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September 8, 2008 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Batman (‘to-the-baddest’) Tiddabades

Before I start to yap on about one of Wellington’s up and coming bands, I need to set the record straight. I assured these guys I would do my best to inform you all of the correct spelling, pronunciation and origin of ‘Batman Tiddabades’. You may have already heard of them, or heard something that sounds remotely like them. Most probably ‘Batman Tiddabades’ rings a bell yet you’ve been misinformed and know only of ‘Batman to the baddies’ or some other incorrect name. Regardless to your current knowledge, this new band seems to be scoring gigs all over town and teaming up with a plethora of New Zealand’s finest talent including 1995, Bang! Bang! Eche!, Brand New Math, The Cherrybombs, Tommy Ill and Thought Creature.

After meeting up with Craig Rattray, Drums; Timmy Hutchinson, Vocals; Tony Surrey, Bass and Luke Kavanagh, Guitar; who amount to Batman Tiddabades, and asking them a bunch of relevant and irrelevant questions I had a new appreciation for the bands name and the story that goes with it. For starters, ‘Batman’ is named after a sausage dog of all things, one that used to run around when Tony played league at primary school. The name stuck with him right up until now at the age of 24, and he has always considered it a rather cool name for a dog, especially a sausage dog which the others seem to agree with. ‘Tiddabades’ is a little harder to decipher. Forgive them, but Tony and Craig grew up in the Hutt, ‘tiddabades’ meaning ‘to-the-baddest’ is best said really fast with a Hutt accent “in a bro sort of way, with street appeal” as Craig informed me. It takes a little time, “Tuh-duh-bad-ess” but together, ‘Batman Tiddabades’ said correctly becomes rather catchy and fun to say.

It’s always a bit of a gamble coming up with such a unique name; it has the ability to either be a huge hit or a total flop. In this case I think it’s the former. It’s a rather unusual name and its relevance to their music can be questioned, but it’s definitely made them stick out and apart from all the confusion, they seem to be the talk of the town. ‘Batman Tiddabades’ is intriguing, it makes you want to dig a little deeper and listen to the type of music they play, and once you’ve heard them your pretty much hooked.

So what sort of music do they play? When the question was posed they all seemed a little puzzled, not because they had no idea of their own music but rather they are still ‘finding themselves’ and confess to being unable to break a genre. “There’s a lot of connotations with every genre and we don’t wanna be those,” Craig explained. Luke adds that although ‘indie’ has been tossed around, “It’s lazy calling us that; it’s an easy definition to make.” So I guess for those who require a defined genre it’s a mix of rockabilly, indie, post-punk dance. Whatever that is…

With sweeping genre generalisations aside, their music is pretty damn catchy. The first time I heard them play at Mighty Mighty I went home with ‘Cherry’ stuck in my head, and still I find myself humming away from time to time. I hunted the guys down when I couldn’t take it any more to get the inside scoop on who the hell these kids are and why now at the age ranging between 20-25 have they decided to give music a go. Amazingly up until last year their drummer Craig and bassist Tony (both 24) had never played before, “a year ago me and Tony decided to pick up an instrument and give it a go, then Timmy (vocalist) came along and started mucking around with the mic,” Craig said. A couple of months down the track Luke jumped on the guitar after moving from England, and Batman Tiddabades was complete. Don’t let the fact that Timmy doesn’t play an instrument put you off; his unique voice plays a key role in separating them from the rest of the local talent pool and his onstage performance makes up for this lack in playing ability..

Their song writing process is a little relaxed to say the least, “They just jam and I’ll make it up, I don’t write it down or anything, it’s just on the spot” said Timmy. Craig adds that “Without making it sound like a rap, its freestyle,” and their gig at San Fran a couple of weeks back is a clear example of this so called freestyle. The guys started jamming away at a new tune of theirs which Timmy, unbeknownst to the crowd was stumped on lyrics for, so he started to ramble on about colours, hence their new title ‘Colours’. They practice once or twice a week for a couple of hours which I got to witness first hand after we met for coffee. I had to constrain myself from dancing all over the room, a simple tapping of the foot would not suffice but I didn’t want to freak them out. I’ll save my dance moves for there upcoming gigs which I highly recommend you check out!

Having played at Mighty, SFBH and Bodega they are growing accustom to sound checks and becoming more and more adaptive to the crowds. They tell me they are a lot more comfortable now with a few gigs under their belts, and it definitely shows. Although they love to perform, they insist they will never play anywhere on Courtenay Place. Pen, not pencil in your diaries the following dates and venues:

8 pm 12 September at SFBH with Bang Bang Eche!, Thought Creature and Holiday with Friends. (This gig I am particularly excited about).
8pm 19 September at Goodluck
8 pm 4 October at Mighty Mighty with Brand New Math, Tommy Ill and Holiday with Friends.
8 pm 17 October at Bodega with Heat like Me.

Their influences include Death From Above 1979, Foals, and Joy Division. Although it’s a tough question and pretty much impossible to answer on the spot, if they could open for anyone in the world, the Foals would be right up the top of their list. Besides their upcoming gigs, the future to them is nonexistent, they’re just having fun at the moment and seeing how far they can take it. The guys are definitely fond of the idea of travelling, especially up to Auckland to play with their friends 1995 who were down here recently. Playing with 1995 was a lot of fun for the guys and they are very excited about their upcoming gigs with some of New Zealand’s best. Timmy explains “It’s just crazy how I’ve gone and seen these bands before and thought ‘fuck these guys are rad’ and now I’m gonna be playing with them!”.

They sum themselves up pretty well: “We’re kickass sort of dancing party fun.” They are all about pleasing the crowd, ensuring everyone’s having fun and dancing but for those who are a little harder to please take note on what Luke has to say: “To those guys who say we are this, we are that I just think ‘why don’t you get the fuck up here and give me something, instead of just standing there.” Fair enough.

I was surprised how nice they all were when I met up with them; they were willing to talk about everything and anything, including a little incident at their first gig. All I’ll say on the matter is “Luke, Mighty Mighty bathrooms, McLovin’.” You can take from that what you want. They are all open to meeting new people and I get the feeling if you went up to any one of them saying “Dude, you’re awesome! Let me buy you’re a beer” they would reply instantly with something along the lines of “No dude, you’re awesome! Let me buy you a beer!” I apologise if that last comment leads to the guys being out of money and owing a bunch of fans some beers.


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  1. Rupert says:

    I was impressed with these guys at San Fran, have to get along to more of their shows!

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