"Courage - The Bats"
Robert Scott is the only Dunedin member of the Bats but as the principal songwriter the band has always reflected his view of Dunedin. Few enough songs have been written which refer directly to Dunedin but Scott focusses in even closer than that with his homage to Mosgiel 'Pearl of the Plain' and the twangy country textures on the Bats' early recordings could have come from few other sources. Robert Scott was ("is") a member of seminal Dunedin band The Clean and formed the short-lived Thanks to Llamas with Kaye Woodward and the bass and keyboard's of Paul Kean and Jane Walker from another important early 80s band, Toy Love. Paul Kean's distinctively pitched and melodic bass was one of the key sounds of the period and after experimenting with various names and lineups, the Bats stabilised around Scott, Kean, Woodward and Malcolm Grant. The band's early releases on Flying Nun were accompanied by some typically low budget but original home made videos including those for the songs ' I Go Wild, and 'Downfall'. Further videos were directed by film maker Peter Bannan for the EP 'By Night' which was followed by the highly successful 'and here is "More Music for the Fireside". ' in 1985. A brief tour of Britain and Germany gave the band international exposure and access to the 24 track Point Studio in London where the 'Made Up In Blue' EP was made in December 1985. Other songs which would appear on the Bats' first album 'Daddy's Highway' were recorded in Glasgow on the same trip. Support gigs for the reclusive genius Alex Chilton enhanced the band's critical reputation and they returned to New Zealand to continue recording for the 'Daddy's Highway' album which was released in 1988 followed closely by another EP entitled ' 4 Songs '. These songs were enhanced by the atmospheric violin playing of Alistair Galbraith from Dunedin experimental band the Rip. The Bats' 1989 album 'The Law of Things' was delayed due to contractual difficulties between Flying Nun and their overseas distributors but the album was well received by international critics including the influential American magazine Billboard [24th June 1989]
88 MAY - BATS / Hummingbirds Lansdowne Road ( Sydney ) ( first stop off before going to Europe and USA culminating with gigs at the New Music Seminar, New York.' Daddy's Highway ' is subsequently released in the USA by Communion, in Britain by Flying Nun in the UK and in Europe by Normal )
88 SEPTEMBER - BATS 3HMV European that night ( after returning from Europe etc they receive disappointing response from NZ media; a start is made to new album, ' The Law of Things '. This time recorded in new studio, Writhe in Wellington under Brent McLaughlin )
"It was just chance really. I was flatting with Kaye after having played bass for the Clean and was mucking about with my guitar and she was starting to play guitar as well. The songs I was writing on guitar, I was sitting around the lounge playing them and Kaye would guitar bits over the top and it was really amazing . I thought it would be good to have them like that playing. Then I think we both moved into where both Paul and Malcolm were living and, of course, they were plaing bass and drums and so rather than seeking out people to play with it was more a domestic arrangement." MW, Sharon Guytonbeck,