Hallelujah Picassos


In the mash-up culture of today, it’s hard to recall how rigidly bands used to stick within a single genre. When Hallelujah Picassos arrived in the late-80s, they blasted away at people’s conceptions with their feral mix of indie rock, ska, hardcore punk, and hip-hop.

They loomed large over the Auckland live scene and with two key albums coming out through Wildside Records – Hateman In Love and Drinking With Judas – they set to take over the country.

The crowd in Albert Park, bFM Summer Series, 1995
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Walters. Peter McLennan collection
Hateman in Love tour, 1992
Recording Drinking With Judas in The Lab, 1993
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
On the road again: Hallelujah Picassos in the South Island, June 1992
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Peter McLennan, Bobbylon, Roland, Gavin Downie, Johnnie Pain, circa 1995
Black Spade Picasso Core
Roland Rorschach
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Johnnie Pain, Bobbylon, Roland (back), Gavin Downie (front), Peter McLennan
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
The 2011 Hallelujah Picassos reissue CD
At the Auckland Town Hall opening for Violent Femmes, 1990
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Hallelujah Picassos, 2011
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
A strong lineup for a 95bFM gig at the City Markets, Auckland, 12 November 1994 
Hallelujah Picassos
Photo credit: Photo by Darryl Ward
Drinking With Judas tour, 1993
1992 press ad
Photo credit: Simon Grigg Collection
Hallelujah Picassos - Lovers + (1992)
Peter McLennan: Hallelujah Picassos - Rewind The Hateman interview
1993 interview with Marcus Lush
Hallelujah Picassos at Kurtz Lounge, Symonds Street, Auckland 1994
Photo credit: Photo by Greg Riwai. Peter McLennan collection
Bobbylon in the studio with the Picassos, February 2014
Photo credit: Photo by Johnnie Pain
Roland, Albert Park, 1995, bFM Summer Series
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Walters. Peter McLennan collection
The letter written by Pagan Records boss Trevor Reekie to Stamp magazine, 1990, humorously reacting to the band accidentally slagging him off in the previous issue
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Promoting Hateman in Love, Real Groovy Records, Queen Street, Auckland, 22 May 1992
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Smokin' and Fumin'
Clap Your Hands
Bobbylon, 1995 bFM Summer Series, Albert Park
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Walters. Peter McLennan collection
Roland
Lovers + poster, 1992
Johnnie Pain and Roland
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Rewind
Peter McLennan and Johnnie Pain in a side project, Two Thieves And A Liar
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
Johnnie Pain, Gavin Downie (front), Bobbylon (back), Roland (back), Peter McLennan
The original lyrics to Black Spade Picasso Core, 1992
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Hallelujah Picassos with manager Lisa Van Der Aarde
Photo credit: Photo by Darryl Ward. Peter McLennan collection
DJ Stinky Jim interviews Bobbylon - the Dirty Harry of New Zealand Dancehall. Includes live footage from the Easter Bunrush Sound System gig at the Gluepot Corner Bar, Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. Directed by Ross Cunningham
Hallelujah Picassos at Kurtz Lounge, 1994
Photo credit: Photo by Greg Riwai. Peter McLennan collection
Hallelujah Picassos
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Drinking With Judas, 1993
Hallelujah Picassos in 2023: Drew McCormack, Peter McLennan, Darryn Harkness with Roland Rorschach in front.
Roland in The Lab during the Drinking With Judas sessions, 1993
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Johnnie Pain, Peter McLennan, Bobbylon, Roland
Wildside Records publicity shot - Bobbylon, Roland, Johnnie Pain (front), Peter McLennan
Bobbylon and Stinky Jim live at the Easter Bunrush. The Gluepot, Auckland, Aotearoa, 3 April 1994. Directed by Ross Cunningham, sound by Anthony Nevison.
Hallelujah Picassos - Picasso Core Jukebox - 5-3-12 Radio Wammo
Hallelujah Picassos between Napier and Gisborne, with manager Lisa Van Der Aarde and soundman/producer David Hornblow, 1993
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Outside Real Groovy Records, Auckland, May 1992
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Lovers Plus
Bobbylon, Roland (back), Johnnie Pain (front), Peter McLennan
Hallelujah Picassos' 2018 single Fire Sandpaper Face on their own Loopy Fruit Recordings label
The Picassos at The Siren, High Street, Auckland, as part of Hit The Floor, August 5, 1989
Photo credit: Peter McLennan collection
Hallelujah Picassos on Cheese On Toast, 2011
Members:

Roland Rorschach - vocals, guitar

Bobbylon - vocals, drums, bass

Johnnie Pain - bass, vocals, samples, keyboards

Peter McLennan - vocals, guitar

Gavin Downie - guitar

Patrick Brunton - bass

Tony de Raad - bass

Darryn Harkness - bass

Labels:

Pagan


Wildside


Dinosaur Tapes

Trivia:

The B-side of the Rewind single featured a cover of Air by HLAH. This favour was returned when HLAH covered the Picassos' song Hitskin on Spanish Goat Dancer (1994).

From 1989 onward, Roland and Bobbylon also played regular dancehall sets as Riot Riddum Sound System. Not to be outdone, Peter and Johnnie formed their own side-project in 1991, playing experimental loopy electronica dub as Two Thieves And A Liar. What’s more, The Picassos were often supported on tour by Lee Harvey, because Peter (on bass) and Bobbylon (on drums) played for a number of years as his backing band.

John's teenage band The Bellboys, from Taupaki, featured Brett Adams (The Bads) on guitar and vocals. The group had a residency at Russell Crowe's all-ages live club The Venue on Symonds Street. The band fell apart when Andrew Fagan headhunted Brett for the Mockers.

The track Marshall Law Dub was named after the darkly themed superhero comic, Marshal Law. The comic co-incidentally had a character named John Pain.

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