Tony Peake RIP

It’s with much sorrow that I say goodbye to another long-standing and very respected friend, Tony Peake.

A hugely influential figure in not only Christchurch’s but New Zealand’s music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, without whom large parts of the things we celebrate as New Zealand music would look very different.

And a mate…..

I issued one of the first two recordings from his later band, The Newtones, on Class of 81; the slightly twisted psychedelic pop of New Way. They then managed to manipulate the always manipulatable NZ charts and pushed their debut EP, which came in at least three different coloured sleeves, into the singles listings at number 13 in May of that year, causing a fluster at RIANZ central. Another single, My World, followed.

I used to love his, often extended, visits to Auckland when we would talk music and just talk for hours; and, as much, craved the packages of singles, including my first real exposure to heavy Jamaican dub 12″s, he would send up from his incredible record store at Christchurch University. Taking advantage of an educational loophole in the draconian import laws in Muldoon’s New Zealand, it was for years the best record store in NZ, bar none.

There is a quite wonderful and evocative piece on Tony’s bands at Mysterex.

Thank you Tony. Rest peacefully.

An update / note (Friday 15th):

When I was first told of Tony’s passing (by Jim Wilson and Paul Mcneil –  I woke to PMs on Facebook from both) we all made comment that we hoped that something would be written to remember an extraordinary man, but we worried that it would, as is New Zealand’s way with so much of its left of mainstream culture, simply pass into history without record. The comments on this page and the various Facebook threads have proved us wrong. I’m truly moved by all of the words under this post. I could add something cheesy here but I think Tony would’ve just told me to STFU…


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Russell Brown
October 14, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Aw, man.

Tony was so cool when I was a kid. He ran the little record shop in the loft of the Canterbury University bookshop. We’d go in there after school and leaf through the new imports. He’d get stuff in for us. We thought he was a legend.

Killer fact: the Newtones did a great version of ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’.

RIP, Tony.

Ed Hayes
October 14, 2010 at 02:10 PM

I still have a Newtones 7″ (with Tony’s face on the cover) – I think everyone who shopped regularly at UBS bought one to help it chart (well, we all know that the stores manipulated the RIANZ sales reports anyway).

And just the other day read Greg Churchill’s interview in Rip It Up -with a nice tribute to Tony as the godfather, in a sense, of many DJ’s.

I remember that summer of 83/84 – every Friday night I think it was, at the Zanzibar being introduced to “alternative dance music” with standouts such as Newcleus and Afrika Baambatta.

Thanks Tony. You were inspirational.

James McCabe
October 14, 2010 at 04:10 PM

Completely understated, hugely influential, and deadly cool. A sixth sense about where music was heading. No surprise I was on his dance floor (at the Zanzibar in Sydenham) when I first heard New Order’s Blue Monday.
And at UBS I remember reverentially handing over disks I wanted to check out on the headphones. If he didn’t like what I’d selected, I’d never have known. For him music really was a sacrament and he knew that to pass judgement on a customer’s taste was an unnecessary and damaging cruelty.
Lovely guy, terrible loss.

Stuart Page
October 14, 2010 at 05:10 PM

Goodbye dear Tony, you were so generous and friendly and supportive those years I was at Art School ’76-’79. Thanks for the great mixtapes, thanks for all the imports, thanks for the parties and coming to all my openings. Thanks for being such a cool looking punk too! You were a significant influence, unflinchingly easy-going and you’ll be missed and remembered by many people. There will never be anyone quite like you.

Roy Montgomery
October 14, 2010 at 05:10 PM

To add to the memory thread: I remember Tony in the late 70s and early 80s as a kind of countercultural bureau chief who had two offices, one at work as mentioned above, the other at home in Queens Ave, Merivale. He was very good at connecting people to cultural objects or to each other. “Have you heard…? No? (puts cigarette in mouth, squints slightly, lays vinyl on turntable) Listen to that bassline…” For drop-outs like me Tony’s drop-in centres were an important element in my re-education. I recall a certain meticulousness about presentation. A red Jansen Invader overhauled by (the other) Bob Mould at Music Specialists replete with Schaler machine heads and Humbucking pickups a process which seemed to take years. A well-modulated androgeny. Young women rhetorically and hopefully telling me “He’s not really gay…” Being gently lampooned by him for my thinking that Wire were superior to virtually all other bands. His ability to dance vigourously and give the impression that he was smoking casually at the same time. Giving him an original psychedelic John Lennon poster (the one with the op-art swirly glasses) that I had bought years earlier at the Curiosity Shop in Chancery Arcade (it said George Harrison on the back, which is why, less highly evolved being that I was at the age of eleven, I bought it) because from what I could tell he really did believe in what Lennon said in the 70s. Even if these details aren’t as accurate as I would like to think the fact is Tony was instrumental in setting more than one compass, including mine. I’m very grateful for that.

October 15, 2010 at 12:10 AM

just wanted to add, Tony was an awesome, open and honest guy, and a great encourager and supporter of me and Dark Tower in our early days in christchurch – circa 93-97. it’s sad to see him go…

October 15, 2010 at 03:10 AM

Very sad.

Stephen McIntyre
October 15, 2010 at 04:10 AM

Tony was many things to many people – he made a huge impact.

