Vas Deferens

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Vas Deferens
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Vas Deferens
Background information
Also known as VD
Origin Wellington
Genres scum rock
Years active 1988-1997, 2008-present
Associated acts Flesh D-Vice, Subdominants, Goatrider, TAB
Website Vas Deferens
Members Elvis Jagger/Gareth Smith(bass), Hanoi Von Strap-On/Peter Trapp(drums), Sickie Dryhump/Dragan Stojanovic (guitar), Cyclone Gotluv/Simon Gotlieb (guitar) Gerry the Werewolf Moran (vocals)
Past members Luger Douche/Steve Andrews(vocals), Flex (bass), Reverend Jolt Cola(Bass), Dave Frazer (bass)

About

"Music to invade Poland by. It's Reich and roll!" proclaims vocalist Luger Douche (aka Steve Andrews) in a typically flamboyant press interview from 1991 ahead of Vas Deferens first EP release. The VDs, one band who could never be accused of being too 'serious' has paradoxically emerged out of the degenerate Wellington punk scene of the late 80s with all the longevity of a nasty STI. Despite nudging towards 30 years in service, the Deffies had endured only a few line-up changes on bass before losing Steve in tragic circumstances in 2012. Gerry the Werewolf Moran has picked up the mic since then with Vas Deferens releasing their latest album, You've Only Got Yourself to Blame in 2016.

Vas Deferens interview April 2016

Vas Deferens are one of the longest running punk rock bands in Wellington and New Zealand. What line up changes have taken place since forming in '87? When did you each become involved?

Dragan
Steve, Pete and I were the originals, along with Dave Frazer, who was the first bass player – he was replaced by Flex, who left us to play with Headless Chickens. Gaz joined us in 1990. Gerry joined us after Steve's untimely death but he had been hanging around us in the early days. He sometimes did backing vocals at early gigs, so it was very natural that he joined us on stage including Simon on 2nd guitar.

Simon
I’ve known these guys since I was about 14 (I’m pushing 50 and they are all older than me), and we’ve been mates since then. Steve died in December 2012, and I got talking with Dragan soon afterwards and he talked about doing a gig (Steve Appeal) to try and make some money to bring him home. I managed to blag myself a spot playing guitar for the gig and I enjoyed it so much I stuck around. And they haven’t worked up the nerve to ask me to fuck off yet. I’d been out of the music scene since my kids were little – I spent a lot of years working for advertising agencies running creative studios and I’d gotten sick of that about 2005 and bailed on that industry and started spending more time with raising kids, etc. With the kids growing up it was a good opportunity to get back into playing music.

What other bands were the members of VD involved in back in the day?

Simon
Aftershock 1979-1982 – played with Skeptics, No Tag, Flesh D-Vice, First Fifteen – recorded an EP but no record company wanted to release it. Compos Mentis 1982-1986 – played with heaps of bands… too many to remember – released a ton of recordings. TAB 1989-1992 – again played with heaps of bands especially Casualty and Sticky Filth – released The Argumentative Bastards through Brian Wafer’s IMAHITT records and recorded but didn’t release Ganja and Chocolate Fish because IMAHITT ran out of money. Open Oyster 1993-1996 Chickenhead 2002 Die Glocke 2015- (occasional guest guitarist)

1991

Dragan
I’ve been in THE AXEMEN since before Vas Deferens, along with other projects. I play in Die Glocke with Eugene from Flesh D-Vice and The Four Stars with Nick Swan (ex-RIOT 111) and Brett Carstens (ex-Wallsockets). I also play in a Yugoslavian band playing covers of popular music from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and write and release solo songs as DoodleBugs.

Gaz
I played bass for Little Creatures, who at their peak supported Bryan Adams at the Winter Show Buildings, and guitar for Quiet Earth and Cucumber. All of these and (Vas Def) played at Mountain Rock. Spacial verb with it's shoop shop thing.

