If you’ve never been to Hamilton, you’ve probably been to a place just like it: a small, leafy university town with a disproportionate number of bands per capita. Maybe it’s just that there’s not much to do growing up in Hamilton, but every second kid seems to grab a guitar or a drumkit and start bashing away in their parent’s garage with a six-pack and a microphone taped to a broom handle. Everyone is either in a band, goes out with a musician or makes gig posters. You can’t walk down the street without bumping into three drummers, seven guitarists and that guy who once played with that big international act. So far, so much cliched suburban rock mythology. If it’s true of Hamilton, then it’s true by definition of millions of other towns.
The Shrugs started in a garage (tick) in a leafy suburb (tick) with a microphone taped to a broom handle (tick). They had all been in heaps of other bands before, but they weren’t immediately amazingly good. In fact, they were pretty bad. Which seems strange now, when their songwriting and musical ability has become local legend (Geoff Doube once beat Christian Livingstone of The Datsuns to the coveted title of ‘best Hamilton guitarist’ from a local radio station, which perhaps shows a slight lack of judgement from the radio station).
What has also become local legend is the supposedly huge number of lineups that have comprised the Shrugs over the years. While it is true that there have been a few different configurations of the band, it’s also true that there have been other Hamilton groups with many more permutations over a much shorter time period. What those other bands have often found to be a weakness, however, has been the Shrugs’ strength.
The diffusion and dissipation of creative energy that often come with a change of lineups has played well into the Shrugs’ methodology - or lack thereof. After all, this is a band whose lyrics are often primarily concerned with ambivalence, reticence, uncertainty and numbness. Unambiguous expressions of adolescent desire or anger are not this band’s terrain.
Neither are metaphors which speak clearly once and for all; where the Shrugs do use metaphor, it is toyed with and re-used until it is no longer a single image but a collection of competing voices.
This lack of a method and this open-endedness has also meant that the Shrugs have wandered off the beaten path, musically, as many times as they’ve wandered onto it. When there’s no fixed destination at the start of a journey, then it’s OK to get lost on the way. And the Shrugs have certainly got lost many times, but somehow the whole thing makes some sort of soft-focus sense.
So while other bands struggle on under the weight of self-imposed stylistic strictures, the Shrugs simply follow their own wanderlust, wherever it may take them. You’re invited on the trip, too.
Gordon Basset (bass, guitar, vocals)
Geoff Doube (guitar, bass, vocals)
Paul Tregilgas (drums)
Sorry, that gallery could not be found.
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The Shrugs - 'How To Knit A Pony' album release...
Posted: Sun May 11, 2008 9:48 am
I Am Evil Records are pleased to announce the release of album number four from Hamiltons favorite sons, The Shrugs... 'How To Knit A Pony' will be released worldwide on may the 23rd 2008 with a short release tour starting in Auckland on the 23rd of May at The Whammy Bar and finishing in Hamilton the following night, Saturday the 24th for a huge homecoming show at the Yellow Submarine...
Heres what the shrugs have to say about their record...
"The recording of the album was a protracted process by the Shrugs'
standards. Where previous albums have been hammered out in 6 months or so, 'How to Knit a Pony' has taken more than 18 months. Partially this is because of other commitments: being in other bands, having kids, partying, watching TV... and partially it's because the album is pretty long and the Shrugs are not prepared to relinquish their DIY ethic just yet – meaning that they insisted on recording, mixing and mastering the whole thing themselves. They did have some help from time to time (someone's got to push the record button in the control room when the whole band is in the live room) but the vast majority of the work was done by the band themselves. A healthy attitude in this day and age. Some of the things that always made the Shrugs so distinctive are still on 'How to Knit a Pony': Geoff's New Zild accent, Gordon's melodic bass lines, clanging guitars, and the same old self-deprecating humour put up as a defence against a hostile world.
But some things are new: Paul Tregilgas' fluid drumming is a standout feature."
you can hear tracks from the album and download a press kit right here:
and you can watch the video for the single 'Tiny Horse' directed by Orlando Stuart and featuring, myself, Edward Gains as a really really drunk and unhappy horse right here:
The Shrugs- Up from Hamilton---play
Posted: Wed Dec 7, 2005 12:54 am
KALEIDOSCOPE WORLD SERIES 19 at THE STUDIO, Auckland 23rd December 2005 featuring BORED GORDON, JOHNNY CORKER, THE SHRUGS, EDWARD GAINS, THE PUDDLE, THE ROCK'N'ROLL MACHINE, HEAVY JONES TRIO, LABRETTA SUEDE & MOTEL 6, THE SUPER and THE BADS .....
Plus each person on entry will get a free CD of all the bands playing that night....
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