Absolute Elsewhere

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WILCO AT 20, CONSIDERED (2014): Roger Wilco Over . . . and onward

8 Dec 2014

The story of Wilco is full of ironies, wrong turns and barely credible shifts of direction and personnel. The band that formed out of Uncle Tupelo which was in the vanguard of alt.country in the early 90s made intricate and experimental indie.pop-rock on Summerteeth 99, then slewed further left with their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in 2002 . . . which their record company refused to... > Read more

NICK CAVE ENCOUNTERED (2014): The man, the myth and the movie

7 Dec 2014    1

The backstage room at Auckland's SkyTower Theatre where Nick Cave waits is tiny, but doubtless he's seen much worse. He's arrived with no fanfare, greets my wife Megan and me warmly in the nearby green room . . . and in 15 minutes will walk out onto the nearby stage and field questions about the sort-of-documentary film 20,000 Days on Earth which is just coming to an end before a... > Read more

NATHAN HAINES INTERVIEWED (2014): A son for the return home

17 Nov 2014    1

Nathan Haines sits on the deck at the back of The Long Room on Auckland's Ponsonby Rd and seems very relaxed over a beer. These are good days for multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer Haines. He's back in New Zealand from London for a few months over summer, he has an excellent new album 5 A Day to talk about, he's getting plenty of work in London where he lives with his DJ wife... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY, THE TRIBUTE ALBUM: Pop's greatest craftsman gets Big Name thumbs aloft

17 Nov 2014

It's probably possible to count the number of songs Paul McCartney has written -- you can bet his publishing people and royalty-collecting accountants have -- but here's a guess: do the maths on all the solo albums and Beatle-era stuff, plus soundtrack work right back to The Family Way in '67 when he was still in the Beatles, songs he gifted to others, stuff like The Fireman which many don't... > Read more

Things We Said Today

PAUL McCARTNEY WINGING IT IN THE SEVENTIES (2014): Venus and Mars, At The Speed Of Sound revisited

17 Nov 2014

If you're going to celebrate the end of a recording session why not have the party aboard the Queen Mary which is permanently docked at Long Beach, California?And why not invite a couple of hundred pals like Bob Dylan, the Jackson Five, various Led Zeppers, a couple of Monkees, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, the Faces, an Everly Brother (Phil), George Harrison, Dean Martin, Cher . . .... > Read more

Junior's Farm

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER; PART 1, 1970-80: Success in the Seventies

15 Nov 2014    1

Paul McCartney once commented that his solo career since the Beatles -- now stretching to more than four decades -- was largely undiscovered territory. That’s true. But can anyone name anything from his ‘79 album Back to the Egg? And more to the point, why would they want to? But this is also the man -- once known as Mr Thumbs Aloft -- who hardly ever explored or... > Read more


PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 2, 1980-90: Adrift in the Eighties

15 Nov 2014

Paul McCartney closed the Seventies much as he had started it: with the low-key self-titled album McCartney II which deliberately tried to downplay expectation and evoke the charm of his debut solo album McCartney in 1970. Quite where he might have gone after that was an open book, but the decade had been one of diminishing musical returns after the excellent Ram in 1972, the runaway... > Read more

Lucille (from Choba b CCCP)

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 3, 1990-2000: Classical, pop and what else ya got?

15 Nov 2014

As Paul McCartney closed his Eighties on a real high -- a massively successful world tour which won critical accolades and pulled in huge gate-takings -- it would seem he was back in top, rocking form. Not bad for someone who was perilously close to 50. By 1990 he had been two decades out of the Beatles and had behind him more than a dozen solo albums (or with Wings) to draw on in concert.... > Read more

Blue Jean Bop (from Run Devil Run)

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 4, 2000 - NEW/NOW: Here, there and everywhere

15 Nov 2014

For a man pronounced dead by radio DJs back in the late Sixties, Paul McCartney (or his doppelganger) has has a long and productive life. And musically diverse, as the Nineties proved: classical, pop-rock, balls-out rock'n'roll, acoustic sets, experimental electronica . . . Not a bad track record late in a long career. And in the new millennium he showed no signs of slowing down, either on... > Read more

Plastic Beetle (Liverpool Sound Collage)

PHIL MANZANERA ON PINK FLOYD'S FAREWELL ALBUM (2014): Last ride on the Endless River

10 Nov 2014

Phil Manzanera laughs when talks about the two years-plus making of the new Pink Floyd album The Endless River. About 30 months in which mostly not a lot happened with Floyd's remaining members guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason. The album arrives with that accumulated cachet of Floyd's long career from those Syd Barrett days, through Dark... > Read more

DAVE GROHL CONSIDERED (2014): Good, better . . . best

10 Nov 2014

This is true: I was in the studio when Dave Grohl's post-Nirvana band Foo Fighters recorded for the first time. And it wasn't in Seattle as you might expect. Roll the tape back and me being in a BBC studio in London with them makes sense. The self-titled Foo Fighters album of '94 wasn't a band outing, it was Grohl doing just about all the parts himself and sending the songs off to a... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DARONDO (2014): The soul man who went AWOL

10 Nov 2014

To hear William Daron Pullman tell how he got his non-de-disque at the dawn of the Seventies gives an insight into both his smarts, and how he could just as equally be seduced by the money-image thing. Although he'd been a San Franciscan musician since the mid Sixties (when as someone barely out of his teens he was known as Junior), he'd put aside the guitar and revealed himself an astute... > Read more

King's Man

T BONE BURNETT INTERVIEWED (2014): Are we rolling again, Bob?

8 Nov 2014

By happy coincidence, the very day we speak with producer T Bone Burnett about his new project – five well-known musicians setting 16 recently discovered lyrics by Bob Dylan from the late Sixties under the banner The New Basement Tapes; Lost on the River – the six CD box set of Dylan's Basement Tapes, 138 tracks in total, are being released.... > Read more

Spanish Mary

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)