Netherworld Dancing Toys Profile

Andrew Schmidt
16 Apr 2013

Dunedin’s Netherworld Dancing Toys brought the full force of the post-punk movement’s interest in horn-driven soul to New Zealand pubs, clubs and pop charts in the early to mid-1980s.

Songwriters Nick Sampson and Malcolm Black, with a rhythm section of Graham Cockcroft (bass) and Brent Alexander (drums) and an ever-changing horn section, filled the much complained about tyranny of distance (for Dunedin groups) with self belief, an accessible persona, persistent tours and a constant run of chart records.

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NDTS 1984, left to right – Malcolm Black, Neville Schwabe, Graham Cockroft, Steve Renwick, Paul Docherty (roadie/entertainment officer), Gary Valentine, Tex Houston (sound), Nick Sampson, Ged Taylor (lights), Brent Alexander
Photo credit: Photo by Bruce Maunsell. Nick Sampson Collection
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Mike ‘Rocky’ Rilstone – tenor sax in original NDT line-up
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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The Real You
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Sticking up posters in Nelson
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Malcolm Black
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Nick Sampson
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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The Netherworld Dancing Toys, venue unknown
Photo credit: Nick Sampson collection
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Nick Sampson and Malcolm Black receive the 1985 APRA Silver Scroll for For Today. The venue is Phil Warren's club Keeley's and to the left is APRA's Bernie Darby and to the right Ray Columbus who was the songwriters' representative on the APRA board.
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Standing in the Rain - live at Christchurch Town Hall, 1984
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Auckland Airport 1985, left to right Nick Sampson, Malcolm Black, Brent Alexander, Graham Cockroft, Tex Houston
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Hold On I’m Coming
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Bell Block, New Plymouth 1984 – left to right – Gary Valentine, Neville Schwabe, Brent Alexander, Malcolm Black, Stephen Renwick, Graham Cockroft, Nick Sampson
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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For Today
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Bored To Death
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Nick Sampson
Photo credit: Photo by Bruce Maunsell. Nick Sampson Collection
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Filming Sheer Thrill video in 1983 – left to right – Rocky Rilstone, Matthew Trbuhovic, Alistair Perry
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Back cover shot for the Song and Dance EP – left to right: Matthew Trbuhovic, Nick Sampson, Gary Valentine, Phil Hurring, Brent Alexander, Graham Cockroft, Malcolm Black
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Shazam set-up schedule 1983
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Nick Sampson with the Netherworld Dancing Toys at The Captain Cook Hotel, Dunedin
Photo credit: Nick Sampson collection
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Sheer Thrill
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Soul Searching
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Sweetwaters, 1983
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Netherworld Dancing Toys outside The Gladstone Hotel, Christchurch
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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NDT rhythm section Graham Cockroft (bass) and Brent Alexander (drums), Massey University 1984
Photo credit: Photo by Bruce Maunsell. Nick Sampson Collection
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Malcolm Black
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Gimme Some Lovin - live at Christchurch Town Hall, 1984
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Brent Alexander with the Netherworld Dancing Toys
Photo credit: Nick Sampson collection
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Malcolm Black
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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left to right – Steve Renwick, Neville Schwabe, Gary Valentine, Massey University 1984
Photo credit: Photo by Bruce Maunsell. Nick Sampson Collection
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The Esplanade, Devonport – 1983 supporting DD Smash – left to right – Rocky Rilstone, Matthew Trbuhovic, Gary Valentine, Malcolm Black, Graham Cockroft
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick. Nick Sampson Collection
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Trusted Ones - live at Christchurch Town Hall, 1984 (with Phil Schofield intro)
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Painted Years
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Brent Alexander
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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'Trusted Ones' lyrics
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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Netherworld Dancing Toys and Annie Crummer perform 'For Today' at the 2018 APRA Silver Scroll Awards
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For Today - live at Christchurch Town Hall with Annie Crummer, 1984
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The Netherworld Dancing Toys at The Captain Cook Hotel, Dunedin
Photo credit: Nick Sampson collection
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Alistair Perry – trumpet player in original NDT line-up
Photo credit: Nick Sampson Collection
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The risks of ongoing touring – assorted Netherworld Dancing Toys with their just crashed van in the South Island. Happily, nobody was hurt.
Photo credit: Nick Sampson collection
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Members:

Malcolm Black - vocals, guitar

Nick Sampson - vocals, guitar

Graham Cockroft - bass

Brent Alexander - drums

Phillip Hurring - brass

Alistair Perry - trumpet

Matthew Trubuhovich - saxophone

Mick Rillstone - saxophone

Neville Schwabe - saxophone

Stephen Renwick - trombone

Grant Hughson - trumpet

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Labels:

Flying Nun


Virgin


CBS


Propeller

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Trivia:

Graham Cockroft is now CFO at Contact Energy and a major shareholder in the revived Flying Nun Records.

Nick Sampson was also in Lure Of Shoes.

Malcolm Black is a prominent entertainment lawyer working in music licensing. He was head of A&R for many years at Sony Music and now works with Les Mills International and Crowded House.

The name Netherworld Dancing Toys was suggested by the band's trumpet player, Alistair Perry. It's a line from the Roxy Music song Spin Me Around on the 1979 Manifesto album.

Nick Sampson's current band is called Betty Love Elvis