Hamish Kilgour and Lisa Siegel formed Monsterland, the
first incarnation of their band, in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1990 with Danny Manetto.
Hamish, former member of The
Clean and Bailter
Space, and Lisa, a New York native, found a like-minded comrade
in Danny, whose previous musical credits included that amazing cello
noise at the start of "She Speeds" on the Straitjacket
Fits' Life In One Chord EP and playing in Robert Scott's part-time
Dunedin outfit, Electric Blood.
The three shared a musical attitude in Monsterland that transcended normal,
straitjacketing instrumental assignments. On the group's one major live outing --
supporting The Clean on their last NZ tour -- bass, guitar and drumsticks were passed from
member to member from song to song.
The same principle applied to their Auckland recording sessions with engineer Gordon
Rutherford which make up the bulk of A Trip Thru Monsterland. Their pastoral, sometimes
Fall-ish sound leaps from quiet naivety to a messy celebration kind of picnic pop. Hamish
pioneered this musical attitude of do-it-yourself and no-instrumental-hierarchy in The
Clean and Great Unwashed but, among the three songwriters, it's perhaps Lisa's songs which
especially benefit from the charm of this approach.
The story of the rest of the material on A Trip Thru Monsterland -- and of the group's
change in name and the absurd wait there's been for this release -- has to do with Hamish
and Lisa heading back to New York in 1991. In America, they kept the band and songs going
but had to change the name cos there was already a band in NYC called Monsterland. So they
became The Mad Scene and developed a reputation in New York's indie-alternative scene,
releasing a 7" EP on Homestead Records and recording the rest of what is here at
Toxic Shock studio in 1991.
Hamish and Lisa returned to New Zealand in 1993 to complete the
mixing and artwork for this 14 track CD with Danny, who has since
been playing in Auckland bands Shaft and Steam. The Mad Scene's
on again off again career continues Stateside, except now we hear
they're called Top Cat...
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