Absolute Elsewhere

Music interviews, overviews, critical essays and reviews. Big names, cult acts and interviews exclusive to Elsewhere. Straight and bizarre, oddball and ordinary music and musicians. Important moments from the past . . . and things happening right now. Or about to. The Elsewhere place if you are curious about music.

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UP UP AND AWAY, AGAIN (2024): Balloon D'Essai and the Instigators fly once more

26 Feb 2024  |  3 min read

The small independent Christchurch label Leather Jacket Records has had a number of favourable mentions at Elsewhere, as much for their reissues of post-punk rock (and the terrific Grim Ltd live album from '66) as for their new releases. But communication and self-promotion isn't the label's long suit. So we have had to rely on others to tell us when albums have been released. Thank you... > Read more

You Don't Matter, by the Instigators

JOHN KENNEDY, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2024): The Kiwi who created British rock'n'roll

20 Feb 2024  |  2 min read

An expatriate New Zealander in the right place at the right time helped launch British rock’n’roll. In 1956, John Kennedy was a suave opportunist in his mid-twenties who would become a clever and shameless publicist-cum-PR operative in London showbiz circles. He had, as Nik Cohn wrote, “flair, invention and a fast mouth”. In the mid 1950s a teenage culture... > Read more

UNEARTHING THE PAST FOR THE PRESENT AND FUTURE (2024): Seldom, or never, heard Kiwi rock from the Seventies

18 Feb 2024  |  3 min read

To paraphrase the philosopher George Santayana, “Those who didn't hear the past are condemned to listen to it on repeat play”. Or something like that. The fact is, the archaeologists of local rock just keep digging. Last year we had previously unreleased 1990s albums from Auckland band Crash and Boom Boom Mancini, the pre-Bads Britain-based band... > Read more

Bloodsucker, by Littlejohn

PETE HAM OF BADFINGER: Take a sad song and make it sadder

11 Feb 2024  |  7 min read  |  3

Put simply: Pete Ham was one of the singer-songwriters in Badfinger, the British pop band of the late Sixties and early Seventies which enjoyed the patronage of Paul McCartney. He gave them his Come and Get It (used in the Ringo-Peter Sellers movie The Magic Christian) on the condition they record it exactly as his demo. They did, it was a hit, and a band was born which always... > Read more

Hurry on Father (demo from the Golders Green album)

JIM PEPPER, REMEMBERED (2024): A man comin' . . . an' too soon goin'

5 Feb 2024  |  3 min read  |  2

It is a rare jazz musician who can score a rock-radio hit -- but saxophonist Jim Pepper was a very rare jazz musician indeed. Of Kaw and Creek descent, Pepper was born in Oregon in 1941 and described himself as an "urban Indian". He spent much of his early life between family homes in Oregon and Oklahoma and although he grew up listening to big band jazz and bebop he was also... > Read more

Ya Na Ho

LEATHER JACKET RECORDS, PROFILED (2024): Like a great big noisy hug

30 Jan 2024  |  5 min read

In the early Eighties, inspired by the punk DIY attitude and the proliferation of young bands, numerous local independent labels sprang up: Flying Nun, Ripper, Propeller, Pagan, Warrior, Failsafe . . . For the most part those at the helm of these labels were navigating unfamiliar waters without a compass. This was the notorious “here be monsters” world of antiquity where the... > Read more

Mercury, by Hannah Everingham

GRAHAM NASH, INTERVIEWED (2024): Can we get a witness?

29 Jan 2024  |  6 min read

At the end of last year 81-year old Graham Nash could add a new accolade to his long list of awards: he was presented with the ninth annual John Lennon Real Love Award. “Over many years,” he said, “I watched John and Yoko ‘fight the good fight’ for many whose voices were not being heard, a fight that Yoko continues to this day.... > Read more

AROOJ AFTAB, INTERVIEWED (2024): Music from and for the soul

29 Jan 2024  |  7 min read

As far as we can recall, it had never happened before until late last year: an artist whose two consecutive album ended up in our best of the year list. Arooj Aftab's Love in Exile was in the best of Elsewhere 2023 list and her previous one Vulture Prince was in the same list in 2021. And we had them both as a Recommended Record (albums to have on vinyl). So needless to say she has... > Read more

JOEY BURNS OF CALEXICO, INTERVIEWED (2023): Still wired after all these years

19 Jan 2024  |  6 min read

For a few minutes the well-groomed and otherwise articulate Joey Burns of the American band Calexico is lost for words. He, like me, has just learned of the death of the Pogues' Shane MacGowan. We resort to vague cliches: sad, so talented, not unexpected of course . . . Burns never met MacGowan but says he always admired his lyrics and . . . We trail off, the conversation about... > Read more