To me, he was a big brother; and when I was just a freaked out, shy little kid of 13 he treated me and talked to me just like he treated any of the scary looking ‘grown ups’ with cropped pink and green hair who hung around the upstairs mezzanine floor of the University Bookshop where his record den was first located – as a real person; not as a child.

I remember a beautiful, smiley, bouncy man who smelt scrumptious; and that the record section also smelt really yummy – lots of musky incense, like a holy place or shrine – and that whenever I went in there the most fantastic music was playing.

He had impeccable taste but was no snob – in the days when musical tastes were extraordinarily black and white and polarised, Tony would have no qualms about putting Metal Box on the turntable, followed by Chic, followed by Dr Alimantado.

It’s kinda like that saying about everyone who bought the first Velvet’s album in the 70s then forming a band; it seems that everyone in Chch who bought a record at the Bookshop then started a band; or at least got up on stage, or made paintings, or videos, or became creative in some way.

When we were just spotty, annoyingly testosterone fuelled, shy high school brats, Tony got Ballon D’Essai our first three gigs – once at the University Ballroom and twice at the Gladstone pub. We couldn’t play for shit and we were all so clearly underage; why did he bother to do that?

I believe it’s because he had so much love and he enjoyed sharing that love with people, simply through being himself and doing what he loved doing – being artistic, being musical, talking, encouraging, guiding, life educating.

He passed on peacefully at his home in Victor Harbour, S. Australia, in comfort and with friends around him.

Dearest Prince Peake – with love …

Paul McNeil
October 15, 2010 at 05:10 AM

Yeah, The coolest guy i had ever met.
seemed like he just knew fantastic things and did fantastic stuff all the time. And of course he did.

Passionate about great things and passionate about sharing them with everyone, just to make the world a better place.

thanks for forming my life in a great way Tony.

the world needs more people like you

rest in peace old friendx

Brigid Kelly
October 15, 2010 at 05:10 AM

So, so sorry to hear this. Tony would give me free cocktails at Zanzibar when I was slightly too young to be there and was always so awesome whenever I saw him in subsequent years. RIP.

October 15, 2010 at 05:10 AM

Fond memories of vinyl at the uni book shop and weird nights at Zanzibar…thanks Tony, rest in peace.

Sharon Hunter
October 15, 2010 at 05:10 AM

Tony was such a focus and fixture at the wonderful University Book Shop. University days were the best of times. It was a great period in our history and he was a key part of that.

David Swift
October 15, 2010 at 05:10 AM

Tony made Sonny & Cher, Tapper Zukie and dozens of others pretty cool in Christchurch back then, through either astute cover versions on stage or jaw-dropping choice of stock at UBS.

He sold so many copies of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Closer on import (yes, we were all queuing up for them) that he seriously dented city sales of the official releases much later.

He was a generous, gentle crusader for aural self-improvement (as he saw it) among his UBS customers.

About 1982 I went to Ilam seeking his advice on what to share with the public, as for some reason ”rock” radio station 3ZM (as it was then known) decided to give a late-night Sunday slot to a local newspaper music critic who could attempt to influence listeners with a choice new release of worth.

”You gotta take this in,” said Tony. ”It’s brilliant. Best release of the year so far.”

It was ”Showcase In A Suitcase” by Jamaican chanter Prince Far I. Not one of his masterpieces, but a reasonable collection of artists’ from Far I’s own stable. One song per artist, followed by Far I’s thunderous declarations over the exact same rhythm.

I was hesitant, as it seemed a little ”out-there”, but mostly because I didn’t know enough about Prince Far I to really chat about him with the DJ who would be escorting the listeners through my platter that mattered.

Tony, gleefully seizing his chance, put my mind at ease by insisting on writing me a two-page essay on Prince Far I and his importance to Jamaican music and the global soundscape in general, and packed me off to 3ZM with the reassurance that the listeners would love it.

Remember, this was a station that regarded Talking Heads’ ”Fear Of Music” as absolutely edgy ”new wave” at the time and Bob Marley was the only known airplay reggae.

Sure enough, after about 15minutes of the likes of “Can’t Take Su Su Pon Dread” by the still-unheralded Naggo Morris, followed of course by Prince Far I’s version of the whatever chosen cut, the listeners started to vote with their telephone calls in to the studio.

”When ya gonna take this shit off, mate????” was the general tone to the non-dubwize DJ.

I think it was the last time I did that slot……

Thank you Tony!

”And the beat goes on…….”

Tweets that mention Tony Peake RIP :The Opinionated Diner —
October 15, 2010 at 06:10 AM

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Chris W
October 15, 2010 at 08:10 AM

I spent many happy hours browsing the records upstairs in the University of Canterbury bookshop in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The best things about Tony were that he would order stuff from overseas for you, and he let you put your purchases ‘on account’. A bit dangerous when I was on a $481 yearly allowance (yes, the government used to pay you to go to University in those days). Most of my Chritmas holidays were spent working to pay off my debt. Even though I would get considerably behind in my account, Tony would quietly ask if I would mind getting my account up to date – whilst placing my next overseas order. I didn’t know Tony personally, but I remember him well, and his passing has opened a floodgate of memories for me of those times, and the music of that period. I am sorry he is no longer with us.

