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We know what we want – a Suburban Reptiles scrapbook


A selection of images, ephemera, clippings and press releases from the first 18 months of Auckland punk.

The Suburban Reptiles were formed in early 1977 but gathered momentum with the arrival of drummer Buster Stiggs in late May.

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Buster Stiggs first practice with The Suburban Reptiles in early June 1977, at Buster's flat, Park Road, Grafton. Left to right: Buster, Brian Nicholls (aka Shaun Anfrayd) and Will Pendergrast (aka Billy Planet). - Photo by Simon Grigg

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Buster Stiggs the same day. With Buster came a decent amount of band gear – he was living in the flat where Split Enz had left much of their NZ backline when they moved to London - Photo by Simon Grigg

Massey

The first gig with Buster was a private party in West Auckland. The crowd was a mix of confused, bemused and excited by this unheard 'punk rock'. 

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Trish Scott (aka Sissy Spunk) and Buster Stiggs, pre-show at Massey. A young hippy looks on bemused. - Photo by Simon Grigg

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Zero, Trish and Jimmy at Massey, pre-show. - Photo by Simon Grigg

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Jimmy Joy (aka Jimmy Vinyl aka Lino Clone) sings 'Razorblade Rosie' at Massey, using the same microphone he'd used to mike his sax.  - Photo by Simon Grigg

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Billy Planet and Brian Nichols (with Buster behind) at Massey. - Photo by Simon Grigg

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A June 1977 bio-sheet for the Reptiles. It was turned into the PR sheet as below, handed out at the Maidment Theatre to eagerly awaiting reporters backstage afterwards the show.

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The second Suburban Reptiles' poster, designed by Buster.

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The weekend newspapers were happy to provide The Suburban Reptiles with as many 'shock' headlines as the band wanted. This, from the 8 O'Clock on July 3, 1977, was carefully controlled reporting of the band's firing from the Marcellin College school ball.

Coup D'Tat

Coup D'tat was a fanzine put together by Buster and myself (as Symin 'n' Mark). I penned the words and took most of the photos, Buster did the graphics. It featured lyrics, including songs that were never recorded, somewhat silly strident words and was photocopied illicitly on the Department of Labour's Xerox machine. This is issue one (there were two).

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Banking the proceeds – there were never many. The BNZ had to be convinced that a bank account in this name for THESE people was a good idea. The second cheque deposited – from Marcellin College – bounced. - Simon Grigg collection

Craccum

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Craccum magazine, the Auckland Students' Association weekly, then under the editorship of Frank Stark, had an ongoing and humorous relationship with The Suburban Reptiles through much of 1977. Frank would soon form his own punk band, Junk, with ex-Suburban Reptile Des Edwards on drums.

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The first mention of the Suburban Reptiles in Craccum, centred around the performance – if you can call it that – at Elam's mid-year Christmas party. The whole party was filmed by filmmaker Gray Nicol but the footage is currently missing. The centre point, albeit unintentional, was the demolition of the layered cake by members of the audience.

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The June Maidment gig was promoted primarily to garner attention from the mainstream media – in other words, the Sunday papers – who flocked to the press event afterwards. Craccum's writer was excluded and they were less than happy about it.

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A Suburban Reptile writes to the editor and Frank's response is gold.

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A still from Gray Nicol's film of The Suburban Reptiles at Elam. 

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The Suburban Reptiles tell big lies to the Sunday News, June 1977.

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The Suburban Reptiles get opinionated in Rip It Up, July 1978.

Wellington

In late August 1977, The Suburban Reptiles, The Scavengers and a small group of fans went to Wellington for the Student Arts Festival. It did not go quite as planned. The story is here and here.

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Trish Scott and Des Truction (aka Simon Munroe aka Des Hefner) at the Student Arts Festival, Victoria University, Wellington, August 1977. - Wayne Hunter collection

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Buster at the Student Arts Festival, Victoria University, Wellington, August 1977. - Wayne Hunter collection

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Zero, Billy and Jimmy, possibly The Cricketers Arms, Wellington, August 1977.

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The capital didn't take the arrival of Auckland punks easily – squads of vigilantes followed both The Suburban Reptiles and The Scavengers around all week and Johnny got the worst of it.

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A publicity sheet made from outtakes from the October 1977 Auckland Star fashion shoot with The Suburban Reptiles.

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Rip It Up rumours, November 1977

Another bio

This a little more polished than the first.

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The Suburban Reptiles analysed in Campus Art North magazine. Billy's 'customary' trick never happened but the fact it's mentioned indicates that even the alternative press was not immune to the manufactured hype although in this case, they may have manufactured their own.

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An unauthorised Suburban Reptiles T-shirt. There were several of these being sold in Auckland, mostly at Cook Street Market.

The 1978 bio

Penned by Jewel Sanyo for the March/April tour of New Zealand.

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The Suburban Reptiles, May 1978. - Photo by Jeremy Templer 

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Zero and Jimmy, May 1978 - Photo by Jeremy Templer

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In August 1978 Zero starred in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and one of the Sunday papers was a little more gracious to her than they had been a year earlier.

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A mid-1978 publicity photo of The Suburban Reptiles, from the final photoshoot – an altogether slicker looking lineup: Tony Baldock, Buster, Zero, Jimmy and Billy. - Photo by Paul Hartigan

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And in the end – $24.21. It was the only accounting the band ever saw from Phonogram or their publisher. - Buster Stiggs collection

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