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Adison Whitely

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Adison David "Swan" Whitley was a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, ambient artist and graphic artist from the Titirangi suburb of Auckland, New Zealand.

He recorded music and performed under the alias "David Adison" going on to release solo-projects where he played all of the instruments and handled recording as well as contributing to a number of bands including NIISA, Heroes for Sale, milk and CHEATS.

Whitley was a prominent and influential member of the Auckland music scene until his death on the 14th of February 2018.[1]

Life and career[edit]

2008-2011: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Adison Whitley began playing guitar at the age of 12 after his parents bought him a Fender electric guitar and practice amp. Even from an early age, Whitley had an idea of the kind of music he wanted to play, resisting softer acoustic sounds and instead drawing early influences from noisier bands like Black Sabbath, Dinosaur Jr. and The White Stripes.[2]

After a couple years of experimentation, he joined his first band with schoolmates from Green Bay High School at age 14 who he went on to compete with in the Smokefree Rockquest (a local teenage band / songwriting competition). The band went on to place second in the regional finals before later disbanding.[3]

2011-2012: Heroes for Sale & Rockquest People's Choice Award[edit]

During his final year of high school at age 17, Whitley created a two-piece band called "Heroes for Sale" which was made up of Whitley on guitar and vocals supported by his high school friend Fraser Hunter on the drums.[4] The two met at school thanks to Jeni Little and Teresa Callaghan who were departments heads of Music and Drama at Green Bay.[5] Heroes for Sale competed again in the Smokefree Rockquest of 2011 and placed second at the regional finals but went on to win the national people's choice award. [6] As part of winning the national finals, the band was afforded the opportunity to record a song at Neil Finn's recording studio and work with a local production company.[7] They later recorded their first single "I Wish you knew Jim Morrison" at Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios.[8] Whitley released the single on the independent music hosting site Bandcamp on October 9th, 2012.[9] Heroes for Sale created a music video for the single made by Thunderlips at Candlelit Pictures that they released on March 11th, 2013 on the band's youtube channel which garnered some international attention.[10]

Whitley went on to graduate from Green Bay high school with honors in the Arts which awarded him scholarship money that he spent on a 12 string guitar.[11] He went on to intern at Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios where he learned the basics of audio engineering and experimented with electric guitars and different amplification techniques.[12] It was during this time period that Whitley developed a greater affectation with the foundations of noise rock, taking an interest in manipulating vocals and guitar tones on amplifiers into a variety of sounds.[13] Whitley took a great interest in the bands that influenced his youth when he started to release music after high school. He cited Jack White, Issac Brock, Johnny Greenwood, and Kevin Shields as major inspirations but also garnered an interest in blues finding inspiration in guitarists such as Junior Kimbourgh, R.L. Burnslide and Buddy Guy.[14]

2013-2014: David Adison project & Heroes for Sale EP[edit]

During this time, Whitley continued his solo experimentation and further fleshed out the concept around the Heroes for Sale project. He recruited Tom Dennison on bass guitar to augment the band's lineup, now growing to a three-piece which served as the final lineup until the group disbanded following Whitley's untimely death in 2018.[15]

Whitley's solo experimentation built up to his first formal single release under the alias David Adison on February 3rd, 2014 with "Cells"[16] which was a score for the independent video project of the same name by Cinema Cornwallis.[17] The "Cells" collaborative project was partially inspired by ambient artists such as David Byrne, Brian Eno, Johnny Greenwood, and Kevin Shields of whom Whitley was a fan.

Heroes for Sale released their first EP, self-titled "Heroes for Sale" on August 28th, 2014. The release of the EP was accompanied with a show to perform the new material at the Kings Arms Tavern in Auckland, New Zealand. The show also featured additional artists Randa, Miss June, and Roidz.[18][19]

2015-2016: Converse Rubber Tracks , Nothing to Be Done & S-E-L-F-E-S-T-E-E-M[edit]

Heroes for Sale released a new single on August 31st, 2015 titled "EVICTION" that commemorated their own eviction and was dedicated to their previous apartment residence at 41 Pine Street. The single was recorded at Pah Road by Tom Dennison and mastered by Lawrence Fergus Goodwin.[20]

Whitley began to dabble again in his solo material and appeared in the music video for Roidz's "Do You Wanna Make Out With Me", the lead single from their "S-E-L-F-E-S-T-E-E-M" album. The song was released for Danger Collective Records, with the video featuring Whitley released to YouTube on Roidz's official channel on February 29th 2016.[21]

