Head Like A Hole


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The Head Like a Hole Story in About 200 Words by Nigel Regan

When I was 15 I met Booga Beazley at school and as he was the only other person there that liked Heavy Metal we hit it off and decided that when we left school we were going to start a band and kick everyone’s ass. The only problem was that Booga couldn’t play an instrument.

Anyway school’s over, Booga’s at art school in Auckland and I’m in Wellington working and playing in various cheesy bands. So I meet this guy Mark Hammill (later to become the Hidee Beast) and he plays the most kick ass drums I’ve ever heard in my life. Ironically Booga was present at the first jam I had with Mark being down from Auckland on holiday.

So about 6 months later Booga shifts back to Wellington and I suggest that we start this band we’d always talked about with Mark playing drums ( the band Mark and I had been in had just fallen apart). And as he hadn’t bothered to learn an instrument yet I said “Well you’ll have to sing then.” So Booga comes along and belts out a rendition of War Pigs so we could see if he could sing. He couldn’t but he was a fast learner.

Then a couple of months later Andrew Dunro comes along as he’d met Mark at a party and was interested in playing bass for us. Andrew was a punk guy as opposed to our musical diet of metal but it made for a good combination. And he looked really cool when he turned up with hair down to his ass and his black leather jacket which he’d painted Sister’s of Mercy on. Thus Head Like a Hole was born.

Later we were joined by
Thomas Watson ( for Double Your Strength album) and Mike Franklin-Browne took over on drums (for Are You Gonna Kiss It Or Shoot It? album).

Anyway, the point of this story is not to cheese you out but the fact that here’s (Blood on the Honkey Tonk Floor album) 15 songs taken from four albums plus a CD of covers that we recorded along the way. We never planned or imagined at the beginning that any of this was going to happen. We just wanted to play music and have fun. doesn’t everyone? We think there’s some pretty rockin’ stuff on here, we hope you do too.

And now, 2010, what happens when a band that makes a name for itself as “the best live act of the 90s”, releasing five eclectic, rockin’ albums and touring Europe and Australasia implodes in a mess of drugs, bitterness, backstabbing and other bullshit rock’n’roll clichés?

Well in America they would probably go to rehab, turn to god, then appear on Oprah, with tell-all shocking tales – while promoting a new album! 

No. One member disappeared to small town New Zealand in a haze of depression, doodles and drugs. Another studied, shacked up, had twins born on 6.6.06 and moved to the country. Leaving one (who never even had a drivers license) training to fly helicopters and the other two continue to make music – going down very different paths.

Ten years later, the past behind them, the guitars are strapped on, the amps plugged in; time to give it another bash. A nationwide tour appears hugely successful, with a promise of cash to record songs written over the years apart – however the profits slip in to even slipperier hands and a reunion tour leaves them even further in the red.

Still it’s the passion that rises. Older, hairier and none the wiser, something magic happens…add a riff-wizard on second guitar. A new album is started, potentially the best of their careers. There is only hard self-earned money funding it, no record company, a part-time manager/friend – and with members across different cities there is a whole lot of air travel and angry employees left in the wake.

The songs come together and when the band hits the studio and hears the first chords blasting through the speakers…there’s a look and a smile. That’s what it’s all about, right? You play rock’n’roll because it runs in your veins, makes you feel alive.

Consider yourselves warned: Head Like a Hole is back. With a vengeance. Need more proof? Check out the new single Swagger of Thieves.

Last edited: 15.03.16

From AudioCulture

"One reason we've got to this level is that we're not afraid to go ape shit live; we don't have inhibitions. With HLAH it's this full-on energy thing live." (Nigel Regan, 1995) Wellington's Head Like a Hole (HLAH) were always a killer proposition in the live realm. Even on their first national jaunt, they threatened to usurp headliners Shihad on their Devolve release tour in mid-1991. Possessing a surfeit of unrestrained energy, dubious humour, an instinct for outrage, and an enviable chemistry, here was an act to behold. Although few in their audiences ever got the chance to truly witness Head Like a Hole, as they were generally whipped into a moshing frenzy which rendered all comprehension void. (By Gavin Bertram) Read moreProfile from Audioculture, available under a Attribution Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence

