Absolute Elsewhere

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ZIGGY AT 40 (2012): The star who fell to Earth

21 Jun 2012

Judging by the indifference of people in swanky Heddon Street just off London's Regent St, no one had read the wall plaque I was photographing. In London there are plaques everywhere commemorating something or other, so the nonchalance was expected. But the cool people's interest wasn't even piqued when my son and I started striking odd leg-up poses. Heddon Street was where... > Read more


BENNY SOEBARDJA PROFILED (2012): The godfather of the Indonesian prog-rock underground

15 Jun 2012

Even today with better access to information, the excavation of musical vaults around the globe and the acceptance of world music, it still seems to come as a surprise to many that countries such as Korea, Thailand, Iran, the Lebanon, India and Japan -- not to mention various places on the South American continent and Mexico -- had their own counterculture and rock gods in the late Sixties/... > Read more

The End of the World

GILES MARTIN INTERVIEWED (2012): Producing in the material world

14 Jun 2012

Given his famous father George was the Beatles' longtime producer, there seems almost an inevitability that Giles Martin – coincidentally born on the same date as John Lennon, October 9 – should find his life as a music producer entwined with the Famous Four. But early on his dad discouraged him from making music a career (he sidestepped him and joined a band then moved... > Read more

Let It Be Me

JENNIFER ZEA INTERVIEWED (2012): From metalhead to soul-jazz songstress

11 Jun 2012

Singer and songwriter Jennifer Zea is quite a colourful flower in the landscape of New Zealand music. The Venezuelan-born singer and songwriter has impressed in live performances for her vigorous and vital enthusiasm, and her album The Latin Soul – produced by Nathan Haines and reviewed here – captures her melange of styles, wraps them up in pop-jazz compatibility and is... > Read more


THE PICTONES 1957-67: Supper clubs and . . . hashish?

11 Jun 2012    3

Quite why the Pictones would record an instrumental enticingly titled Hashish back in '62 has long fascinated those who explore the less traveled paths of New Zealand music. But when Elsewhere posted the track and opened up speculation (here), the answer was almost immediate. Dave Clarke the guitarist from the band – now 71 – got in touch to explain. But first, how did... > Read more

My Bonnie

ELECTRIC WARRIOR, 35 YEARS ON: A case of T.Rexstacy

30 May 2012

Even today, almost 35 years after his death, people still place flowers at the spot in London where Marc Bolan was killed. Bolan was a fortnight short of his 30th birthday when the car he was in with his girlfriend Gloria Jones, hit a tree. Some might wonder "what might have been", but the sad fact is Bolan was one of those who had already been. At the time of his... > Read more

ROBIN GIBB INTERVIEWED (2010): To Bee Gee, or not to Bee Gee

24 May 2012

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees – younger brother of Barry and twin to Maurice who died in 2003 – is on the road again, this time singing the Bee Gees' classics as a solo artist. And he's done it before. Forty years ago in fact when he briefly quit the band after their Sixties fame (half a dozen chart-topping singles) and was enjoying a solo hit with Saved by the Bell – a... > Read more

Saved by the Bell

RAINER PTACEK REMEMBERED (2012): The flame still burns

21 May 2012    1

When rock magazines do their “favourite cult heroes” lists and pull out the eccentric Daniel Johnston, drug-damaged types like Roky Erickson, the late Syd Barrett and Skip Spence, and bands like the Slits or the Sonics, one name never appears: Singer-guitarist and songwriter Rainer Ptacek who died of a brain tumour in 1997 at age 46. Perhaps Ptacek was too big to qualify... > Read more

21 Years

ETTA JAMES REMEMBERED (2012): A lady not for turning

7 May 2012

When Etta James died at age 73 in January after a protracted battle with leukemia, there a was genuine but surprising acknowledgment of her career in the media. Not that James didn't deserve them, but the singer whose life was troubled by heroin addiction and time in rehab was an unlikely candidate for obituaries. She didn't have that many hits, not even At Last which many hailed... > Read more

Your Good Thing is About to End


10 Apr 2012    1

Since the cheaply printed posters reading "Toy Love, live at the Gluepot Sat 21st April" started appearing on walls and lamp posts around central Auckland, I have had to answer a few questions. People say things like, "So Toy Love are playing the Gluepot, huh?" Without being condescending I have to point out the famous/notorious Gluepot pub no longer exists, so . . .... > Read more

