Shayne Carter

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Shayne Carter
Origin Dunedin, New Zealand
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1979–present
Associated acts Straitjacket Fits
Bored Games
The Adults

Shayne Carter (born in Dunedin, New Zealand) is a musician best known for leading Straitjacket Fits from 1986-1994, and as the only permanent member of Dimmer (1995-2012).

Carter comes from a musical family. He was born to a Caucasian mother and a Māori father who was adopted by a Pakeha family.[1]

Musical history[edit]

Early career[edit]

Carter attended school at Kaikorai Valley High School.[2] While at Kaikorai, he had initially formed the rock group Bored Games as a vocalist along with Wayne Elsey and Fraser Batts on guitars, Jonathan Moore on Bass and Jeff Harford on drums.[3] The group debuted at Kaikorai's talent quest in 1979, then went on to play a gig supporting Toy Love. Elsey was tired of being in the band and went on to form The Stones. He was replaced by Terry Moore. In 1981, the Bored Games eventually broke up. The group recorded an ep Who Killed Colonel Mustard, which was released by Flying Nun Records in 1982. Terry Moore would later join The Chills.[3]

After finishing high school, Carter worked at Radio 4XO as a journalist for 2½ years, and later worked for fledgling campus radio station Radio One[citation needed].

The DoubleHappys & The Straitjacket Fits[edit]

In 1983, Carter reunited with Wayne Elsey after the demise of The Stones to form DoubleHappys, along with a temperamental drum machine called "Herbie Fuckface".[4] Carter and Elsey eventually recruited their high school friend John Collie to replace the machine. The band toured New Zealand with other Flying Nun bands in 1984. The same year they recorded the "Double B-Side" 7" single. In 1985, the group released the "Cut It Out" Ep. While on tour later that year, Wayne Elsey was killed in a freak accident on a train.[4]

Carter and Collie continued on with band after Elsey's death, but they decided to change the name to Straitjacket Fits. David Wood joined on bass in 1986 and Andrew Brough joined on guitar and vocals in 1987. The band then recorded their first ep, Life in One Chord. The Straitjacket Fits were considered the best of the bands to emerge from Dunedin at that time, although they had built more of a solid following overseas than in New Zealand. Brough, who also contributed songwriting, had a style that contrasted with Carter's. Brough's songs concentrated on melodies and pop-hooks while Carter's songs were more guitar-driven and edgy.

The band then moved briefly to Christchurch before settling in Auckland. They released their first album Hail in 1988. They recorded Melt in 1990. Due to musical difference with Carter, Brough left the band and was replaced by Mark Petersen. By the time they put out Blow in 1993, the band signed to Arista records to a potentially lucrative worldwide deal. However, by 1994, they had broken up. Straitjacket Fits reformed for a reunion tour during April and May 2005 without Andrew Brough.

Shayne Carter & Peter Jefferies[edit]

Shayne has released 2 singles with Peter Jefferies:

  • "Randolph's Going Home/Hooked, Lined And Sunken", 1986, Flying Nun Records FNCJ001
  • "Knocked Out Or Thereabouts/Spark Off A Wire", 1992, Flying Nun Records FN236


Following the demise of Straitjacket Fits, in 1995 Carter formed the group Dimmer. This was largely a solo project with Carter as the creative nucleus, working with different musicians for recordings and performances. Carter disbanded Dimmer in 2012 with a series of final concerts in Auckland and Wellington.[5][6]

The Adults[edit]

In 2011, Carter joined The Adults, a New Zealand super-group formed by Jon Toogood of the band Shihad. Along with Julia Deans he performed on & co-wrote some of the songs on their debut album, and is also part of the touring ensemble.


  1. ^ "Shayne Carter interview at the New Zealand Listener". 4–10 September 2004. 
  2. ^ "Former police boss keen to track down KVC alumni". Otago Daily Times. 28 February 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Bored Games Biography at The Big City". 
  4. ^ a b "The DoubleHappys Biography at The Big City". 
  5. ^ Kara, Scott (17 May 2012). "Shayne Carter says it's time to switch off Dimmer". The New Zealand Herald (APN Holdings (NZ) Ltd). Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Shayne Carter Announces Final Dimmer Shows". Under the Radar. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 

External links[edit]