The Spines

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The Spines
The Spines: Fishing 1982
Background information
Genres alternative rock
Years active 1981 - 2010
Labels Ripper, Jayrem, Flying Nun
Members Jon McLeary, Les Knight, Rikki Gooch
Past members Ross Burge, Wendy Calder, Andrew Cross, Andy Craig, Anthony Donaldson, Neil Duncan, Caroline Easther, Rob Mahoney, Tim Robinson,


Formed by Hamilton ex-pat Jon Mcleary in 1981 The Spines are probably the only Wellington band from the early post-punk era to still be playing, having opened for The Buzzcocks no less in 2010. With arrangements featuring bagpipes and saxophones The Spines were perhaps too experimental/ folky to be easily identifiable as 'punk' but nonetheless had an audience in the hippy-punk scene of the early 1980s. The original line-up recorded at Sausage Studios in 1981 and released their first two singles, Fishing and Punch, on Auckland's Ripper Records which featured some big name artists of the time The Androidss, Newmatics and The Swingers.
Described by Simon Grigg as having an almost "post gothic darkness about them"<ref name="Grigg">Grigg, S., "[1]"</ref> the mournful tone of their music coupled with the ethereal vibe of Naked Spots Dance and the political agit-punk of RIOT 111 for a boxing day gig at Rock Theatre in 1981 seems an appropriate way in which to send out the most violent year in modern New Zealand history. Following these initial singles The Spines released two albums on Wellington label Jayrem and Dunedin indie icon Flying Nun. Jon McLeary went on hiatus after after this reforming the band again 1996.


  • Fishing, 1982, Ripper, RIP021, Tracks: Sideways / Gillian / Fishing / It’s All Inane
  • Punch, 1982, Ripper, RIP025, Tracks: Punch / Your Body Stays
  • Act Your Age, 1984, Jayrem, JAY116, Tracks: Lions / I Get Driven Down / Act Your Age / Prepare to Scream / As Far As I Can Tell/ Death Commandoes
  • The Moon, 1985, Jayrem, JAY316, Tracks:A Shakey Hand / Pokerface / Go To New York / Regret / Hard To Swallow / One Way Step / When You Hit The Roof / Are You Withered Or Not? / When She's Alive / You Should See My House / Lily & I
  • Idiot Sun, 1986, Flying Nun, FN072, Tracks: More To Go / There Is No Satan / The Prize For Industry / Kiss Of Death / Idiot Sun / You Seem To Be Happy / Minutes Don't Matter / I Wish You Well





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