3Ds were the biggest ‘third wave’ Flying Nun band, formed by musicians from earlier FN groups. Starting out in Dunedin in 1988, they recorded three albums and several EPs, the best-known being The Venus Trail (1993). They achieved worldwide critical and commercial success, and toured extensively overseas from 1992-95.
The 3Ds came into being in Dunedin in mid-1988, after the male members all relocated from Auckland in search of cheap rent, booze and 24 hour-a-day rock’n roll. Their arrival swelled the ranks of many bands, including Snapper, Chug and Plagal Grind, but they all became best-known as members of the 3Ds.
After initially forming as a trio (hence the name) they were joined in early 1989 by David Mitchell. He introduced a third song-writer and singer, as well as the twin-guitar attack which became the defining feature of the group. Mitchell’s intricate and demented artwork also featured memorably on most of their record covers and posters. Once you’ve seen an entire city sodomised by giant rats, you never forget it.
With the completion of the alchemical transformation from a loose jamming agglomeration to the 3Ds, and the band immediately began their assault on New Zealand’s then-burgeoning underground rock scene. They stood out from the start in their ability to sway both the critics and a broader audience. The 3Ds were a band with something for everyone - a knock-out combination of over-loaded guitars, horror-show imagery and toothsome vocal harmonies. While the Pixies were often cited as a formative influence, it’s more correct to see them as the bastard offspring of Black Sabbath and Fairport Convention. Their point of difference was the unique combination of Celtic lilt with berserk metal fury.
Their first recordings were delayed by over a year as the band tried twice to secure CreativeNZ funding support, amazingly without success. Their first recordings were a bunch of demos, one of which, ‘Meluzina Man’ became their first release on the 1990 compilation Xpressway Pile-up. The band recorded their Flying Nun debut Fish Tales in early 1990, starting a long close association with Dunedin’s Fish St Studios. Their second EP (Swarthy Songs for Swabs) and debut album (Hellzapoppin’) followed over the next two years, the latter spawning the unstoppable single Outer Space. After the first record all their sessions were produced by their live engineer of choice, Tex Houston.