This series of shows took place over the top of the south island and the west coast during Jan 1986 and involved a decrepit and terrifyingly brakeless commer van, copious quantities of opium tarbrew and ether …
Nux Vomica and the Axemen on tour together …Were we all in the one van? I cant exactly recall .. Nux Vom at that time was Lawrence Lens guitar and vox (also demented super8 documentarian of the Axemen phenomenon), myself (intrepid sole female chauffeur and yamaha electone player) Philip Alron Hubbard on bass and Chris Smallfry on drums and that guy Pete [Gorman] from EOE on 2nd guitar .. and Mr Al Right sax player extraordinaire .. And the Axemen Steve, Bob, Stu and Gordy B and Mr Al Right sharing sax duties with both bands … plus a PA and all the gear for both bands . All squashed into one not very big van …We played to approx 8 drunken bogans in Richmond after we werent allowed to play in the public bar as arranged …. We played in Takaka after a horrifying ordeal involving brake failure coming down the Takaka Hill ( thanks Dad for that driving lesson that included the stuff about handbrakes and low gears when experiencing braking issues) . In Takaka the hotel owners missus asked me “Are you doing some dry cleaning dear?” when she ventured upstairs to tell us that our dinner was ready and the scent of ether was wafting out from several of the rooms some of us were staying in. “Yes Ma’am” I remember replying , “I’m just cleaning the boys’ jackets for tonight’s gig.”
We played in Greymouth which was a blast and the aftermatch function was even better.
— LISA PRESTON
Bob Brannigan reckons this was the tour during which:
1) Gordo Baird wore no shoes;
2) Stevie’s alter ego “Striker” McCabe had the sides of matchboxes attached to the sleeves of his jacket, the better to flick lit matches at unsuspecting bystanders;
3) On at least one occasion, Steve & Bob were so objectionable that Lawrence Lens threw them both out of the van;
4) Stu Kawowski did not accompany the others in “the van,” preferring to make the journey in a stolen car;
5) All members of the Axemen (but maybe not Al Right) participated in naked seaside romps caught on super8 film in Nelson’s Golden Bay & again on the west coast .