neil finn

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EDDIE VEDDER OF PEARL JAM INTERVIEWED IN SEATTLE (2002): Reading their Riot Act

EDDIE VEDDER OF PEARL JAM INTERVIEWED IN SEATTLE (2002): Reading their Riot Act

For a Kiwi transplanted to Pearl Jam's rehearsal room in Seattle's warehouse district, it's easy to feel at home on this warm morning. The toilet designated for women has a handmade sign which reads, "Wahine". In the rehearsal room a dozen international journalists have been assembled and the mood is one of nervousness, in part...

NEIL FINN INTERVIEWED (2001): Man alone

NEIL FINN INTERVIEWED (2001): Man alone

Neil Finn gives the impression he's happier than he has ever been. This year he's been around the country playing solo shows in small venues with contributions by ring-in local musicians, billing them as the Band of Strangers. Soon he starts a five-night stand at the St James in Auckland with a guest list that includes Eddie Vedder from...

Various: The Great New Zealand Songbook (Thom/Sony)

Various: The Great New Zealand Songbook (Thom/Sony)

This nattily packaged double disc with Dick Frizzell's clever twist on an iconic and familiar Kiwi image as the cover arrives in time for New Zealand Music Month -- but already has the feel of the perfect Christmas gift for those living abroad. Especially when it includes Frizzell postcards to send off-shore. There are two versions: the...

Dave Dobbyn: Twist (1994)

Dave Dobbyn: Twist (1994)

With the Australian success of the Footrot Flats film in the early Nineties, it made sense for Dave Dobbyn to relocate across the Tasman and ride the wave of popularity of the songs he wrote for it. And in that great tradition of indifference Australians have shown New Zealand musicians -- more so then than today -- Dobbyn’s career...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Wilco; Wilco (the album): (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Wilco; Wilco (the album): (Warners)

While no one would suggest that Wilco's Jeff Tweedy is on happy pills -- the glum Country Disappeared and Bull Black Nova here would deny that -- he is clearly a very different man than he was around the time of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The chunky rockist opener on this seventh studio album -- yes, it is called "Wilco (the album)" --...

TIM FINN, A TIMELINE (2009): A solo, and sometimes solitary, man

TIM FINN, A TIMELINE (2009): A solo, and sometimes solitary, man

Tim Finn is one of New Zealand's most gifted songwriters. If his long catalogue sometimes lacks the easy pop-rock polish of those songs by his brother Neil (with whom he has frequently written and played) or the sentimentality of Dave Dobbyn's more recent output, that is only to say Tim has gone his own way. From the idiosyncratic and...

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Anyone who considers the Tim Finn timeline would quickly conclude that here was a man who always did it his way: the theatrics and manic energy of Split Enz combined with alarmingly engaging and durable music; solo albums which were sometimes uncomfortable for their self-analysis; others which were snappy and poppy; soundtracks and side-projects...

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon (Yep Roc)

Grant-Lee Phillips: Little Moon (Yep Roc)

Phillips -- formerly frontman for the LA alt-rock/indie-pop outfit Grant Lee Buffalo in the 90s -- may never release a solo album quite as exceptional as his Mobilize of 2001. But after the country-folk of Virginia Creeper of 04, the 06 covers album Nineteeneighties (you always ask, “Why?” of such projects) and Strangelet of two...

Damien Binder: While the Wind's At Your Back (Binder)

Damien Binder: While the Wind's At Your Back (Binder)

In a recent interview Greg Johnson told me that after almost seven years in Los Angeles slugging it out writing, playing and hustling he'd made the conscious decision to leave the live work behind and concentrate on being a songwriter. And working with sympathetic others of a similar mindset. Lord knows, we need more good songs....

Lisa Germano: Magic Neighbor (Young God Records)

Lisa Germano: Magic Neighbor (Young God Records)

Given that the cover art here is by Auckland's West Coast artist Dean Buchanan, we might guess that singer/violinist/composer Germano encountered his work when she was in New Zealand in April 2001 for Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide project. Certainly Buchanan's dark and mysterious work is appropriate here because Germano's music is much the...

ARTISAN GUNS INTERVIEWED (2010): Heart, and art, on their sleeves

ARTISAN GUNS INTERVIEWED (2010): Heart, and art, on their sleeves

The guys in the young Auckland band Artisan Guns remind me it was four years ago that I first saw them, in this very same room -- the boardroom of EMI in Auckland where the harbour views can be so distracting. When they played four years ago -- an acoustic set to maybe a dozen people on a beer-drinking Friday after work -- the room hushed...

NEIL FINN AND CROWDED HOUSE (2010): The returning son

NEIL FINN AND CROWDED HOUSE (2010): The returning son

Many, many years ago Neil Finn told me he believed bands, and he was referring to Split Enz at the time, had a natural lifespan. Some years after that – in 2001 when he was well into a solo career with the album One Nil – I asked him the question again, and specifically if he felt that about Crowded House. His answer was...

