Following some recent debate about New Zealand’s marking of Labor Day at the end of October, so I decided to show you an old video I shot and Edited back in the early days of underground music at Bus Tunnel Studios.
It was May Day 1st 2003. The Carnies started a punk rock party at the top of the historic Cuba Street in Wellington NZ. The concert continued and everyone was having fun, letting the few cars around in those days through. I borrowed a camera to shoot this video, right in the path of the By-Pass. An historical record of the way things were outside Thistle Hall.
Then the local Constabulary turned up. I did not realize that so many cops like punk rock so much. They all came to watch the show. None of them were directing traffic like the Yellow Coats, so I presume they came for the free concert or was it the vegan food.
Months Later in Court, when the cops were asked why did they rush the stage and attack the lead singer? The reply was that it was the Lyrics in the song Smash the State that created an agitated state in the crowd. The original video was used in the court case to prove the defense’s statement that it was the attack on the band by the police that created the agitation in the audience. The Axe was returned to Ken Vicious months later.
This was the first time I had seen this band play a full set and I did not know that Ken would smash that old TV with an axe. I explained later to Ken, Grant and Bill Vicious, that I felt that the universe was guiding my feet with the camera that day, to be in the right place to capture what happened.
It took many months to edit this version of the video. There was a few other edits and consultations with the band. Dead Vicious did a Lo-Fi recording on cassette tape in their practice garage, so I edited the new sound track into the timeline on the video editing program. I mixed the tone to match and make the track blend quite smooth (to live audio) when Ken put down his guitar and grabbed the Axe.
When the cops charged onto the stage area, one police officer (in uniform) pushed Ken Vicious off the TV onto the ground. Breaking the backwards fall, Ken broke his arm when he landed on the pavement. The axe went flying and might have hit someone, safety was not a concern.
With his arm in a cast, Ken could not play a guitar again for almost 2 months. the police kept him locked in the back of that wagon, with a broken arm, for the duration of the protest after the concert (about 3 hours). We live in such a caring society.