Tim Baird
October 15, 2010 at 08:10 AM

Wow, this is really very sad news indeed. I met Tony back in the mid-90s here in Christchurch when he was mananging The Edge bar (now the Rockpool) on Hereford Street through our mutual friend Andrew Penman from Salmonella Dub. He was wicked; always electrically super-enthusiastic about music, always keen on hearing new sounds and with an encyclopedic memory of records from years gone by that used to absolutely blow me away. Little did I know that when he cooked us dinner in his place in Sydney’s notorious Redfern back in June 2005 that this would be our last meeting; I recall he cooked us all an amazing 5 course meal but was too unwell at the time to eat any of it himself, which is in itself true mark of his generosity and amazing spirit. He was a true one off, a big influence on me from the moment I first met him, and I feel truly honoured to have spent time in his presence. We’ve lost one of the good ones.RIP Tony.

Tracey Harker
October 15, 2010 at 08:10 AM

Tony was an amazing inspiration to us all and I will always credit him for educating me with gusto on a myriad of topics from beat poetry to Dub to how to cook the best curry.
His Sunday afternoon get togethers in Redfern were legend.. fabulous people, food,music and his seductive company… enough to make Monday feel not too bad.
A delightful soul who I will dearly miss

October 15, 2010 at 08:10 AM

As well as doing his job, Tony managed John McCarthy’s expectations as bookings manager for The Edge in the mid90s. It was John’s prickly Irish baby, he was closing Warners and wanted a more sophisticated clientele. Tony showed him that rock didn’t need to wear a black fishermans-rib jersey and that roots jazz, soul and reggae could be found in strange new places. Bravo. You showed some overseas heros a good time, seeded some enduring collaborations, stood vigilantly out of the way and let people give it their best.

David Yetton
October 15, 2010 at 09:10 AM

A genuinely good man with a big heart … RIP Tony

stephanie oberg
October 15, 2010 at 09:10 AM

Always generous with his time and his home, I wonder if Tony realised the impact he had on so many of us and how cherished those memories of him are for us all. I can still hear his voice and laugh, talking into the small hours. Always in my heart, very sad, very very sad.

Mark Brooks
October 15, 2010 at 09:10 AM

I played bass, wrote songs, sang and fought with Tony Peake in many of his Christchurch groups including The St of Flowers, the Planes and notably the Newtones during the post punk boom of the 80’s.

I knew Tony very well and am saddened to hear of his death. Tony’s record counter at the University Bookshop was a catalyst in the evolution of NZ independent music, our very own equivalent to Malcolm’s Kings Rd shop.

My school group the Vauxhalls were introduced to Alan Park through Tony and in later years I would always count on running into a whole gamut of musicians and scenesters having a coffee and a smoke with Tony at the UBS counter. It was Tony who first played me Lee Perry, the Cramps, the Pop Group, Scritti Politti and many other records I still play and cherish to this day.

I remember drawing up plans to form a band with TP post Vandals and Vauxhalls and the intense speed which everything came together. Within weeks the Newtones had written a set of new songs and supported the Swingers at the Hillsborough and XTC at the Christchurch Town Hall and had begun to play our own shows at the DB Gladstone. A testament to his vision.

A Brisbane boy who chose to settle in Chrischurch, Tony had fantastic charisma which got him into and out of a lot of strife during his lifetime. A contrary character who was both inspiration and infuriating to me at the same time. Thats what made him so unique and I can only echo Roy’s sentiment here and say he changed the lives of all who came into contact with him forever. Rock On TP!

Michael Higgins
October 15, 2010 at 09:10 AM

Other people have said much about what great company Tony was and his his great sense of style (all of which is true) and what a wonderful haven it was when the record shop was upstairs at UBS. (Never quite the same when he moved downstairs and the bank complained about noise levels). Roy talked about setting compasses and that’s so true. In that pre-internet age the other side of the world was at least three months away for most of us (the time it took surface mail NME’s to arrive). I’d pieced some of it together by the time I got to university in 78 but suddenly there was all of this music (past and present) and someone to talk to about it (and to sell it to us at $30 odd an LP – god knows how I afforded it but I’ve still got most of them). I think I took it all for granted at the time. Saw it all as just another part of the world opening up after five years at a catholic single sex boys school. But looking back I realise now how much duller my world could have been. And that’s before we get to the Newtones (and Ballad of a Thin Man and The Beat Goes On and Christchurch Part 2)… It was a privilege…

Russell Brown
October 15, 2010 at 09:10 AM

I’m really moved to discover that even two decades after I used to see him, Tony was still that guy: cool, gentle, kind, impeccable taste.

And this might bring back a few memories — Christchurch City Library’s online collection of 80s Christchurch band posters:

Neil Owens
October 15, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Tony was cool before anyone. Style, taste, humour, fun and friendship he was unique. A trip around the south island with Chris Bruce and Tony, never to forget. Respect Jah Peake, one love dread x

October 15, 2010 at 02:10 PM

Simon, sorry to hear of your loss of another friend so soon.
I’m with Chris again at the moment and showed him your news. He was quite saddened by Tony’s passing and he reached out and touched the image of Tony you’ve posted with a lot of rememberances.

Some of the tributes posted here about Tony remind me of both you and Chris; originators who have contributed so much & also been so supportive to everyone else.

Speaking of cruising vinyl haunts, thanks again for letting me hang out at Taste Records & everything since.


