The Crocodiles

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The Crocodiles
OriginNew Zealand
GenresPop, new wave
Years active1979–1981
Past membersFane Flaws
Peter Dasent
Tony Backhouse
Arthur Baysting
Jenny Morris
Tina Matthews
Bruno Lawrence
Ian Gilroy
Rick 'Rikki' Morris
Jonathan Zwartz
Barton Price

The Crocodiles were a New Zealand pop/new wave band formed in 1979 with lead singer Jenny Morris, who went on to commercial success as a solo artist in Australia;[1] and later included drummer Barton Price, who subsequently joined Sardine v and then Models.[1] The Crocodiles top 20 hit single in New Zealand was "Tears" in 1980 from debut album, Tears;[1] a second album, Looking at Ourselves, appeared in November. The band relocated to Australia in February 1981 but disbanded in July without further releases.[1]


Fane Flaws was guitarist and Bruno Lawrence was drummer for Blerta (1971–1975); Flaws and Lawrence then went on to form The Spats (1977–1979) with Tony Backhouse on guitar and Peter Dasent on keyboards. In 1978, an all-female band, the Wide Mouthed Frogs, comprising Jenny Morris and Kate Brockie (lead vocals), Tina Matthews (bass guitarist), Andrea Gilkison (guitar), Bronwyn Murray (keyboards) and Sally Zwartz (drums) was established in Wellington, New Zealand,[1][2][3] Lawrence played saxophone for the band at a number of their performances, and Dasent was the musical director for the band.[4]

The Crocodiles evolved from The Spats, under the mentorship of US producer Kim Fowley,[5][6] and were founded in 1979 in Auckland with Backhouse, Dasent, Flaws, Lawrence and Mark Hornibrook on bass guitar and songwriter Arthur Baysting. The lineup was finalised with Morris joining as lead singer.[4] They were managed by Mike Chunn (ex-Split Enz), Mark Hornibrook was subsequently replaced by Mathews.[4]

In April 1980 they released their debut album, Tears (produced by Glyn Tucker), together with the single, "Tears". The album and the single both reached #17 on the New Zealand album and singles charts respectively that year. The band's second single, "Whatcha Gonna Do", however wasn't as successful, failing to chart. That year they won 'Best Group' and 'Most Promising Group' at the New Zealand Music Awards.[7] Lawrence then left the band and was replaced by Ian Gilroy (The Whizz Kids), Flaws also left the group but continued to provide material for the band's second album, Looking at Ourselves (produced by Ian Morris), was released in November 1980 but failed to chart. In December 1980 Gilroy left to join The Swingers, with Dasent and Mathews leaving soon afterwards.[4] A new lineup was formed with original members Morris and Backhouse joined by Barton Price (drums), Jonathan Swartz (bass) and Rick Morris (guitar).

In February 1981 the band flew to Australia but did not last long before dissolving,[4] Morris beginning her solo career, Price joining Sardine v and then Models, with Backhouse becoming a session musician with artists including Renée Geyer, Joe Walsh, Jenny Morris, Dave Dobbyn, Tim Finn and Vince Jones and immersing himself in a cappella gospel music. Dasent became a film composer, Flaws became a successful video and film director.



Year Title Label Charted Country Catalog Number
1980 Tears
  • Released: April 1980
RCA Victor 17 New Zealand VPL 10285
1980 Looking at Ourselves
  • Released: November 1980
Stunn - New Zealand MLF 450


  • "Tears"/"In My Suit" - RCA (MS 433) (1980) (NZ #17)
  • "Whatcha Gonna Do"/"All Night Long" - RCA (103619) (1980)
  • "Telephone Lover"/"Looking at Ourselves" - RCA (6538)(1980)
  • "Teenarama"/"New Girl on the Beat" - RCA (103729) (1980)
  • "Hello Girl"/"Romantic as Hell" - CBS (MS 476) (1980)
  • "New Wave Goodbye"/"Ribbons of Steel" - Aura (AUS126) (1981)


  1. ^ a b c d e McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Jenny Morris'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 9 August 2004. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  2. ^ "Performance Costume worn by Jenny Morris". Powerhouse Collection. D*hub. Retrieved 4 January 2010.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Jenny Morris Discography". Australian Rock Database. Magnus Holmgren. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e Sergent, Bruce. "Crocodiles". Bruce Sergent. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Kim Fowley - Outside the USA". Kim Fowley. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  6. ^ Flaws, Fane. "Fane Flaws (1951-?) - A brief history". Fane Flaws. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  7. ^ "1980 NZ Music Award Winners". New Zealand Music Awards. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2009.

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