Ohh, now tell me where can you party, child, all night long? / In the basement, In the basement, yeah

In the spirit of all things High Street, Auckland, and Cause Celebre (including this post on Public Address from myself), I made a point of tracking down a copy of the very rare, and rather wonderful (and, to the point, fairly important in the scheme of all things musically AK in the 1990s) Freebass album, RAW: Live at Cause Celebre.

Freebass were important for a number of reasons, but not least because it was one of the early vehicles for the Haines brothers, Joel and Nathan. Nathan’s next band was The Enforcers, who went on to record the globally released Shift Left – the only NZ recorded album ever to appear on the famous Verve label.

I remember the night fairly well. Chris Sinclair had miked up the room and he and Mark Tierney taped it struggling against all sorts of adversity. They had to battle with odd acoustics, inebriated folks repeatedly tripping over cables and staff who really didn’t care who or what they were, they had to get that case of Mac’s Gold to the back bar without delay.

But it worked out pretty well, it was a landmark album at the time and, as I recall, sold pretty well. Released on Mark Tierney and Kane Massey’s quite special Deepgrooves label, it’s long been unavailable and quite sought after. My (signed) copy had walked somewhere in the past 19 years so I was forced to buy a new copy this week. I sourced it on eBay, from Sydney, and, with the blessing of a couple of the musicians who may or may not own the rights (who the hell knows), I thought I’d post a track.

I’ve always thought that Thinking Of Riccardo may be about the Chilean guy of the name who was around the scene. He was, as I recall, busted for coke importation around this time and we were all rather taken aback. I’ve been meaning to ask for 19 years.


Freebass – Thinking Of Riccardo (DeepGrooves, 1990)


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

July 12, 2009 at 05:07 PM


Thanks for finding this. I think it also won Jazz Album of the Year that year?

I have nothing but fond memories of doing this. It was just a fabulous adventure. And those guys were just awesome.

And by all means re-release it.

You are totally right about the disappearing NZ musical heritage 60's-90's, especially photographically. We were before the Google cache.

Perhaps some co-ordinated effort could be made via NZONAIR or Te Papa to collect/curate it? For me Flying Nun is as important to our heritage as NZ'ers as any socio/political event of the last 40 years.

Anyway, thank you again for this. made my day.

May 29, 2010 at 03:05 AM

hey simon – it was pivotal music!Ben H has the publishing and he wrote most of the themes and melodies the rest was improvised or charted in that fantastic little band room out the back!!It was a time when Joel and nathan were still at school!it won jazz album of the year – Ive still got the weird green award.I also had my CD copy flogged ! The song was written for Riccardo – has had been busted outside VBG the week before. His son Juanito was the percussionist.We had a ball making it and yes the band and the club brought allot of great people and times to AK and the late 80's – 90's.Kane and Mark did a great job.Remember the annoying click Mark? Matai.

January 24, 2011 at 09:01 AM

The album is out now on Amplifier.co.nz

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