October 15, 2010 at 02:10 PM
– In reply to: Sam

Hey Sam,
you know it was always a pleasure! Say hi to Chris. I knew he would be saddened by Tony’s passing.

Robert Scott
October 15, 2010 at 05:10 PM

So sad to hear of this news, I remember one of our first stops when reaching Christchurch on tour with The Clean was UBS where Tony had so many good records in the racks, quite an inspiration, will miss you mate.

Michael Daly
October 15, 2010 at 05:10 PM

A schoolboy, in uniform, spends hours in your little mezzanine record shop, fascinated by the cool guy with coloured hair, asks about PIL’s Metal Box. You try to dissuade him, saying “It’s out as a regular Lp in a month or so” … I still have it, your photocopied track list sellotaped to the back left a shiny rectangle on the rusted tin many years later.

Our first ever conversation Tony, and I felt on top of the world that day. I would not have believed that the awe I felt then would so soon and so easily become a friendship that would span decades and cross oceans.

Where and what would I be now if I hadn’t known you? In a lesser place, and a lesser person by far.

Thank you Tony, my heartfelt thanks for so very very much

michael xxxx

Scott Wilkinson
October 16, 2010 at 03:10 AM

So sad to hear of Tony’s death.
He was such an amazingly kind and wonderful person. I remember how well he treated us as snotty high school kids trolling through his record bins and talking adolescent crap in his record shop… with respect, as equals, never a patronising word. His natural effortless charisma spoke so much more than any of the empty rhetoric the embittered authority figures of Christchurch Boys High lectured to us.
We looked up to him the way a shy kid would look up to his cool big brother.
Our school band supported the Newtones at the Gladstone in 1981… our very first pub gig. We were all far too young to even be in the place (at 17, I was two years older than everyone else). We couldn’t play our instruments for shit but Tony was just so supportive, even introducing us to his wild and wonderful sound man – Fred Kramer – another icon of early eighties Christchurch.
A couple of years later he provided the pivotal weekend night hangout in the form of the amazing Zanzibar. To this day it’s still fondly half remembered by so many people I cherish. I once passed out on the dance floor after skulling a bottle of cheap vodka with Larry Owens. We were probably dancing to the 18 minute version of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” at the time, or Cabaret Voltaire’s 12 inch version of “Sensoria” or any number of hugely influential tracks he exposed our youthful minds to. Tony cared passionately about music in a kind of non pretentious, unconditional way that is very rare to find in people.
He informed my cultural taste in so many ways.
I’m supposed to be working today. I’m sitting in my studio in downtown Manhattan trying to move some 3D characters around on screen in the vague hope they’ll suddenly spring back in to life. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Instead I’m remembering the small corner of the world I grew up in and the awesome people like Tony who made it so special.
Thank you, mate… we’ll all miss you xxx

Otis B. Driftwood
October 16, 2010 at 08:10 AM

You say goodbye, I say hello – chameleon, drifter, confused, misused, druggie, drinker, benefactor, wronged, championed, laughable, lost, strung-out, strung-up, lovable, faker, shaker, disillusioned, believer, believed, eager, fearless, naive, friend, host, giver, deceiver, doyen, seeker – so long pal.

MacDonald Paul Gourlie
October 16, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Tama Tu, Tama Ora
Tama Noho, Tama Mate
Te Hei Mauri Ora

Kia Ora Whanau Family Friends…

Tena Koe Tony e hoa e whanaunga, ki aroha, to manawa e toku manawa
Really my brother Tony and my friend, those who have spoken before me have expressed so well who you are and continue …

First let me tell you I am angry you go before me, you are my younger brother and you ought to say good-bye to me… also, because you always encouraged me even when I was not so kind, you found ways to make us laugh and try to do good things again… really bro why have your gone on ahead…

Second I will not believe you are gone, not yet, not today… i will sit and walk and play with you before i say good bye… there is a Rakau with your name on it … an Akeake and I want to plant this…

Thirdly, I will join with all the wonderful people you shared your wickedly awesome life together with and CELEBRATE Tony Peake who so generously touched our lives…
Kaumatua Elders, you were already one of them, even when you were so young, you gave every once to ensure encouragement won the day…

yea I know you, I am a better person because of you

Haere Haere Haera ki te Maatua
Go, Go, Thrice Go to the place were we came from
go and prepare a swickely kool place for us, so when we catch up we again enjoy you and your ways

now come with my my brother my friend, sit awhile and cry with me so I can laugh and forget and remember, let our tears and noses run together, that our laughter when it returns be loud. That when you go time will mean nothing till we meet in a far better place.. eh Tony, eh Bro…

To manawa e toku manawa
Your heart is my heart
021 260 8059 for those thinking we want to get together on his next Birthday to Celebrate his life… and plant another Akeake wickedly awesome trees, like Tony make the best of where every they grow

Jim D
October 16, 2010 at 02:10 PM

Very sad news, Tony was an inspirational person/mentor/musician. He was instrumental in guiding me in his honest gentle way into the world of Dub punk and indie music. I still cherish the Creation Rebel disc he wisely told me I just had to have. And i will always cherish the Newtones paint the town red disc that is a true gem. Their gigs were a sonic delight.