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  • View on NZ On Screen Head Like A Hole

    Source: NZ On Screen

    Resource type: Music Video

    "Outrageous Wellington rockers Head Like a Hole (aka HLAH) formed in 1990, taking their name from a Nine Inch Nails song. Masters of excess, they quickly made a name for themselves via unhinged live performances (not to mention a casual attitude to clothes on stage).  Sharing management, a record label and one obscure recording with Shihad, HLAH split in 1998 after four albums, in a state of disarray. After reforming for the 2009 Homegrown festival, further reeleases followed. Swagger of Thieves, a documentary on the band that was a decade in the making, premiered in July 2017." (NZ On Screen summary)

  • View on NZ On Screen Faster Hooves

    Source: NZ On Screen

    Resource type: Alternative ; Rock ; Music Video

    "Released on an EP ahead of their second album Flik Y’Self Off Y’Self, the promo for 'Faster Hooves' showed that while Head Like A Hole had distilled the industrial-thrash of their grimy origins into a hookier, more polished sound, the band had lost none of their piss-taking humour. With the rocky outcrops of Wellington's Island Bay filling in for the Wild West, singer Nigel 'Booga' Beazley teeters precariously on a helpless donkey, in pursuit of villainous drummer Mark 'Hidee Beast' Hamill. Meanwhile the rest of band hang on nooses next to a boiling campfire pot of Wattie's finest." (NZ On Screen summary)

  • View on NZ On Screen I'm on Fire

    Source: NZ On Screen

    Resource type: Rock ; Music Video

    "This ambitious video for Head Like a Hole's cowpunk Bruce Springsteen cover was shot by commercials company Flying Fish — at vastly more expense than the low budget recording which supplies the soundtrack. There's more than a cursory nod to U2's LA rooftop video for 'Where The Streets Have No Name' (including fake radio coverage from Channel Z). But HLAH get a higher building, and, unlike U2's guerrilla effort, the apparent blessing of the city fathers (with Mayor Mark Blumsky on site). The video marked one of the last appearances of drummer Mark 'Hidee Beast' Hamill." (NZ On Screen summary)

  • Swagger of Thieves

    Source: NZ On Screen

    Resource type: Documentary ; Music ; Arts/Culture ; Film

    "Head Like A Hole (aka HLAH) were a clap of heavy metal thunder over the jangly chords of the early 90s NZ music scene. Known for unhinged, "ape shit" live shows and outrageous clothing-optional antics, their flame died out amidst drugs and acrimony before a 21st Century reformation. This all-access passion project from director Julian Boshier was a decade in the making, tagging along with Nigel 'Booga' Beazley (and partner Tamzin), Nigel Regan et al, as the still rocking members of this distinctive Kiwi rock’n’roll family enter middle age: spats, moshing n’all." (NZ On Screen summary)

  • View on NZ On Screen Flesh D-Vice

    Source: NZ On Screen

    Resource type: Music Video

    "Flesh D-Vice emerged out of the early 80s Wellington punk/skinhead scene although vocalist Gerald Dwyer preferred to describe their sound as "hard edged rock'n'roll". They released three albums imbued with comic book horror imagery, and also left their mark in Dwyer's enthusiastic patronage of his city's music. He started a label, promoted gigs and, as Flesh D-Vice wound down in the early 90s, managed new local bands Shihad and Head Like a Hole. Dwyer died in 1996 and Shihad recorded a version of the Flesh D-Vice anthem 'Flaming Soul' in his honour." (NZ On Screen summary)

  • View on NZ On Screen We Built Our Own Oppressors

    Source: NZ On Screen

    Resource type: Punk ; Alternative ; Rock ; Music Video

    "In the best traditions of the Beatles, U2 and Head Like a Hole, Die! Die! Die! takes to a rooftop in New York for this video made by London-based director and editor Rohan Thomas. They sing of an urban nightmare of burning roads and bridges, places to avoid and not being able to return home – but the song's title takes full responsibility. The clip was the result of a guerilla shoot with a generator in 2009 that had them moved on from a series of prospective locations until they happened on an unguarded rooftop – to the surprise of nearby office workers." (NZ On Screen summary)


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