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Interview + Here's Five: Jenny Don't & The Spurs New Zealand Tour

Interview + Here's Five: Jenny Don't & The Spurs New Zealand Tour

Kit Walker / Wednesday 18th October, 2023 12:27PM

Portland's country / western outlaws Jenny Don't & The Spurs are back like a boomerang, kicking off their spring Aotearoa tour tonight at Ōtautahi's Space Academy with southern rockers Adam Hattaway & The Haunters. UTR reporter Kit Walker chatted with bass player Kelly Halliburton (Pierced Arrows, P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S.) about the US group's globetrotting journey since they were here last year, sharing the stage with the legendary Toody Cole of Dead Moon, their love for rockin' instrumentals, groan-inducing tour van humour and more...

UnderTheRadar proudly presents...

Jenny Don't & The Spurs

Wednesday 18th October - Space Academy, Christchurch w/ Adam Hattaway & The Haunters
Thursday 19th October - The Crown Hotel, Dunedin w/ Adam Hattaway & The Haunters
Friday 20th October - Settler Theatre, Oamaru w/ Adam Hattaway & The Haunters
Saturday 21st October - Sherwood, Queenstown w/ Adam Hattaway & The Haunters
Monday 23rd October - Barrytown Hall, Barrytown w/ 
Adam Hattaway & The Haunters [new show]
Tuesday 24th October - PLUTO Projects Artspace, Blenheim w/ Adam Hattaway & The Haunters
Wednesday 25th October - Valhalla, Wellington w/ The Stripp (Aus)
Tuesday 31st October - Last Place, Hamilton 
Wednesday 1st November - Whammy Backroom, Auckland 

Tickets available HERE via UTR

UTR: Welcome back — seems like yesterday you were here and now you're back again. Seems like a lot has happened — Euro tour, new album, performing with Toody from Dead Moon doing Dead Moon songs...

Kelly Halliburton: It does seem like we were just here, but it's been just shy of a year… and what a year it's been! We haven't really had much of a break since we were in NZ in November of 2022 — we've crisscrossed the continental United States, and, as you mentioned, we were in Europe in April and May. This was our fourth European tour, but we hadn't been there since 2019, so it was great to be back. All-in-all, we've probably played somewhere around 150 gigs since we were last down here!

And yes, Christopher and I have backed Toody Cole on a few occasions over the last year. Initially we played a couple of nights in a row to celebrate Mississippi Records' 20-year anniversary back in April, when we played a set which included a smattering of songs from the Cole's extensive catalog: Weeds songs, Rats songs, Range Rats songs, as well as the obligatory Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows material. It was so much fun and so well received that we were invited to reprise the act for a local festival in Portland called the Lose Yr Mind festival a few weeks ago.

It's always a pleasure to play with Toody… we put in a lot of road time together in our Pierced Arrows touring days (including five gigs in NZ in January of 2008). It's also a lot of fun for me to play drums, too, since, being the bassist in the Spurs, I rarely get a chance to sit behind the kit these days. I have to say, though, as great as it is to play these songs with Toody, it's also a little bittersweet to play them without Fred there to lend his signature voice, guitar sound, and inimitable personality to the mix. I miss that guy like crazy.

Your Australian tour single — and hopefully some available for us in the EN Zee — has a cover of 'Fire In The Western World'... and you recorded with a NZer! Good on you guys, tell us about that.

We had a day off on the Australian leg of last year's tour down here, so we were offered a chance to record at a small studio in Campbell's Creek. The studio, called Sound Recordings, is a 100% analog studio run by a Kiwi called Alex Bennett. The studio itself is built in a converted barn and the whole place has a wonderful rustic feel. We recorded using vintage Australian amplifiers and, as mentioned, all analog tape recording gear. For a generation used to the speed and instant gratification of digital recording this process can seem a bit slow and tedious, but Alex definitely knows what he's doing and works quickly and efficiently. I definitely recommend booking a session there for any band that's looking for the feel and sense of authenticity that only a good, old-fashioned tape recording can lend.

This tour, you're calling the Far East tour and indeed you're going to the Far East man... Indonesia, Philippines? Malaysia? Where else? And how did that come about? Do many Portland bands get to those places?

Both the Beatles and the Stones called their 1964 and 1965 respectively tours of Hong Kong / Australia / NZ Far East tours — The Rolling Stones did Singapore not Hong Kong.

It seems like you're not afraid of new territory at all — Oamaru? Thames?