Tony Paint the Town Red
Thanks for touching our lives

A Trillion Shades of Happy :The Opinionated Diner
October 16, 2010 at 10:10 PM

[…] other friend, Tony Peake, who I posted about here, has only one track available, on a compilation put together by the tireless Rob Mayes. Rob, who […]

lissa bruce
October 17, 2010 at 12:10 AM

Incredible man, Im so heartbroken by the new’s of his death. Tony did not have the capacity to be judgemental it just was not in his nature, he was unconditionally giving…I met him in chch at 17 just dropped out of high school…. he was an incredible record digger and would find the most amazingly rare gems…somehow…just say you like something and Tony would push it…but have you heard this?… I lived with him in Sydney in the very early nineties .. I was more a raver… he was into club’s…but we would have early morn.. late afternoon catch up’s talk about the funny experiences we had had the night before..cook some food and listen to chill out music…usually massive attack…emotional time’s… rest in peace Tony, i will remember you for your generous heart, lust for life and mean currie’s … you are a large piece in the jigsaw puzzle of my life…..xxxx

October 17, 2010 at 02:10 AM

reading thru all the above post
i have these little films (sometimes just seconds), of my life rolling thru my head.
people places music..
my love goes out to all who have been touched by this remarkable man

rest in peace tony

Warren Pringle
October 17, 2010 at 05:10 AM

Hey Tones, that vivacious welcoming encompassing smile that simultaneously dictated challenge and inclusion, there was never any bullshit with who or what you were, a swirling roil of energy fresh to Chch in 75 from across the bigger shore, in Gilly’s spring garden already conjuring up patterns for future store, an alchemist of substance and sound and as with many I was privileged to have been in your orbit. We miss you heaps.

David McKenzie
October 17, 2010 at 03:10 PM

I feel terribly upset about Tony’s death, and won’t even try to write
about the huge impact this wonderful and kind man had upon my life.

I have so many happy memories of Tony, However, the last time I saw him
is still particularly vivid. It was at a bar in Hereford Street, Christchurch, some time in the early 1990’s, I think.

Tony was DJ-ing a punk revival night at the bar. He’d just spun a
favourite single of mine -“This Perfect Day” by the Saints (“…Don’t talk to me ’bout what you done/Ain’t nothing changed, it all goes on/And they’ll keep laughing till the end …”

As the music played on, Tony was busy leaning over the bar, a bandanna artfully hanging from his back jeans pocket, chatting-up a good-looking barman. 🙂

Thank you for everything Tony. I will never forget you.

David-James McKenzie

Jay Clarkson
October 17, 2010 at 06:10 PM

At some of the larger gigs The Playthings and Newtones shared back in the day (Orientations, I guess) Tony would so often cross the crowded floor to come and say a sweet hello to me. I was too socially inept those days to cross the floor myself – so his approach was always valued. A sweet goodbye to you, Tony. Dance on.

October 18, 2010 at 06:10 AM

Thankyou, SImon, for this thread. It has been wonderful to read these beautiful tributes and some of them will be included in Tony’s farewell service tomorrow, on Tuesday. It will be at midday NZ time for those who would like to send a karakia for our friend.
Best to all the friends, GIlly

louise payne
October 18, 2010 at 06:10 AM

All I gotta say is the world was a more beautifl place with Tony in it-I remember him in the late 1970s-in2early 1980+s then i wnt over seas–AArrgghh (((Tony))) the good really do die young-

Mike Jefferis
October 18, 2010 at 02:10 PM

The fact that it has been many years since I last saw Tony makes the news of his passing no less upsetting. Like a lot of old faces here, he was a huge influence on me growing up. As an aspiring guitar player at the age of 17, it was a huge thrill to play my first ever gig at Ilam university in a one-off band he put together for the event.
Parties at his flat, hours and hours listening to new music at the old bookshop…golden memories indeed.
A terrific influence, a big heart and a terrible loss.

Bonnie-Kate Dewar
October 18, 2010 at 08:10 PM

Since hearing about Tony’s death from Michael over the weekend, my heart and mind has been full of wonderful memories. Of great days at the Redfern flat, kicking off our shoes and grooving around in our slippery socks; of taking eating dinner at midnight after an evening taking turns choosing the next track; of exploring Sydney with our heads held high wondering at the buildings above; of getting the giggles jumping on a trampoline within the Museum of Contemporary Art; of late nights/early mornings soaking up his stories and wisdom; dancing yet again, most recently at my wedding in 2007, of running through the rain like little kids. Of my dear friend’s open arms, infectious laugh, welcoming smile and huge, open heart. Like so many others who have posted here, Tony was such a huge influence of my life, particularly after spending time together in Sydney in the 1990s. I would have been such a lesser person if I had not met him and been able to explore the world with him.

We spoke a few months ago, and i emailed from London. There is an email in my inbox with the greeting ‘hello gorgeous one’ and I can hear his voice 🙂 I love you Tony. I will miss you. And I will always carry you in my heart.

