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Grand Prix

Bio

Formed in 2001, grand prix began as a three piece country song singing oddity, with no drums or bass, sublime to some, ridiculous to others. The first album, 'Racing Lines' gave Wellington such classic singles as 'Donuts In The Sand' and 'You Don't Understand'.



In 2004 the band expanded to four with Andrew McKenzie (known as Dunlop Firestone in the original line-up) on guitar and vocals; Davey Geard (Letterbox Lambs, D-Super) on drums and vocals; Mike Banks (The Dellburgoes) on bass; and Viv Treweek on trumpet. The emphasis was still on the songs themselves, but allowed for a much fuller sound. The album 'The Way Of The Racer' was recorded at Inca Productions in Wellington with Mike Gibson and Gill Craig in late 2004, and was released on Feb 25, 2005.

'Terraplane Twilight' is their third album. Recording the album (appropriately) at the Car Club in Wellington has kept the automotive theme alive, but it has now become a subtler metaphor. As Andrew McKenzie enigmatically explains, although the words may suggest otherwise “none of the songs are really actually about cars”

Another important change for the band is a significant line-up reshuffle. McKenzie (vocals, guitar) and Davey Geard (drums, vocals) remain – but they are now joined on the bass by Nato ‘the Force’ Hickey (Paseload, Fly My Pretties) and on keyboards by Adam Ladley (Velvetones, The Bonnie Scarlets). These changes have bought a more confident 1960s and 1970s musicality to their sound. It also brings a little more drive at the low ‘ass moving’ end, a touch more burning organ in the middle and a smidgen more widescreen trem-reverberation up at the top. Of course McKenzie’s thunderous voice remains, which has been described as “a cross between Nick Cave and Kiwi country icon, John Hore Grenell”

Behind the controls from the Car Club tracking to the finishing mixing touches at Lee Prebble’s (soon to be legendary) “The Surgery” studio, was Brett Stanton - who works with The Phoenix Foundation. He is most certainly one of Wellington’s finest soundmen. In the studio, more time was put into this album than the previous, allowing the band to experiment and be more specific in how they wanted things to sound. It also meant they were able to bring in guests including the “Grand Prix Boys Choir” of Age Pryor, Luke Buda and Craig Terris, as well as other guests on instruments such as glockenspiel, violin and trumpet.

'Terraplane Twilight' is a big step forward for Grand Prix. The sound is more developed and the songwriting remains excellent. While tracks from the last album were extremely popular on b-net radio, Kiwi FM and National Radio, and received excellent reviews, this album has even more songs that will appeal. Grand Prix’s live show is now full steam ahead and they enjoy their own solid following the capital city.

Reviews from 'The Way Of The Racer'

A love of country music, racing cars and the trumpet makes for an unlikely, yet riveting, combination… GP started out as a country band and take a far more stern and steely approach, something that has a lot to do with Andrew McKenzie’s voice, which is a cross between Nick Cave and Kiwi country icon, John Hore Grenell. And Viv Treweek’s trumpet, with its dramatic flutters and souring serenades, makes Grand Prix’s sound unusually original. - NZ Herald - Scott Kara (4/5 Stars)

I never thought I'd say these words about a 'country' album, but this is a great album. …A kick-ass live band with their high-decibel mariachi-influenced rockabilly. What really sets this album apart is that it's laden with character - the sneering, snarling vocals of singer songwriter Andrew McKenzie ride a steed of menacing riffs powered by a hungry rhythm section… Above all else, though, is that this album is damn good fun to listen to, a rarity in the serious rock'n'roll world these days. - Real Groove - Phil Reed (4/5 Stars)

Wellington act Grand Prix follow up their debut [racing lines] with an expanded line up, a slicker sound and, most importantly, plenty of racing car inspired tracks about hi-revving drama…From the rocking mariachi of the opener 'The Way of the Racer' to the Nashville flavors on 'Eternity Behind the Wheel' and the campfire reflection of 'What Kind of Man is He', which recalls the Long Ryders, to the rocking salsa of 'Vigilante', this will keep racing fans happy and ensure the local alt country scene a roaring future. - Dominion Post - Lindsay Davis (4/5 Stars)

Grand Prix have evolved into a grounded and intelligent music entity with this release….An applaudable feat from a songwriting perspective. With musical interest and lyrical allure it’s well worth getting. - NZ Musician – Kent Walsdorf

…can best be described as if it were created the day Marty Robbins met Nick Cave, south of the border. Inspired. - Air New Zealand Magazine

Band Members:
Andrew McKenzie (guitar, vocals)
Davey Geard (drums, vocals)
Nato 'The Force' Hickey (bass)
Adam Ladley (keyboards)

Member Managed Listing

Releases

Genres

Location

  • Auckland


Comments (Newest First)

Shade
muzic.net.nz Admin

Joined: 17/07/02
Posts: 5335
Location: Manawatu
View Profile
Grand Prix - The Speed Of Sound
Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:27 am
You guys have been working OUT!" would be a good summary of responses to the new Grand Prix album, 'The Speed of Sound'. It is definitely the most rocking album Grand Prix have made so far. They were excited going in to the studio - they had new songs, a new direction and they would be recording them live in a room together as a band for the first time. And they're happy with the results. It's rock that might have come from the 70's, an evolution from the dark surf sound of the previous albums.

