Absolute Elsewhere

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NOOKY STOTT INTERVIEWED (2015): Bringing on the Rebel beat

15 Apr 2015

The guy who had the best seat in the house to watch the rise of the Auckland rock band Larry's Rebels in the Sixties was Nooky Stott. He was the group's drummer and a child of Fifties rock'n'roll. “I lived in Ponsonby and our local picture theatre was the Britannia. I think I saw Rock Around the Clock and Don't Knock the Rock at least 10 times,” he says. Stott –... > Read more

Let's Think of Something (NZ version)

HERBS; WHATS' BE HAPPEN? (2015): The hard truths from the street

14 Apr 2015    1

History, according to Napoleon (among others), is written by the winners. True in one sense. But if the losers are still out there they are often so forgetful of their history as to be worthless and absent witnesses. Many buy into the narrative of the winners, whom you might have thought would be their adversary. Take the New Zealand reggae band Herbs for example: Their Very Best Of... > Read more

Whats' Be Happen?

MEL PARSONS INTERVIEWED (2015): And the road goes on forever

13 Apr 2015

On a wet Monday morning in Wellington, Mel Parsons takes a break from rehearsals in the Surgery studio with her band and, cheerful as ever, talks about her new album Drylands which she is taking to the country with starting on Wednesday in Auckland (see dates below). “It's exciting actually, just nice to have a new body of work to be touring with and be... > Read more

Get Out Alive

DON McGLASHAN INTERVIEWED (2015): This time it's personal

13 Apr 2015

In late January I was approached to write a brief biography for Don McGlashan to accompany the release of his new album Lucky Stars album. At the time I wasn't available but was sent an advance download of the 10 songs . . . and because the album release was some way off and many of the songs sounded so self-revelatory I made the time in early February to interview Don – whom I... > Read more

The Waves Would Roll On

JIMMIE DALE GILMORE INTERVIEWED (2015): A mind with a mind of its own

8 Apr 2015    1

Jimmie Dale Gilmore – speaking from his country home 45 miles outside of Austin, Texas – takes a stab at what his most popular song on Spotify might be. “Now let's think. I would suspect it might be Dallas, that's the best known one,” he says referring to his bitter-sweet paean to that Texas city which includes the lines “Dallas is a jewel, Dallas is a... > Read more

Dallas

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . TEX WITHERS: Country'n'Western from the East End

6 Apr 2015

The more you try to find out about Tex Withers, the more confusing it can become. One thing everyone agrees on however is that this country music singer in London – who insisted he had been born in the States – was a very recognisable character: He was a hunchback who stood no higher than 4'6” (137cm) and always wore classic Western attire. In later life he... > Read more

Crazy Arms

THE GRATEFUL DEAD CONSIDERED (2015): If you can remember the Sixties . . . they were there

6 Apr 2015    2

The word is oxymoron: it means when words putting together seem to contradict each other. Like “honest politician” or “skinny bass player”. Or “The Best of the Grateful Dead”, the title of a new double CD. Most people would say there can't be a “best of” a band which started its career half a century ago and has divided rock people... > Read more

Ripple

LED ZEPPELIN REVISITED, PART THREE (2015): More graffiti scribbles

1 Apr 2015

As we have now learned to our (literal) cost, the Jimmy Page remastering of Led Zeppelin albums plus a "bonus disc" of uneccesary "mixes" is little more than a PR job to flog more product. The previous reissues and remasters of the actual albums are excellent, but this nonsense about rough mixes or a different mix from a different studio elevates discarded versions.... > Read more

Sick Again (early version)

POKEY LaFARGE INTERVIEWED (2015): The past is alive and well and living in the present

26 Mar 2015    2

In a stylish blue shirt buttoned to the neck and topped by a red neckerchief, blue dungaree jeans with turned up cuffs above his sturdy and well polished lace-up boots, Pokey LaFarge cuts a very interesting figure in this downtown Auckland hotel room. He may look like someone from the better-scrubbed end of the Thirties – and his music certainly steeped in traditional jazz,... > Read more

Underground

MIKE SCOTT OF THE WATERBOYS INTERVIEWED (2014): The nearest thing to hip . . .