We love playing 'interesting' places, places off the beaten tour paths, places where a lot of bands don't bother going. Anyone can play for the jaded, seen-it-all audiences of the LAs and New Yorks of the world, but I'll take a fun-as-hell night in a small town in the middle of nowhere to a crowd that just wants to have fun and enjoy some live music any day of the week. I grew up in a tiny town in rural Oregon, a town with almost no live music culture to speak of, and where no touring band would ever think of playing. As a teenage music fan, I had to find rides into the nearest big city — Portland, several hours distant — in order to see the bands that passed through. I think that this gave me a perspective that's stuck with me for my whole life since then, and there's a part of me that wants to go to these out-of-the-way places and play for whatever contemporary small-town equivalent of my teenage self there is out there that's just pining to see a good, loud, live gig.

It's a two-way street, though, and besides wanting to play for people who live in places that maybe don't get a lot of touring bands passing through, it also fulfils for me my love for traveling and exploring as much of the world as I can. Music has taken me to so many great places around the world, places that I would never have had a chance otherwise to see. For a kid who grew up poor in a tiny town on the Oregon coast, my opportunities for seeing the world were pretty limited. I knew I wanted to travel to 'exotic' places, but I also knew that I didn't want to join the army — the usual route that people in my economic bracket could take to escape their small town lives — so I had the good luck to have found a calling which scratched both my creative and adventurous itches. And I'd much rather tour the world with a bass guitar in my hands than a gun!

Kelly — have you picked up any more 'cheap' basses?

Unfortunately I haven't… but if any Kiwis wanna pass on any vintage instruments, they'd go to a very good home and likely have a new life of live shows and record appearances!

Word out is you have recorded a cover of the instrumental 'War Cry' by Wellington group Tony & The Initials... how did that happen? I know Chris (your guitar player) is keen on instrumentals ... (as is Kelly!).

We all LOVE instrumental surf stuff… in a lot of cases a singer can ruin an otherwise perfectly good song, and with surf you don't have that problem! New Zealand had some great instrumental bands, and Tony & The Initials are one of my favourites.

How's the new drummer (Buddy Weeks)? Have you played any good initiation pranks on him? Must be a blast joining a band and then k bam! You're playing Europe, Australia, NZ and the Far East!

Buddy's a great guy, easy to tour with, and plays the hell out of the drums. He was the perfect follow-up to our original drummer, Sam Henry (Wipers, The Rats), who passed away a couple years ago.

There hasn't been much pranking or initiation going on… we figure it's hard enough to endure just being on the road with maniacs like us as it is, we don't need to make it worse by playing tricks on him!

How is he with the *ahem* van humour?

He puts up with our dumb humour quite admirably.

How's Toody? Seems like she's doing great…

She's doing great! Almost 75 and still kicking ass!

Got a one liner for us?
You know I once met a Filipino contortionist... a manila folder...

Aaaarrrrggggghhhh… Groan… here's a Halloween one:
Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?
Because he didn't have any guts…

Guitar slinger from Jenny Don't & The Spurs, Christopher March picked five essential instrumentals for your listening pleasure...

Killer 1957 proto-Surf guitar duet from country veteran Joe Maphis and thirteen-year-old rockabilly prodigy Larry Collins. 
A young local surfer and aspiring performer was dating Larry's sister, Lorrie, around this time and asked Larry to teach him his staccato double picking technique. His name was Dick Dale.


I know next to nothing about Ed Burkey. This song is from a Downey Records compilation called INTOXICA! Strange And Sleazy Instrumental Sounds from the SoCal Suburbs, released by Ace Records. That fuzz, man! That fuzz!

Jet’s follow-up single to his post-Shadows hit, The Man With The Golden Arm. Fender Bass VI perfection.

Chet lets his freak flag fly on this one, coaxing proto wah-wah sounds from either a Bigsby or Fender volume / tone pedal.

One of the best Fuzz tones ever committed to tape. Honestly, anything from The Ventures 1963-1967 deserves this spot.


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Jenny Don't And The Spurs From Portland Oregon Usa
Wed 18th Oct 8:00pm
Space Academy, Christchurch
Jenny Don't And The Spurs From Portland Oregon Usa
Thu 19th Oct 8:00pm
The Crown Hotel, Dunedin
Jenny Don't And The Spurs From Portland Oregon Usa
Fri 20th Oct 8:00pm
Settler Theatre, Oamaru
Jenny Don't And The Spurs From Portland Oregon Usa
Sat 21st Oct 8:00pm
Sherwood, Queenstown
Jenny Don't And The Spurs (usa) - Barrytown
Mon 23rd Oct 8:00pm
Barrytown Hall, Barrytown
Jenny Don't And The Spurs From Portland Oregon Usa
Tue 24th Oct 8:00pm
House of PLUTO, Blenheim
Jenny Don't And The Spurs From Portland Oregon Usa
Wed 25th Oct 8:00pm
Valhalla, Wellington
Jenny Don't And The Spurs From Portland Oregon Usa
Tue 31st Oct 8:00pm
Last Place, Hamilton
Jenny Don't And The Spurs From Portland Oregon Usa
Wed 1st Nov 8:00pm
Whammy Backroom, Auckland