There’s only a few times in my life that I’ve been lost for words and the first time I heard Flesh D-Vice was one of them.
Listening to them now still gives me goosebumps as I remember how impossibly chaotic and engaging their songs were. Sure, we’ve all heard more extreme music since, but in small town New Zealand during 1983 nothing was farther from the mainstream than the ‘Fleshies’.
The band were formed in the capital city Wellington during 1982 and became heroes among the boot boys. The punk scene of the late 1970’s had been a revelation for NZ music with many of the country’s most influential musicians emerging during this time. But even punk, post-punk and new-wave music of the late 70’s and early 80’s sounded polished and overblown compared to the sonic assault of Flesh D-Vice.
The band might best be described as New Zealand’s answer to the Misfits as they also took inspiration from schlock and B-Movie culture rather than involving themselves in the anarcho-punk scene.
Flesh D-Vice are best summed up by singer Gerald Dwyer:
“We are the fastest rock and roll band in the land. Our mission is to keep rock and roll alive. We operate without restraint. We don’t appeal to the mainstream but we aren’t going to compromise to get popular.”
NZ Truth (24/12/1984)
This uncompromising attitude was best expressed onstage, and with a rabid boot-boy following and police harassment, the band would sometimes be banned from venues.
The first Flesh D-Vice album, ’12” Of Hard Flesh!’ (1983) came at a time when punk music had regained the underground. No longer splashed across the front pages enraging the moral majority, hardcore punk existed onstage in sweaty live venues and on the turntables of the faithful.
Kill That Girl is guaranteed to make you want to start a pit even if you’re listening to it alone. Hearing this as a spotty teen who thought he knew about punk music was akin to finding out aliens exist, it almost didn’t compute that music could be this exciting, I was hooked.
The Fleshies spearheaded the NZ hardcore movement and continued to tour relentlessly throughout the 1980’s and went on to release a handful of albums, singles and EPs.
Frontman Gerald Dwyer was one of the most driven people in NZ music epitomising the DIY attitude. He would form Hardedge Records, run the Sticky Fingers poster and flyer business and go on to manage two of New Zealand’s greatest bands, Head Like A Hole and Shihad.
Sadly Dwyer would pass away in 1996 leaving an enviable legacy in the NZ scene. Thankfully his exploits live on in the music he was a part of and bands he helped nurture.
Go and have a listen to Kill That Girl now, it’ll be the best two minutes of your day, just don’t blame me when you smash up your lounge starting a one-person pit.