26 Mar 2015

About 15 months ago Mike Scott of the Waterboys released a whopping seven CD set of the sessions which lead to the band's two-years-in-the-making breakthrough album Fisherman's Blues. The band had enjoyed success prior to this particular channeling of Celtic music, rock'n'roll and American gospel – notably with the singles the Big Music and Bang on the Ear – but... > Read more

I Can See Elvis

BETH HART INTERVIEWED (2015): Coming home to herself at last

24 Mar 2015

After repeated efforts – I have been the wrong international codes – I finally get through to Beth Hart who it turns out is in Pattaya, Thailand. “It's rock'n'roll and we're supposed to be late,” she laughs when I explain my delayed phoner. No, we are supposed to be punctual because we are older and know better, I say.... > Read more

Tell Her You Belong To Me

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . SPADE COOLEY: Shame on him

16 Mar 2015

When country singer Spade Cooley went face down after a heart attack in November 1969 there were doubtless a few would have said he deserved to die, and that it should have happened sooner. The were ironies aplenty also: Cooley – born Donnell Clyde Cooley in Oklahoma in 1910 – was attending a benefit concert for sheriff's deputies where he played, having been released on... > Read more

You'll Rue The Day

TYSON KELLY INTERVIEWED (2015): He is the walrus

11 Mar 2015

If we were in England – and believe me, he does an excellent Liverpudlian accent – then we might say, in the phrase much favoured by British bobbies, that Tyson Kelly has some “prior form”. Kelly from LA, who plays John Lennon in the acclaimed stage production Let It Be which opens in Auckland soon (see dates below), has been playing Lennon for years in various... > Read more

THE EASYBEATS REMEMBERED (2015): I got hit songs on my mind . . .

9 Mar 2015    1

The edges of the vision are blurry but at the centre of the frame things are clear. I am a teenager, my friend Barry and I and perhaps a couple of others are stumbling down a dark road near what is now the Whangaparaoa shopping centre. We had just been at a movie – may have been kicked out – and are drunk on Blackberry Nip or McWilliam's Sweet Sherry. As we pass by the old... > Read more

She's So Fine

ADESOLA OSAKALUMI INTERVIEWED (2015): The fellah who is Fela

9 Mar 2015

When the Nigerian military raided the compound of the outspoken activist and musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti in 1977, they beat him senseless, destroyed his famous nightclub The Shrine and threw his 82-year old mother to her death from an upstairs window. Yet Kuti – who died of Aids-related illnesses in 97 – just kept coming back, presenting and recording his incendiary music... > Read more

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Richard Thompson

2 Mar 2015    3

Richard Thompson starts on the back foot. The legendary British songwriter whose career dates back to the seminal folk-rock group Fairport Convention in the late Sixties and whose admirers include the Finns, Bob Mould and latterly Jeff Tweedy of Wilco among many others, including Elsewhere – came to New Zealand's inaugural Womad at Western Springs Park in Auckland in '97, but hasn't... > Read more

The Snow Goose

MARC RIBOT CONSIDERED (2015): Cosmopolitan guitarist without portfolio

25 Feb 2015

If there is a distinguishing feature of American guitarist Marc Ribot's style it is that you'd be unwise to attempt to attribute a distinguishing feature or style to it. In the words of  Walt Whitman, he contains multitudes. And he can go anywhere with them. Which is doubtless why Tom Waits -- making his career turn in the mid Eighties -- called on Ribot to bring his angularity... > Read more

The Cocktail Party

AUSTIN BROWN OF PARQUET COURTS INTERVIEWED (2015): Future now but old school on many fronts

23 Feb 2015

Anyone who has paid even just passing attention to New York-based Parquet Courts will get the connecting points: a guitar band with a keen ear for the past which includes bands like Television, Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers, the Strokes and so on. But add in some thought-provoking lyrics and songs which slow the tempos right down and you can hear that Parquet Courts aren't just... > Read more

Stoned and Starving

THE MOVE: ALWAYS AND FOREVER; BELATEDLY (2015): Classic pop, great rock then forgot

23 Feb 2015    3

Anyone dumb enough to rely on an encyclopedia of rock or -- worse -- that self-described disgrace which is "Classic Hits" radio, would be forgiven for not knowing that the Move ever existed. Those DJs at "classic rock" certainly would have no clue . . . but we expect them to be clueless, I suppose. Shame on them.  It seems the Move -- despite their... > Read more

Fire Brigade

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . FRANK ROSOLINO: The night the lights went out

20 Feb 2015

He doesn't really deserve to be in the same company as the misfits, oddballs, eccentrics and the certifiably crazy-psychotic musicians in this on-going series We Need to Talk About . . . But the wonderfully expressive jazz trombonist Frank Rosolino is here because, in the early hours of November 26 1978, he did something so unexpected and unthinkable it shook the world, and most... > Read more

Twilight