PD Corp

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PD Corp was an original band based in Rotorua, active between 1988 and 1991. The band included Chris Paki, who became a member of a number of Hamilton bands (e.g., Pregnant Hippies, Mobile Stud Unit and Rumpus Room).

Formed in mid-1988 for a one-off gig to back songwriter/guitarist Jono Jack, the name PD Corp was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the state of New Zealand politics in the late 1980s; state-owned assets were being sold off and privatized. Where State Coal became Coal Corp, PD Corp might have been a name for a privatized prison service (P.D. standing for 'periodic detention').

Jono Jack, a singer/songwriter from Rotorua with a Christian leaning, had been a member of a number of bands, most notably the Number Thieves and Simon Pure (with Alan Deare and Johnny Armstrong). A falling out between Jono and the other members of Simon Pure lead to Jono writing his own material (both Jono and Alan would write pointed songs about each other in their respective bands). At this time Jono worked as a sales rep for Cadbury and went on to use his (then new) company car, a Ford Sierra wagon, as a 'band wagon' for PD Corp.

When Jono needed a band to back him with his new material he called on Rotorua drummer Malcolm Lofroth (ex-Lounge Lizards) and 18 year old bass player Andrew White, who had been gigging around town since the age of 15. Fed-up with the blatantly copy-cat/contemporary sounds of local Christian influenced bands, Jono was determined to get an original and 'indie' sound happening. Influences at the time included New Zealand bands like the Bats and the Clean, Aussie bands Hunters & Collectors and The Johnnys, and U.S. bands like R.E.M.

The three PD Corp members felt like they were on to something and regular practices were held in Jono's lounge in mid-late 1988, concentrating on bringing Jono's songs into a band setting. Thanks to Jono's fast talking and fearlessness, gigs for PD Corp came fast. At first these were small church hall and school gigs (this was Rotorua in the late 80s after all), then larger scale 'cred' gigs. The first large scale gig was the '5 bands for 5 bucks' gig at Greerton Hall in Tauranga on 6 August 1988. The line up also featured Jono Jack solo.

PD Corp added extra guitarist Myke Dowson, who would commute from Te Puke for practices. Jono and Andrew demoed new songs on Jono's 4-track, while several cover songs including the Clean's 'Anything Could Happen' and Hunters & Collectors' 'Give Me A Reason' (with Myke and Andrew swapping guitar and bass duties) were learnt to pad out the set list. A couple of gigs were played at North Island prisons including Rangipo. The prison gig circuit is where Jono had originally met Myke, whose band Bent Straight had played regular gigs to inmates.

Jono quit his job at Cadbury to concentrate on music full time. A large number of staple PD Corp songs were written at this time that remained in the set til the very end. These included the "hit" signature PDC tune 'Make It Reel', the pointed 'Vivisection', and slap-bass loop-like riff of 'Man Of Honor' about the Mafia. Several of Myke's songs were added to the set – the laid back bluesy 'Happy' and ballad 'Love'. The lyrical content covered politics to religion.

The new line-up's first big gig was with Myke's band Bent Straight at the Mount Maunganui Soundshell on 17 December 1988. This was the last Bent Straight gig and Myke played in both bands on the night. Fred Renata from Tokoroa was the sound man for PD Corp that night and called on for more desk duties in the future as the 'unofficial PD Corp sound man'. More gigs followed including New Years Eve 1988 at Mt. Maunganui.

PD Corp's aim to be taken seriously was reflected in their first major support slot for Flying Nun band The Bats at Auckland University. The gig took place on 6 March 1989 at the University Cafe. The band played a well received set and felt they were finally on the road they wanted to be on. More gigs took place including Tauranga and a support slot for Rotorua's Book of Martyrs album release gig at the Shambles Theatre. Other bands on the bill included Rotorua original bands the Calamari Bushmen and Pet Semetary.

Throughout this period and into the future Jono was promoting himself as a solo artist, playing solo gigs up and down the country, and also 'opening' some PD Corp gigs. Often his set would include acoustic versions of PD Corp songs and/or songs not deemed workable for a full band. Initially it was felt in a small way by members of the band that Jono's focus on his solo career was getting in the way of PD Corp's advancement. This was to come to a head later. Andrew accompanied Jono on several of his solo tours and 'fact finding' missions as well as putting together art for Jono's gig posters (as well as PD Corp). Andrew and Jono rented an office space in central Rotorua where the band would practice and take care of 'business'.

