The Gordons — (From top) Alister Parker (Guitar/Bass/Vocals), John Halvorsen (Guitar/Bass/Vocals) and Brent McLachlan (Drums) — Vince Pinker (Guitar) not shown.
In March 1980, band-less art student John Halvorsen was booked to do a gig at the Hillsborough Tavern - before he'd even found any other blokes with instruments to be in the band. A week later, he had new bandmates Alister Parker and Brent McLachlan, and together they designed their logo, pasted up their posters, practiced four times, and played the gig. Somehow smashing fully formed into their first show - just a couple of months after the release of the monumental AK79 compilation of NZ punk - they sheet-metal/stellar-core meltdown of The Gordons was a smack in the still-fresh face of post-punk. They had seven songs at that first gig, and the crowd was so into it that they played them all twice. Keeping up their hasty pace, The Gordons immediately went on tour, and when the van broke down in Wellington, they couldn't afford to get it fixed and found themselves stuck there for six weeks. Rather than slowing down or giving up, they recorded their infamously lost Sausage Tapes at Wellington's Sausage Studios, only to have the masters erased. Famous for being the brutally loudest band in NZ at the time, sensitive souls complained of hearing loss while enthusiastic skinheads stuffed their skulls into the speaker boxes for an all-out audio assault. Very expensive high-quality sound systems were brought in from elsewhere to augment a venue's setup and reinforce the resonances; a gig at the Gladstone in Christchurch required hiring in the best PAs from Auckland and Wellington. The band insisted that this was not loudness-for-the-sake-of-loudness, but for quality of sound reproduction, so listeners to The Gordons became full-on experiencers of their sound. The terrific thunders and squalls were not dependent on guitar pedals, odd tunings and production; the guitars plugged directly into the amps, with standard tunings. Halvorsen and Parker both alternated between guitar and bass, depending on who wrote the song, and used loudness as their effect, overdriving their amps and letting sounds crash into each other.