Monday, October 31, 2011

Out now!

It's finally here! Very exciting.

You can buy the digital downloads from Amplifier (320k MP3), iTunes, and other digital stores. Amplifier has a special bonus tune - Marshall Law Dub [listen], which we recorded with Mike Hodgson (now of Pitch Black).

ITunes has a bonus track too  - our cover version of Head Like A Hole's song Air [listen]. You can also grab the digital versions in any format you want from our Bandcamp page. Also available at  Marbecks DigitalDigirama.

If you want the CD, Amplifier ship it across NZ and worldwide too. And the CD is in all good CD stores.

Cheers! Hope you like it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pre-order the CD

You can pre-order the CD of Rewind The Hateman now, from They ship locally and internationally. More info here.


Cheese On Toast did an interview recently with Peter and Roland, watch it below. They've also got the album stream up too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sounding off

The kind folk at Doubtful Sounds have posted a cool piece on the reissue  - thanks!

"Hallelujah Picassos were one of the most original, visceral and genre mashing bands to come out of Auckland, New Zealand in the early 90s. They combined reggae, lovers rock, punk, dub, hip hop and garage rock with the end result being an overwhelming live experience. 

Frontman Roland Rorschach, bassist Johnnie Pain, guitarist Peter McLennan and drummer/singer Bobbylon were something of a musical history lesson for young kids growing up in New Zealand, giving them an entry point into a diverse array of genres, pointing the way for them to make their own discoveries about 70s Jamaican dub, New York hip hop and US hardcore. Roland always seemed like a mysterious figure whether he was serving coffee at Cafe DKD, striding along the city streets or prowling the stage like a caged panther."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Herald p-core

Hugh Sundae of the NZ Herald has posted a great piece on the forthcoming Hallelujah Picassos reissue, out next Monday. There's the new video, and an excerpt from the CD liner notes, written by Simon Grigg. Here it is...

Extract from Simon Grigg's liner notes for Rewind the Hateman

"The Picassos arrived in 1988 and Auckland, and indeed, New Zealand, had seen nothing like them.

Whereas most of their influence-mashing contemporaries combined two, or at most, three of the above musical revolutions together, Hallelujah Picassos took absolutely no prisoners and slammed them all together in an almost violent and ruthless amalgam of joy.

And you either loved them or hated them. There was no middle ground. Harold's performance and Bobbylon's sweet noise didn't offer you the non-committal option.

I loved them, and found that it was both exhilarating and exhausting to be in their presence. You thrilled at the energy and seductive melody, but found yourself utterly shattered as they walked off... and I'm not a dancer. I can but try to imagine how the band felt.

In almost any other nation they'd likely have been adopted by the fringes of the mainstream and done quite well given their look and sound, but in an era when airplay for their sort (y'know: NZ bands) on any radio stations outside of student radio was non-existent, their sales remained steady but unspectacular, driven mostly by live shows.

But their influence was undeniable, and a generation of local acts who refused to accept the boundaries that those Pink Floyd and Dire Straits-loving critics defined owe massively to the Picassos, often without realising exactly how much they broke down the barriers of musical conservatism in Auckland and beyond.

However their catalogue has languished since then, being largely unavailable, aside from a track here and there, throughout the 21st century.

Until now... and this, I guess, is as good a place as any to encourage you to take a leap into the recorded work of one of the most important New Zealand acts of their time.

Enjoy. I will."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ideals With Attitude

Interview by Graham Reid from back in the day... NZ Herald, Friday June 12, 1992.

As Roland Rorschach of the Hallelujah Picassos he prowls the stage hunched over in tense knots of muscle and anger. And on the opening track Of the Picassos album, the dark menace of Crack Dub, his voice lets loose one crucial mood-setter - “Murder”.

Harold, as he introduces himself, doesn't muck around. He does his thing with a passionate intensity which can be unnerving, but in conversation he tempers the discussion about the Picassos and music in general with humour and thoughtfulness. Up there beyond the lights, however...

“I don't find music an entertainment any more,” he says with a shutdown 'n' serious expression.

''People in the last 10 years have been listening to non-idealistic music. Idealism faded away in the 70s, although punk, hardcore and rap brought it up again.

''Idealism got lost in the sales charts because people got sick of hearing about problems in the world. But that needs to be brought up again. We've forgotten about the starving millions, the ozone layer or unemployment right here in New Zealand.

“I want to educate people to the fact there are always more possibilities than the situations you have encountered. Naivety is still so strong among people. The Picassos are about social and cultural observation.”

That's a broad and demanding brief for anyone to uplift, but Roland won't let it go.
Onehunga's becoming a ghetto, the hepatitis B scare, even the caution about offensive language on the band's new Hateman in Love album, are all prompts for his wide-ranging discussion.

Across the table, Picassos guitarist/singer Peter McLennan occasionally tosses in his comments - particularly when the conversation turns to the album - but Rorschach is enthusiastic, earnest and busy articulating his ideas. If any band is capable of exploring the territory that he considers important it is the Picassos, who are at the core of the meltdown of inner-city musics in Auckland. He considers Grey Lynn and Ponsonby “out of the city” and is looking for living/rehearsal space in Hobson St.

