The Double Happys were straight outta Brockville. They picked up every bit of white trash rock'n'roll they could find and plundered it, ridiculed it and played it. You only have to remember "Big Fat Elvis" or listen to this new compilation, Nerves, to know that when it was time to get double happy, as they sang in the classic "Needles and Plastic", it was time for "an unbridled up-your storm fed by melody, grunge and straight talking" as Richard Langston wrote in Dunedin's Garage magazine in 1985.
The Double Happys first formed sometime in 1983 when former Bored Games vocalist, Shayne Carter, fresh from wailing and playing guitar a series of bands like the Cartiledge Family that never really got off the ground, joined forces with Wayne Elsey, once too a Kaikorai High punk rocker in Bored Games and late of The Stones. They had a drum machine called Herbie Fuckface, who lived up to his name by subverting most of the duo's efforts onstage and quickly called for human replacement in the form of another old schoolmate, John Collie.
The trio set about kicking up a storm -- touring up north on the famous Looney Tour of 1984 and recording the Double B-side seven inch while they were in Auckland; getting up people's noses with their onstage banter while they had whole crowds in a frenzy in rock'n'roll maelstrom of their songs; recording an EP that went hell-for-leather for a sound that was gonna be more real than what they felt was a weedy debut single...
Their short career was ended by the tragic death of Wayne Elsey in the North Island in 1985. They'd finished the EP and Cut It Out was everything it promised to be. Shayne and John formed the Straitjacket Fits after Shayne recorded the single "Randolph's Going Home" with Peter Jefferies.
But plenty of people still talk about the Double Happys. Nerves contains all the Flying Nun recordings, two songs which first appeared on the live recorded How Much Time Left, Please? EP released in the UK in 1991 and two tracks recorded as demos with the original drummer, Herbie. As Roy Colbert's liner notes say, the Double Happys were a memorable band, and Nerves is going to be a fine way to remember them by.
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