A long-lost Chills video of the band’s 1982 debut single Rolling Moon has risen out of unfinished obscurity. Veteran cinematographer Peter Janes, who in the early 1980s filmed many of the first wave of Flying Nun bands in videos and pieces for Radio With Pictures, has used his time in lockdown to edit his footage which was originally deemed too dark to use.
“I’m sorry it took so long, it’s amazing it surfaced at all,” says Janes. “The footage has been in various attics, stables, and garages for almost 40 years. I really must speed up my post-production efforts. Sorry Martin. I shot these clips for the joy of it really.”
Janes unearthed the footage while sourcing material for Julia Parnell’s 2019 documentary The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy Of Martin Phillipps. The film was shot at night at Takiharuru-Pilots Beach on Taiaroa Head, an apt location given the song’s inspiration: “It was a very young man’s song,” Phillipps said in 2009. “It was me when I was young, leaping around on the peninsula on mushrooms.”
Some of the Rolling Moon film appeared in the acclaimed doco and it captures the band at a pivotal time. As well as Martin Phillipps, it features his keyboardist sister Rachel (seen prodding an unblown melodica rather than lugging an organ down to the seaside) and bassist Terry Moore. Drummer Martyn Bull, who died in 1983 of leukaemia, was too sick to appear in the video.
The finished video captures an early outbreak of mates-of-the-band awkward indie dancing, which would soon feature in a Janes clip for The Verlaines. Janes also shot the videos for the Chills’ Oncoming Day and Kaleidoscope World.
Despite the nocturnal shoot for Rolling Moon, no shots of the actual moon feature in the clip. Another curious touch is that Martin Phillipps is wearing a dog collar, probably borrowed from his methodist minister father.
The song itself was released with B-side Flamethrower as a seven-inch single and it was the Chills’ first release after being one of the four bands on the 1982 ‘Dunedin Double’ EP. Despite having in its outro (from 3.44), possibly the best bit of catchy whistling, ever, in the Flying Nun catalogue, Rolling Moon only spent two weeks in the NZ charts and peaked at number 26.