Tony Green
October 19, 2010 at 12:10 AM

I had the same experience at the UBS upstairs in the late 70’s, but I’ll always remember how nervous I felt in early 1993 shortly before Sonya and I were about to get out of the Chch womb and move to California…I had a pretty decent thing going and I was pretty apprehensive about letting it all go…Tony came in to Galaxy ( I think he was managing the Hereford St Bar at the time) and listened (he was a good listener!) to me whine about it…and then basically told me to pull my head out and see it for what it was, a great opportunity to shake me up and outta my complacency and see the world out beyond High Street…he was very worldly and experienced, we talked for ages, and it made me feel a whole lot better about uprooting. Never saw him again after that, but you were right Tone – things worked out pretty good!
Other memories..that ice-cool photo in The Press…doing “Get Vandalised” at Mollett St…him trying (in vain) to turn me on to reggae…Blue fuckin’ Monday at Zanzibar…and wishing I could dance like that…RIP TP.

Janine Saundercock
October 19, 2010 at 04:10 AM

Tony, I think I was in love with you for so many years, you were the style king of Christchurch, the sweetest guy. We share so many memories, your white house in Christchurch, no furniture, just heaps of cushions, records and …… Was everyone else in love with you too.. I think so.. I remember teasing you about your sound in the Newtones, of course really you were someone we all looked up to.. Love you Tony, so sorry that your face is one I won’t be seeing again in this life…. RIP Janine from the Playthings xoxoxoxoxooxoxoxox

Fred Kramer
October 20, 2010 at 11:10 AM

There are lots of memories of Tony posted here. I remember upstairs at the UBS and all the people that came and listened and talked. In fact my copy of Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Chapter 4 is still probably behing the record desk somewhere. Tony had an effect on lots and lots of people, musically and in their lives. We are all the richer for that. For me like others it was a love of Reggae dub music. Prince Far I, Creation Rebel, Lee Scratch Perry, King Tubby etc and like a true scitso the industrial side of life. I want thank Tony for being a friend and a fellow traveler in Christchurch in the 70’s and 80’s. For letting me dub the hell out of his guitar with the Newtones (along with the drums and vocals). Tony enjoyed experimenting with music and we were proud to use backing tapes to compliment the songs of the Newtones. I hope the box of live recordings I gave him before he left is still around and someone releases it soon. There was some great stuff in there. I am playing 4 ships right now and remembering the goofd times. So long Ras Peake I will miss you more now that I know you are gone. Be at peace my friend and I will mix you again in another life.
Time changes before your eyes
Always still
Neaver on Beat
Always still
Never on time
Love and Peace form Dread at the Controls xoxox

Peake perishes « The Axemen's Y2K Blog
October 21, 2010 at 12:10 PM

[…] Grigg shares some memories here. Check the comments as […]

barb skinner
October 22, 2010 at 05:10 AM

What sad, sad news… We hadn’t seen tony for many, many years, but he’s one of those special people, as everyone has said so well already here. Such good memories of those days in UBS – feigning ignorance when a 40-plus academic – oh, so OLD! – asked what the music was booming down from above, when I knew it was Throbbing Gristle; Tony’s asking what I wanted him to put on – I don’t know, play something i don’t know that you think i’ll love, and he plays Kevin Coyne and I do – such a perfect call.
He was SO warm and SO cool – how rare. Loved you tony, and – look here – everyone else did too. Roy, I loved the “dance vigorously and smoke casually at the same time” comment – i don’t know why exactly – did he do it at the shop? – perhaps on a good day – but i thought “yes!”
We feel lucky to have known you, tony.
Rest in peace and bask in all this love. barb and kevin stokes

lizz macleod
October 24, 2010 at 12:10 PM

RIP tony…. the first time i saw him at a uni gig in 79 i thought, god, that guy looks sooooo cool! Seemed like lou reed and him musta been separated at birth. He had a posse with him and they were all uber cool as well! Never dreamed i wud ever meet him but within a year i did.For one of the coolest guys i have ever met tony was just the a pinky chocolate bar! And did he know music..between him and fred i got a great education in punk, alt punk,dance punk et al and all the bands at the gladstone , star and garter,uni doos were all great in tonys eyes. His philosophy was simple.. go do it and stop crapping on about it!! A true mentor, a true friend to all even if u were not a cool looking artist or musician!
We were both lovers of a cuppa and a ciggie and even that was an occasion. The pot ,cups n saucers(deco of course),the tray,the scones. this ritual was an ‘event’ all by itself, the first sip, the ‘ahhh, thats delicious, the draw on the ciggy..Mmmmmmm..pure heaven!!!! God he even made the simple things in life to be the best experiences! I last spent time with tony in newtown in sydney in 1988 and yep we did the exact same thing..a cuppa, a ciggie, a chat about everything under the sun…that was, and is, tony peake..a disseminator of information,a great racconteur,a great friend, and most of all, he had that ability to make you feel that U were special.. and he loved you.. unconditionally!!

Jonathan Ogilvie
October 25, 2010 at 07:10 PM

Tony’s funeral was last Tuesday in Victor Harbour, South Australia.
His great friend Jillie delivered a eulogy, as did his great love, Michael and his great Dad, Len. I was particularly moved that the Catholic priest attested that his spiritually had been expanded by his brief contact with Tony. Hard enough to teach an old dog new tricks…

Yesterday we held a gathering for Tony in Sydney. It was intended to be held in the Botanical gardens but was stymied by weather and held in a Wooloomooloo pub – a venue Tony would have approved of.

LP Hartley wrote that ‘the past is a foreign country: they do things thinking differently there’.