For the uninitiated can you describe VDs sound? Simon
We play a style of music that draws from early punk mixed with NZ and Australian pub rock from the late 70s, and other influences from all over the show – I list the Damned, The Sex Pistols, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, The Motor City 5, The Ramones, Magazine, The Stooges, New York Dolls as big influences on my musical style, but I also draw on some of the earlier hardcore bands like Bad Brains (who were a huge TAB influence), Black Flag, Bad Religion, Fugazi, and DRI.

Gaz
I have always seen Vas Deferens musically as a combination of the first four songs I learned to audition: Ace of Spades, Prime Mover, My Sharona, Anarchy in UK. My character "Elvis Jagger", inspired by Steve, as a combination of Lemmy and Fee Waybill

What do you remember about the old gigs VD gigs 80s/90s - any interesting tales?
Simon
Steve and Dragan – you could never trust your alcohol around those two. They were terrible. Pete and Steve’s terrible joking and Gaz’s stories – actually they haven’t changed in that respect. Good lads those boys.

How did the latest release “You’ve Only Got Yourself to Blame” come about - it’s a mixture of old and new tracks? - who writes the new tracks? - where was it recorded?

Simon
All songwriting is a collaborative effort. Pete writes dodgy love songs, Dragan writes songs about obscure subjects, and I constantly write riffs. We bring these to practice and Gaz is the compositional/production maestro who turns it around to fit the Vas Deferens sound. Then we jam it out and Gaz will throw in some words if there aren’t any. All five members of the band sing so it really is a collaborative effort.

Only Got Yourself to Blame and Mad Mothers, Man came out of a crazy weekend at Pete’s best mate Matt’s recording studio in the Wairarapa. We camped up there for a weekend and just played and played and Matt just recorded what we were doing. And we smoked and drank and just had a great weekend. We ended up with 15 songs and decided to put 10 on an album and Matt mixed that down. Meantime I took the other five home and mixed them in my home studio.

For me OGYTB was good to get a number of those songs that hadn’t been recorded with this incarnation.

Vas Deferens has never taken itself too seriously in the topics it sings about (eg Microwave Pies). Is that still the situation today?

Serious Business

Dragan
Political songs have never been a staple in the set list. The only thing that has changed is that we play and write more original songs then we used to. Me personally, I do care about what's going on in the world but we are not a political party we are a punk rock band.

Simon
I’m an unashamed socialist with a particularly strident anarchic streak – listened to far too much Crass in my time. That’s why it’s probably a good idea for the sanity of my fellow band members that I stay away from lyrical duties.


The original vocalist, Steve Andrews, was a well loved character in the Welly punk scene who was tragically killed in 2012. Does Vas Def serve as a tribute to his legacy or will the band move in other directions eg BBQ reggae.

Dragan
I don't even know what BBQ Reggae is... lol

Gaz
I’m just a bass player who loves playing our style of punk.

Simon
Well, as the new kid I’m certainly not going to try and speak for the whole band here. We’re not going to dump the old songs. We’re going to continue to write more songs. Who knows where we’ll end up but I’m pretty sure I don’t foresee any Six60 songs in our future. I’ve no aversion to reggae – I’ve played plenty of it, but I have no idea what it would sound like being played by vas deferens.

Did you imagine yourself still playing punk rock music in 2016 when you first got into punk?
Simon
Funny thing is, I don’t just see myself as a punk rock musician. I’ve played a heap of different styles and there’s no conscious attempt on my behalf to play “punk”, whatever that is. What drew me to the original punk music – the DIY ethos, the fans as musicians, the stripped down to the basics, the rawness, the fun, yes – even the simple musicality of the music – these were the things that drew me to it – and keep me loving it as an art form. I still get an immense buzz from hearing a band for the first time – as much as I do seeing old bands like the Buzzcocks, GBH and The Ruts recently – these guys still get it, and so do I. I don’t tell people to fuck off as much as I used to – and as much as I probably should, but I’d like to think that the 12 year old boy that formed a band in 1979 would look at what I am now and think – well you got old but you didn’t lose that love for it. I still get just as excited playing today as I did back then. I hope that never goes away. If it does, I’ll go find something else to do.