Photographs of Naked Ladies

BLUES MAGOOS 1966-68: Pop's psychedelic pioneers

2 Apr 2012    2

Some albums catch a band at a turning point, one foot in the past and the other stepping towards an unknown but promising future. If the Beatles, through exhaustion and wrung out by the constant pressure to produce, had called it a day in late 1965 their legacy would have been easy to distill down: a few joyfully adolescent pop hits, Beatlemania, a classic pop film in A Hard Day's Night . .... > Read more

Tobacco Road

MIKE SKINNER/THE STREETS INTERVIEWED (2004): The sound of the tenements

29 Mar 2012

This is called an irony: on The Streets' new album A Grand Don't Come For Free the mouth behind the street-smart monologues, Mike Skinner, bangs on about how his cellphone keeps cutting out. The album has been read as a conceptual piece, with Skinner talking about what could be a day in the ordinary - bloody mundane, actually - life of thousands of young bored Britons whose lives... > Read more

NICK LOWE INTERVIEWED (2011): Looking for that old magic

23 Mar 2012

A couple of years ago we passed by this way, a phone call to Nick Lowe at the most unrock'n'roll hour of 9am in the UK (see here). But Lowe again laughs it off -- “I have a six-year old so this is the middle of the day for me” – and concedes that while he was once a notorious party animal (he barely remembers playing in Australia in the early Eighties) says “I... > Read more

Stoplight Roses

GERRY ROSLIE OF THE SONICS INTERVIEWED (2012): The noise of the Pacific Northwest

22 Mar 2012

In Seattle's Experience Music Project – a music and sci-fi museum funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who is a massive Hendrix fan – there is, aside from a breathtaking Hendrix display of course, a large section devoted to the music which roared out of the Pacific Northwest region from the late Fifties and early Sixties. Bands like the Kingsmen (with Louie Louie), the... > Read more

The Witch

JAY FARRAR INTERVIEWED (2012): Raising the spirit of Guthrie again

19 Mar 2012    2

You could almost make the case that the music and life of Woody Guthrie had become better known in the past two decades than it was at the time of his death in 1967. Certainly in the very early Sixties when Bob Dylan was borrowing heavily from Guthrie's speak-sing folk style, his name was out there, and folkies in particular have always held him in particular reverence. But put aside... > Read more

VD City

PULP REISSUED (2012): Portrait of the Jarvis as a young knobhead

16 Mar 2012

When the Sheffield band Pulp gate-crashed the relentlessly jingoistic and self-aggrandising Britpop party in '95 with their single Common People, they were hardly a new band. The Different Class album which that cynical, emotionally detached and pointed single anticipated was their fifth, and in some form or other – always around singer-songwriter Jarvis Cocker – they had... > Read more

Death Goes to the Disco

BOB SEGER RECONSIDERED (2012): Rock and roll should never forget him

12 Mar 2012    2

If he hadn't had a fear of flying -- and Bruce Springsteen hadn't come on so strong in the Seventies -- Bob Seger out of the Detroit area would have been the great working class rock'n'roll hero. He came from that world: After his dad left when he was 11, Bob -- with his mum and brother -- found himself in a single bedroom flat; later he worked three jobs, started playing in bands for... > Read more

Hollywood Nights (live)

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ROKY ERICKSON (2012): Calling occupants of interplanetary craft

5 Mar 2012    1

Compared to Roky Erickson, Syd Barrett – who checked out of Pink Floyd and reality in the late Sixties -- had it easy. Where Barrett took enormous amounts of LSD, spun out and stayed in the house for most of the following four decades, Erickson did the hard time. After enjoying the first wave of success with 13th Floor Elevators when their classic garageband single You're Gonna... > Read more


WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . SKIP SPENCE (2012): Oar in dark water

5 Mar 2012    2

Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd and Roky Erickson of Thirteenth Floor Elevators don't own the category of "mad Sixties acid casualty" exclusively. Alexander Spence -- aka Skip Spence -- deserves to be entered among the "tuned in, turned on and dropped so far out he couldn't come back". In the years before he died in '99 at age 52, he had become an itinerant,... > Read more

Little Hands

DIANA ROSS, COMING OUT IN '80: From soul-pop princess to Chic dancefloor diva

2 Mar 2012    3

By the late Seventies, Diana Ross had put almost two decades of Motown soul-pop and various dress-up personae behind her. She'd been the pop princess decked out in eye-liner and increasingly chic'n'slender dresses in the Supremes hit machine, had pushed her name out front so they became "Diana Ross and the Supremes" and then, with the help of her lover and Motown boss, Berry Gordy... > Read more

Upside Down (Chic original mix)