Hailing from Wairarapa, Spank are a four piece band with an upbeat britpop post-punk influence. At times you can hear a wee country blues jangle that has a tinge of the great guitar master Johnny Marr. Spank’s performance is scattered with humour and fun and the songs are about the ironies from modern day life. The band have wide ranging influences from Black Sabbath right through to modern day pop. Each member has an eclectic mix of classical and modern influences that are too wide to list and many of their songs feature the dark rich tone of the American cornet.
The band released their first EP with current drummer Dave, Slap-up and Noblest, in June 2016 and released EP Kimberley Road in January 2017. After a busy gigging summer in 2016 / 17 seeing the band play Otaki Kite Festival, Gladstonebury Festival and Lovelands, plus many other gigs they came together to record their EP Down to the Wire (named because Nikki was still writing lyrics right up to the Thursday before they recorded) which is being released on 18th November 2017.
Nikki King, the bands vocalist, has extensive brass and performance experience and switches between vocal, cornet and guitar in their high energy set whilst Sheldon Hedgman, a once regular of the Cross Creek Blues Club blends his unique style of clean jangly, sometimes a bit dirty and rhythmical guitar to the mix. David Heath, the bands drummer uses his many different music experiences to bring excitement and vibrancy to the rhythm section as both he and Pete King have experience working in classical and rock ensembles. Pete’s energetic bass lines have your feet tapping with urgency and make the characteristic retro Spank sound. You might know David from his reggae show on Radio Active.
The band are currently taking part in Battle of the bands after reaching the Regional final of Battle of the Bands in 2016 in Manawatu. This year they are taking part in the Wellington competition, where there is stiff competition. They are through to the semi final.
They are also forging forward bringing many different bands to the Wairarapa after the closure of King Street Live with their monthly event named Spank invites.
Their album Slap-up and Noblest was recently reviewed by NZ Musician magazine and described as being “full of energy” and gave special mention to the “synergy” between the rhythm section. Nikki’s trumpet playing was notable as their “point of difference”.
If you listen very carefully you will hear the many stories Spank have to tell that are splattered with irony and dark humour backed by vibrant and exciting melodies and music.
(Vocals, Trumpet and Rhythm Guitar)
Influenced by her father, Nikki began her playing at the age of 5. Born and raised in St Helens, part way between Liverpool and Manchester, she was heavily influenced first by the Liverpool sound and then the emerging Manchester sound in the 80’s.
She first worked professionally with a 60’s band called The Chancers on the North Wales circuit. She subsequently secured a place as a resident entertainer at Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel, at the time Warner Holidays premier resort. There she worked with some of the historical big names such as Frankie Vaughan, Marty Wild and the Wildcats and The Bachelors.
Her next foray was to learn the cornet under the tuition of jazz stalwart Ronnie Darlington. She played with the then First Section Bollington Brass Band as a back row cornet player. She was also a vocalist with None of the Above and No Fit State, a rock and punk band formed out of the remnants of the band The Wild Ones.
After a 10 year break, she made a return to music with Masterton District Brass, as a repiano cornet player but moved to Soprano cornet following her love of the high register.
Returning to grass roots music scene Nikki was cornet player and vocalist with the band Growler (an over 40s girl band project), and also played brass with Spookytones. She has also done some fill in brass with Back the Truck Up, a Masterton Ska Band.
(Guitar, Additional Vocals, Whistling)
Sheldon has many years experience in music and his jangly guitar sound is the signature sound of Spank. He can also play many of the other instruments in the band but we have yet to hear his slide guitar in Spank though we keep asking.
He started on Uke in 1974, got his first Guitar in 1981, his first electric (Telecaster) 1984, his first bass guitar in 1995 and his first drum kit in 2003.
He cites his major influences as Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) and Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac).
Sheldon has been heavily involved with the Cross Creek Blues Club from the beginning which saw him playing with many of the Wairarapa’s top blues musicians, particularly on slide guitar and bass but also electric guitar, vocals and harmonica. This also lead to him forming Phaidra and the Tridents. His slide guitar also came out for Limelight Theatre’s production of “Best Little Whore House in Texas” and he did a one year stint with Terry Firma.
Pete is the bands bass player and Nikki’s husband and they have been playing together and living together since 1998. Both Nikki and Pete played in None of the Above based in Manchester City Centre at the University.
Before meeting Nikki, Pete played with a number of other bands whilst at university in Manchester, notably a goth band called Blood and an earlier incarnation of None of the Above. He played for a while in Spookytones as the bassist taking the place of Duke Molnar. He has also played keyboards and the cello and more recently the tuba. Pete has an eclectic taste in music which shows in the music and bass lines he creates.
Dave Heath (Drums)
Dave has recently joined the band, taking over from Kathy. He is a drum tutor at a local intermediate school. His amazing drumming has lifted the band to a different level. His super cool toms and his super tight punk sounds give the band an energetic feel. He plays with the Wairarapa Community Orchestra, Three Mile Brass and is also a DJ for Radio Active in his spare time. He started his musical career with Betteshanger Colliery Band playing cornet. He learned to play drums, starting on the snare drum with Royal Military School of Music in Deal in Kent. Dave also dabbles with the Trombone in his spare time.