The first part was true for Tony: if you consider New Zealand a foreign country. We were trying to work out yesterday why he ended up in Christchurch, where I met him 30 years ago when; as the many tributes will testify; he was the man about town in regards to all things cool, dub and musical.

The second part doesn’t apply. Tony didn’t change. For the last 20 years plus, he has been back in Australia; creating harmonious homes and gardens- sending out a beatific beacon to people enamored by his lust for life and generosity of spirit.

For me, Tony remained a conduit for music and ideas yes, but more importantly a conduit for friends and lovers. Most of the important people in my life I owe to his introduction.

In the late eighties, Tracie Taylor and I were injured by a hand-grenade in China and flown back to Christchurch hospital to recuperate. Tony was our most frequent visitor. ‘A true friend’ my sister called him and indeed this is what Tony has been for me over the years. I like to think that he felt I reciprocated that true friendship.

Vale Tony Maxwell Peake.

Steve Birss
October 27, 2010 at 10:10 AM

My heart sunk today as i was told by a good friend about Tony’s passing. Like many of the people that have already left their heartfelt messages before me, he impacted on me too very deeply. To this day i feel like the impassioned, obsessive music fan i was the very first time i walked out of UBS, most likely with one of the very cool camo-bagged Throbbing Gristle 7″s that had just landed! Thankyou Tony for your knowledge, your passion and ability to share and shape all those who you touched.
Rest forever in peace.
Steve xo

Rob Mayes
October 28, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Like so many others I’m pretty sure my life wouldn’t have the detail and depth it has had without meeting Tony as a 16 year old fresh from having my ears blown out at a life direction changing gig somewhere.
Some of the music I still hold dear to this day was bought from and recommended by Tony and available and heard of absolutely nowhere else in New Zealand.
Tony mixed one of the first gigs I ever played at my request cos I knew he knew what to do, even though he wasn’t really a sound engineer. He had a pretty good sense of humour and always had a wiry smirk in waiting for some crucial point, and like everyone has said, was non judgemental and ready to help. We need more people like him, not less, but as sad as it is to loose someone like that from the world for the impact he’s had on us all I can’t help thinking what a life well lived in too short a time. I’m pleased I knew you at the time I did and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m going to try and get a collection of the Newtones work together as best I can and I think I’ve got the video for paint the town red somewhere too so will try and get that up on line soon too.

Peter Taylor
October 30, 2010 at 01:10 PM

Just read Vicki Anderson’s lovely obituary in The Press today. She did a nice job, perhaps largely inspired by this page? Looking at the metres of shelf space filled with Peake wares, thinking of that cool mezzanine hide-out, remembering that lovely guy and his down-to-earth recommendations every time some label-manufactured buy-more marketing needed neutralising. He never shooed me away, and I never had to be cool.

October 30, 2010 at 02:10 PM

Yeah, Vicki contacted me a few days back and I passed her onto Mark who helped with images and put her in touch with others. Unfortunately it seems not be online yet. I’ll link to it when it is.

Craig Brown
October 31, 2010 at 08:10 AM

I was shocked to find this out via the Chch Press Obit. Wouldn’t he smile to know he had a half page obituary in the Press? Not having seen him for over 30 years I wonder if he ever made the trip to Japan I remember him talking about? I lived down the road from him in my first year at university and lent him some of the reggae and punk records I returned from the UK with in the late 70s. In fact, if anyone has a yellow vinyl copy of The Residents version of ‘(Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ you should know that Tony was mortified that you stole it after I lent it to him to play on Radio U. Does anyone else recall him playing the early Bob Marley version of ‘Mr Brown’ 4 or 5 times in his radio show one night? His black music show was a a real treat.
My sympathies to all his friends and family.
R.I.P. Tony
PS My regards to Sharon Hunter and Fred Kramer and any others of that era who may recall me and a tip of the hat to all the other strangers who I may have shared the dance floor of the Zanzibar with. Thanks to Tony and you all for the good times.

Lorenzo Van Der Lingen
November 08, 2010 at 08:11 PM

Holy shit. I only learned of Tony’s death today via Facebook, and I am truly shocked & saddened by the news.

While I never got to know Tony well, he was always one of the nicest, friendliest & coolest guys I’ve ever met. It’s been truly wonderful to read everyone else’s remembrances of him (so many so similar to my own). I’ll never forget him letting me sit for hours behind the counter of UBS bookshop sampling all his latest imports one day when I axually had some money to blow! Most of those records were SO formative in shaping my musical tastes – bands with the weirdest names, like ‘The Birthday Party’ (their first single!), The Residents (Duck Stab!), Pere Ubu (The Modern Dance!), etc etc.

I’ll also be ETERNALLY grateful for him opening Zanzibar, which meant us snotty punks didn’t have to go to…um…that sad old hippy Cafe with the candles in the Chianti bottles whose name eludes me now, after the sad old pubs closed. And of course, he let The Haemos play there not once, but TWICE! 😀

Thanx for letting us share our memories of Tony & to pay tribute to a true ChCh scholar & gent, Simon.

RIP Tony – u had a fantastic, positive impact on SO many lives. See u in heaven, mate.

