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The Headless Chickens


The Headless Chickens were formed in 1985, and were originally known as the International Headless Chickens, as a special project to perform at the multi-media event 'The Nitpickers Picnic'. Their first release was a track on the 1986 student radio compilation album Outnumbered By Sheep.

In 1987 The Headless Chickens won the Rheineck Rock Award. In the 1995 NZ Music Awards they were voted 'Top International Performer' and vocalist for some of their songs, Fiona McDonald won the 'Top Female Vocalist' category.

Cruise Control reached #8 in the New Zealand singles chart. It was a trailer for Body Blow, the momentous album that followed.

Body Blow sold to platinum, George hit #1 and the Eskimos and Egypt remix of Cruise Control reached #17 in Australia, where the Chickens have toured ten times.

The group's most famous lineup - vocalist Fiona MacDonald, Chris, Grant, Michael and Bevan also toured the UK on the back of a club-hit remix of Fiona's song Juice, but there were quite a few other Chickens over the years.

Among them, Rupert E. Taylor and Anthony Nevison left behind distinctive contributions - Stunt Clown's winsome Fish Song and Body Blow's ribald Donde Esta La Pollo respectively. Producer Rex Visible and engineer Angus McNaughton, both occasional members, and reliable tour buddies MC OJ & Slave, Stinky Jim and DJ Roger Perry also deserve special mention.

The group's last major incarnation coalesced around the third album, Greedy: Chris, Angus, Bevan Larsen, Flex, Rachel Wallace and a chap called Roger.

There were always a lot of people around, and the band was always a collaboration, in the way that making film is a collaboration. Body Blow could have been half a dozen bands at once; any one song could be both sweet and sour. They looked like a rock band but Grant ran dance parties and they toured with house DJ’s and hip-hop acts.

Friday 28 November 2008 saw a special reunion of the Headless Chickens’ classic line-up from the hit-making era of their Body Blow album – and a welcome return of the Chickens’ unrivalled brew of dastardly electronics, danceable beats and sharp pop songs.

Band Members:
Chris Matthews (guitar, vocals)
Bevan Sweeney (drums)
Grant Fell (guitar)
and others...


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  • Auckland

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muzic.net.nz Admin

Joined: 01/01/02
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Location: Manawatu
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Headless Chickens Resurrected
Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:27 pm

Friday 28 November 2008 sees a special reunion of the Headless Chickens’ classic line-up from the hit-making era of their Body Blow album – and a welcome return of the Chickens’ unrivalled brew of dastardly electronics, danceable beats and sharp pop songs.

The Headless Chickens return to the Powerstation in Auckland for their first shows in so long that nobody’s counting. The following week they fly over the Tasman to perform in Melbourne and at Sydney’s Homebake Festival.

The Chickens were possibly the most challenging chart-topping act of the nineties. A string of hits on both sides of the Tasman included “Cruise Control”, “Donde Esta La Pollo”, “Gaskrankenstation”, “Juice”, “Mr Moon” and the NZ number one “George”. An enormously popular touring act with a flamboyant live show, the Chickens built a huge fanbase in New Zealand and Australia (where they toured ten times) before they splintered apart and the band petered out before the end of the decade.

After a decade away, this group that saw its way through tragedy (the suicide of founding member Johnny Pierce) and triumph (their NZ number one triumph with “George” remains the only chart-topping song for their legendary label Flying Nun) is now back to strut around the farmyard in their own inimitable style.

Chris Matthews and Fiona McDonald are back to share lead vocal duties, while the muscular rhythm section of Bevan Sweeney and Grant Fell lay the base for the sonic mayhem wrought by Matthews, Michael Lawry and Anthony Nevison.

"This is neither a rock band with some gee-whizz samples or a bunch of art-boffins making whoopee with guitars . . . Body Blow sounds like no one else on earth." (Rip It Up, November '91)


Friday 28 November @ The Powerstation, Auckland
Tickets on sale 6 October from Ticketmaster & Real Groovy

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