The Snapper noise returns

DARK SENSATIONS: Peter Gutteridge, frontman of seminal Dunedin band Snapper.
DARK SENSATIONS: Peter Gutteridge, frontman of seminal Dunedin band Snapper.

After years spent in the creative wilderness, Peter Gutteridge is in beatific mood these days.

A pivotal figure in Dunedin music since the early 1980s, Gutteridge has reincarnated his renowned band Snapper, and got them back on the road.

Having performed at Camp A Low Hum last weekend, the new line-up visits Wellington this weekend. It'll be the first time Snapper has played in the city since the mid 1990s.

Gutteridge is joined by his guitarist nephew Jack Reid, Thought Creature keyboardist Danny Brady, and drummer Hope Robertson.

 "It's a pretty extraordinary line-up," Gutteridge says. "I didn't seek these people out, they were given to me. It took a long time. It's a blessing - the greatest blessing for a man like me."

The founding member of Dunedin institutions The Clean and The Chills formed Snapper in 1987 as an antidote to the guitar jangle that permeated the city.

Cloaked in distortion, Snapper's sound was denser and darker, yet it still had a glorious pop sensibility at its heart.

Their 1988 debut EP on Flying Nun Records was rapturously received, even being named single of the week in British music bible the New Musical Express.

Two years later the Shotgun Blossom album was recorded at Wellington's Writhe Studio. Gutteridge obsessed over the recording to stunning effect, but his personal issues were becoming an impediment.

"I'd been banged on the methadone program," he says. "They took away all the other options, and here I was trying to function a rock'n'roll band. That happened critically at that very moment. When I came off methadone [in 2011], I regained travel, and being able to go where I want."

This renewal has seen Gutteridge focus his energies on music again, plugging back into the rock'n'roll mainline that initially pulled him in.

He hasn't yet decided whether he wants to record new material with the latest Snapper line-up. But Gutteridge's personal revival has fortuitously coincided with that of Flying Nun Records.

 The label's manager Ben Howe this week confirmed Snapper's EP will be reissued on vinyl by Flying Nun in April or May.

Howe also hinted that a remastered and expanded version of Shotgun Blossom may follow.

"I'd love to remix the whole thing," Gutteridge says. "There are versions which are just exquisite, with the whole band cranking on all six cylinders. I'd love to release the whole thing, because I think the world needs Snapper noise in it."

Snapper play at Puppies, Wellington on February 15 and 16.

The Dominion Post