Mike Ringdahl
November 19, 2010 at 07:11 AM

I only found out today that Tony had passed. I often wondered what became of him. He has been hugely influential in my music catalouge as he was the only place to get UK (and some US) punk vinyl in 1981-82- he ordered what we wanted and surprised us with some new bands – I have him to thank for Bad Brains especially – I still have all the vinyl I brought off him 28 years ago with the UBS stickers still intact- the classic “$5.95″ for the 7” singles which remain my pride and joy to this day – he stands in asteemed company in assisting/forming my musical tastes – alongside Barry Jenkin- AKA Dr Rock . You will be missed Tony and I shall play some tunes tonight in your memory – Flux of Pink Indians – Tube Disasters will be the first – RIP Mr P

Rob Mayes
November 20, 2010 at 04:11 PM

uploading the newtones paint the town read video to you tube.
should be up and ready here in the next few hours.
direct link
it’s a rough copy recorded off the tv.

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Vicki Anderson
December 06, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Hi, I just wanted to pass on a message I just received today from Tony’s mum, Margaret. She writes: “Tony had so many friends in New Zealand; would it be possible to thank them for the kind words that appeared in your paper and all their comments on the website. They are helping us come to terms with losing Tony, who is is missed so much, and who will always be in our heart.”

Nona Mills
December 23, 2010 at 01:12 AM

Yeah, Vicki contacted me a few days back and I passed her onto Mark who helped with images and put her in touch with others. Unfortunately it seems not be online yet. I’ll link to it when it is.

Karen Madoc
January 03, 2011 at 12:01 AM

far away from NZ and Australia at the moment and just heard this very sad news. We always spent our bursary payments in the UBS, everyone knew Tony and he was supercool and so knowledgeable and energetic. it is the energy I remember, always charging around, always part of the action and I was totally in awe of him. Rest in peace.

Jo Storry
January 30, 2011 at 06:01 PM

Thanks to my friend in Chch, Chris Mooar, I have found my way to this site and tribute to Tony. I too have good memories of him from my time at Uni in Chch in the early 80s – hip, funny and kind to a mixed up kid like me. And many of the contributors on this thread were friends I have lost touch with since then – it is really good to hear something from them. I’ve been in London for many years now but thinking a trip back to Chch is on the cards this year to revisit some old haunts and think of old times. RIP Tony.

Nathan Pohio
March 13, 2011 at 05:03 AM

Its been a rare treat reading the dedications and memories of Tony here. I came by here late last year to read, now found myself here again via Rob Mayes Facebook pages on Tony.

I did not know anyone here when I first meet Tony, this was 1991, i was 21 and hung out a lot in the christchurch club scene that was The Worcester Bar, Esspreso 124 and the nights Gregg Churchill played anywhere else.

Just wanting to do some clubbing in a bigger scene for a change friends and i headed to sydney for a week and the first stop was their friend Tony’s.

He immediately struck me as a person with the warmest heart his big toothy smile made me right at home. On realising I was an art school kid at Ilam Tony said he was an old punk rocker from the early chch scene and once ran the record store at the UBS and promptly started telling stories of his Christchurch, there seemed no end to his warm and energetic tales of flats, bands, friends and music, I can’t recall the stories very well, at all in fact but that afternoon hanging out and listening to his happy voice remains as all to short nontheless.

Later he came over to chch to open and manage ‘The Edge’ this was my entery into seeing first hand some of the artists that had informed earlier parts of my life in Aranui. I still have the flyer to the night Skip McDonald and Doug Whimblish played in Christchurch, Adrian Sherwood was mixing and although I’ve seen better perfromances since, the noise from that gig is what all others have been measured against for me and of course the memory always brings Tony with it, clear as a bell.

thanks so much Simon

Mathew Miller
August 19, 2011 at 10:08 PM

I knew Tony in his later years of 2007 to 2009 working for a community housing organization in Gosford NSW, Australia. We used to sit out the front every morning before work where he would have his cup of coffee and Rollie cigerettes ( Ruby Champion ). He used to tell me all these stories about how he was in a band in New Zealand (among many other different stories that branched across many different subject ), I never really thought he was so loved and popular not just in the music scene over there until I came across this website. All I have to say is that even though he sacked me I still have the up most respect for him he was a great man he loved nothing more than music and helping people. Rest In Piece Tony Peake.

Regards Mathew PLCH

If anyone has any music of his can they please send it to [email protected] it would be awsome to hear some of it.

August 21, 2011 at 06:08 PM
– In reply to: Mathew Miller

Hi Mathew,
those are wonderful tales. Thank you.

Can someone send Mathew a tune or two?

Buster Stiggs
November 12, 2011 at 01:11 PM

It really spun me out finding out tony had passed away today. Makes me seriously consider how fortunate I am to still be around.I met him when he came up from Chch to check out the original Auckland punk bands,in 1977 us (Suburban Reptiles) and the Scavengers. The Chch girls Shoana and Michelle introduced us. A great guy always with an engaging smile. Got on like brothers right up. Love you Tony always and forever. A diamond geezer.xx

November 12, 2011 at 02:11 PM

Yep, that’s when I first met him too Buzz. He was staying at Nadine Huru’s place in Brighton Rd with Warren Pringle. It would’ve been about the end of 77 I guess.

A. Dreamer
January 20, 2013 at 03:01 AM

In a dream Tony asks me to say, “Please thank everybody.”

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