Netherworld Dancing Toys
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The group formed at the University of Otago. The band members included Malcolm Black, Nick Sampson, Graham Cockroft, Brent Alexander and later Annie Crummer and Kim Willoughby. The original brass section was composed of Otago students including Alistair Perry, Matthew Trbuhovic and now chief information officer for NSW health Michael Rillstone (Mick Rillstone). The band's name is from a Roxy Music song "Spin Me Round" from their Manifesto album: "A nether world dancing toy/I'm wired for sound..." .
The band drew full houses frequently at Dunedin venues, notably the Captain Cook and Oriental Taverns, and were a popular student dance band. Musical influences were varied ranging from Dexy's Midnight Runners-styled brassy new soul, to classic Motown and ska. The band quickly developed a suite of original music which was distinctive in sound despite several brass section lineup changes.
Don McGlashan produced "The Real You"/"Standing In The Rain"/"New Zealand Love Song" which was released in November 1984.
In 1985 "For Today" reached No3 in the singles chart and the Netherworld Dancing Toys won five categories at the 1985 New Zealand Music Awards. Malcolm Black and Nick Sampson won the 1985 APRA Silver Scroll for "For Today".
In the early 2000s their song, "For Today" received renewed prominence when it was used as an advertisement for New Zealand Post and at one stage for a driving safety campaign, and is also included on the soundtrack of the film Sione's Wedding.
Malcolm Black is now a music industry lawyer. In The Mechanics of Popular Music, A New Zealand Perspective he says of the band's demise, "We were university graduates who had a number of different options and wanted security and a regular pay packet..." Graham Cockroft is CFO of Contact Energy.