As I'm typing this I'm watching Queen City Rocker, known outside NZ as Tearaway. It's not a particularly flashy movie, and the song below, Graham Brazier's promotional video for the movie, isn't either. But at sixteen the video and the trailer for the movie were enough to convince me that I had to see it some day, and Reader, today is that day.
It's earnest in its intentions, including some assured and un-selfconscious portrayals of a mingled Maori, Pakeha and Samoan gang culture, but it's not aged well. 1980s Auckland is very much a different country, populated by younger versions of some of New Zealand's best TV actors including Roy Billing, Peter Bland, Michael Moriarty and the late Liddy Holloway, whose son Joel Tobeck has an uncredited role in the movie as well. Seemingly inspired by real events and produced not long after the Queen Street Riots, it references a very different time, and boy has it dated. Still, there's local music royalty all through this, from ex-Gurlz singer and future When The Cat's Away vocalist Kim Willoughby's female lead (I had such a crush...), Willoughby's future partner and former Dude Ian 'Tex Pistol' Morris in the soundtrack, a cameo by Brazier and the rest of Hello Sailor cameoing as in-movie band 'Nite Attack' (the much-missed Dave McCartney also provided the soundtrack), along with Ardijah, and there are snippets of NZ punk bands No Tag and electro-avant garde Flying Nun outfit Fetus Productions. And the riot scenes are pretty well done.
Somewhere out there is a cassette of my band's earliest jam sessions in our bassist's parents' garage (he had the soundtrack), and me in the mix gamely trying to replicate Harry Lyon's urgent stacatto guitar work from Fight. Ironically, a similar, slower riff appears in the National Party's campaign ad, launched just this week. Critics were quick to point out the similarity to Eminem's Lose Yourself - but maybe the ad's Australian music maestros sourced their inspiration from closer to home?