THE PROTONS

Early Days
The Protons formed in Wellington in June 1980. Initially a high energy three piece consisting of Tony Richards (guitar, vocals), Phil Bowering (bass, vocals) and Lawrence Sampson (drums), the band played all original punk/new wave material written by Tony and Phil. Although the band received a negative reaction from some of the local punks when they first started performing, they continued gigging as a trio, playing support for Toy Love in August 1980 and at Mainstreet in Auckland in September 1980. On returning to Wellington they recorded five songs on the four track at Sausage Studios while the nuclear warship the USS Truxtun was in port, including the later to be released Wolves of Power anti-nuclear song (about the Truxtun). May Lloyd joined the band as vocalist in October 1980 and the band played gigs in Wellington with the Mockers, Coup d'Etat and the Valentinos.

From L: Phil Bowering, Lawrence Sampson, Tony Richards
Protons live @ Mainstreet, Auckland. From left:
Phil Bowering, Lawrence Sampson, Tony Richards

Protons - Lights On/Modern Homes single
L to R: Tony Richards, Lawrence Sampson, May Lloyd, Phil Bowering

Lights On/Modern Homes
Still relatively unknown, the band secured a last minute spot on the main stage at the 1981 Nambassa Festival where the saw-edged sound of the band was well received by a crowd used to jazz, blues and folk music. After Nambassa the band were booked in at Harlequin Studios in Auckland to record a single, but unfortunately the festival went bust and the Protons arrived in Auckland without the money they were to have been paid for the Nambassa gig. Returning to Wellington, the band played support to Pop Mechanix at Victoria University and in March 1981 recorded more songs on the four track at Sausage Studios. By the time these recordings were made the Protons had become a snappy four piece with an extensive and diverse repertoire of original songs, incorporating quirky off-beat rhythms, elements of punk, funk, reggae and jazz and lyrics which ranged from satire to irreverence. The single Lights On/Modern Homes was released on Bunk Records and the band made a video clip of Lights On at TVNZ's Avalon Studios before disbanding.

Protons - Lights On/Modern Homes single
Lights On single sleeve

Wolves of Power
Using the Protons recording of Wolves of Power, Phil Bowering released Wolves of Power/Mutants (as a result of nuclear fallout) as a single under his own name in 1982 to coincide with the second visit of the USS Truxtun to Wellington. During this visit Phil was also out on Wellington harbour in a small boat as part of the protests against the visit of nuclear warships.

Phil Bowering - Wolves of Power single
Wolves of Power single sleeve

Atmospherics
In 1982/83 Phil and Tony again worked together in Atmospherics, performing more groove orientated compositions by Tony for a dance troupe which included Andrea Saunders (now of Beat Girls fame). Atmospherics with Tony Richards (guitar, tapes and effects), Phil Bowering (bass), Richard Bennett (drums), Mike Booth (trumpet), David Woodbridge (trombone), Peter Sharman (french horn) and Roger Sellers (percussion) recorded at Radio New Zealand, Wellington for the Concert Programme.

From L: Tony Richards, Phil Bowering, Richard Bennett Phil & Tony

Tony, Phil, Richard Bennett  
Atmospherics live  

    Phil and Tony, London
    circa 1991

Tracks and Lyrics
The following tracks are now available here as free downloads:

Track Artist Composer Recorded
1. Wolves of Power Phil Bowering/Protons Phil Bowering September 1980
2. Mutants (as a result of nuclear fallout) Phil Bowering Phil Bowering December 1981
3. Not My Style Protons Tony Richards September 1980
4. Business Bustle Protons Phil Bowering September 1980
5. Humble Fumble Protons Phil Bowering September 1980
6. (All For The Sake of) Appearances Protons Phil Bowering March 1981
7. Plastic Image Protons Phil Bowering March 1981
Please note: tracks 4 - 7 are previously unreleased.