Converse included Heroes for Sale in their worldwide Rubber Tracks compilation which included a total of 84 bands from 28 countries. The band almost missed the opportunity after Whitley accidentally deleted the email from Converse thinking it was the normal kind of spam marketing emails he would get from the company. Converse's official Facebook account reached out to Whitley and the band on Facebook again to confirm their interest after which they realized the mistake and agreed to participate. Heroes for Sale quickly worked on producing some material at the legendary Studio 301 in Sydney Australia (previously used by renown artists such as Kanye West, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan). The band went on to record eight tracks at Studio 301 that were mixed in Auckland by Jonathan Pearce of "The Beths" fame. The songs started out as more organic jams that then fleshed out into full length tracks[22].[23] The final results of the band's work with Jonathan Pearce and the Studio 301 sessions provided by Converse culminated in the release of their debut album "Nothing to Be Done" on July 15th 2016.[24][25]

Following the release of Nothing to Be Done, the band underwent a temporary hiatus as Whitley delved further into his solo work as David Adison.

2017: 95bFM's Breakfast Club, Multiplicity Solo Debut & NIISA[edit]

Whitley played under the alias David Adison for the first time March 17th, 2017 on 95bFM's Breakfast Club to promote his impending solo debut LP "Multiplicity".[26] Following the Breakfast Club session, Whitley released the lead single for the album - "Deadfish" on April 3rd, 2017[27], which went on to reach number 1 on 95bFM's top 10 list.[28]

The "David Adison" debut album "Multiplicity" had Whitley collaborating with local Auckland musician Rueben Winter who played Drums, keys and auxiliary instruments on the album and also performed production / audio engineering work for the Deadfish single.[29] "Multiplicity" was recorded in Parnell / Titirangi, New Zealand throughout 2017 and finally released on May 4th, 2017 to local acclaim.[30] Whitley was featured on the 95bFM radio station's Long Player series and came on to discuss the recording process and other aspects of the album.[31]

Whitley went on to form an experimental three-piece Doom band "NIISA" that featured Whitley alongside Reuben Winter and Rachael Charlie of Greenfrog and Caroles fame. NIISA got together to create songs that they recorded at Bruce Farm in Whanganui NZ, the same place Greenfrog had previously recorded in June 2016. The vocals were recorded in separate sessions at Cox's Bay in Auckland in August 2016. NIISA released their debut album "NIISO" on July 23, 2017. The album was mastered by Winter with additional engineering and mixing contributions from Elliot S. Lawless.[32][33]

Whitley performed as David Adison along with Drorgan and Totems at the Audio Foundation on August 25th, 2017 playing new material from Multiplicity and promoting his solo work.[34]

2018-Present: Death & Legacy[edit]

Adison Whitley committed suicide on February 14th, 2018.[35] Fellow Auckland artist Joe Locke as "P.H.F." released a single called "COMMS" that was dedicated to Whitley less than a week after his death on February 20th 2018.[36]

A donation campaign on the Givealittle platform was created in memory of Whitley, raising money for development of mental wellbeing programs to be piloted at the Green Bay High School he formerly attended. As a result of the campaign a total of 88 donors raised $3,399.33 cumulatively.[37]

Additional recording projects by Whitley were released as posthumous albums and EPs on Bandcamp, available as free downloads. The releases were arranged and orchestrated by Whitley's frequent collaborators and friends Reuben Winter and Rachael Charlie. A compilation album of Whitley's solo work "Forever and Always Rings True" was released by the pair on March 24th, 2018 having been produced by collaborator Prison Tapes. In a release statement they described it as a "showcase of his progression, his moods, his self-understanding, of his beauty". The pair decided to donate all proceeds from the album to the New Zealand Music Commission.[38]

Charlie as OPI, Caroles, Greenfog, Joe Locke as P.H.F. and Flameboy played jointly at Swan Fest, a fundraising concert series event for the New Zealand Music Foundation Wellbeing Service in Whitley's memory and held a release party for the posthumous compilation release. As a result of the fundraising event, around $2000 dollars was raised and donated to the foundation.[39][40]