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970: Flowers and freak outs

15 Jan 2024  |  2 min read

Any box set or collection which tries to mop up an era, genre or decade is probably doomed to failure, not from lack of genuine effort but because some artists (the big ones) don't want to be included. So you can get a multiple disc, very inclusive set of the Eighties for example and it doesn't have anything by Madonna, Prince, Springsteen and Michael Jackson. That the Rhino label did such... > Read more

Salvation: Think Twice

TIM FINN, INTERVIEWED (1992): The art of always arriving

12 Jan 2024  |  1 min read

When there is time, Elsewhere will be sourcing a rich vein of its archival material which was published in various places during the Eighties and Nineties which are not available on-line. These will most often be reproduced as they appeared in print. Some may be a little fuzzy in the reproduction but we think the story or interview are worth it for researchers or fans. Best read on a... > Read more

HEAD LIKE A HOLE, INTERVIEWED (1994): The serious business of not being serious

29 Dec 2023  |  <1 min read

When there is time, Elsewhere will be sourcing a rich vein of its archival material which was published in various places during the Eighties and Nineties which are not available on-line. These will most often be reproduced as they appeared in print. Some may be a little fuzzy in the reproduction but we think the story or interview are worth it for researchers or fans. Best read on a... > Read more

CRASH, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): The band that was, the album that wasn't.

22 Dec 2023  |  1 min read

By the late 1990s, amidst the turmoil of local guitar bands which emerged in the wake of Guns ’N Roses’ hair-metal and angst-fuelled grunge, Auckland band Crash would seem to have as good a shot as any against peers like Push Push, Dead Flowers, The Feelers, Pluto, Zed and many others. Formed in 1991, Crash hit student radio with their single... > Read more


18 Dec 2023  |  10 min read  |  1

Following Elsewhere posting its choices for the Best of Elsewhere 2023; The Editor's Picks and The Year in Reissue (And Such) we invited Elsewhere readers to tell us what they were impressed by this year. . . . because we only chose from what we had written about, and a lot went past us. Here is what people told us . . . and where Elsewhere had reviewed the album we have highlighted it with... > Read more

PETER GABRIEL, THE RETURN AT LAST (2023): Bright, dark and inside/outside

18 Dec 2023  |  3 min read

Age shall not weary them? Guns'N Roses' 2008 album Chinese Democracy arrived 17 years after their previous album of original music and was so long-promised that some suggested China would get democracy before we'd get the album. The Rolling Stones' recent Hackney Diamonds appeared 18 years after their last album of original material (A Bigger Bang in case you had forgotten). And now... > Read more


11 Dec 2023  |  8 min read  |  2

When Joe Strummer sang “no Elvis, Beatles, no Rolling Stones in 1977” he couldn't have anticipated what 2023 would hold. All of those artists had albums remastered, reissued or released this year, the Rolling Stones roaring back to life after gap of 17 years since their previous album of original songs. Was it any good? Well, let's see . . . because here are Elsewhere's... > Read more


11 Dec 2023  |  5 min read

In recent years with the extensive programme of reissues (with additional songs) or the release of albums you never knew existed, the vaults of record companies and recording studios seem like Aladdin's Cave. Here we just single out 10 which we found important and interesting, just the ones we wrote about. We have set aside the Beatles' Red and Blue albums but you can read about them here.... > Read more

ELSEWHERE'S PEOPLE OF THE YEAR 2023: The young and the restless

11 Dec 2023  |  4 min read

We've never done this before, but the thought occurred that while the Beatles and Rolling Stones gained lengthy coverage this year and the list of musicians and other celebrities who had died just kept getting longer and more depressing (see the collage here), the year was dominated by two artists, diametrically different in musical style, gender, age and profile. We are talking about... > Read more

THE 1:12 LABEL, PROFILED (2023): And why not?

9 Dec 2023  |  4 min read

Small independent labels – from Zodiac through Ripper, Propellor, Flying Nun and Pagan to Rattle and Lil' Chief – have been not just the backbone of New Zealand music but have given platforms for great songs, albums and artists. And sometimes they just allow people to get something off their chests. Somewhere between those points is Auckland's 1:12 label which has allowed... > Read more

Punk Nuns, by Thee Golden Geese

THE MERSEYMEN, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2023): Well shake it up baby now . . .

30 Nov 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

You probably had to be there. Because it wasn’t about the hair, the boots and the suits. And it wasn’t only about the music either, although that certainly drove everything. It was the sheer excitement of the time, the thrill of being young in the early 60s and having a music of your own which was upbeat, fresh and just kept arriving. Not just from The Beatles, but... > Read more