Wolves of Power
cold grey Truxtun warship visit/forces of destruction in our lives
part of a senseless arms race/one mistake no one survives
paper welcomes sailors to our nightspots/with lure - girls get in free
those who care just don't get a look in/is this the way that it should be?

too much control by Wolves of Power/they make the lamb fat then they devour

doubters calling for protection/possessing little peace in hand
power matters more than people to the rulers of our land

too much control by Wolves of Power/they make the lamb fat then they devour

you if you've got no time to think
you if you've got to make a buck
you as you have another drink
you if you don't give a f***

too much control by Wolves of Power/they make the lamb fat then they devour

too much control by Wolves of Power/they make the lamb fat then they devour
too much control by Wolves of Power/they make the lamb fat then they devour
(repeat and fade)

Business Bustle
sleepy eyed only half alive I peer through ragged curtains
sound of city stirring motors weekday job seems certain
helter skelter downhill slide I've missed my bus now racing
can't be late sign in at eight morning rush I'm facing

Business Bustle walk/no time to stop and talk
will I just hoot and squalk just like all the rest

product based rapid waste mass consumption
wrapped bouquet planned decay unkind unction
profits are up workforce been cut monopoly muscle proven punch
company chairman spunky secretary office robots out to lunch

Business Bustle face/big city frantic pace
busy ants grabbing race love is bringing crumbs closer

bar room games well known names casually dropped at parties
theatre toads accountant's codes arrogant arty farties
two car bay view wealth's chosen few gluttons gambit mammon's gain
starving child cries poor old man dies no shelter from ice cold rain

Business Bustle rush/blatant people crush
it's OK our carpet's plush we don't even have to worry

Humble Fumble
giving gets used minion roles abused
snob nosed attitudes little gratitude
keep up this treatment you're gonna tumble
I'm telling you you're gonna tumble

distant witness formal fitness
avoids soiled hands not known own stand
what would you do if you were lost in the jungle
would you keep your cool or would you bungle
coz I hear the sound of a distant rumble
I said dead institutions crumble
as the last lost lunatic mumbles
I'm sticking with Humble Fumble

all need warm love not shove off second rate
weakness put down lapsing sick state
help us out of this jumble
please don't let us stumble
coz I hear the sound of a distant rumble
I said dead institutions crumble
as the last lost lunatic mumbles
I'm sticking with Humble Fumble

cheap slaves no plea street steals set fee
commerce business only interest
feelings suppressed stir up unrest
sold short too much dead wood don't touch

I hear the sound of a distant rumble
I said dead institutions crumble
as the last lost lunatic mumbles
I'm sticking with Humble Fumble

(All For The Sake of) Appearances
comb your hair shave your legs wear a drip dry shirt
dolled up to the wisdom teeth to clean for a speck of dirt
brand new house and a shiny car at a price you can't afford
dressing up the basic facts you get the group award

All For The Sake of Appearances
All For The Sake of Appearances

go to work boring job pretend it's a lot of fun
strive to earn a living wage and paradise in the sun
but it's too late to buy that dream you thought success would bring
when you played along with false allure you lost the real thing

All For The Sake of Appearances
All For The Sake of Appearances

smile and say I feel alright pretend there's nothing wrong
be a man and play the game - act cool and strong
but the pain I feel won't go away it just gets pushed aside
and glossed over with trivia like statues of my pride

All For The Sake of Appearances
All For The Sake of Appearances
All For The Sake of Appearances
All For The Sake of Appearances
All For The Sake of Appearances
All For The Sake of A
All For The Sake of
All For The Sake

Plastic Image

proud owner of sleek maroon motorcycle
lounge bar drinker bourbon and coke
inner city dweller in a thin white house
vanishing in blue grey cloud of smoke

Plastic Image I'm talking about
Plastic Image falsehood flout
Plastic Image it just don't last
Plastic Image is fading fast

covered real face make up games
changing colours underneath it's just the f****** same
new car knockout parked outside
dressed in white like a virgin bride

Plastic Image I'm talking about
Plastic Image falsehood flout
Plastic Image it just don't last
Plastic Image is fading fast

am I what I see I am going to be
skip a line climb a tree find the real me

perfume gift wrapped for my girl
working in woolies selling snowfreeze whirls
meet for a meal in our vinyl coats
down at McDonalds eating broiled goat

Plastic Image I'm talking about
Plastic Image falsehood flout
Plastic Image it just don't last
Plastic Image is fading fast

Recordings
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