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Peter Gutteridge

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  • Born: Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Peter Gutteridge was one of the unsung heroes of the New Zealand music scene, a founding member of several important bands and one of the master builders of what became known as the "Dunedin Sound," but at the same time an artist who sadly received little recognition for his solo work. No one appears to be certain of Peter Gutteridge's birthday, but it's believed he was born in 1961, and he grew up in the New Zealand community of Dunedin, one of the largest cities in NZ's southern island. When Gutteridge was 17, two of his friends from school, David Kilgour and his brother Hamish Kilgour, decided to start a band and Gutteridge was invited to play guitar. The band became known as the Clean, and not long after they formed, Flying Nun Records, a newly opened independent label based in Christchurch, offered to release a single by the group. "Tally Ho!" b/w "Platypus" became a surprise hit, rising to number 19 on the New Zealand charts, and a 5-song EP, Boodle Boodle Boodle, appeared a few months later. While one of Gutteridge's original songs, "Point That Thing Somewhere Else," appeared on the EP, by the time it came out, he was out of the band, and had joined the first lineup of the Chills, led by Martin Phillipps. However, while the Chills would prove to be nearly as important as the Clean in NZ indie music history, Gutteridge left the band after a few months. In 1982, he joined the Cartilege Family with Shayne Carter, who would later form Straitjacket Fits, and a year later, Gutteridge would reunite with David and Hamish Kilgour to form the arty Clean side project the Great Unwashed. However, Gutteridge had mixed feelings about the often poppy and jangly sound of many of the Dunedin bands, and once told a reporter, "I just got tired of a guitar sound that wasn't thought about. I had my own personal style." In the late '80s, Gutteridge released his first (and only) solo album, the cassette-only Pure, and launched the group Snapper, who embraced a noisier and more drone-oriented approach than their Dunedin peers. Snapper developed a potent cult following and released a pair of albums for Flying Nun, 1991's Shotgun Blossom and 1996's ADM, but they drifted into inactivity by the end of the '90s. Gutteridge never made a secret of his drug use, and his habits sapped his productivity in the first decade of the new millennium, but in 2012, Snapper reunited to play some shows in Dunedin, and after American indie label 540 Records gave the solo cassette Pure a vinyl re-release in 2013, Gutteridge traveled to the United States in August 2014 to play his first shows in America. Sadly, the U.S. dates would be among his very last performances; Gutteridge died by his own hand in Auckland, New Zealand on September 15, 2014.