After winning $60,000 at the Rheineck Rock Award in 1987 – controversially at the time as many (in radio especially) felt the award should have gone to more mainstream act – they released ‘Stunt Clown’ in 1988. The album peaked at #18 of the album charts.
While ‘Stunt Clown’ itself didn’t set the world alight, it laid the groundwork for success of the following ‘Body Blow’ album, which included the legendary likes of Cruise Control, Gaskrankinstation and Choppers. The band’s bass player Grant Fell sadly died of cancer at the beginning of this year.
Brown says of the album, “From the strange field samples that open Expecting to Fly on in, ‘Stunt Clown’ is the sound of a band not just waiting for change but imposing change on itself. Made in fraught circumstances – who would have thought winning $60,000 to make a record would be such a pain? – it radically expanded the Chickens’ palette. It plays now as the bridge between the band’s experimental origins and later pop success, but it stands on its own as an ambitious, strikingly varied work. Literally no one in New Zealand was making music like this at the time – they had to invent it. The Taite judges got it right when they chose this album to honour.”
Photo: Bruce Murphy