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Looking back at Wellington's young punks

Friday 9 Nov 2012 10:05 p.m.

By Laura Frykberg

Say the word ‘punk’ and many of us will think of bands from the United Kingdom and the United States – like The Clash or The Ramones.

It's that tendency which got a Wellington photographer thinking about our own punk scene and its history. The result is a new exhibition – ‘Up The Punks’ – which documents 35 years of Wellington's punk scene.

For 'Flesh D-Vice' bass player Dwayne Yule the exhibition is a trip down memory lane – albeit a hazy one. As a member of one of Wellington's first leading punk bands, the walls are littered with the chaos he and his band mates caused.

Their early songs like 'Kill That Girl' and 'Friday Nights Are For Fighting' were accused of glorifying violence.

“People saw the difference as threatening I guess, they knew you didn't like or respect things that they liked or respected and so they got really angry about it,” says Yule, “but when people around you are saying no, it makes you want to say yes.”

Exhibition organiser John Lake says many of the photos donated to the exhibition have confirmed legendary stories, including what The Cure got up to after performing at Wellington's town hall in the early ‘80s.

“Afterwards they joined a number of the local bands like Condemned Sector and Ambitious Vegetables at the jam rooms at Clyde Quay School and had this legendary jam session,” says Mr Lake.

He says part of the appeal of Wellington's punk scene was the lifestyle of rebellion and anarchy. But for Yule it's never been about the politics – just all about the music.

“Loud rock ’n roll guitar, and I personally love it,” he says.

And for those who don't? Unsurprisingly, he doesn't care.

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