes
Simon Grigg collection
Headless Chickens.
Photo credit: Stuart Page
1993 - back: Bevan Sweeney, Chris Matthews, Grant Fell. Front: Michael Lawry, Fiona McDonald
Juice interview with Grant Fell 2008
Headless Chickens - Donde Esta La Pollo (1992)
Poultry In Motion interview - Chris Matthews, Grant fell and Michael Lawry interviewed by Rod Bent aka Rupert E Taylor
Supertrouper
Gaskrankinstation
A poster for Headless Chickens' Gluepot shows, October 1992
1989 - Anthony Nevison, Chris Matthews, Michael Lawry, Grant Fell, Bevan Sweeney
Chris Matthews
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
Chris Matthews at the Big Day Out, Auckland, 1995.
Photo credit: Photo by Becky Nunes
Simon Grigg collection
Cruise Control
Chris Matthews, HMV store, Auckland 1990
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Ganley
Headless Chickens: Bevan Sweeney, Grant Fell, Rupert E. Taylor, Chris Matthews, Michael Lawry, in a shot taken in 1988, before Fiona and Anthony joined. It was used on the cover of Rip It Up when the Stunt Clown album was released.
Trivia:

Cruise Control includes vocal samples from The Crocodiles' Tears and Shona Laing's 1905.

The stilt walkers who loom in the video for Gaskrankinstation are Bevan Sweeney and his colleagues from a stilt ensemble formed as part of a summer arts work scheme.

The sounds sampled at the beginning of Expecting to Fly are the cry of a psychiatric patient called Willie the Whoop and the squeak of an old playground swing.

Labels:

Flying Nun


Mushroom Records

Members:

Chris Matthews - vocals, guitar, keyboards

Michael Lawry - keyboards, effects

Grant Fell - bass, guitar

Bevan Sweeney - drums

Fiona McDonald - vocals

Rupert E. Taylor - vocals

Rex Visable - effects

Johnny Pierce - bass

Anthony Nevison - guitar

Angus McNaughton - programming