How the Bats got together
Early in the 1980's, Robert Scott was playing with the Clean and sharing a flat in Christchurch (NZ) with Kaye Woodward. Robert taught Kaye some of his songs and also played once or twice with Paul Kean (ex Toy Love bassist) in Thanks To Llamas. The 3 played together a couple of times at parties as The Percy Taiwan Band until they got together with Malcolm Grant (The Bilders) on drums. With this line-up they decided on the name The Bats and played their 1st gig at the Empire in Dunedin on New Years Eve 1982.

Over 20 years later, the same line-up still plays together and are seen here consulting the lamp about recording a new CD. (19 rythmn tracks recorded at Easter 2003 in The National Grid, Christchurch - computer got pinched which delayed overdubbing and mixing - back on track now 16/09/03)
Finally released Sept 2005!

of 9 TALES (more bloody stories)
Barry Evans
reminisces and talks about "1000s of Tiny Luminous Spheres"
For many people, The Bats are the archetypal Flying Nun band. Though bands like The Clean (in which Robert Scott also plays) and the Chills were around earlier than The Bats, it was this more Christchurch-based Flying Nun act that played to the fans while the others were slumming it around the world. And that's not to say that The Bats haven't also toured extensively; rather that the fun, accessible grooves that came from this group and were embraced by the student population weren't angst-ridden and were well-crafted along the way. The Bats were the 'family' act, G-Rated and always upholding the promise of a good night out. Of their recent shows a friend commented, "it was just like ten years ago". This best of includes 'North by North' and all the other faves, plus there's two previously unreleased tracks.
first encounter
On one of our excursions around this planet our London promoter had, for some mysterious reason, booked us to perform two dates in the Hebride Islands. We borrowed the Chills V.W. van which had a previous life as a display vehicle for a travelling magazine salesman and the aerodynamics of a brick on wheels. Heading out from London with a stopover gig in Glasgow we picked up a journalist from Sounds music magazine who was writing a story on The Bats on the road. Fish, Haggis and chips from the local chippy filled our stomaches and we were off.
We were warned to keep our eye on the oil level as the van was inclined to absorb more than its fare share. The engine cover with its oil saturated insulation lay between the two front seats. Unfortunately, on one of the top up stops just south of Inverness, part of the insulation fell onto the exhaust manifold (the hot bit on the engine) and proceeded to smoulder, rapidly filling the van with thick blue smoke. "Everyone out !!"
A burst of flames and we exploded into panic. Luckily a fire extinguisher was procured from a nearby tourist info centre and we managed to put out the fire before the whole vehicle was engulfed. It looked like considerable damage was done, especially to the wiring and we thought 'that was it' for the van and it sure did stink. Luckily for us we located a tow truck operating in Inverness and we were delivered to a garage where repairs were undertaken and miraculously the van was brought back to life for another day (or two weeks as it turned out - another story another country)
Onwards to Ullapool where we were to search for Bed and Breakfast for the night before catching the early morning ferry to Lewis, the northern Island of the Hebrides group. The drive from Inverness was very reminiscent of New Zealand landscape with Cabbage trees and misty lakes surrounded by rugged mountains. Ten o'clock twilight and we find a pair of country B&B's that will accommodate our whole party. Kaye, me and our sound engineer, Rob Mayes, ended up with this elderly Scottish couple in a wee cottage that appeared to have only two bedrooms. We figured that the old couple must have slept in their lounge while we got the master and spare bedrooms with acrylic sheets, blankets and bedspread. While Kaye ran the bath that our hosts reluctantly granted I discovered a dark bizarre little creature crawling out from between the sheets. I was freaked. At first I thought it was a large spider; it was the size of a small hand and appeared to have five legs. but upon closer examination it turned out that the fifth leg was in fact a tail and it's arms were wings; it was a bat. We let it go free.
(contd next column)

near Inverness in Scotland. Photo by Rob Mayes

Isles of Lewis - Rob Mayes, sound eng is left front

At breakfast next morning we were given the choice of fruit juice and cereal or porridge.
Ullapool harbour was like molten glass . I very nearly missed the ferry. While I was in search of a post office the others had been asked to embark and they did so with vehicle and tickets. Luckily I was able to convince the gangplank attendant and I was reunited with the others.
As calm as it looked the ferry developed an uncomfortable roll and for most of the three hour trip we were in fog. Graeme the journo was sea sick and everyone else felt seedy.
We soon recovered when we saw site of the port of Stornoway on Lewis. It was Peat digging season. We played in a big hall with rows of seats. They danced then sat down, then danced, then sat down all night long. We checked out some ancient stones and travelled on to the southern island of Skye where we played in Portree. Afterwards we joined a crowded ancient pub where a bagpiper and drummer gave a spontanious performance. Our heads just about touched the ceiling. The piper had trouble. Great stuff!

The King Edward Barricks where the photo alongside (and the b/w photo on the news page) were taken, was a huge old iron hanger type building which was dismantled and relocated to an industrial estate on the out skirts of Christchurch. The Bats rehearsed and filmed some of the "Afternoon in Bed" clip here with John Christoffels in 1996
Mal, Paul, Bob and Kaye


Poster by Ronnie Van Hout for the Bilders.
Mal played with AlanMeek and Bill Direen prior to forming the World who have some very good unreleased recordings

Third Album For The Sun Recording sessions for the 2nd Dissolve album began in October, '96 in New Zealand. Guitarists Roy Montgomery and Chris Heaphy were joined by John Chrisstoffels of the Terminals, who contributed some cello and percussion, Kaye Woodward of the Bats who added guitar and vocals and Arnie Van Bussel on bass. The finished work is a measure darker and more abrasive than Dissolve's first album, with added skins of texture and melody."

COURAGE THING - interview with Bob

If no navigatoron left go to Bats HOMEPAGE