Around June of 1989 Malcolm quit the band; his ideals had changed and a rock'n'roll career didn't fit him anymore. As Malcolm was an integral part of the band's sound there was much concern about a suitable replacement. In July the band called on drummer Scotty Pearson from Mount Manguanui to fill in for a gig. This worked out so well that Scotty became the 'unofficial' new PD Corp drummer. The first gig for the new line up was at the Nite Spot Cafe in Te Awamutu on 25 August 1989, with the second the night after in New Plymouth at the Queen's Hall.

These 'gig-a-night in a different town' jaunts for PD Corp would continue thanks to Jono's management and salesman skills. At this point the band had developed a strong set of originals and the constant gigging was resulting in tight playing. Myke, who had quit his AFFCO job and was now also living off the dole (as was Jono) had recently purchased a 12-string Rickenbacker electric guitar on credit, which gave the band a more signature 'chiming guitar' sound in the vein of R.E.M. and pushed them up another notch. Myke proceeded to drop the guitar on its headstock on the concrete floor of a church at a gig and was heard to utter a not-so-quiet expletive. The Ricky sported gaffer tape to mask the scars from then on.

In September 1989 Andrew also quit his job, meaning all three main members of PD Corp were full-time with the band, and living off the dole. Also in September the band rented a new space in an old picture theatre in Ngongotaha called the Ark, just outside Rotorua. The space also doubled as a new pad for Myke who shifted from Te Puke to be with the band. A stage was built in the old theatre for gigs. The set list at this time included Jono's originals 'Don't Wanna Know' (about the condition of NZ), 'Vivisection' (animal rights), 'Make It Reel' (old friends), 'Man of Honor' (the Mafia), 'Hand To Mouth Society' (NZ's dole culture), 'Board Up Your Windows' (Maori 'uprising'), 'Before The Song' (song writing), 'Destined To Be' (destiny), 'East Coast Blues' (North Island's East Coast) and Myke's 'Values' (about respect) and 'Happy'. Covers included a rock version of 'Kumbyah' originally done by Guadalcanal Diary and 'F.A.I.T.H.' by the Violent Femmes.

More PDC gigs were played in the later half of 1989 alongside Jono playing solo gigs to fund recording of his solo album. On 26 September 1989 the band were flown to Christchurch by TVNZ to appear on the TV show 'Danny's Cafe'. The show aired on Sunday mornings on TV2 and featured bands and comment set in 'Danny's Cafe'. Danny Watson was the host and 'cafe owner'. The band recorded three songs 'live to air' with 'Man of Honor' and 'Make it Reel' making the final cut. The show screened twice in October 1989.

The band was approached by an avid music fan and aspiring music manager from Auckland named Letia DeKlerk. Letia was keen for the band to gain more exposure and better gigs. She was officially on the 'pay-roll' and started making contacts and bookings right away including a gig at Auckland's 'Venue' with Step Up Jack (featuring Sean Donnelley now of S.J.D. and Michael TeYoung now of Recliner).

In October 1989 Jono started recording his solo album at Tandy's Studios outside of Hamilton. Andrew and Myke recorded a 'joke song' called 'Baby Baby' which the band later included in their set and became one of the most requested songs at gigs. At this point tensions between Myke and Jono were starting to develop which flared up occasionally.

In early December 1989 the band headed into Tandy's Studios for the first ever PDC 'proper' recording session. Due to limited funds and time, the band decided to record live straight to tape (stereo). Zed Brookes and Dennis Marsh were the engineers. Four songs were recorded: The PDC signature tunes 'Make It Reel' and 'Vivisection, new song 'Before The Song' and Myke's original 'Values'. The tracks were mixed and mastered the same day. Duplication took place at Jono's house and the covers, designed by Andrew, were photocopied on purple paper and the tapes hand-assembled. The EP titled Piece of Plastic (or POP) was released later in December and went on to sell over 80+ copies at gigs and stores.

On 12 December 1989 in Rotorua and 14 December in Auckland, Jono released his solo album 'Vein Labour'. Jono's solo career was starting to take priority at this point, much to Myke's displeasure (although Myke had contributed a solo to one of the album's tracks). The ten tracks on 'Vein Labour' included acoustic versions of PDC songs such as 'Make It Reel' and 'Before The Song' as well as staple Jono Jack tracks 'Thai Border' and 'East Coast Blues'. Although the release was largely self-funded, a grant from the Mainstage Creative Trust was also utilized. From this point on, every PDC gig was a Jono Jack promo for the solo album as well as the PDC EP.

