Avil Retards

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Avil Retards
text about the image
Need For Speed
Background information
Also known as Afliction
Origin Onslow College
Genres NZ Hardcore
Years active 1986 - 1988
Associated acts Acid Reign, Microwave Babies, Nazgul, One Less Customer for the Butcher
Members Paul Redican (bass), Andy Hope (guitar), Andrew Johnstone (guitar), Jarad Bryant (drums)


The Avil Retards formed in 1986 after Jarad Bryant and Andrew (Juve) Johnston split from Onslow college anarcho-punks Acid Reign. Drummer Jarad Bryant (aka Skeezer) tells the story of growing up punk in Wellington's Northern suburbs.

Interview with Jarad Bryant

After leaving Acid Reign I scored a better drum kit and we started jamming in Juve's folks lounge in Khandallah as the Avil Retards. The name came about whilst taking shit on the train to college. Snaking through the hills I was asking people about the names of medications and someone said Avil Retards (an anti-histamine medication) and I liked the sound of it.

Sometime later we were at one of the first Microwave Babies gigs at The Lady of the Rosary Hall in Lower Hutt and met a real nice guy with a mohawk named Paul Redican. It turned out Paul played bass and he was keen to join the band. We began looking for a vocalist and I met Steve Rundlett at an anti-vivisection protest and he said he was into joining the Retards. We all went out to his house in Stokes Valley for a jam but ended up watching a horror movie on video tape.

Squats In The UK
My family went back to the UK for a visit in 1986. Stoked about the trip I saved up to buy music and wrote to Crass Records to ask if I could come and visit them in London. They sent instructions and their phone number telling me to park down the road and walk to the front door as they were under surveillance and needed to be careful.

In Bristol I saw a poster stuck to a lamppost for a Chumbawumba gig. As it was a squat gig there was a phone number to find out where it would be held. I called the number and they invited me to come in and meet them. My dad gave me a lift and he was a bit freaked out as the address was a huge abandoned brick warehouse thing in a rough part of town. Two super friendly guys came out and invited me to the 'National Squatters Convention' that was happening across town. The house that had been squatted for the convention was a Victorian villa and each room had different activities going on. The lounge floor was covered in people sprawled out watching videos of Stonehenge protests and riots. The walls had banners up from each of the different squatter collectives who were attending.

Dirtcore 3
When I returned to NZ in early 1987 lugging a block of vinyl I was keen to get back into it and Avil Retards started practising at Khandallah school. We were developing our own version of US style hardcore. Andy wrote the lyrics and we had moved away from from songs with political topics to songs about skateboarding and personal space, all etched with this warped sense of humour. By early 1987 we had a bunch of songs and on Feb 6, 1987 the Avil Retards played their first live gig at Dirtcore’s third birthday organised by Mathew Hyde of Microwave Babies. The line up included Nazgul, TAB and Microwave Babies and a band from Masterton called Spectrum Is Grey played who incorporated a violin. We played about 8 songs, a bunch of originals including Need for Speed, No Way, and a few covers: Depression and Main Stream by Black Flag and Lee Harvey's Grave and Bar-B-Q Pope by the Butthole Surfers. Paul and I went to over to see Nazgul and Microwave Babies gig at the Solway Showgrounds in Masterton. We got up and played a few songs with just bass and drums.

New Years Eve Rave 1987 at the Barry Town Hall


Later that year Paul (Hubbie) Hubbard our long time pen pal from Greymouth invited us to tour to Greymouth for the 1987 New Years eve show at the infamous Barry Town hall. The Avil Retards agreed and headed south on an epic Intercity bus trip on listening to tapes of Bad Brains, Flipper, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, S.N.F.U, The Meatmen, DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, Crumbsuckers, C.O.C and Slayer.

On arriving at Hubbies mum's house we pitched a tent and set about drinking a bottle of Dos Gusanos mezcal and smoking West coast buds in the summer sun with some chilled out barefooted Greymouth punks. This was NZ hardcore. We drove into the community centre for a warm up practice that Hubby set up for us which turned into a little impromptu gig. The New Years Eve Rave was held at the Barry Town Hall, a small hall in the middle of some paddocks. There was an epic line up that included the Mindfuckers from Dunedin, Avil Retards from Wellington and local bands Vermin, Genocide Factory, Brain Damage, The Strange Love and Love Horror Web from Christchurch. The Avil Retards were very well received that night despite being different stylistically to the other bands with our US hardcore sound. After finishing our set people yelled out demanding more but we said we didn't have anymore songs so they said “play them again” which we did.

The night ended a bit violently with a fight breaking out between bikers and punks. I had seen the bikers arrive earlier with a keg precariously strapped to the back of one of their hog. Apparently some punks knocked the keg off in the car park and the bikers went apeshit. I was moshing and heard the commotion so went towards the front door. It was smoky and dimly lit in the hall. A biker came in through the haze spinning around with arms outstretched like a windmill, one hand fisted the other gripping his helmet, punks were scattering in all directions. It all happened very fast and I got punched in the jaw. Paul leaped out the hall's back window to safety. After the commotion died down it was late and I went to crash in the van we arrived in but it was full of passed out punks so I went and slept under a table in the hall. In the morning I woke up to a splash as some punk was taking a piss on the floor.

The End
Paul told me later that the reason he moved away from the punk scene was because of the ever-present potential for violence. They were violent times and getting hassled by skinheads and police was a downer. Paul said he dreaded walking past the Adams Terrace skinheads and it felt like target practice walking through Manners Mall. Being punk was seriously offensive to a lot of people in those days. One day on the bus an old lady told me I was disgusting and that was with me just sitting there.

Back in Wellington word was getting around about the Avil Retards and Gerald Dwyer, Flesh D-Vice’s lead singer and punk raconteur, contacted us saying he was keen to have a Retards song on The Harder The Edge The Rocker the Roll Vol. 2. He got Kevin to help us out recording two tracks, Need for Speed and No Way, at Onslow college. They were mastered at Writhe Studios in Wellington by Brent McLachlan but the album never eventuated as Gerald sadly passed away and the master was lost forever. Shortly after this I got accepted into art school and moved to Auckland while Paul soon moved to Dunedin. Just as we started to get it together the Avil Retards riot was over.


Avil Retards
1.No Way, 2.Need For Speed



Need For Speed
Gotta go faster don't want to stop
Gonna keep speeding till I drop
Don't wanna lie in the sun
Skateboarding's much more fun
Don't know if I can slow down
I drive my friends underground
Don't tell me what to do
All I can say is fuck you!

I feel... the need... for speed
Come on watch me bleed

Christian dildo fall behind
Stupid nerds can't take the grind
Can't explain the way that I feel
Don't matter I know it's real
This speed gotta make it last
I'm always looking for a blast
Don't wanna think about you
Don't tell me what to do
All I say is fuck you!