Neoteric Tribesmen

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Neoteric Tribesmen
Neoteric Tribesmen, In Touch magazine, 1981
Background information
Origin Onslow College
Years active 1981-1983
Associated acts Condemned Sector, The Resurrectionists, Flesh D-Vice, Ambitious Vegetables, Domestic Blitz
Past members Nigel Elder, James Gilberd, Richard Watts


The Neoteric Tribesmen emerged out of punk band Condemned Sector after bassist Jenny Whyte left in mid-1981. Keen to explore a fresher post-punk sound the three remaining members (Richard Watts, Nigel Elder and James Gilberd) opted for a name change incorporating the three tribesmen symbol with its “circle, square and triangle headpieces representing faith, knowledge and wisdom. I can't remember which was which. 'Neoteric' means new thinking and was sometimes spelled neurotic in gig guides.” (James Gilberd)

Playing with local acts such as The Mockers, RIOT 111 and Unrestful Movements the Neoteric Tribesmen built a loyal following in the punk and boot-boy scene struggling with a dwindling number of venues. In 1981 the Neoteric's returned to Sausage Studios where they had recorded as Condemned Sector, laying down eight tracks that appeared on a self-released cassette. This was followed by a 7” single Safely Get Away With It b/w Apathy recorded and released in 1982.

“By this time Richard’s growing association with the boot-boys was making it difficult for the band to be accepted by venue organisers, and this was rankling with Nigel. The rising level of violence at gigs was making the whole experience of performing generally unpleasant. I remember the last time the band played at the Last Resort, for example – there was a full-scale street fight outside on Courtenay Place, between skinheads and the Mongrel Mob. My father, who had come to pick me and the drum kit up (nobody in the band had a car), was surprised by a beer bottle flying through the air and exploding on the back of his Mitsubishi. Dad – who would routinely take about five minutes gently easing the car out of the garage – spun the back wheels and took off down to the Taranaki St police station, leaving me standing on the footpath holding the bass drum." (James Gilberd)

“Not sure when I made the switch from being a punk to being a boot-boy but I guess it was when 'Oi' and Ska became popular. I got my first boot-boy tattoo when I was 19. It's a boot stomping on a worm (the worm being a Rasta). We called ourselves boot-boys for a year or so then changed to being called 'skinheads' as we mimicked what was happening in Britain. Most of us didn't care less about the right wing politics associated with skinheads. We were in it for the tough look, music, and the fights. I was a 'Wellington Skin' (it's tattooed onto my wrist) and there were about twenty of us. The Wainui Skins also moved to central Wellington so our numbers increased.” (Richard Watts)

By late August 1982 the Tribesmen were well sick of the now endemic Wellington gig violence: “Not sure but I think our last gig as the NT's was at that strange pub on the road that runs 90 degrees to Courtenay Place. We had played to a packed pub and someone threw a half-full pint glass at Nigel during the Clash's White Riot. We stopped playing and that was that." (Richard Watts)

After splitting Richard joined new band Flesh D-Vice on bass, appearing with them at Golden Showers and on their debut LP 12 Inches of Hard Flesh. All three NT members would later reform as The Resurrectionists in late 1983 playing a funkier form of pop and punk.



Neoteric Tribesmen: Neoteric Tribesmen (cassette tape 1981)
1.Three Tribesmen 2.Castaways 3.March of the Flagellants



Reunion gig in Wellington, December 27, 2014

External Links