In late December 1989 PD Corp supported Hamilton's popular Revs at the Rock Cafe in Auckland, then played a gig at Auckland's Gluepot with Hoi Polloi and the Diablos. The Gluepot gig took place the night before New Zealand's first major 'Christian' rock festival on a farm just outside of Te Puke. At the 'Shelterbelt' festival, PD Corp were booked as one of the headline local acts, along with the Revs, Hoi Polloi, Guy Wishart, Steve Apirana, Derek Lind, Real Time, and more. The big international act was hard rock/blues/metal act REZ from Chicago U.S.A. PD Corp had secured the prestigious last slot of the festival on New Year's Eve 1989, right after the headline act REZ had finished. By the time PDC hit the stage the whole place was buzzing and the band proceeded to play one of their best sets ever to a crowd of several thousand. SPAMM magazine held a poll asking festival goers for their favorite local act at ShelterbeltPD Corp came out on top, followed by Hoi Polloi and The Revs. Shelterbelt capped off a successful year for the band and the future was looking exciting.

Early January 1990 saw the band play two nights at the DB Hotel in Mount Maunganui with Hoi Polloi and the Yahoos, and a multi-band gig at Auckland's Powerstation on Jan 20. What should have been a great gig for the band turned in to a disappointment with no proper sound check and being relegated to the early hours of the morning, after most people had left the venue.

The tensions between Myke and Jono were coming to a head. Myke felt Jono was not making any room for his songs although Myke's song 'Values' was one of the more popular PDC songs both live and on the EP. Myke felt that Jono was being too protective of of his own songs and didn't want someone else taking more of the limelight. Further to this, Jono wrote Myke a letter effectively stating that PD Corp was 'his' (Jono's) band. This was enough for Myke to call it quits and he gave notice to leave the band.

With several gigs booked Myke agreed to stay on and play them. In late February 1990 PDC played two nights at Wellington's Car Park venue with old drummer Malcolm, filling in for Scotty who was not available. On its promo posters the Car Park loudly hailed PDC as sounding "identical to R.E.M.". The band's sound now centered around twin Rickenbacker guitars as Jono had recently purchased a fire-glow 6-string electric and a Fender Twin Reverb amp. The sound was more jangly than ever and really firing. The gigs went well although turnout was typically thin. Jono, Andrew and Myke enjoyed playing with Malcolm again.

At this point Scotty announced he would no longer continue with the band for "various reasons". However, the nature of Myke and Jono's animosity was a major cause. Gigs that were booked at Wellington's Car Park and Auckland's Gluepot and Ze Cafe were cancelled. Meanwhile Jono and Andrew had booked an upcoming 'fact finding' trip to the States in March to see where it might take them.

On 26 February 1990 the band played Waikato University's Orientation with Hamilton's Levitating Daffodils. This was the last official PDC gig with Myke and Scotty. Tensions were high throughout the gig which had a good turnout and was well received. Myke let his displeasure towards Jono known during the show, promptly departing at the end of the gig and relocating to Auckland soon after. The irony was that PD Corp were now playing the sort of gigs they wanted but the band had now imploded.

On March 2 and 3, 1990 two gigs as 'PD Corp Mark 1' (Jono, Andrew & Malcolm) were played at Rotorua's infamous Fenton's Tavern to raise some extra cash for Jono and Andrew's forthcoming U.S. trip. The gigs included covers to keep the pub crowd happy.

Jono and Andrew had decided to keep going as PD Corp if they could find suitable band members. A 'musicians wanted' ad was placed in the forthcoming issue of Spamm magazine. For a laugh, Myke's new Auckland flatmates saw the ad and pinned it to his door. Letia De Klerk left for the U.S. and was no longer band manger, although she would look out for contacts in the U.S.

On 27 March 1990, Jono and Andrew left for the U.S. armed with a list of music contacts and demo tapes. Jono took his acoustic guitar for busking duties and any solo gigs. The pair hit LA, Baltimore, Nashville, Minneapolis and Jono went on to Chicago while Andrew headed back to Nashville. Jono played several impromptu gigs and pushed his solo album. A new song written by Jono originally titled 'Park Bench Man' (later named '3 Months, Nearly 4' and then 'Waste') was recorded on April 2 by Jono, Andrew and Mike Futch at Mike's house in LA. The song, recorded on a 4-track, featured Jono on guitar, Andrew on bass and Mike an keyboards with programmed drums. It was to later feature prominently in PD Corp's set list. This recording was the only serious 'band' work done on the U.S. trip apart from some contacts made and a short tour of potential recording studios in Nashville, including 16th Ave. Sound. Jono continued to promote his solo record and play where he could including a couple of coffee shops in Minneapolis.

