Lost A-Side: The Androidss- “Getting Jumpy”

When you think of punk and new wave hotbeds, the big ones are what immediately come to mind. You think of London, New York, Los Angeles. Maybe you might toss a Manchester or a Chicago in there. Christchurch, New Zealand likely doesn’t enter your head but the biggest city on the South Island wasn’t immune to the global rumble of the late-70’s/early ’80s.

The Androidss were formed in 1978 and originally featured a Maori drag queen named Arthur Manawatu on vocals (if that’s not punk rock, son I don’t know what is). They played their own tunes next to a passel of covers from the Great Freakazoid Songbook (Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy, the Stones, et al). They left Christchurch and toured the country and eventually landed in Auckland. The scene there- centered around New Zealand heavyweights like the Swingers and Toy Love- inspired the B-side of this single, the absolutely wonderful “Auckland Tonight”.

Manawatu eventually exited stage right, and co-lead singer Steve Marsden took over sole control of vocals. “Getting Jumpy” was written by one of the band’s three (count ’em three) guitarists, Mark Wilson, and it is his masterpiece. Seeing as this the band’s only single (a serious tragedy), Wilson came in and went out on top. If this was produced by a British or American band, you imagine it would be a lot more widely known. As it was, this reached #18 in the New Zealand singles charts in 1981.

Sadly singer Marsden passed a few years ago, as have three other band members since. These two songs are are their sole recorded legacy but remember them as they would want- in the words of Iggy Pop after seeing them play:

“They’re tough as bitches, but they’re beautiful!”

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Jim Powers

I used to always write “sideburns and leather, rock and roll forever” in things like this but I’m 35 now and the sideburns are gone and the leather jacket doesn’t really fit. However, I’m still like that in my mind.

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