Crowded House: Intriguer (Universal)

Crowded House: Intriguer (Universal)

Many years ago, when I interviewed Neil Finn about his solo career (here) post-Crowded House I reminded him that he'd once told me he felt bands had a natural lifespabn. He said at that time he felt CH didn't have quite as long as he wanted . . . which may explain their second coming. This time out, with the same band as for Time on Earth...

THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (1994): Men keeping the faith

THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (1994): Men keeping the faith

Fourteen years after springing their classic paisley-pop hit An Unguarded Moment, six years on from picking up an American gold disc for their album Starfish and looking at a back-catalogue of releases that reaches dangerously close to double figures, the Church -- now trimmed back to founder members Steve Kilbey and Marty Willson-Piper...

CHRIS BAILEY, THE SAINTS, INTERVIEWED (1994): From Saint to Pope

CHRIS BAILEY, THE SAINTS, INTERVIEWED (1994): From Saint to Pope

There were always a couple of good reasons for liking the Saints, Brisbane’s punk-to-pop finest who were fronted by sole constant Chris Bailey. The first was Bailey running intellectual rings around rock show host Dick Driver on national television. The other was a great song. What that song was came down to taste. Maybe it...

Crowded House and Roger McGuinn: Eight Miles High (1989)

Crowded House and Roger McGuinn: Eight Miles High (1989)

Recorded live at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles when Crowded House met up with former Byrd Roger McGuinn, this song -- and their versions of Mr Tambourine Man and So You Want to be a Rock'n'Roll Star -- appeared on a '91 version of the CD single for Weather With You (other versions had live Crowdies tracks from the period). Not the most...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Sven Olsen's Brutal Canadian Love Saga: Songs from the Bottom of a Hilltop (SOBCLS)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Sven Olsen's Brutal Canadian Love Saga: Songs from the Bottom of a Hilltop (SOBCLS)

Recently I heard this collection -- 400 copies only, two CDs, a thick booklet of artfully rendered lyrics, posters and more delivered in medium-sized pizza box -- being described as a cult item, bound to lose money, an ambitious conceit . . . but also pretty terrific. Right on all counts. Naming your ensemble after an obscure Norwegian...

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Richard Thompson: Rumor and Sigh (1991)

Like Elvis Costello, Christy Moore, the late John Martyn and a few others in a very select company, English singer/songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson made timeless albums. Pick up any of his from the early Eighties or even the late Seventies and they make as much sense today as they did then. Yet after more than 45 years in the...

SHARON O'NEILL INTERVIEWED (2009): This heart, these songs

SHARON O'NEILL INTERVIEWED (2009): This heart, these songs

Sharon O’Neill laughs loud and often about her current profile in Australia, and admits that as a live performer it is low. ”I’d be lucky if I could half-fill the Rooty Hills RSL!” she hoots. “It’d be more like the Brass Monkey down the road -- but that’s what everybody does. Dragon do it, and...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Liam Finn

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Liam Finn

When people in your family -- in this case your dad and uncle -- are famous musicians your road can actually be harder than most might think: just after a couple of Lennon kids. Liam Finn started his career in the band betchadupa which astutely signed to Flying Nun rather than pursue a major label, and since then he has established himself...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Finn

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Finn

Tim Finn's remarkable career (outlined here) now reaches to nine solo albums with the release of The View is Worth the Climb. Add in all the Split Enz years, the Crowded House/Finn albums and other work with brother Neil, soundtrack contributions, ALT and guest appearances . . . It is quite something to reflect on, although you suspect he is...

Tim Finn: The View is Worth The Climb (Universal)

Tim Finn: The View is Worth The Climb (Universal)

Some argue that the best songs emerge from anxiety, emotional dislocation and melancholy -- but more mature songwriters know that not to be true. As Lucinda Williams noted in this interview, it is possible for an artist to conjure up states of mind from experiences. People like Williams -- and Tim Finn -- have a wealth of life experiences to...

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

From the deliberate domesticity of the band name/album title, this album which began as a knockabout home sessions between Neil Finn and his wife Sharon comes with some coy downplaying. I guess Neil would be aware of the subtext of the words "Linda McCartney". But here with Neil on drums and guitar, Sharon on bass and SJD...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sharon Finn of Pajama Club

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sharon Finn of Pajama Club

Sharon Finn has a successful life outside music (her own chandelier and decorative fittings company Sharondelier) but when the kids left home and she and her husband found they had time on their hands and a house full of musical instruments . . . The surprise about Sharon Finn isn't that she has late in life found herself in a band (Pajama...

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