Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Warners- Hit and Run LP (Onslaught Records 1988)

This LP was the debut album from Auckland band The Warners. The band was originally formed in 1984 with Jon Baker(the guitarist) and Allen Stephenson (the leather jacketed frontman) still remaining from the original line up. Both had played extensively before in early Eighties bands such as Cot Death, First Offence and Dead Image. The Warners released a 4 track EP "Elsie's Got a Gun" in 1986 by Meltdown Records before this LP came out.

The band attracted a reputation as a hard band with a hard audience as they attracted skinheads. The Warners style borrows from The Stooges and MC5. The mindless thugs' behaviour was often blamed on the band but also gave the band a notorious reputation. The Warners were banned from playing a number of Auckland venues due to the crowd they often attracted.

The Warners were often labelled a punk or heavy metal band but insisted that they were neither although claimed to be influence by both and other styles as well. They described their sound as high energy rock and roll with an emphasis on having a good time.

The Warners left Meltdown records and released a split 7" EP(which was shared with Bygone Era)

The Warners records were supposed to be pressed at Aussie band'sPainters and Dockers pressing plant. Painters and Dockers agreed to press the album but decided to sell the plant. However they wouldn't hand over the money to the new label. Onslaught records got some more money together to release the album after a four month delay.

Due to lack of venues in Auckland the band often played out of their hometown and around the North Island. The band were generally well-received except in Wellington (where like Sticky Filth they were labelled sexists and Nazis). This came about when in mid-song Allen attacked a mannequin in what was seen as a sexual manner. Allen said he was taking the piss out of headbangers and the heavy metallers on TV who sang about how big their knobs were.
Because the band were labelled a punk band, in some quarters, they were expected to be anarchists and vegetarians.

The album starts with a cover the Stooges' Loose which sets the style for the rest of the album which is high energy rock and roll. Standout tracks are: Dance Disco Dance, Peggy Suicide, Fight and Speed Trap. The LP does a good job of capturing the band's live sound. I caught the band a few times in the nineties. Once with Salad Daze and another time as a support band for Canada's Nomeansno.

After this album The Warners released the blue vinyl 1989 Satellite Surfing EP (on the Flying Nun label which is well worth seeking out for the songs Brain Like A Baseball Bat, Satellite Surfing and Bastard Sons of Rock and Roll. In 1994 Wildside records(who released heavier bands than those Flying Nun are largely renowned for) released a best of The Warners CD which features the band's material from 1984-1994. In 1995 The Warners released both a CD EP entitled Crazy Horses and an album entitled Bogans' Heroes.


Anonymous said...

The Warners were a fantastic live band. They drew hundreds at their shows during their heyday - more than most NZ bands. Lead singer was hilarious. Don't understand why they'be been so forgotten? Jealously, I suppose. Typical NZ!

James said...

Here here to that- I followed them from the West Auckland boot boy days in The Plunket Boys, through Vicious Circle, First Offence and Dead Image. Dunno about them being squeeky clean tho! I often wonder why they have been ignored and forgotten-they pulled bigger crowds than most of the so called cool bands, and you certainly got your moneys worth of action, and the odd black eye or missing tooth to go with it!

Jon Diggit said...

Hi, check out
Or search for The Warners Nz on youtube, about 5 x vids are up

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