The Scavengers were a New Zealand punk rock band, formed in 1977. In 1979 they moved to Melbourne, Australia, and became The Marching Girls in 1980.
The band was formed in 1976 at Auckland Technical Institute by graphic design students Ken Cooke, Simon Monroe, Mike Simons and Marlon Hartas, under the name The 1B Darlings. They were heavily influenced by British R&B, glam rock and '60s US garage rock. In 1977 they renamed themselves The Scavengers and gave themselves punk stage names (Cooke as Johnny Volume, Monroe as Des Truction, Simons as Mike Lezbian and Hart as Mal Icious). Their style mutated in the direction of the US punk rock and proto-punk acts.
Through much of 1977 they were, with the Suburban Reptiles, the only punk bands in Auckland. In June 1977, with the Suburban Reptiles and The Masochists, they played New Zealand's first major punk gig at Auckland University. During this time their repertoire was mostly covers, but by early 1978 they had written a set of original tunes. In late 1977, bassist Hart left to be replaced by Brendan Perry, who performed under the stage name "Ronnie Recent". In March 1978 they began a residency at Zwines, a new Auckland punk club. Soon after Simons left (inspiring their signature song "Mysterex"), and Perry moved to vocals.
Two Scavengers tracks appear on the Ripper compilation AK79 and a posthumous album was released in 2003.
The Marching Girls:
In 1979 The Scavengers moved to Melbourne, Australia and in 1980, they renamed themselves The Marching Girls, and issued some recordings and video clips.
Perry later formed Dead Can Dance and Monroe (aka Des Hefner) played briefly for The Birthday Party during the latter band's final tour of Australia and New Zealand. Monroe went on to play in a series of Melbourne-based acts including The Slaughtermen and Maurice Frawley. Both Cooke (Go Public and Daisy West) and Monroe are still working musicians in Melbourne.
The Scavengers were hugely influential in Auckland in the late 1970s, inspiring a whole generation of young bands, and their importance goes far beyond their few releases. They reformed in 2004 for a one-off show in Auckland without Perry, and again at the AK79 reunion in 2008.
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