10 Sep 2017

Seminal Dunedin band join NZ Music Hall of Fame

From RNZ Music, 6:00 am on 10 September 2017
The Clean

The Clean Photo: AudioCulture

After rejecting the Hall of Fame accolade twice in the past five years, members of The Clean have agreed to accept it at this year’s Silver Scrolls ceremony on September 28th.

"I think when we were asked it just didn't feel right for us," Robert Scott, the band’s bassist, told Stuff in August.

"We feel we are outside the industry, and in the past we were shunned and dismissed, and it seems like by saying yes we would be forgiving the industry for that.

“Of course, with time they are proved wrong as our music has stood the test of time.

“It's a strange thing dealing with other people's perception of your music and what you stand for as a band."

The Clean

The Clean, 1981. Photo: Carol Tippet

Inspired by obscure sixties garage and psychedelic bands, as well as the punk revolution of the 1970s, The Clean helped introduced New Zealand to what would later become known as ‘The Dunedin Sound’.

It was 1981 when a young Roger Shepherd was in the process of launching his new label, Flying Nun Records. He wanted to promote the many post-punk alternative bands that were springing up in his hometown of Christchurch, and further south - Dunedin.

Shepherd chose The Clean’s ‘Tally Ho’ as one of the two singles he released to the launch the label. It made it to No. 19 on the NZ singles chart, much to the delight of those involved.

Not many people realised it at the time, but it was the start of something that would influence music and culture in NZ - and beyond - for decades to come.

The Clean helped cement The Dunedin Sound’s popularity - and Flying Nun's finances - with their EP Boodle, Boodle, Boodle, also released in 1981.

Surprisingly, it reached number four in the NZ charts and remained in the Top 20 for nearly six months.

The Clean joking around

Photo: Tim Soter

“To make Boodle and then it be so successful was just incredibly encouraging for everybody involved … like, ‘Hey, we’re on the right track here. Maybe we aren’t so crazy,’ David Kilgour recalls.

The band’s members include guitarist Kilgour, his brother - drummer Hamish Kilgour, and bassist Robert Scott. Each has forged a life in music including multiple bands and projects including The Bats, The Great Unwashed, Bailter Space, The Heavy Eights and more.

But it was The Clean that made it onto US college radio in the 1980s; garnered an enduring fan base in Australia, the UK and Europe; and influenced generations of NZ musicians and fans. And they're still touring successfully across the world today.

The Clean will be inducted into the NZ Music Hall Of Fame at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards in Dunedin on 28th September 2017.

You can follow all RNZ Music's coverage of the Silver Scrolls here at rnz.co.nz/music, as well as on the RNZ Music Facebook page. On the night you can livestream the ceremony here at rnz.co.nz/music or on YouTube, listen to RNZ National 101FM to hear the ceremony, or watch Freeview CH 50.

As a reminder of how great The Clean really is, and to get you in the mood, here's some quality gear to binge on:

The story of Boodle Boodle Boodle (2012)

“By the time we got to do Boodle Boodle Boodle, The Clean ... were such a wonderfully great live band. Most of those songs were done in one or two takes.”

– Boodle producer Doug Hood

A video tracing the history of The Clean’s iconic first EP. Featuring Hamish Kilgour, David Kilgour, Robert Scott, producer Doug Hood and former band member the late Peter Gutteridge:

If it hadn’t been for Chris Knox’s ego, The Clean may have never formed (2012)

“I thought Chris Knox’s ego was too massive, I couldn't be in a band with him. He was just too much of a personality. Overwhelming.”
– Hamish Kilgour

An interview with Hamish Kilgour about the formation of The Clean:

The Clean's Boodle, Boodle, Boodle a classic after 36 years (2017)

“There’s a little bit more to it than just the music perhaps, maybe the attitude that we helped instill. I’m not sure. If I knew that, I’d still be making Boodle, Boodle, Boodle! I’d just keep making it over and over again.”
– David Kilgour on the Boodle, Boodle, Boodle EP.

Earlier this year Boodle Boodle Boodle was awarded the 2017 Independent Music New Zealand Classic Record Award. We spoke to David Kilgour about the record.

The Clean talk solo material, longevity and their 10-date U.S tour (2014)

The Clean performing live at New York City venue Rough Trade in 2014.

The Clean perform live at New York City venue Rough Trade in 2014. Photo: Ben Howe

“We only [play live] every three years, so that’s how we do it. We take the mickey out of each other, in a kind and caring way. You can have a laugh at someone’s expense, but to a certain degree, and then you cross a line and the expression changes, and you know you’ve gone too far.”
– Robert Scott

The Clean were at the tail end of a North American tour. We met up with them during their New York stop to talk about their three respective solo albums, which had all just been released in quick succession.

Documentary: Flying Nun Records

It was 1981 when Christchurch record shop manager and music fan Roger Shepherd decided that someone should be recording the local bands he loved. He had $50 and a dream. The rest is history.

Listen to our five-part series covering the history of Flying Nun Records.

The Clean live audio recordings

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

The Clean - Live at The Kings Arms (RNZ Music: 2012)

The songs are: ‘At The Bottom’, ‘Two Fat Ladies’, ‘Wipe Me I'm Lucky’, ‘Flowers’, ‘In The Dream Life U Need A Rubber Soul’, ‘Getting Older’, and ‘Tally Ho’.


This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

The Clean - Live at San Francisco Bath House (Tex Houston : 2007)

The songs are: ‘Jala’ and ‘Point That Thing Somewhere Else’



The Clean messing around on a playground

Photo: Supplied

The Clean: selected discography

  • Boodle, Boodle, Boodle - 1981
  • Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-so Sounds So-so, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten - 1982
  • Odditties - 1983
  • Live Dead Clean - 1986
  • Vehicle - 1990
  • Modern Rock - 1994
  • Unknown Country - 1996
  • Getaway - 2001
  • Mashed - 2008
  • Mister Pop - 2009