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February 18, 2008 | by  | in Features Music | [ssba]

ABCs of The Datsuns

A four piece rock n roll extravaganza – Dolf de Borst (vocals/bass), Ben Cole (drums) Phil Buscke (guitar) and Christian Livingstone (guitar); described by as “a heavy metal band for people who didn’t think they liked heavy metal any more. A heavy metal band, in fact, for people who weren’t sure they ever really liked heavy metal in the first place.”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS – the original Datsuns line up performed in 1996 at The Battle of the Bands under the name Trinket, and competed against another band with the same name! In 1997 they returned and won the national title. In 1999, the band, plus new guitarist Christian Livingstone, played as The Datsuns and claimed first prize again!

CAMBRIDGE – The Datsuns hail from Cambridge, Waikato which they once described as “11,000 people, five rest homes and a lot of horse studs. So if you are in the business of rearing horses or dying, you are having a good time”.

DATSUNS – “It was after the car. I was looking through an old 50s National Geographic one day and came upon it and thought it would be funny.”

EUROPEAN TOUR – The Datsuns embarked on an epic European tour last year, highlights including Le Bol D’or and the Rock N Roll Boat.

FIRST SINGLE – “Super Gyration” was the Datsuns’ first single, and was released in August 2000 exclusively on 7 inch. The sleeve on the record contained an image of a Datsun Fairlady 2000.

GOOD ADVICE from Dolf regarding their live shows: “We try to put as much energy as possible into the show. We are loud. People should bring earplugs”

HELL SQUAD RECORDS – Soon after changing their name to the Datsuns, they set up their own record label, Hell Squad Records: “It came to a point in New Zealand where there was nothing going on and no labels were interested in new music…It got to a point where we were thinking “Hang on. We are not part of this. We don’t want to be part of the mainstream. We don’t want to write songs for the radio. We don’t want to create a look for ourselves. We don’t want to pander to a market. We want to be ourselves. No one is going to put out our records, so let’s do it ourselves.””

INFLUENCES – “We grew up listening to a lot of classic rock music; bands like Deep Purple, The Who, Cheap Trick, Led Zeppelin and a bunch of those classic old rock bands… But we love a lot of music like The Sonics, The Flaming Grooves.”

JOHN PEEL – The band recorded with John Peel in 2002: “He just kind of sits in this glass booth and talks to you and … it’s one of the best studios in the world and you just play songs that he likes to hear…We started playing out like four or five songs and if he likes it he just gets you to keep playing, he kind of talks to you in between songs… You get an amazing recording.”

KFC COMMERCIAL – The Datsuns filmed a commercial for KFC around about 1999/2000 (its so elusive I haven’t been able to track a copy down on youtube…) “We did that about five years ago, coming from NZ we had no money and wanted to put out records and used that to get money to do it. That’s the one thing we don’t like and are not proud of, but that’s how desperate we were.”

LE BOL D’OR – A 24 hour endurance race included in the World Endurance Championship at the Magny-Cours track in France in September. The Datsuns played a set here and some of their highlights were:
* At least 19 motor vehicles on fire
* Man dressed as penis
* Naked man surfing on moving car

METALLICA – The Datsuns opened for Metallica during their St. Anger World Tour in 2004.

NEW SONGS – “Christian will write a riff. I’ll sing parts of it and that will develop into the chorus… By the time I take it to the others, it evolves and changes. We are four-way songwriters on everything. But it all comes together when we get in the practice room.”

OZZFEST – In 2003, The Datsuns played Ozzfest alongside some of the biggest names in heavy metal and hard rock, including Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Korn and Disturbed. Dolf described the Datsuns as “the most faggy band at Ozzfest… (we) had some really interesting suggestions for T-shirts to sell at Ozzfest — ‘The Most Hated Band at Ozzfest,’ and on the back, ‘The Datsuns’.”

POPULAR MUSIC – “You could love a record, and it could be amazing, and only you and your friends could know about it. All of a sudden it becomes popular and you don’t like it anymore. I think that is fucked up. The songs are still good.
Just because there is a fifteen year old kid standing next to you at the show doesn’t mean it sucks. Get over it. Be there for the music.”


ROCK N ROLL BOAT, STOCKHOLM – 24 hours of non stop rock – in a boat! A major highlight of the Datsuns’ European tour, they played with The Hellacopters, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Baby Shakes and The Flaming Sideburns. “Here is the premise: get a bunch of great rnr (sic) bands, a boat and some tax free Finnish liquor for exactly 24 hours…It’s the ROCK’N’ROLL BOAT!”

SHATSUNS – Shihad and The Datsuns toured through New Zealand over the Xmas/New Years period 2006/7. At the final show in Wellington, Shihad and the Datsuns played several songs together including covers of “Gates of Steel” and “I see Red”.

TRINKET – Dolf, Phil and Matt Osment (drums) formed the band Trinket in 1995 whilst still at high school and were later joined by Christian. They changed their name to The Datsuns in 2000.

USA TOUR – The Datsuns are getting ready to embark on their USA tour at the end of March and will be playing shows in LA and New York.

V2 – In July 2000, the Datsuns signed to UK label V2, which represents artists such as Bloc Party, Moby and The White Stripes.

WEBSITE: Visit WWW.THEDATSUNS.COM for all the info on The Datsuns – including tour dates.


“YOU BUILD ME UP TO BRING ME DOWN!” (from self-titled album, released in 2002)

(Led) Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones (bass/keyboard/mandolin) produced The Datsuns’ second album “Outta Sight, Outta Mind”.

Catch The Datsuns playing Orientation Festival on the 28th February with Cobra Khan, and FasterSheSaid at Union Hall.


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