Reuben Winter's band Milk released their self-titled debut album "Milk" on January 28th, 2019.[41] In the release notes, Reuben dedicated the album to Whitley, and included guitar passages contributed by Whitley on the album's lead single "Sugar Glider". A music video was released for Sugar Glider just prior to the release of "Milk" on January 25th, 2019.[42]


As David Adison[edit]


  • Multiplicity (2017) - Self-released
  • Be Still and Know Wednesday to Ring True (2018, Posthumous)


  • Forever and Always Rings True (2018, Posthumous) - Prison Tapes


  • Tears/for/dog Next/to/nothing (2017)
  • Scotch Realistic (2017)
  • ACKTII - EP (2018, Posthumous)
  • Marie Jeanne and Her Timely Prose - EP (2018, Posthumous)
  • Bad Morals - EP (2018, Posthumous)
  • Tarot - EP (2018, Posthumous)


  • Cells (2014)
  • Deadfish (2017)

With Heroes for Sale[edit]


  • Nothing to Be Done. (2016)


  • Heroes for Sale (2014)


  • I Wish You Knew Jim Morrison (2012)
  • EVICTION (2015)
  • Meatsweats///Smoke and Dry (2016)



  • NIISO (2017) - Prison Tapes


  1. "Let's get behind teenage mental wellbeing - Givealittle". givealittle.co.nz. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  2. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  3. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  4. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  5. "Let's get behind teenage mental wellbeing - Givealittle". givealittle.co.nz. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  6. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  7. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  8. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  9. "I Wish You Knew Jim Morrison, by Heroes for Sale". Heroes for Sale. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  10. "I WISH YOU KNEW JIM MORRISON - Heroes For Sale (OFFICIAL VIDEO)". Youtube. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  12. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  13. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  14. TommusRhodus. "Adison Whitley". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  15. "Let's get behind teenage mental wellbeing - Givealittle". givealittle.co.nz. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  16. "Cells, by David Adison". David Adison. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  17. "Cells". Vimeo. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  18. "HEROES FOR SALE EP RELEASE". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  19. "Heroes For Sale EP Release With Randa, Miss June And Roidz - Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland". UnderTheRadarNZ. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  20. "EVICTION, by Heroes for Sale". Heroes for Sale. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  21. "Roidz - Do You Wanna Make Out With Me (OFFICIAL VIDEO)". Retrieved 20 April 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  22. "Winners announced for Converse's global Rubber Tracks comp". The Music Network. 2015-10-27. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  23. "Feature - Fresh Talent: Heroes For Sale". NZ Musician. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  24. "Stream Heroes For Sale's New Album 'Nothing To Be Done'". UnderTheRadarNZ. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  25. "Nothing To Be Done., by Heroes for Sale". Heroes for Sale. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  26. "bFM Breakfast Club: David Adison". 95bFM. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  27. "Deadfish, by David Adison". David Adison. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  28. "Let's get behind teenage mental wellbeing - Givealittle". givealittle.co.nz. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  29. "Deadfish, by David Adison". David Adison. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  30. "Multiplicity, by David Adison". David Adison. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  31. "Long Player: David Adison - Multiplicity". 95bFM. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  32. "Stream The Self-Titled Debut Album From Auckland Trio NIISA". UnderTheRadarNZ. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  33. "NIISO, by NIISA". NIISA. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  34. "WDK (Aus.) w. Drorgan, David Adison / Totems – Friday 25 August". Audio Foundation. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  35. "Let's get behind teenage mental wellbeing - Givealittle". givealittle.co.nz. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  36. "P.H.F. Shares Single 'COMMS' Dedicated To Adison Whitley Of David Adison". UnderTheRadarNZ. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  37. "Let's get behind teenage mental wellbeing - Givealittle". givealittle.co.nz. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  38. TAPES, PRISON. "David Adison - "Forever and Always Rings True"". PRISON TAPES. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  39. "SWAN FEST". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  40. "Swan Fest - PHF, Caroles, Greenfog + More - The Wine Cellar, Auckland". UnderTheRadarNZ. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  41. Hall, Grey Lynn Library; Auckl. "Listen To Milk's Self-Titled New Album". UnderTheRadarNZ. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  42. "Milk - "Sugar Glider" (Official Video)". Retrieved 20 April 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

Category:Music Category:Musicians Category:Artists Category:People

First Submission - David Adison (Musician)[edit]

This article "Adison Whitely" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Adison Whitely. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.

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