New Zealand Band Shocks Crowd By Scattering Ashes Of Dead Bandmate At Award Show

New Zealand band The Headless Chickens have surprised onlookers by scattering the ashes of their dead bandmate onstage during an awards ceremony on Tuesday night.

The band, who were accepting a Classic Record Award for their 1987 album Stunt Clown at the Taite Music Awards in Auckland, scattered some of their late bandmate Grant Fell’s ashes onto the stage, in a move which some have deemed culturally inappropriate.

Fell, who died of cancer in January, was scattered on the stage by his bandmate Chris Matthews, who told the crowd, “Grant’s in here… I think Grant probably always wanted to play on this stage.”

Watch video of the scattering, below.

Kiwi singer-songwriter Teeks, who was nominated for the annual Taite Music Prize (which was won by Aldous Harding), says he’s glad he didn’t win the award.

“Wouldn’t have gotten on stage with those ashes under my feet,” he said.

“Huge congrats to Aldous, still extremely humbled to have been nominated don’t get me wrong, but I was raised in a culture where that shit isn’t ok.

“I’m sure no offence was intended, totally understand the sentiment behind it and why they thought it might have been a good idea. I guess the thing we need to realise is that we live in two different worlds.”

Other attendees and local music fans also shared their concerns:

Former Headless Chickens member Rupert E Taylor explained the scattering on Radio New Zealand, saying, “I felt like he was there with us and it was a total magic moment for me. I waved his ashes into my face and all over my Workshop suit. It was a surprise and it should happened, he should have been there with us

“It was a total surprise to me and it was absolutely wonderful and magical.

“But we are old whānau [extended family], we’ve known each other, we’ve lived together since the 80s. We are family and for [Grant Fell’s widow] Rachael, who is part Māori, to do that was an amazing thing, it was a beautiful thing.”

“Don’t be upset by it, it was pure and a gorgeous moment, and we loved Grant Fell so much. So it was lovely to have his wife do that for us on this important night.”

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