clean out

The Clean

The Clean were an influential first-wave punk band that formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1978. Led through a number of early rotating line-ups by brothers Hamish and David Kilgour, the band settled down to the well-known line-up with bassist Robert Scott. Early incarnations of the Clean included Peter Gutteridge on bass (who wrote "Point That Thing"), Doug Hood on vocals (who later worked with Toy Love and founded the "Looney Tours" touring company). The Clean soon forged a distinctive and quirky sound that relied heavily on organ melodies and simple, Ramones-style chord progressions.

In 1981, a fan of the Clean founded the Flying Nun label to release their first single, "Tally Ho." A follow-up track off one of their early EPs, "Beatnik", also achieved success, as did the second single, "Getting Older".

The Flying Nun label went on to be New Zealand's biggest independent record company, championing the Dunedin Sound, a loosely-connected style of music largely produced by bands from this southern city. Others artists on the label included The Chills, The Verlaines, The Bats, and Sneaky Feelings. The line-ups of these bands were often interrelated, with Peter Gutteridge being a founding member of the Chills, David Kilgour briefly in the Chills off-shoot band Time Flies, and Robert Scott being the founder of The Bats.

During much of the 1980s, the Clean disbanded, and during this time the Kilgour brothers worked together on an experimental album and ep using the deliberately punning titles "The Great Unwashed" and "Clean Out Of Our Minds". Reforming in the late 1980s, the band explored a slightly poppier vein of music while still retaining their experimental edge.

Although they released several chart-topping singles in their native country, the Clean are a little-known cult band outside of New Zealand, although their influence is surprisingly far-reaching. They became a staple of college radio in the 1980s, Stephen Malkmus of Pavement cites them as a major influence, and the band's droney 80s output is a direct forerunner of bands such as Yo La Tengo and Camper Van Beethoven.

The Clean continue to produce music, with Flying Nun recently issuing a comprehensive collection of their previously hard-to-find singles. Output from the band has been sporadic over the years, with members involved in other projects and Hamish Kilgour living in New York. Other projects involving members of the band include The Bats and The Magick Heads (Scott), Stephen, The Heavy Eights (David Kilgour), and The Mad Scene (Hamish Kilgour).

In early 2007, the Clean toured New Zealand on the 'Bangers and Mash' tour, during which they celebrated Hamish Kilgour's 50th birthday while playing at 'The Studio' in Auckland on Saturday 17 March 2007. Later that same year, the band's best-known incarnation (Kilgour/Scott/Kilgour) reunited for a short East Coast tour of the United States. The tour began in Manhattan, NYC with four shows: an in-store performance at Other Music and a three night stand at the Cake Shop on the Lower East Side. Although the tour officially concluded with a performance at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, the following week the band played an extra show at Maxwell's in Hoboken NJ, opening for Yo la Tengo at one of the group's annual Hannukah concerts.

In June 2008 a live album recorded during the 2007 New Zealand tour, was released in New Zealand on Arch Hill Records, entitled 'Mashed'. The Clean are now putting the finishing touches to their new studio album, to be released later this year, also on Arch Hill.


Date Title Label Charted Country Catalog Number
1982 Oddities Flying Nun Records - - FNMC ODD1
1987 Compilation Flying Nun Records - - FNCD154
1990 Vehicle Flying Nun Records - - FNCD147
1994 Modern Rock Flying Nun Records - - FNCD292
1996 Unknown Country Flying Nun Records - - FNCD349
2001 Getaway Flying Nun Records/Merge Records - - FNCD459/MRG188
2001 Slush Fund Arc - NZ Arc Cafe #1
2002 Anthology Flying Nun Records/Merge Records - - FNCD468/MRG220
2003 Syd's Pink Wiring System: Live in New Zealand 2000 Cleano - NZ Cleano 0001
2008 '''Mashed (live in New Zealand 2007) Arch Hill - - AHR033
1981 Boodle Boodle Boodle Flying Nun Records 4 NZ FN003
1982 Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-so Sounds So-so, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten Flying Nun Records - NZ FNGOOD001
1986 Live Dead Clean Flying Nun Records - NZ FNLDC01
1990 In a Live Flying Nun Records - NZ/Europe FN145/FNE29
1981 Tally Ho/Platypus Flying Nun Records 19 NZ FN002
1982 Getting Older/Whatever I do/Scrape Music Flying Nun Records - NZ FNLAST1
1994 Late Last Night/Psychedelic Clown Dark Beloved Cloud - US dbc020

Film appearance

The Clean appear as themselves in the 1999 film Scarfies, in which they are seen performing the song Tally Ho! in a performance at the Empire Tavern, Dunedin (the line-up for this performance was David Kilgour, Robert Scott, Robbie Yates, and Thomas Bell).

External links

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