Absolute Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

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


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


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

JODI VAUGHAN AND JODY DIREEN INTERVIEWED (2014): Having different country music in common

1 Aug 2014

Although separated by four decades the two Jodies – Jodi Vaughan and Jody Direen – have at least one thing in common, they are in that broad landscape that is New Zealand country music. Of course those decades – Vaughan born in Australia in 1950 and moving to New Zealand in her mid 20s, Direen from Wanaka and only now in her in her mid 20s – would suggest they... > Read more

Lay a Little Lovin' On Me

ROBERT SCOTT RETURNS (2014): This quiet life

21 Jul 2014

Noel Gallagher once enviously said of Ian McLagan that he'd been enough of a jammy bastard to be in two great bands; the Small Faces and the Faces. We might say the same of Robert Scott of the Clean and the Bats, two of the seminal Flying Nun bands . . . and who, in addition to short stints in Magick Heads and a few other side-projects, has latterly sprung a third parallel life with... > Read more

Your Lights Are Low

MIDGE MARSDEN INTERVIEWED (2014): Going to a well that never runs dry

21 Jul 2014    2

Midge Marsden has carved out a singular career in New Zealand music. He has won awards, toured this country and the USA, counted among his friends Stevie Ray Vaughan, studied in Mississippi and has passed the torch on through university tutoring and on bandstands. Marsden – who admits to being “sixty-several” – first came to attention in Bari and the Breakaways... > Read more

I'll Drown in My Own Tears

RIVERS INTERVIEWED (2014): In the footsteps of the master

14 Jul 2014    1

Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Chris Baigent aka Rivers makes a fairly extravagant and unquantifiable claim on Facebook as the Number One Dylan Fan in New Zealand. And if you think you are a bigger fan, he challenges you to write in and say why. “No one's really challenged but a friend from Australia said I was like Dylan Fan 102 which was amusing,” he laughs. “The... > Read more

Bird on a Wire

CROSBY STILLS NASH & YOUNG IN '74 (2014): if you can't love the one you're with . . .

11 Jul 2014

Although their name might have sounded like a corporate entity putting up a united front Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were anything but. “We had to put Crosby’s name first otherwise he’d be impossible to live with,” Stephen Stills told me back in 2007 when talking about CS&N, “and of course once we put him first there was no living with him. We... > Read more


J.J. CALE REMEMBERED (2014): Old slowhands together

23 Jun 2014    1

I came to the late J.J. Cale rather late. Sure, I heard those Seventies albums, but they were mostly just aural wallpaper to whatever else was going on. Cale didn't shove his music at you, he was like a hoarse whisper in the background. So it wasn't until the late Nineties when, leaving for Australia, I stopped at the letterbox, grabbed a CD which had arrived and put it my bag. The... > Read more



16 Jun 2014

On the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in New Zealand (June 21 1964) Elsewhere is pleased to present an exclusive extract from the forthcoming book Half a World Away: The Beatles' Australasian Tour 1964 by Greg Armstrong and Andy Neill. We pick up the story after they have arrived at Whenuapai Airport near Auckland and been transported to the Royal International Hotel hotel before... > Read more

Yeah Yeah We Love Them All