Hell Fucken Rumble
Wellington’s Hell Fucken Rumble exploded into a post-Y2K Wellington intent on mixing a steady intake of psychedelic drugs with an equal measure of biting lyrical anger on issues affecting the scene, society and the lives of three young women making music at the turn of the millennium.
Sheree was living in a rad warehouse on Edward Street in Wellington. All the other flatmates were males, and most, if not all of them were musicians, so there was a music room with instruments in it. One night Sheree and I were having some drinks before going to a party, and I just happened to be sitting on the drum stool. I started drunkenly playing them, and Sheree, bless her, found a guitar and plugged it in. We got all excited, and went to the party determined to find a girl to play bass and sing. That night we met Terri, and talked her into joining our band. Our dear departed friend Johnny Von Kobra heard a couple of our practices and invited us to play at a gig he was putting on in a couple of weeks so that gave us motivation to get to some kind of passable standard. The night before our first gig Terri took LSD for the first time, had a ball, and then had speed for the first time the next night. Even though the gig ruled and the drugs were great Terri started worrying that ‘rock n roll’ was leading her down a dangerous path and so she quit the band. Thankfully we had recently met Bell, so soon after Sheree and I turned up at her house (Turret Haus, no less) with a cask of wine and asked her to play bass. She agreed even though she’d never picked one up before, (Boomshanka!) and then we told her we had a gig that weekend. Julia had played guitar in a high school band, Bell was known to rock the acoustic guitar at picnics and Sheree had been in an experimental noise band called Firetruck, though none of them considered themselves musos. We were listening to heaps of Black Sabbath at the time, and I specifically remember coming up with the music for “Men Stop Raping Women” after Sheree and I put The Cramps on for inspiration. We all have wildly differing tastes in music. At that time I was listening to heaps of Joni Mitchell, and Bell was into Diamanda Galas and PJ Harvey while Sheree was a bit of a metaller. Describing their music as “metal-sonic cowgirl tanti-sludge surf metal” HFR lyrics drove a flaming wagon over the top of personal (Starfire - period sex) and political (Fucken Rusty Crunchy Country Cunt Hooks - racism) while warping the picture through a healthy appreciation of drugs (Dragonfruit Juice). “So many things got covered! Perhaps the only thing we DIDN’T sing about was religion. But we took a lot of psychedelics so were above that bullshit! Sheree wrote the majority of the lyrics, with a couple of songs penned by Bell, and the odd line inspired or suggested by me. Racism “What did you pull me over for? ‘Cos I’m black or ‘cos I’m poor?” Period sex “Starfire...she was seen blood smeared across her pretty face” Drugs “Feeding you unconscious, dragon fruit is bleeding, suicidal artist, luscious and delicious” Brett the Hitman Hart’s abusive childhood “They just wanted to love but daddy wouldn’t let them...remembering screams from the basement below. A cuntree and western song on the radioooooo” Ratshit boyfriends “Maybe he fucked her last night/maybe he’s covered in blood...I watch the rain and I drown. Because he never came around. Viruses abound. The stench is killing me. Until I cannot breathe. Until I have to leave town.” Hmmmm, what else? Getting locked up, politicians, dogs, casino carpet, war, partying, rape, Wu-Tang, storms.” Recordings HFR’s first recordings appeared on a CD called Women’s Work that featured heaps of female artists from Wellington. That was recorded in some guy’s home studio that had lots of tacky porn on the walls. Good one, guy!. This was followed by a rare as hens teeth tape release: A prized bit of kvlt NZ music is our cassette “Hell Rockin’ Fumble” which was recorded by Dylan and Boss Christ and put out through Stink Magnetic Tapes. In those days Dylan only did a run of 50 tapes, so quite a few got stolen/appropriated/borrowed forever. If you have one of those tapes, you’re probably a thief. S’all good! The Hell Fucken Rumble CD released in 2006 was recorded by Joe Callwood at Erskine College, Island Bay. There was also some nasty recordings with Nigel Von Toxic from Horror Story in New Plymouth and Eugene from Flesh D-Vice put out some “rumbly” live recordings. Track: Dragon Fruit Juice features on a c. 2004 CD compilation called Stop The Bypass. Yeah! Well the three of us did not want that Bypass and yes we were all involved in activism to differing degrees and we still are but to talk about the Te Aro bypass specifically: it had been on the cards for some time I think, long before any of the Rumble moved to Wellington. Bell organised, collated and produced the anti-bypass CD “Stop the Bypass” with Adam Cohen and Hell Fucken Rumble played at Stagecraft Theatre at that post-protest-party where we illegally occupied the building and at Alternative Routes on Kensington Street. In 2001 Hell Fucken Rumble went on tour with Wellington punk legends Flesh D-Vice. That was pretty crazy! Eugene from Flesh D-Vice heard us making a racket one night at the San Fran Bathhouse, and came upstairs to find me wrestling with a noise control guy for the mic (I sometimes sang a Dallas Pro-Drag Allstars song we covered called Nitro is the Shit)...and he asked us to play Auckland and New Plymouth with them. We couldn’t fucken believe it. The day we left Wellington we were even more star-struck to find Hiddee Beast from Head Like a Hole was coming with us to do the sound. Terrifying! Auckland was a haze of booze and crack. We played with Morning Horns at the Kings Arms. The next day, we drove to New Plymouth, turned on to the main street, and found ourselves at the front of the santa parade. The streets were lined with families, and Eugene said “they must’ve heard we were coming”. I saw a spunky guy in the crowd and yelled at him “hey, spunk, we’re playing at Flicks Bar tonight, you should come”. He did indeed come as he was playing drums in a band and I did indeed go home with him that night only to be chased out of the house by his girlfriend?!?! Rock n roll! What an asshole! In 2005 Hell Fucken Rumble split:
Bell went on an anarcho-punk-rock odyssey to Europe and South America, and despite tears and promises that Sheree and I would meet her there for some kind of dumpster tour, that never eventuated. I ended up moving to Napier to get away from a violent ex-lover and when Bell came back to NZ in 2008 she moved to Dunedin to study and to support her friend who was pregasaurus. In 2009 we met up in Wellington, and had three days practice before playing at a house party. The party ruled but playing those songs again felt eerily like raising something from the dead that should have been left to rest so I doubt we’ll ever do that again. We are all still good friends though.