Getting The Chills in springtime

COOL: Long associated with the “Dunedin sound”, 1980s guitar-pop band The Chills, led by the band’s sole original member Martin Phillipps (centre), will perform in Gisborne as part of their Snow Bound Tour. Picture supplied

Described by The Guardian as sounding like “the embodiment of autumn”, Dunedin band The Chills announced yesterday their winter outing, The Snow Bound Tour. The tour takes in Gisborne when the indie band performs at the Dome in September.

The Chills were inspired by the garage rock of the mid-1960s but were gentler and sadder and persistently obsessed with mortality, says online music review page Pitchfork. The magazine also neatly sums up the band’s sound in its review of the band’s 2008 album Silver Bullets — “its playful melancholy and sombre chime still glisten like sunlight on weathered ice.”

The band was at the forefront of New Zealand’s early 1980s music scene often referred to as the Dunedin sound. Singer/songwriter Martin Phillipps is the group’s sole constant member.

In the 1980s The Chills were the highest profile band on famed indie record label Flying Nun. Songs such as Heavenly Pop Hit and I Love My Leather Jacket made the band a household name in New Zealand and meant its reputation grew offshore.

At their height they shared a stage with Bjork, competed for the spotlight with R.E.M., and were poised to become international pop superstars. But the dream never became a reality.

Forced home to New Zealand deeply in debt, Phillipps collapsed into depression and addiction, and replaced the thrill from live performance with the synthetic euphoria from homemade heroin. His darkest day was when the “prick” from a dirty needle gave him Hepatitis C. Phillipps’ output slowed to a drip but he never gave up on his music.

Two years ago the musician was told he had barely a year to live.

Right now, Phillipps’ legacy is on show in an exhibition called Things Change: Martin Phillipps and The Chills.

“The Chills are an integral part of Dunedin’s cultural story, so it has been a real privilege to collaborate on bringing this story to life in a museum setting,” said Otago Museum head of design Craig Scott.

The exhibition runs until July 15.

Phillipps says he has been through some very dark times but has never stopped fighting for his music. He and The Chills live on and, fittingly, will be here in spring.

  • The Chills perform at the Dome on September 15. Presale tickets are $45 and are available now from the Aviary and the Dome.

Described by The Guardian as sounding like “the embodiment of autumn”, Dunedin band The Chills announced yesterday their winter outing, The Snow Bound Tour. The tour takes in Gisborne when the indie band performs at the Dome in September.

The Chills were inspired by the garage rock of the mid-1960s but were gentler and sadder and persistently obsessed with mortality, says online music review page Pitchfork. The magazine also neatly sums up the band’s sound in its review of the band’s 2008 album Silver Bullets — “its playful melancholy and sombre chime still glisten like sunlight on weathered ice.”

The band was at the forefront of New Zealand’s early 1980s music scene often referred to as the Dunedin sound. Singer/songwriter Martin Phillipps is the group’s sole constant member.

In the 1980s The Chills were the highest profile band on famed indie record label Flying Nun. Songs such as Heavenly Pop Hit and I Love My Leather Jacket made the band a household name in New Zealand and meant its reputation grew offshore.

At their height they shared a stage with Bjork, competed for the spotlight with R.E.M., and were poised to become international pop superstars. But the dream never became a reality.

Forced home to New Zealand deeply in debt, Phillipps collapsed into depression and addiction, and replaced the thrill from live performance with the synthetic euphoria from homemade heroin. His darkest day was when the “prick” from a dirty needle gave him Hepatitis C. Phillipps’ output slowed to a drip but he never gave up on his music.

Two years ago the musician was told he had barely a year to live.

Right now, Phillipps’ legacy is on show in an exhibition called Things Change: Martin Phillipps and The Chills.

“The Chills are an integral part of Dunedin’s cultural story, so it has been a real privilege to collaborate on bringing this story to life in a museum setting,” said Otago Museum head of design Craig Scott.

The exhibition runs until July 15.

Phillipps says he has been through some very dark times but has never stopped fighting for his music. He and The Chills live on and, fittingly, will be here in spring.

  • The Chills perform at the Dome on September 15. Presale tickets are $45 and are available now from the Aviary and the Dome.

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