The Pin Group

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The Pin Group
Peter Stapleton (Drums), Desmond Brice (Bass/Vocals) and Roy Montgomery (Guitar/Vocals)
Ross Humphries quickly replaced Desmond Brice on bass, and laterly two new members were added - Peter Fryer (Viola) and Mary Heney (Guitar/Vocals)


Peter Fryer (Viola)

Peter Stapleton (Drums)

Roy Montgomery (Guitar/Vocals)

Ross Humphries (Bass/Vocals)

Mary Heney (Guitar/Vocals)


The Pin Group's story began in November and December of 1980, when English-born Roy Montgomery (a veteran of Christchurch post-punk groups The Hangsters, Compulsory Fun and Murder Strikes Pink), linked up with accomplished writer and would-be bass player, Desmond Brice.  Former Vacuum and Victor Dimisich Band drummer Peter Stapleton completed the trio and brought another lyricist into the fold, together with a pounding drum style and a wide-ranging record collection that would influence the new group's sound.  Montgomery's formative groups had played mostly in Christchurch halls in 1980, whilst Stapleton's Victor Dimisich Band stepped out infrequently as a support act, but when the new trio debuted in mid-1981, it was at the notorious DB Gladstone, an inner city pub venue, which had taken to running groups six nights a week.  The Pin Group's Roy Montgomery (Guitar/Vocals), Desmond Brice then Ross Humphries (Bass/Vocals), and Peter Stapleton (Drums) practised a lot, but played barely a dozen shows in Christchurch.  Brice's rudimentary bass playing and erratic time keeping soon fell short of the group's objectives.  Ross Humphries, who'd sung in Compulsory Fun, and played bass in Murder Strikes Pink, quickly replaced him.  Brice had written some of the group's best lyrics and was happy to let the new formation carry on using them.  The Pin Group played one last show at Christchurch Arts Centre's Jazz Cellar in March 1982 before Montgomery headed to England.  In the years following the planned demise of The Pin Group in March 1982, the Christchurch trio remained an obscure footnote to an era filled with creative bustle and endeavour  —  but their 17 months of active musical life had hardly been high-profile.


The addition of Ross Humphries on bass and vocals had proven to be the missing link, his muscular yet minimally melodic playing was to mesh perfectly with Roy Montgomery's determined droning raga-rock guitar and Peter Stapleton's white-knuckled militaristic hammering.  Stapleton figured the group's Christchurch success was almost certainly through the connection with the English post-punk and Joy Division thing with Roy's voice, which was deep.  Roy Montgomery recalls turning up to work one day and someone had sprayed Roy Division on the front of the EMI Shop where he worked.  At the DB Gladstone in February 1981, the venue's bookers changed from the seasoned Jim Wilson to Rose Mitchell and Laura Stapleton (Peter's sister), and a range of Christchurch newcomers emerged: The Pin Group, 25 Cents, The Pedestrians, The Droogs, The Victor Dimisich Band, The Terraces, Desperate Measures, The Volkswagons, Ballon D'Essai, Mainly Spaniards and Drowning Is Easy, along with older post-punk acts The Newtones, The Playthings, Pop Mechanix, The Androidss and The Gordons.  With the older Christchurch acts being able to headline in their own right at the business end of the week, the new groups clustered on three band bills early week and as support for touring post-punk groups from Auckland and Dunedin.


The Pin Group Coat//Jim 7inch Single - July 1981
Release featured several different coloured sleeves

The Pin Group CD Compilation - 1997
Released in the USA on the Siltbreeze Label

The Pin Group Go To Town 12inch EP - 1982
Released on the Flying Nun Label

Poster advertising Go To Town 12inch EP - 1982
Released on the Flying Nun Label


Roy Montgomery realised that the sign that hung over the record shop he managed might be good for more than just his employment, and so he rang EMI studios in Wellington and booked The Pin Group for the December 1981 recording session that would finally capture the group's sound the way they wanted it.  The EMI engineer (Frank Douglas) was there to record whoever-came-along with no bias.  He was well into middle age, and asked what the group wanted, and they spent an ordinary 8-hour working day recording and mixing, with the group walking out of there with a totally finished product.  What the Gladstone audience saw on December 21, 1981, when the five-piece version of The Pin Group performed their take on The Velvet Underground's challenging Lady Godiva's Operation was no anomaly  —  it was a logical progression, based on a very real knowing of the Andy Warhol Factory scene in New York in the late 1960s.


Additional Pin Group information is available on the Audio Culture Website .....


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