House of Nimrod: Taking Back the Name

At some point in my youth – can’t pinpoint exactly when – the name “Nimrod” began to enjoy heavy use by male teens as an epithet of some repute in terms of its ability to convey strong public doubt about the intended victim’s masculinity.  Wiktionary points out that a Bugs Bunny reference to Elmer Fudd as a “poor little Nimrod” may have greatly contributed to its current use as a pejorative term akin to “idiot,” “doofus,” or “lamebrain.”

But then in a recent episode of TV sketch comedy, Key & Peele, I was struck by a small bit where you see the two comedians tooling down a desert highway in a classic 1960s muscle car, casually informing viewers, in the course of conversation, that Nimrod was – contrary to public perception – depicted in The Bible as a mighty hunter and man of great power (according to the Book of Genesis and the Books of Chronicles, this son of Cush and great-grandson of Noah was also once the King of Shinar).

So, of course, I had to go search the 45Cat database to see if any pop/rockers had embraced the power of the Nimrod name prior to the 1980s, when it had greater cachet.  The answer?  New Zealand’s own, The House of Nimrod.  The song?  “Slightly-delic.”  The year?  (braying of brass) 1967!

Andrew Schmidt, music writer at Audio Culture: The Noisy Library of New Zealand Music:

“In late 1967, House of Nimrod gobbled up New Zealand’s Christmas pop charts with the mischievous oddity ‘Slightly-Delic’, a song experimenting with the sound of the summer – harmony-laden psychedelic pop.

“A chance meeting between Bryce Petersen, a North Shore based children’s folk singer/songwriter, and Australian guitarist Johnny Breslin, produced enough creative sparks for a band and two singles.  Breslin had been trying to get a group together and knew a 20 year-old drummer from South Auckland, Billy Lawton, late of The Plague (with Corben Simpson).  Lawton knew a blue-playing guitarist and philosophy student Tony Pilcher (21) and young Māori bass guitarist Larry Latimer (20).”