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Head Like A Hole To Rise From The Ashes

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head like a hole.jpg
head like a hole.jpg

The clothes might be staying on this time around, but that's unlikely to dampen interest around a reformed Head Like a Hole. CHRIS ORMOND of NZPA reports.

Wellington, Sept 30 NZPA - Head Like a Hole (HLAH) frontman Nigel (Booga) Beazley says the thought of joining up with his old bandmates again has occurred a few times since they broke up in 2000.

He remembers the final gig, which followed years of over-indulgence and a blown opportunity to return to Europe.

It was at Auckland's Papakura Roadhouse, the atmosphere seemed muted and the night stuck in his mind for reasons he succinctly describes;

"It looked like the whole crowd consisted of people who are friends of people that like Head Like a Hole, and the Head Like a Hole fans stayed at home and told their friends to go and watch."

Beazley says disregard for his own health was taking its toll, there were tensions within the band, and the motivation and enjoyment of fronting one of the iconic New Zealand rock outfits of the 1990s was waning.

"When you're forcing it, it's like shining a turd -- it just doesn't work," he says.

Eight years later HLAH have accepted an offer to be one of the headliners at the Vodafone Homegrown New Zealand music festival on Wellington's waterfront.

The day-long festival is in March and was a hit when it was introduced this year, selling out weeks early.

Beazley says it was always tempting to take up the offer from festival organisers, but for him, reforming HLAH depended on who would be in it.

"There was no way I was going to do it with the original lineup," he says.

That lineup included himself, guitarist Nigel Regan, bass player Andrew Durno and drummer Mark (Hidee Beast) Hamill.

Tom Watson, who later formed Cassette and moved to Melbourne, also joined the band and Hamill was replaced by Mike Franklin-Browne who is now in Auckland band Pluto.

Beazley says it would have been good to have Watson back, but doesn't pretend he will miss a return by Hamill.

"There were a few battles in the band...in the end he said `I'm going to go' and we didn't stop him."

The lineup for Homegrown will include Beazley, Regan, Durno and Franklin-Browne, and Beazley admits he's getting excited.

"I keep in contact with Nigel quite a bit and it just felt right and we couldn't wait to get into the practice room and see what would happen," he says.

"It will be good to blow the cobwebs out and see if we can kick ass. I'm pretty sure we will sound good and hopefully everyone will be into it."

Beazley now lives in Otaki north of Wellington, and studied graphic design after leaving HLAH.

The band, who released four albums and were famed for their live acts in during the 1990s, never took themselves seriously and Beazley still doesn't.

He says he's not as athletic as he used to be but has taken it upon himself to turn that around.

"Personally, I've got a bit of training to do before we get up on stage to get back in to tip-top shape -- I wouldn't want to disappoint. "I left in pretty good shape and I want to come back looking good. "I have just acquired a 10-trip pass to the Otaki pools and I've got a friend here who I go out on rugby field with and play forceback."

Despite promising to be in top shape, Beazley says there is unlikely to be any on stage nudity this time around -- something which HLAH were known for in the early days and, according to Beazley, was a hit with the fans.

"It was welcomed with open arms -- especially by the ladies," he says.

Despite most crowds embracing the band's stage antics, Beazley recalls a gig while on tour in Europe with Shihad in the 1990s.

They were on the bill at a death metal festival in Poland where not so much the band, but the staunch, black-clothed crowd, were out of their comfort zone when HLAH took the stage.

"I wore a dress and Nigel wore nothing, so they were pretty pissed. We were getting the old cut-throat symbol at us through the whole set."

He says Regan nevertheless continued to bait the crowd between songs. The local road crew were surprised HLAH managed to leave the stage in one piece, but Shihad fared a bit better.

"They got into Shihad a little bit, but with us it was just a bit too much for them actually."

He said Shihad were helped by the fact singer Jon Toogood had long hair. "That was worth quite a lot of points -- and they wore a lot of black."

The band were amused, however, when Hamill entered the venue and was recognised by a sector of the crowd for his role in his other Wellington band Demoniac, whose musical leanings were on the darker side.

"When he was seen walking into the venue, all these dweeby rockers with bell bottoms and jean jackets started roaring at him," Beazley says. "It was so bizarre watching that."

While Beazley wasn't upset about the departure of Hamill, he admits he could play the drums.

"I'll give him that. He got a bit excited sometimes though and next thing you know he's playing songs at a million miles and hour."

Management wasn't HLAH's strong point following the death of initial band manager Gerald Dwyer.

They were keen to head back to Europe later in their career but money management issues and disagreements snuffed out their aspirations.

"We wanted to go back but had a slight monetary problem with that," Beazley says. "There was a bit of tension in the band and a few things got out of control."

"We never knew exactly what was happening...how much money was being made. When I look back on it there were things we could have done a lot better."

Being older and wiser with renewed enthusiasm, he says HLAH are looking forward to getting back onstage, and whether or not it will be a one-off is not yet clear.

They haven't talked about new material being recorded, but will take things a step at a time and see what the feeling is, he says.

* For pics contact Kelly Wright on 0212752274, or kelly@xair.co.nz

* Vodafone Homegrown is on March 14.

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