Microwave Babies

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Microwave Babies
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Microwave Babies house party
Background information
Origin Stokes Valley
Genres Thrash
Years active 1986-1988
Associated acts Flesh D-Vice, Acid Reign, Avil Retards
Past members Matthew Hyde (vocals), Jeff Belt (guitar), Drew Goodchild (drums), Mark McGann (bass)


1986: Beginning at The Enz

The Microwave Babies formed after Saint Bernard's college students Matt Hyde and Mark McGann met Jeff Belt at a gig by The Enz in the Lower Hutt town hall on the first weekend of the school holidays. “There was a guy there with a big purple mohawk. In 1986 Lower Hutt he really really stuck out. So I went up and started talking shit and we really got on and he said he played guitar and he had a friend who played drums. I said I had a friend with a bass guitar and I'd sing. We played our first gig on New Years Eve, 1986.”

"Jeff was the main lyric writer and also came up with the band's name. There was some horrible article about some woman killing a baby in a microwave. Also it was in the 80s and we all thought we were going to die in a nuclear war. It was the cold war and it was a strange world back then with this threat of nuclear holocaust. It was like hitting this time when you're a teenager and no longer a kid and having this awakening that “oh tomorrow we could all be dead” so you better have fun now. I was just in it for a good time but the weirdest thing in talking about it was listening to the English stuff like Crass or Conflict then which were talking about corporations destroying the world which is kind of mainstream stuff now. You've got the Greens Party talking about it every week in Parliament. It was pretty cutting edge stuff, it was like “woah the corporations aren't here to hurt us what are they talking about?” and it was through bands like the Dead Kennedy's and Jello Biafra that you found out that America was down in South America doing some pretty nasty shit. It was really great for opening your mind." (Hyde M.)

Microwave Babies had a life span of one year and two summers but fitted in a lot of gigs in that time. The band practiced at a local community hall in the Hutt Valley and would put on Saturday gigs charging $2 entry to see the Valley's preeminent American style hardcore band. “We'd put on shows just because there was nothing else to do. All sorts of characters would turn up, bikies, rugby players, and I guess the Hutt Valley was a violent place so we felt safer if there was a big group of us. But people would get picked off on the walk home, I got beaten up a couple of times in the Hutt Valley and there was always that element there that you had to watch out for back then if you looked a bit different.” (Hyde M.)

Making Friends and Offending People

In that first summer of 1986 MWB were put on the bill of a Hutt City Council run family event in the gardens outside the town library. “It blew our band up in Lower Hutt because there was an article in the paper the following week apologizing to the Lower Hutt public as a whole. Saying sorry for letting us play. I mean it was run by, I suppose they were hippies, and they wanted to give everyone a chance. Well they gave us a chance and they pulled the plug on us basically. My family came down and they were so disgusted by us they went home." (Hyde M.)

"It was innocent. I think it was really innocent, I mean we sung about “fuck the system” and I dunno I can't remember the lyrics to the song but it was 'F' this and that. But it was great for us because it came out the next week and before we'd do a gig as kids and no one would hear about it and then after this show there it was in the Hutt Valley paper on Wednesday, a letter apologizing to the whole population of the Hutt that we'd been allowed to play. That was great for us, everybody knew who we were.” (Hyde M.)

Matt Hyde, Microwave Babies, 1986

Breaking Out

The band's new found notoriety led to them playing regular gigs in the Hutt, Wellington city and as far afield as Masterton. Later in 1987 The Microwave Babies played at Breakout in the Platform 9 Railway Hall. "I remember the time when Mark took the phone call from Gerald of Flesh D-Vice to say we were on the bill for Break Out. It was huge. Mark had spoken to Gerald a few times and he had this radio show The Wild Wild Rock show on Active that I couldn't get in Stokes Valley but would get taped by Jeff and swapped around. It was a big influence." (Hyde M.)

"Breakout was packed. It was a huge affair but there was violence. At the next one the skinheads took the keg and took over and a lot of the older bands left but we were so young and naïve we played. They were outlaws. (Hyde M.)

The Hutt News, July 1987

By Waitangi Day 1988 Microwave Babies had petered out and the band stopped. Jeff would later play in Sperm Bank 5, Mark and Drew went on to play in This Will Kill That with Drew also playing in Jawload alongside Andrew Tolley of The Hasselhoff Experiment. During the 1990s Matthew Hyde was living in London squats and played in the band Zengrenade which released their one and only recording in 1994. He is currently lead vocalist for Wellington based stoner doom rock outfit Beastwars.


Microwave Babies: Live at The Lady of the Rosemary school hall, 1987.
1.unknown, 2.Surf Combat, 3.Pig In A Blanket, 4.Riot (1), 5.Riot (2), 6.unknown, 7.Bloodstains, 8.Ephemeral Shithead, 9.Six Pack, 10.Andrews Song


"Why Have You Gone Metal?" Interview on Radio Active, 1987

Ephemeral Shit Head lyrics

Walking down the city street, must be someone there to beat

Can't do without a bit of fun, he's saving up to buy a gun
Tattooed hate across his fist, must make him a real anarchist
Smashes bottles on his head, you're not like me, you're fucking dead
Has mug heroes all like Rambo, with no intelligence to show

And yet he calls himself a punk, just an excuse for getting drunk.