Absolute Elsewhere

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CHRIS SQUIRE OF YES INTERVIEWED (2014): A career that's no disgrace

7 Nov 2014

Chris Squire – bassist and sole constant in Yes, the prog-rock band he founded – is reflecting on the group's longevity using the only reference point he had when the group formed. “Oh yes. 'Who knew?' is the catch phrase about this. “When Yes first started in 68 that was a year prior to the Beatles breaking up. Their visible career was... > Read more

Siberian Khatru

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2013): Coming down again

7 Nov 2014

A few minutes before the appointed time the phone rings and a scratchy voice wheezes, “Hello man, s'Keith”. And it is. No intermediary, no international call connection through a third party, just Keith Richards laughing down the line. Which is unexpected in a world where stars have minions to connect calls (and sometimes listening, in case things get “awkward”... > Read more

Gimme Shelter (2014)

BOBBY KEYS INTERVIEWED (2014): Sax'n'drugs and rock'n'roll

3 Nov 2014

Saxophonist Bobby Keys says he doesn't drink these days: “I'm extremely sober. I mean, I'll have a beer every so often, but it's been years since I've been drunk. I don't drink anymore because it makes it too hard to get up the next day,” he laughs. At 70, Keys might well be more moderate in his intake, but he was such a heroic user of drugs and alcohol in his... > Read more

Brown Sugar (live 2013)

LED ZEPPELIN REVISITED, PART TWO (2014): Another turn of the Page

1 Nov 2014    1

In a recent interview – although more a passing comment it seemed – Jimmy Page indicated he was keen to get some new music together. That would be smart because 70 year old Page could be having the last rites read before Robert Plant would want to get Led Zeppelin together again. As Elsewhere has noted previously, Plant is nowhere near as attached to the legacy of Led... > Read more

No Quarter (rough mix, no vocals)

JAMES BURTON INTERVIEWED (2014): Six stringer for the stars

29 Oct 2014

A conversation with legendary guitarist James Burton could almost sound like name-dropping: he's worked with not one but two Elvises, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Harrison, the Monkees . . . It's all true but – at 75 – he's self-effacing. He's seen fame of the Elvis Presley kind but enjoys a different kind of buzz . . .... > Read more

Cannonball Rag (1958)

NEIL DIAMOND CONSIDERED (2014): Back down the melody road

27 Oct 2014    1

Speak this low: Neil Diamond used to be cool. Not tacky cool like Engelbert Humperdinck, but actual rock star cool. Quite when he lost the cool is hard to say, but you'd have to factor in the godawful mawkish duet in '78 with Barbra Streisand on You Don't Bring Me Flowers. It wasn't entirely all down hill after that, but before then he'd been so cool that The Band invited him to... > Read more

The Art of Love

GEORGE HARRISON REVISITED, PART ONE (2014): The dark horse bolting out of the gate

24 Oct 2014

Perhaps he was no more contradictory than any of us, but because of his larger life George Harrison sometimes seemed to be a man of diametrically opposed parts. He was a spiritual family man who could go on cocaine benders and wasn't above using his status as a former Beatle to pick up women. He was a meditative man but among his chief pleasures was Formula 1. He was considered... > Read more

This Guitar Can't Keep From Crying (alt version)

GEORGE HARRISON REVISITED, PART TWO (2014): The dark horse at a canter to the end

24 Oct 2014    3

The 2004 Oscars were unusual in how lacking in sentiment they were. Usually you'd expect a veteran favourite like Clint Eastwood to be recognised, or some time-server to get best supporting something. But no, what Lord of the Rings didn't win went to choices seemingly unmotivated by heart-tugging or vote-rigging. The Grammys that year were another matter. Best pop instrumental... > Read more

Marwa Blues

DON WAS INTERVIEWED (2014): This note's for you

20 Oct 2014    1

By coincidence, the day I got an e-mail to say famous producer Don Was -- head of the Blue Note jazz label these past two and half years -- was available for an interview I had just seen him on a great documentary about Charles Lloyd the wonderfully spiritual saxophonist who has been delivering superb albums on Manfred Eicher's ECM label for about 25 years.... > Read more

Mode for Joe

RYAN BINGHAM INTERVIEWED (2104): The road and the endless highways

10 Oct 2014

There are plenty of easy descriptions for the bruised, whisky'n'cigarettes vocals of Ryan Bingham but one of the best was that he sounded like Steve Earle's father. That was written about Bingham's first album Mescalito seven years ago when he was just 25, and he admits that voice has been blown out even more since then. Today Bingham has four albums behind him – his most recent... > Read more