 

Interview with Steve Andrews 2012

Steve Andrews, 1987

Vas Deferens formed in early November 1988 cos I wanted to have a band to play some of my favourite tunes at my 22nd birthday.

I used to see Sickie busking all the time down on Cuba Street/ Manners Mall and every time I walked past he’d play Ace of Spades. Even though I was impressed with his guitar playing and quite touched by this gesture I never gave the cunt any money.

Later I gate-crashed a party at a restaurant above Manners Mall and saw Sickie with Pete at a table. I joined them and while drinking all their beer convinced them we should form a band for my upcoming birthday party. I think they thought I had a good look and that we could blag it. Sickie asked me if I could sing so I lied and said ‘yes’. Then the bastard picked up his acoustic guitar and asked me to sing something so I belted out some crap and ‘hey presto’ I’m in a band!

Original Hits EP 1991

The original line-up had the Reverend Jolt Cola on bass. He lasted about two months. A lovely chap but he kept pissing about. He even turned up to a practice once but left his bass at home! Then we had a guy called Flex play bass with us for about a year. He was a bloody nice guy but he had no tendencies toward drunken debauchery like Sickie and I. After Flex left to play in the Headless Chickens, one of our biggest fans, Gaz, stepped up and took over bass playing duties.

Our first gig was on the 20th of November 1988 at the Clarendon on Taranaki Street with Flesh D-Vice and TAB. I had this idiotic idea to provide the audience with a dozen eggs to hurl at me, but man raw eggs hurt at close range! However the gimmick worked because the stunt got the VDs a mention in Rip It Up magazine. Everyone seemed to have a good night and it being Vas Defs first gig I think people were quite surprised we played so well.

I never really intended to continue with the band after my birthday party but after realizing how much fun it was to play with Pete and Sickie, and of course the opportunity to pull some class ‘blart’, we just kinda continued down that rocking bandidos road.

We ended up pretty much being the house band at The Clarendon for a short while after that, playing mainly punk, rock and metal covers. Everything from Led Zep, to Sabbath, to Cheap Tricks’ “I want you to want me” and even Zodiac Mindwarp. Sickie wrote most of the original material and even included songs from his former band ‘The Axemen’. Gaz wrote ‘Demarcation’, and ‘Microwave Pies’ was penned by local poet and Scribblers Pub drinking-buddy Darryl Ward from Goatrider about getting the munchies while staggering home pissed up one night.

I have fond memories of The Clarendon before Sicky got us banned for stealing whisky from behind the bar. We also used to play at, The Car Park, The San Francisco Bath House/ Rockys/ Sonic Temple, Kaminskys, Trekkers and the old Bar Bodega.

I don’t think we ever disbanded. I just ended up going to live in London in ’97. We had our 20th anniversary gig November 20th 2008 at the new Bar Bodega.

Luger Douche/ Steve Andrews

Steve's Death 2012

On December 9 2012 the lead singer of Vas Deferens, Steve Andrews, was seriously assaulted in Putney, South West London and died of serious head injuries at 6PM later that day. Following his death Steve's body was left in limbo/ London due to an $11000 price tag on its repatriation to New Zealand. In response to this Ross Barkman and Tom Lynch initiated a fundraising drive to bring Steve home culminating in a last-ride gig for Vas Deferens and sets by The Good Old Boys and Wazzo Ghoti at San Fran Bathhouse. In all $12,887.87 was raised and Steve's funeral was held at the Holy Cross church, Miramar, on Monday January 28th. Simon Gotlieb (ex TAB, Compos Mentis, Aftershock) joined the band on rhythm guitar and vocals. Guest vocalists Gerry Moran, Eugene Pope (Flesh D-Vice), Rex Nairn (Wazzo Ghoti), Darryl Ward (Goatrider) and Reta Le Quesne, as well as Dragan, Gareth and Simon filled in for Steve on the night.

Steve Appeal illustration by Rufus Dayglo

Audio

Vas Deferens: Original Hits 1991
1.Angel of Harem, 2.Demarcation, 3.Keep It In The Family, 4.Microwave Pies, 5.Must Love Die, 6.Only Got Youself To Blame

Releases

Images

Video