Goblin Mix

Goblin Mix

The birth and death of … Goblin Mix

The birth and death of ...by short-lived Auckland band Goblin Mix was one of the great New Zealand albums of the mid-1980s. But today the band is probably best remembered as an ancestor of The 3Ds, the Dunedin group led by former Goblin Mix guitarist David Mitchell.

Like many of the groups that flourished in the fertile local music scene of the 1980s, Auckland band Goblin Mix – made up of guitarists and songwriters David Mitchell and Phil Moore, bass player Alf Danielson and drummer Andrew Moon – weren’t around for very long. But they did release two records, both on Flying Nun. One was a self-titled four-track EP (1985), which included the superb ‘Lament’ and ‘The water’, and the other was the seven-track mini-LP The birth and death of ... (also known as Son of Goblin Mix) in 1986.

The band’s combination of mayhem and melody, literary references and Mitchell’s bizarre, Hergé-influenced (and often nautical-themed) cover art laid a blueprint of sorts for the subsequent success of The 3Ds. Highlights of The birth and death of ... included the raucous pop of ‘Venus fleye trap’ and ‘The drinking man’s curse’ and the quieter beauty of ‘The winter song’ and ‘Coleridge’. 

In 1991 Flying Nun reissued both Goblin Mix records (plus ‘Travelling grave’ from the label's 1986 compilation Outnumbered by sheep) on CD together with the five-song EP The grotesque singers by Mitchell’s earlier band, The Exploding Budgies (featuring the classic ‘Kenneth Anger’). By that time the Dunedin-based 3Ds – which comprised Mitchell, Denise Roughan, David Saunders and Dominic Stones – were on their way to becoming one of Flying Nun’s most successful bands. As well as releasing a string of outstanding EPs and albums, they toured widely in the United States and Europe, supported everyone from Pavement to Nirvana, and reputedly drank Dunedin out of Mac’s beer.

David Mitchell has also played with the Xpressway super group Plagal Grind, Chug, The Magick Heads and Ghost Club, while Alf Danielson was a member of David Kilgour’s Stephen and Chug. Phil Moore’s son Jacob now plays drums for The Checks.


  • The 3Ds – on the Flying Nun website

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