- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 23 May 2018, 5:46PM
Disagreements, fall-outs, hedonism, poor management and finances that went up in smoke (or more accurately, intravenously up the two founding member's arms) are all laid bare — it's classic stuff of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll and Swagger of Thieves expounds on a band who, at the time, unapologetically claimed it as their rite of passage.
The film joins the reforming band after a 10-year hiatus and recounts the promise of their formative years. As frontman Nigel "Booga" Beazley admits, "There was a lack of respect. We were pooing in our own nest."
His slightly unhinged charismatic charm provides this doco with genuinely hilarious moments, but it is the band's other founding member, Nigel Regan, whose sombre tones capture the beating heart of HLAH's darker side and the crippling effect that drugs had on the band.
Whether their legacy is a lost cause is still up for conjecture, but Swagger's final words, "Thank my cock, let's go get wasted," hint at an ongoing problem. And because the film is so ruthlessly uncompromising in its honesty, it is difficult to feel much admiration for a band that naively let so much talent go to waste.
Nonetheless, their story operates as a valuable piece of local social history and Swagger of Thieves is a tragically engrossing doco to watch.
Moreover, without HLAH's story we wouldn't have the burgeoning talents of Boshier, who has delivered a shining example of vivid film-making. That Boshier shot, produced and directed Swagger of Thieves suggests he's one to keep an eye on.
Nigel "Booga" Beazley, Nigel Regan
R16 (Drug use & offensive language)
A tragically engrossing account of NZ hard-rockers Head Like a Hole.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.