Dominic Hoey (aka Tourettes) reports from his 17-town tour of New Zealand with singer-songwriter Skyscraper Stan and side-kick Josh Jugum.
Day 12 of the tour. I’m pleased to report that Josh didn’t die of seal poisoning, although he has become insufferable, constantly threatening to drive us into oncoming traffic and heckling from the audience. Suffice to say morale has further plummeted since my last update.
On Wednesday we drive to Okarito, a small town of 30 people on the west coast of the South Island. We spent the six-hour drive arguing over the music, Stan wanting to listen to Australian hip-hop and me and Josh patiently explaining that we’d rather pour boiling oil into our ears.
In Okarito we play in a tiny hall to an audience of confused tourists. Stan manages to win them over by playing a set of Roy Orbison covers. But when I get up and start ranting about dogs and killing landlords, half of them up and leave, which leads to a scuffle at the door when Josh refuses to refund them.
I soldier on with the remaining audience until halfway through my set, when Josh informs me there is an unruly mob of tourists gathering out the front of the hall. We send Stan outside to try and calm them down with more Roy Orbison, while Josh pulls the car around the back and we make a hasty exit, chased down the road by a gang of 60-year-olds in goosedown parkas.
Next day we play at the Hellfire Club in Lyttleton. When we arrive the bar is empty apart from an old Labrador named Barry. While Stan and I set up, Josh disappears and returns with a freshly shaved head.
“I’m getting pissed,” he announces, kicking over a box of my novels.
Although Stan is the designated sober driver, we repeatedly catch him drinking beers in the toilet. The show is a success with Josh riding topless through the crowd while Stan does the guitar solo from ‘Thunder Struck’.
I’m up second and, after my set, I’m selling novels when I hear Stan starting up again.
“Just going to do a couple more songs,” he says to the handful of drunks still in the venue. An hour later Josh and I have to wrestle him off the stage and drag him out of the empty venue, with the bar staff turning the lights on and off and Barry biting his tail, traumatised by Stan’s music.
On the way to Dunedin we stop off at the Victorian festival in Oamaru. We watch a penny farthing race and Josh wins a meat pack in a strong man competition, which he won’t shut up about.
“Wish that fucking seal killed him,” Stan mutters while Josh skips down the road clutching a plastic sack of offal and lamb chops yelling “I’m the best manager in the world!”
In Dunedin we’re joined by performance artist and stage dad Joel. “What you been up to?” I ask. He shows us a video of a burning house on his phone. “Arson is the new graffiti,” he says.
After the show, a middle-aged dickhead tells me I should write more happy poems. While I’m telling him to go fuck himself Stan disappears into the night. Joel drives us back to his house telling us about his favourite accelerants.
We awake in Port Chalmers. After breakfast, Joel’s two-year-old daughter performs the Venga Boys back catalogue on her Casiotone while Joel and his partner Rosie watch on with pride. We say our goodbyes and head into the city in search of our lanky tour mate. We find Stan walking around the Octagon, barefoot and smelling of cheese.
“Get in the bloody Mazda!” Josh yells at him, and we’re off to Wanaka.
The remaining dates are:
Thursday 23 Nov – Moutere- Moutere Inn (free entry)
Friday 24 Nov – Palmerston North -Looking Glass Lounge
Saturday 25 Nov – Auckland -The Wine Cellar
Sunday 26 Nov – Leigh – Leigh Sawmill
$10 pre-sale $15 on the door, get tickets here.
The Spinoff’s music content is brought to you by our friends at Spark. Listen to all the music you love on Spotify Premium, it’s free on all Spark’s Pay Monthly Mobile plans. Sign up and start listening today.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.