All Choked Up Again

ROBERT PLANT CONSIDERED (2014): The sensational space and song shifter

7 Oct 2014

Exactly 20 years ago Robert Plant finally found a clear path out of the shadow of Led Zeppelin, and ironically it involved embracing the music of his former band. Two years after the end of the mighty Zepp following the death of drummer John Bonham, Plant launched a solo career in '82 with the album Pictures at Eleven. It was a polite break with heavy-Zepp but as with most of the... > Read more

Up on the Hollow Hill

MOANA MANIAPOTO INTERVIEWED (2014): The warrior woman of song

5 Oct 2014

Moana Maniapoto has been around and seen around. Her life encompasses not just the music she has been known for in the past 25 years -- with her first band the Moa Hunters and more recently the Tribe -- but the political agenda that is right there on the surface. She travels extensively for both and in the course of a long conversation about her new album Rima she traverse performing... > Read more

Rangatahi

BARBRA STREISAND CONSIDERED (2014): The born star and the way we were

1 Oct 2014

One of the funniest and most bitchy pieces of music writing I've ever read was by David Rakoff about a Barbra Streisand farewell concert in 2000. La Streisand (as she is sometimes known) had, as Rakoff noted, “come out of retirement to retire” . . . and who better to consider this than a New York Jew who admits he'd never been “a Barbra queen”. But he was... > Read more

Come Rain or Shine

RYAN ADAMS CONSIDERED (2014): If you liked that here's many more

29 Sep 2014    1

When Ryan Adams was forced to take a break from recording in 2009 after being diagnosed with an inner ear disorder even his most dedicated fans probably heaved a sigh of relief: the guy was just releasing so much music it was impossible to keep up. And that's what his record company thought too when four years previous he announced he'd recorded enough songs for a dozen albums. And... > Read more

Kim

TERENCE REIS INTERVIEWED (2014): Going strait to the heart of Mark Knopfler

28 Sep 2014    2

Although they rarely enjoyed the acclaim of critics for their half dozen studio albums, you can guess that hardly worried Dire Straits frontman and songwriter Mark Knopfler. In their career they sold in excess of 120 million albums, won four Grammy and three Brit awards (among other trophies) and, through the canny positioning of their likable manager Ed Bicknell, they became the first... > Read more

BERNIE GRIFFEN INTERVIEWED (2014): Tales of a survivor

25 Sep 2014    1

Bernie Griffen lets out a wheezing laugh when I ask him if he's in decent health these days. He's 63, has lived hard and by his own admission not spared himself sometimes through drugs, self-doubt and damaging choices. “Well I've got emphysema,” he says. “I had an accident and my lungs got burned, but I also keep on smoking and don't do myself any favours. I'm... > Read more

Burial Ground

HARRY MANX INTERVIEWED (2104): Has slide, has travelled

22 Sep 2014    2

Born on the Isle of Man, grew up in Canada, busked around Europe, lived in Japan for a decade, at 34 traveled to India to learn how to play the complex 20-string Mohan Veena under master musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a blues-cum-world music traveller, talked to us from Tasmania . . . This is the shorthand on 59-year old multi-instrumentalist Harry Manx whose music scopes from blues to... > Read more

A Love Supreme

RACHEL DAWICK INTERVIEWED (2014): History alive in songs and theatre magic

16 Sep 2014    1

Last week, the day before our conversation, disaster befell singer-songwriter Rachel Dawick. Invited to the New Zealand Woman's Weekly for an interview about her ambitious theatrical production The Boundary Riders; Musical Tales of New Zealand Pioneer Women, she was then asked if they could get some photos of her with her guitar. When she opened up the case she discovered her... > Read more

Jennie Anderson

BLACK TO THE FUTURE: The Beatles on vinyl in mono

9 Sep 2014    2

Recently I played the Beatles' Helter Skelter from “the White Album” to a class of my university music students. But something odd happened. And no, they didn't all want to foment race war like Charles Manson after he heard it. At the end instead of fading out then returning in a blast of noise and Ringo shouting “I got blisters on my... > Read more

It's All Too Much (mono)

HENRY WAGONS INTERVIEWED (2104): The write stuff

25 Aug 2014

Even in a country with a long lineage of great songwriters, Henry Wagons stands out. As the writer and frontman for his band Wagons, Henry from Melbourne – born Henry Krips and the grandson of the Australian conductor of the same name credited with bring Mahler to Australian audiences – is a physically energetic entertainer who unashamedly loves his job and sees it as a public... > Read more

Hold On Caroline