20 Sep 2014

Peter Gutteridge Tribute

From RNZ Music, 2:00 pm on 20 September 2014

full snapper live at Kings Arms FebPeter Gutteridge playing Auckland's Kings Arms with Snapper in 2013 / Photo by Nigel Moore

Peter Gutteridge was there at the beginnings of several important Flying Nun bands. He was a co-founder of The Clean, and while he doesn’t appear in many recordings, he gets a credit for writing ‘Point That Thing Somewhere Else’. However, his time as The Clean’s bass player was short lived, and after he was asked to leave the band he took up the guitar as his primary instrument.

Gutteridge was in the first phase of The Chills, lasting two months, two gigs, and no recordings.

“There wasn’t enough room for me to really explore stuff. It was too regimented. I’m not a particularly technical guitarist, but I like certain sounds. Certain rhythms. I’m interested in drone music as well as melody.” (Mess+Noise, April 15, 2013).

Shayne Carter and Peter Gutteridge were flatting next door to each other in Dunedin in the early 80s, so naturally they formed a band - The Cartilage Family – which never recorded but did lead to Gutteridge-penned compositions such as ‘Can’t Find Water’ and ‘Boat with No Ocean’.

When Hamish and David Kilgour (of The Clean) invited Gutteridge to join their sabbatical project The Great Unwashed, those songs came to light on Singles, (1984) and he contributed to the Odditties 2 cassette.

“The Great Unwashed was kinda a gift to me really, I mean, I’d been ditched from The Clean at the age of 17... which, at the age of 17 in the midst of the punk revolution, is kinda heartbreaking, you know? – I actually remember going home and crying about it…”  - Peter Gutteridge Radio NZ interview circa 2001.

Peter Gutteridge also played organ for underground popsters The Puddle, and collaborated with obscure acts Alpaca Brothers and Bel-Curves/Belle Curves.

“I've got bored staying with one band. Like living in Dunedin for a long time you just can't play with three people for a long time. There are other musicians and it's great to learn off other people.” (Garage No.6)

Finding the Snapper sound

Gutteridge began to develop his own material, away from the jangly pop of the “Dunedin Sound”.

He moved toward a new sound, dependent on drone and distortion. With a little drum machine, some keyboards and guitar, he followed Chris Knox's lead, and started recording on his own 4-track.

Some of these earlier experiments were later released by Xpressway on the 1989 cassette Pure

Rhythm, drone and distortion

As Peter Gutteridge found like-mined musical accomplices, the band Snapper evolved.

Snapper's substructure is rhythm, Gutteridge's private, psychic pulse. It was basically there in The Great Unwashed, on tracks like 'Can't Find Water' from Singles, but fully took form with Snapper. Gutteridge told RipItUp:

“We're into solid bedrock rhythms. There's not much room for fancy stuff. Ours is the rhythm that makes you tick. We find it and push it as hard as it will go.”

Though Snapper can do mellow, they're much more hooked on the everybody-keeps-turning-up-their-amps style overlapping overdrive of The Velvet Underground’s 'Sister Ray'.

The opening track from the 1988 self-titled EP 'Buddy' is still Snapper's biggest hit, and the soundtrack to their sole video. Directed by the Axemen's Stuart Page, the video is full-fledged Snappervision: Skulls, strobes, and sunglasses, and black-clad Gutteridge giving you the fingers while speeding down the highway on the back of a big black bike.

The above article is largely a summary (with permission) of AudioCulture’s Snapper Profile by Jon Chapman.

“No more buddy buddy, no more messing around… fire in my brain, that you’d like to put out.” – Buddy, by Snapper.

Through many incarnations and despite irregular output over the years, Snapper continued to be Peter Gutteridge’s primary musical vehicle until his untimely death on 15 September 2014.

We salute Peter Gutteridge with tributes from his comrades including Chris Heazlewood, Shayne Carter, Stuart Page, Terry Moore, Richard Langston, George D. Henderson and Danny Brady.

Related stories:

Snapper 2013

In our most recent interview with Peter Gutteridge, he talked about the third incarnation of Snapper, featuring his nephew, Jack Reid, Thought Creature's Danny Brady and Hope Robertson of Bad Sav. 23 February 2013

Flying Nun Records Part Two: Getting Older

(From 12'.40" in the audio) Shayne Carter talks about forming The Cartilage Family with flatmate Peter Gutteridge and the Gutteridge compositions (‘Can’t Find Water’, ‘Boat with No Ocean’) which ended up on the first Great Unwashed E.P. Peter Gutteridge talks about the gift of being invited to join The Great Unwashed.

Flying Nun Records Part Three: In Love With These Times

(From: 13’30 in the audio) Flying Nun manager Paul McKessar talks about the ‘In Love With These Times’ compilation which included the Snapper song ‘Hang On’, and Peter Gutteridge talks about early Snapper.

The Clean - Boodle Boodle Boodle Extended Play

The story of The Clean's first EP Boodle Boodle Boodle, is told by members of The Clean: David Kilgour, Hamish Kilgour, Robert Scott, and original bassist Peter Gutteridge; alongside Boodle engineer Doug Hood, Label manager Roger Shepherd and others. Cheers to 95bFM for sharing!

Music Details:

Artist: Snapper
Song: Dry Spot
Composer: Gutteridge/Snapper
Album: Shotgun Blossom
Label: Flying Nun

Artist: Peter Gutteridge
Song: Universe of Love
Composer: Peter Gutteridge
Album: Arc Music Dunedin
Label: Arc Life

Artist: Peter Gutteridge
Song: Hang On
Composer: Peter Gutteridge
Album: Pure
Label: Xpressway

Artist: Peter Gutteridge
Song: Planet Phrom
Composer: Peter Gutteridge
Album: Pure
Label: Xpressway

Artist: Peter Gutteridge
Song: Cause of You
Composer: Peter Gutteridge
Album: Pure
Label: Xpressway

Artist: The Puddle
Composer: Henderson

Artist: Peter Gutteridge
Song: Ocean
Composer: Peter Gutteridge
Album: Pure
Label: Xpressway

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