Mobile Stud Unit

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Mobile Stud Unit in 2007. Photo by PetraJane

The MSU were, according to themselves, one of the longest lived, most popular and most controversial bands to have ever emerged from the bowels of Hamilton, New Zealand.

Formed in 1993, rumour states they got their band name from a competition held on local student radio station Contact 89FM. Calling their style of music 'pus rock', the band always encouraged copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed while watching them play.

MSU's first gig was a play off lunch time gig (busking competition) organised by Contact89FM for the opening slot for the Muttonbirds at Orientation. Notable other performances at that busking competition included Monster Truck RoadRunner and the Romantic Andes. They then played support for the Mutton Birds at The University of Waikato on 12 March 1993. The support slot had been given to the winner of a busking competition run by Contact 89FM, which the Romantic Andes had won. However, the Andes had been unable to play that night, so it went to second-place-getters MSU and history was made.
Marxi surfs the crowd in his legendary green jumpsuit

The band's set list that night included Fat Bum, CCs parts one and two, Beverly 90210 and Disco Spastic. Marxi wore a giant badge with a photo of Dylan from "Beverly Hills 90210" and handed out "90210" collector cards.

One of MSU (Griff) was naked except for a sock on his penis which did *not* impress Don McGlashan of The Muttonbirds. The sock later ended up being passed amongst the front row. Another band member was dressed in toilet paper.

The band's wild performance and Marxi's stage antics got people's attention and won them a few fans, and resulted in the band being asked to do a live-to-air performance on Contact 89FM.

Their debut album, My Pyjama’s Smell Acidicky was released on cassette in 1994. The followup, Blood Spew, came out in 1998 - each copy's artwork was drawn individually, and came with a lyric sheet/art foldout entitled Sing Along With the Mobile Stud Unit. The album included most of their student radio hits to date, such as Grutsniffer, We Are MSU, Chin Mei Wah, and the all-conquering ballad (which was by all accounts a true story), Stu's Pie Cart. The initial release had a run of around 500 copies.

The band's third album, Flaps, wasn't released till December 2001. Featuring artwork that could make even the Bloodhound gang cry, the record showcased a less punky side to the group, and often bordered on disco - Sexual Health Clinic and Marital Aids were almost danceable, and the tradition of Stu's Pie Cart was continued with Salesman, perhaps the greatest song about Telecom ever written. Still, tracks like (the ballad of) Tony Tourettes and Shunt ensured the group couldn't be accused of 'selling out.'

Over the years, several otherwise highly-respected Hamilton musicians found refuge for their musical non-talents in the Mobile Stud Unit. Members included Dean Ballinger (drums, Hollow Grinders), Aaron Watkinson (bass, Schrodinger's Cat), SS Stormtrooper (bass), Jamie Stone (guitar, Trucker, The Nerve), and Chris Paki (guitar, Rumpus Room, the Braxton Hicks). The only mainstay over the years has been Rohan Marx (Marxi), on vocals and keyboards.

The group were never afraid of controversy - witness their Head Like A Hole baiting Head Up Yr Hole, or an infamous incident where their bass player at the time, SS Stormtrooper, allegedly smashed his guitar over an audience member's head.

In 2003, the band held a 10th anniversary extravaganza, featuring pretty much every member of MSU, past and present, taking the stage at some point during the epic show, and during which SS Stormtrooper initiated a rugby game with a pig's head as the ball. MSU's first release, the cassette My Pyjama’s Smell Acidicky, was re-released on CD, with bonus tracks, in celebration of the ten year anniversary.

On November 14 2008, MSU played what was intended to be their final performance, again enlisting many of their past members. At the event, the band released a compilation of songs from the previous albums, called Roadkill.

Poster for "MSU Superstar Blowout!!" gig, c.1995

A decade later, MSU reformed to play a support slot for the Hard-Ons in Raglan on May 19, 2018, and Circle Jerk 2018.



Poster for MSU final show and Roadkill release, 2008

Published Articles

  • Mobile Stud Unit Final Gig review, Nexus, 22 May 1995, P22

External links