As a self-styled agent provocateur - who enthuses about the Clash's Sandinista album for putting the cause out front as much as for its musical diversity - Rorschach (and the Picassos) stand at the intersection of styles. With drummer Bobbylon he is part of the Riot Riddum Sound System (Bobbylon appears on the MC OJ and Rhythm Slave album) and has worked with a revolving roster of acts in the central city. And musically the Picassos bounce from the rebel styles of reggae, dub and thrash to McLennan's chiming, melodic pop.

The album crunches all that diversity together almost as a compilation of material recorded over the years and for various projects.

The poppy No More previously appeared as a single for Pagan, but the album was released through Wildside. Practical reasons says Mclennan: Pagan could offer only the vjnyl/cassette option but Wildside offered CD and the longer running time. With 16 tracks, Hateman had to go straight to disc to let the band clear a back catalogue and show that diversity.

"It's a mixed bag from old to new" says McLennan ''and it's structured like a live set. We push people through our various styles and moods. We evolved from playing garage punk through reggae styles and recording all the way until we came to this point where we had an album's worth of material.”

That slew of styles has already confused some scribes down in the South Island, where the band is touring. The questions are always the same, says McLennan. How come the band plays such a range of material? “The album was a conscious move to show that diversity,” says Rorschach. "That is very important to us; the title subliminally suggests that. It's about dualities and keeping yourself alert so you don't stagnate. The album explores those territories and each song was realised in a different frame of mind. We want people to keep exploring ideas."

''White kids want to be down and out," says this frontman who came to a New Zealand from Holland in '82 and was schooled briefly in Whakatane. ''But you can make a buck, get food every week... you just need to be motivated. It's now cool to be working class and unemployed. Music has conditioned people to that, The Sex Pistols and Anarchy has a lot to answer for.

''But in South Auckland the Polynesian kids like to dress up and show they have money. They like to be able to buy a drink and afford to take a girl out. Their reality is a completely different one and we explore those things."

The different style of songs - written individually or by various combinations within the four piece - means the band exists beyond and between the various audiences they appeal to. "We're not really part of the New Zealand psyche because of our beliefs and the range we cover", says McLennan. "But we're not consciously standing apart … it's just there is no one else really doing what we do."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New video!

About a year ago, I was digging round in my archives/boxes of random stuff looking for some old Picassos press clippings, when I discovered a box of super 8 film labelled "Picassos - Powerstation". Thought to myself, "Cool, some footage I can use to make a new video for the reissue." I filed the film away carefully..  fast forward to August 2011.

I decide to dig out the roll of super 8 film and digitise it, ready for editing. Can I find it? No. Searched all my boxes, twice. Still couldn't find it. Searched them a third time. Found it. I remembered only one roll of film tho  - when I eventually relocated where I'd carefully stashed it, there was three rolls. Score. Two colour, one black and white roll. Some of the footage originally appeared in the video for Rewind, back in 94, so I'm guessing it was shot by Clinton Phillips.

So, with the generous assistance of video editor Justin Redding (thank you!), here's a suitably grimy clip for the noisy punk blast of God gave us Boom Boom Washington. Enjoy, and please share it round.

Oh, and here's the tracklisting for the reissue. Special bonus tunes for iTunes/Amplifier customers. More on that soon.


 1 Lovers +
2 Black spade picasso core
3 Crack dub
4 Snakeman's cry
5 Bastardiser
6 Sister Stacy
7 Hello Pablo
8 Shivers
9 God gave us Boom Boom Washington
10 Hateman
11 Rewind
12 Drinking with Judas
13 U+I
14 Glue
15 I want you to be my million/Happy go lucky girl
16 Smokin and fumin
17 Yardy
18 Seven stripes of the Maumau

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Look what I got!

Just got a copy of the Picassos reissue, damn it looks good! Check out the cover, below. Cover art by Martin Emond. Release date is October 31

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marshall law

Marshall Law Dub was recorded and produced by Mike Hodgson, way before he started Pitch Black. We did several tracks in his studio, two of which (this song and Sister Stacy) ended up on our first album Hateman In Love (1992). The other tune, Principle dub (audio), was released on Mike's album as The Projector, on Deepgrooves.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Head Like A Hole

Air was a B-side on the Rewind single in Feb 1994. Originally performed by our Wildside labelmates Head Like A Hole. Seeing as we were going to be playing a few live shows with HLAH, someone had the bright idea that we should cover one of HLAH’s songs, and they’d do one of ours. We threw in a few other musical references (NIN) for good measure.

I recall we played this live in Wellington once, our singer introducing it as the Wellington National Anthem. Crowd loved it. HLAH later recorded their version of two of our songs (Hitskin/7 Stripes of the Maumau) and released them on the Spanish Goat Dancer EP. They changed the lyrics a bit, in a rather amusing fashion.