Suburban Reptiles

The Suburban Reptiles and The Scavengers, both from Auckland, were the first 1970s styled punk bands in New Zealand.

Punk came to New Zealand rather hesitantly. The global explosion which began in the US in the early to mid-1970s and then spread to the UK was completely ignored by the media and record companies in New Zealand; the likes of the Ramones and the nascent scene that surrounded them rated nary a mention in Hot Licks, New Zealand’s pop magazine of the era. When English punk arrived in late 1976 we had no real rock and roll press, as Hot Licks had shut up shop in the middle of the year.

Suburban Reptiles' debut single 'Megaton'.
Photo credit:  Simon Grigg collection
The Suburban Reptiles at 52 Cuba Street, Wellington, May 9, 1978.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Buster Stiggs' handwritten original lyrics to 'Saturday Night Stay At Home'.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Saturday Night Stay At Home
Flyer for a December 1977 Classic Cinema party. The Suburban Reptiles did a series of these gigs.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Zero at The State Dance, February 18, 1978.
Photo credit: Photo by Jeremy Templer
Suburban Reptiles in the Neil Roberts-directed Eyewitness - punk television special (1978)
The Suburban Reptiles, Queen Street, Auckland, 21 October 1977
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Jimmy Joy, Zero, Buster Stiggs, Billy Planet, Bones Hillman. Taken for a fashion shoot by an Auckland Star photographer, October 1977.
Buster Stiggs' handwritten original lyrics to 'Saturday Night Stay At Home'.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
Suburban Reptiles, mid-1978: Billy Planet, Jimmy Joy, Zero, Buster Stiggs and Tony Baldock
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection. Photo by Paul Hartigan
Saturday Night Stay At Home video with Phil Judd
Photo credit: Photo by Paul Hartigan
Suburban Reptiles in Grafton, Auckland, April 1978. Top to bottom: Roland Morris, Buster Stiggs, Billy Planet, Jimmy Joy and Zero.
Photo credit: Photo by Jeremy Templer. Simon Grigg collection.
Zero all dressed up for The Rocky Horror Show, September 1978
The Buster Stiggs designed poster for Saturday Night Stay At Home, using an image from the 1950s. The poster was recreated in the 2014 7-inch reissue of the single.
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Zero and Jimmy Joy in an invitation to a private party above Auckland's Classic Cinema, November 1977
The Suburban Reptiles and 52 in a handmade flyer for a gig at 52 Cuba Street in April 1978. The Suburban Reptiles had an ongoing association with the inventive Wellington band, with whom they felt they had more in common with than the increasingly conservative Auckland scene.
Buster Stiggs, pop star Richard Wilde, Zero, Jimmy Joy, Colin Lum from Phonogram at the Megaton single release party at The Poenamo Hotel, Takapuna, 2 February 1978.
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
The Suburban Reptiles wish Rip It Up a Merry Xmas, December 1977
Photo credit: Murray Cammick Collection
The Suburban Reptiles in Onehunga, June 1977: Shaun Anfrayd, Jimmy Joy, Billy Planet, Sissy Spunk, Buster Stiggs, Zero. Taken before the Marcellin College which saw them featured on every weekend paper's front page that week.
Photo credit: Photo by Simon Grigg
Razorblade Rosie
The 1978 NZ tour poster overposted with a gig with Wellington's 52 at their home base in Cuba Street
The Suburban Reptiles above the Classic Cinema, Queen Street, January 1978. The BBC interview with the Sex Pistols had been turned down by TVNZ.
The crowd at The Suburban Reptiles Radio Hauraki concert in February, 1978
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
State Dance, October 1978. The Suburban Reptiles were advertised but split shortly before this and were a no-show
Photo credit: Design: Philip Peacocke. Simon Grigg collection.
The Suburban Reptiles play Albert Park, Auckland, 1978
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Riverhead Rock - Zero gets arrested
Photo credit: Photo by Murray Cammick
Suburban Reptiles in Auckland's Jean Batten Place, October 1977. L to r: Jimmy Joy, Bones Hillman, Buster Stiggs, Zero, Billy Planet.
Jimmy Joy and Zero - Classic Cinema, December 3rd, 1977
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Tidball
Buster Stiggs at the Classic Cinema, 3 December 1977
Photo credit: Photo by Jonathan Tidball
Suburban Reptiles with stand-in guitarist Johnny Volume at the August 1977 Students' Arts Festival at Victoria University. The band are setting up and The Scavengers' Des Truction is also seen. From left: Des Truction, Buster Stiggs, Johnny Volume and Jimmy Joy.
Photo credit: Photo by Wayne Hunter

Zero - vocals

Jimmy Joy - saxophone, vocals

Billy Planet - guitar, bass

Buster Stiggs - drums, guitar

Bones Hillman - bass

Tony Baldoch - bass, guitar

Shaun Anfrayd - guitar

Johnny Volume - guitar

Sissy Spunk - guitar

Phil Judd - guitar, keyboards

Roland Morris - bass




The first pressing of Megaton had the despised Roger Dean designed 'prog' Vertigo label. It had been requested by Simon Grigg to indicate irony.

Buster Stiggs passed away in January 2018, in Perth, W.A. Brian Nicholls died in a traffic accident in Wellington in the 1990s.

Zero, Jimmy and Brian Nicholls were members of the Sideshow Theatre in Sydney in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The band's name was in part inspired by the David Bowie lyric 'he smiles like a reptile'.

Trish Scott's son, Joel Little, would, in the 21st Century co-write and produce the global smash 'Royals' with Lorde.

The guitar used by Billy Planet on the Megaton single was formerly owned by Lou Reed and used on the Rock'n'Roll Animal and Transformer albums. It was loaned to Billy by Johnny Volume.

Funded by

Partners with