Each Grand Prix album so far has moved forward through roughly a decade of music. At some point the idea came up to start at the beginning [in this case whenabouts blues met bluegrass] and evolve forward again and again, avoiding some of the dead end streets that have happened, and evolve to something they can call our own. Although they live in New Zealand, Grand Prix are influenced by music from bigger cultures like America and Europe. They wanted to feel that they had done some homework on the roots of popular music, and see where they ended up.

Album number four signals a move towards the Seventies, and the testosterone seemed to come to the party in accordance, Grand Prix found themselves kind of revisiting their youth. Andrew remembered why he picked up the guitar in the first place, and with Nato and Davey in the band, it had to get a bit heavy.

Many of the new songs were written by Andrew in his hometown of the Hawkes Bay, where he has returned to live for a while. Strangely, all the old country songs from previous albums were written in Wellington, but the new rock songs were written in the country. Andrew has no TV, no internet, just guitars hanging on the wall, a tape machine and coffee, and he's never bored.

Grand Prix - On Tour

Saturday April 25th - Mighty Mighty - Wellington - with Double Ya D
Friday May 8th - Cassette Number Nine - Auckland - with The Family Cactus
Saturday May 9th - Cabana - Napier - The Devils Elbow
Friday May 15th - Wunderbar - Lyttleton - The Dialtones
Saturday May 16th - Chicks, Port Chalmers - The Alpha State
 

Shade
muzic.net.nz Admin

Joined: 17/07/02
Posts: 5335
Location: Manawatu
View Profile
Grand Prix – 'Terraplane Twilight'
Posted: Thu Jun 7, 2007 8:08 pm
On a dark and stormy night, when Grand Prix were tracking 'Terraplane Twilight', something strange happened. At the Car Club, which is an isolated hall by some fields in Newtown’s hills, they set up their equipment and engineer Brett Stanton plugged in the portable recording studio as usual. Among the model cars and rally prize ribbons (the Car Club is a combined classic car enthusiasts club and also rehearsal space) the band started playing and working on a new song. All of a sudden, the storm outside struck and the lights began to flash on and off, the studio equipment jammed up and a thundery atmosphere filled the cavernous old hall. Then it occurred to the band: was this because the song they were working on was called 'The Devil'.

Some bands might have gotten the message and called it a day, but Grand Prix continued undaunted – and 'Terraplane Twilight' is their third album. Recording the album (appropriately) at the Car Club has kept the automotive theme alive, but it has now become a subtler metaphor. As Andrew McKenzie enigmatically explains, although the words may suggest otherwise “none of the songs are really actually about cars”

Another important change for the band is a significant line-up reshuffle. McKenzie (vocals, guitar) and Davey Geard (drums, vocals) remain – but they are now joined on the bass by Nato ‘the Force’ Hickey (Paseload, Fly My Pretties) and on keyboards by Adam Ladley (Velvetones, The Bonnie Scarlets). These changes (and the brush with ‘The Devil’) have bought a more confident 1960s and 1970s musicality to their sound. It also brings a little more drive at the low ‘ass moving’ end, a touch more burning organ in the middle and a smidgen more widescreen trem-reverberation up at the
top. Of course McKenzie’s thunderous voice remains, which has been described as “a cross between Nick Cave and Kiwi country icon, John Hore Grenell”.

Behind the controls from the Car Club tracking to the finishing mixing touches at Lee Prebble’s (soon to be legendary) “The Surgery” studio, was Brett Stanton - who works with the Phoenix Foundation. He is most certainly one of Wellington’s finest soundmen. In the studio, more time was put into this album than the previous, allowing the band to experiment and be more
specific in how they wanted things to sound. It also meant they were able to bring in guests including the “Grand Prix Boys Choir” of Age Prior, Luke Buda and Craig Terris, as well as other guests on instruments such as glockenspiel, violin and trumpet.

'Terraplane Twilight' is a big step forward for Grand Prix. The sound is more developed and the songwriting remains excellent. While tracks from the last album were extremely popular on b-net radio, Kiwi FM and National Radio, and received excellent reviews, this album has even more songs that will appeal.

Grand Prix’s live show is now full steam ahead, with recent support slots with the Lemonheads, the Phoenix Foundation as well as having their own solid following the capital city.
 

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