Waste The EarthWhatever your preconceptions about music from Dunedin since the 1980s there was always more music made in Dunedin which didn’t sound like the stuff which filtered out to the wider world. Certainly by the 1990s the weirdness factor in the underground had gone into chemically-enhanced overdrive. Possibly the greatest unheralded 1990s Dunedin weird rock album was “nawgh” by waste the earth. Unheralded because it remained unreleased and forgotten (or just plain unknown) until 2012.

Here’s one of the straightest pop songs from it, “Free Range Eggs” which somehow manages to channel Snapper as well as Black Sabbath in the spirit of early Gong… at least until the string section comes in towards the end:

Not going to attempt to describe ‘nawgh”, but the hard work has been done on the Waste The Earth Bandcamp anyway: “There’s lurching guitar squall rock tracing links to the 3D’s but there’s also proggy funk, string sections and associated oddness. All sounding like nothing of this earth, but instead of an alternative earth where Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band is jamming King Crimson and Jefferson Airplane out-takes.” 

Everything else we know/ we need to know is in the information on the waste the earth Bandcamp:

“. . . waste the earth . . . began with Gavin Shaw & Alan Starrett (now of The Puddle) jamming on guitar & bass in the Super 8 warehouse in Dunedin in the early 90s. Jeff Mitchell joined on drums. One night they headed down to Dunedin’s legendary Empire Hotel, where the poster said Horodroby X, Placebo DeNiro, Waste the Earth. They claimed the last name name and jumped on stage.

Because the band had many different drummers, most of whom were guitarists, Alan led from the bass in a melodic and rhythmic fashion. For a while they did have a “real” drummer-“Bunny” Steve Deans from Dimmer. They toured the West Coast (of the South Island of New Zealand) with Nimrod Diabolique in a friend’s new Peugeot station wagon, which they almost lost, along with their lives, sliding out of control with a jack-knifing trailer of band gear while driving down the Otira Gorge. Metal enthusiasts came to their shows, expecting metal from the name. And leaving confused.

ln 1994 they recorded at Broken Ear. A lot of friends joined in on various woodwind and brass instruments. Alan gathered sound effects from the Waitati River, the Maritime Museum, St. John Ambulance and the Otago Pigeon Club and from banging on bedframes in a cellar.

That Mayan prediction about 21 December 2012 got a bit lost in translation. What the Mayan’s actually foresaw was that an album by . . . waste the earth . . . would finally be released on that date. The Mayan phrase for ‘waste the earth’ was translated by Spanish scholars to ‘perder la tierra’ which became ‘devastate the land’ when translated to English. This was misinterpreted to mean the earth would be destroyed.”