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Blam Blam Blam @ Sweetwaters

A History

Born out of a band called The Whizz Kids, Blam Blam Blam had their roots at Westlake Boys High on Auckland's North Shore.

Tim Mahon and Mark Bell migrated across the bridge during the punk heyday in 1978 to join the avant-punk-theatre act The Plague, whose major claim to fame came with their naked live performance (albeit covered in paint) at the 1979 Nambassa Rock Festival in front of 30,000 confused hippies.

Blam Blam Blam @ The Reverb Room

Mark, Tim and Ian Gilroy were the "band" in the Plague (and kept their clothes on) and soon spun off as The Whizz Kids, releasing a single Occupational Hazard for Ripper in 1980. Fame called and Ian Gilroy left to join The Swingers in Melbourne, leaving Tim and Mark to find a drummer. As luck would have it the guys stumbled (literally) across multi-talented musician Don McGlashan in late 1980 and played their first gig in October that year on a harbour cruise party.

An invitation to record for Propeller followed shortly after and the first release was the track Motivation on that label's seminal Class of 81 compilation of new bands in March 1981.

Blam Blam Blam

Blams in 1982. Photo: John Reynolds

The first Propeller Blam's record was the four track EP, called simply Blam Blam Blam a month later which. Notable for its screened cover (the initial promos were hand screened, the released copies printed facsimiles of that) to the surprise of many, charted almost immediately and sat in the top forty for several months.

On the Roof of TVNZ

On the roof of TVNZ's Shortland St studio for the No Depression video

In July 1981, The Blam's released their, soon to be, unofficial national anthem, There is No Depression in New Zealand which appeared at the same time that New Zealand was rocked by the nationwide anti-Springbok tour protests and riots. The song became the theme of the protests and was sung up and down the country, turning gold a month after release.

The same month they were one third of the now legendary, Screaming Blam-matic Roadshow.

December saw the release of Don't Fight it Marsha, Don McGlashan's drum machine anchored bittersweet love song, it becoming another top 20 hit.

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In early 1982 Blam Blam Blam started recording their debut album, and for a short while were a four piece with vocalist Dick Driver joining then leaving. The album Luxury Length was finally released in July 1982, to rave reviews, reaching number four in early August.

A month later, during the album tour, the band suffered a near tragic van crash with Tim Mahon almost dying and suffering permanent loss of smell.

The crash effectively meant the end of the band, although they reformed briefly in 1984 to record the live Blam Blam Blam Story, and once again in 2003-5 for a series of one off gigs and a well received tour with The Newmatics and The Chills. They've played sporadically since.

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In retrospect, Blam Blam Blam were one of the most important New Zealand bands of the early eighties, easily the most musically literate, hugely influential and one whose legacy goes far beyond their small number of releases.

Don McGlashan's current releases can be found here

REV502

A Discography

Motivation
(track on Propeller compilation Class Of 81 REV 201, March 1981)
Blam Blam Blam
Maids to Order / Blue Belmonts / Battleship Grey /Respect
(Propeller 12" REV 10, April 1981)
There Is No Depression In New Zealand / Got To Be Guilty
(Propeller REV 11, July 1981)

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Blam Blam Blam live, 1983.
Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than The Both Of Us / Dr. Who / Cahcunga Cahcunga
(Propeller REV 14, November 1981)
Blam Blam Blam
There Is No Depression In New Zealand / Got To be Guilty / Maids to Order / Blue Belmonts / Battleship Grey /Respect
(Propeller mini lp REV202, March 1982)
Luxury Length
Talkback King / I Like My Job / Luxury Length / The Bystanders /Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us / Time Enough / Learning To Like Ourselves Again / Businessmen / Pensioner Love / Call For Help / Last Post
(Propeller REV 204, May 1982)
Call For Help / Learning To Like Ourselves Again
(Propeller REV 17 May 1982)
There Is No Depression In New Zealand
(track on Propeller compliation Doobie Doo Disc, REV 206, November 1982)
Mark & Tim Blam

Maybe @ The Reggae Bar?
Photo: Jenny Pullar (as is the Sweetwaters shot at the top of the page)
Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us
(track on Propeller compilation Doobe Doo Disc, Australian edition, REV 401, Jan 1983)
The Blam Blam Blam Story
Recorded live at Mainstreet, February 1984
One side only: Luxury Length / Agency / Beach On 42nd Street / Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us / There is No Depression In New Zealand
(Propeller / CBS SBP237993, April 1984)
The Complete Blam Blam Blam
There Is No Depression In New Zealand / Battleship Grey / Maids To Order / Doctor Who / Motivation / Blue Belmonts / Respect / Got To be Guilty / Don"t Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than The Both Of Us / Learning To Like Ourselves Again / Call For help / Time Enough / I Like My Job / Luxury Length / Businessman / Talkback King / The Bystanders / Beach On 42nd St / Last Post
(Propeller CD REV502, November 1992, remastered and reissued in 2003, BBB2003)
Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than The Both Of Us / Thomas Is Guily (Live) / Respect (Live) / Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than The Both Of Us (Edit)
(Propeller CD single REV 28, November 1992)

Plus a bunch of assorted compliations over the years.....

Propeller