Netherworld Dancing Toys

Netherworld Dancing Toys was a New Zealand band from Dunedin formed in 1982. In 1985, their single "For Today" reached No3 in the New Zealand singles chart.

Netherworld Dancing Toys
OriginDunedin, New Zealand
Years active1982–1985
LabelsFlying Nun Records
Virgin Records
Past membersMalcolm Black
Nick Sampson
Graham Cockroft
Brent Alexander
Annie Crummer
Kim Willoughby
Grant Hughson


The group formed at the University of Otago. The band members included Malcolm Black, Nick Sampson, Graham Cockroft, Brent Alexander and later Annie Crummer and Kim Willoughby. The original brass section was composed of Otago students including Alistair Perry, Matthew Trbuhovic and former chief information officer for NSW health Michael Rillstone (Mick Rillstone). The band's name is from a Roxy Music song "Spin Me Round" from their Manifesto album: "A nether world dancing toy/I'm wired for sound..." .

The band drew full houses frequently at Dunedin venues, notably the Captain Cook and Oriental Taverns, and were a popular student dance band. Musical influences were varied ranging from Dexy's Midnight Runners-styled brassy new soul, to classic Motown and ska. The band quickly developed a suite of original music which was distinctive in sound despite several brass section lineup changes.

In 1983, they played at Sweetwaters Music Festival and in 1984 they supported Blam Blam Blam on tour and a double sided LP of the concert at Mainstreet, Auckland was released.

Don McGlashan produced "The Real You"/"Standing In The Rain"/"New Zealand Love Song" which was released in November 1984.

In 1985 "For Today" reached No3 in the singles chart[1] and the Netherworld Dancing Toys won five categories at the 1985 New Zealand Music Awards. Malcolm Black and Nick Sampson won the 1985 APRA Silver Scroll for "For Today".

In the early 2000s their song, "For Today" received renewed prominence when it was used as an advertisement for New Zealand Post and at one stage for a driving safety campaign, and is also included on the soundtrack of the film Sione's Wedding. In 2015 the song was used in a Pak n Save advertisement celebrating 30 years in business. For Today was released the same year as the Pak 'n Save brand was founded.

Malcolm Black became a music industry lawyer. In The Mechanics of Popular Music, A New Zealand Perspective he says of the band's demise, "We were university graduates who had a number of different options and wanted security and a regular pay packet..." Graham Cockroft is CFO of Contact Energy.[2] Black died in Auckland on 10 May 2019.[3]


Date of Release Title Label Charted Country Catalog Number
1983 The Trusted Ones 12" Flying Nun Records - - NDT 002
1984 The Blam Blam Blam Story/Netherworld Dancing Toys CBS Records - -
1984 The Real You Virgin Records - -
1985 Painted Years Virgin Records - -
1989 Everything Will Be Alright -
1996 For Today - The Best Years Columbia Records - -
1983 Netherworld Dancing Toys 12"" Flying Nun Records 10 - NDT 001
1984 Song And Dance 12"" Flying Nun Records 33 - NDT 002

The group have appeared on a few compilations and soundtracks since the 1980s. The following is a list of these albums that have featured tracks by Netherworld Dancing Toys.


Year Single Album NZ Singles Chart Certification
1985 "For Today" Painted Years 3 -


  • Chunn, Mike and Chunn, Jeremy, The Mechanics of Popular Music, A New Zealand Perspective, GP Publications, 1995. ISBN 1-86956-130-9
  • Dix, John, Stranded In Paradise, Penguin, 2005. ISBN 0-14-301953-8
  • Eggleton, David, Ready To Fly, Craig Potton, 2003. ISBN 1-877333-06-9
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