Jono and Andrew returned to NZ on 29 April 1990. Andrew joined a covers band while PDC were in hiatus although Jono and Andrew had regular PDC meetings and practices. In June, Jono and Andrew met with husband and wife Pete and Leslie Ward from Hamilton who became the new members of PD Corp (PD Corp Mk 3). Pete took on drum duties while Leslie became a dedicated backing/second vocalist. The fact they had a van was an added bonus. Rotorua guitarist Chris Paki was then enlisted on lead guitar duties. Chris had been a regular in the Rotorua scene for several years and fitted in well to the line up, also contributing vocals.

Regular practices took place with the band learning a full set of 14 originals including new songs by Jono: '3 Months, Nearly 4', 'Chair of a Certain Time' and 'Falling In Silence'. New songs, 'Different Place', 'Will We Ever' and 'Version', Andrew had written music or lyrics for. Several easy covers were learnt to pad out the set for any pub gigs where punters needed appeasing. None of Myke's songs were retained in the set except for 'Destined To Be' which Myke had written music for but Jono had claimed as his own.

PD Corp were now using the moniker 'Free Market Pop' in conjunction with the PDC name. On 16 July 1990 the new look PD Corp played its first gig at Rotorua's Hyatt hotel. Leslie's vocals combined with the more adventurous and catchy new songs gave the band a different, more accessible feel but it was still Jono's familiar style that carried through.

In late July the band played Palmerston North over two nights and in Rotorua. August saw a two night stint at the Ohakune Hotel. In September 1990 the band did an extensive tour organized by Jono, leaving from Hamilton/Rotorua and going to Dunedin and back over the course of 14 days. The tour included gigs in Christchurch over three nights – Zetland's and the Carlton Hotel with Luke Hurley and the Palladium night club; Regines in Dunedin; an all ages gig at the Christchurch Town Hall with Rikki Morris, Kim Willhouby, Luke Hurley and actor Andy Anderson; a lunch time gig at Lincoln University in Christchurch and two nights at the Joint in Nelson. A further two nights at Wellington's Car Park and a Massey University gig on the way back home fell through. Turn out to the gigs was small although the band was firing. For the Regines gig the band had travelled from Christchurch to Dunedin and back to Christchurch again all in one day, only to find about seven people at the gig. The Christchurch Town Hall gig was a highlight, playing on a large stage with a decent PA. Actor Andy Anderson, who was speaking at the event and on stage before PD Corp, asked the band to play two songs with him as his 'reformed alcoholic' address was not going down well with the kids. Andy and PDC performed impromptu versions of 'Johnny B Goode' and 'Eagle Rock'.

In October the band played at the Otumoetai Trust Hotel in Tauranga, and at the Labour Day 'Mega Blast' at Rotorua's Homestead Tavern. Organized by Jono and Andrew, the Rotorua Mega Blast gig was well organized with radio ads, posters and sponsorship. PD Corp headlined the bill with Hamilton's Book of Martyrs, Christchurch's Big White Undie Band and Rotorua's Calamari Bushmen.

Around this time Pete and Leslie announced their intention to leave the band. They did not feel like they could continue with the schedule of the band although there were no doubt other reasons. The band had several gigs still booked including a Tauranga gig at Harrington's nite club, two lunchtime gigs at Te Awamutu College and a major one at Hamilton University's Gurus. The Guru 's gig was the last official PD Corp gig and was a good one with a large crowd. Jono and Andrew did a somewhat frivolous interview on Contact FM the day of the show to promote it. They announced that it was the end of PD Corp, but they would continue to work together. One final gig was played in Rotorua a few days later along with Chris Paki's old band Rescue Shop.


  • Jono Jack - vocals, guitars
  • Andrew White - bass
  • Myke Dowson - vocals, guitars
  • Malcolm Lofroth - drums, vocals
  • Scotty Pearson - drums, vocals
  • Chris Paki - guitars, vocals
  • Peter Ward - drums, vocals
  • Leslie Ward - drums, vocals

External Links[edit]