Absolute Elsewhere

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SIMON THACKER INTERVIEWED (2015): The intercultural explorer on six strings

4 Sep 2015  |  9 min read

When Simon Thacker was growing up outside a small village some distance from Edinburgh in Scotland, the rest of the world seemed a very long way away. But as an aspiring guitarist he connected to it through music by exploring the blues, classical music, folk and more. He found his way to Indian and Spanish music and so these days the world doesn't so much come to him but –... > Read more

Nada-Anada: Joy. Simon Thacker and the Nava Rasa Ensemble

NWA; BACK OUTTA COMPTON (2015): The return of the original gangstas

31 Aug 2015  |  4 min read

When Ice-T boldly announced that gangsta rap was the CNN of the ghetto suburbs, one wit hit back saying — given the cliched posing with guns and chains and the sneering attitude — that it was actually more like the Cartoon Network. Of course things change fast in popular culture and before long the writer Ned Sublett in his excellent book about New Orleans and the hip-hop... > Read more

Deep Water (Kendrick Lamar, Justus, Anderson.Paak)

KARIN KROG CONSIDERED (2015): A rare voice from the north

17 Aug 2015  |  2 min read

Because no sensible soul would come to a website called Elsewhere to hear just the familiar, we can confidently speak about the extraordinary, often uncategorisable Norwegian jazz singer Karin Krog who is now in her late 70s and has been around since the Sixties when she emerged a jazz-pop singer. She first came onto the Elsewhere radar a few decades ago when she recorded with John Surman... > Read more

Maiden Voyage

PETE TOWNSHEND REPEATED (2015): Who loves who the most?

20 Jul 2015  |  4 min read

A few years ago before Christmas I bought two rock autobiographies to read over the break. One was Rod Stewart's Rod which was howling funny and charted the life of a man for whom booze, blondes and a bloody good time were written into the contract of being a rock star. So he obliged. The other could not have been more different, it was Pete Townshend's earnest Who I Am which read... > Read more

My Baby Gives It Away by Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane

JOY DIVISION REISSUED (2015): The art at the heart of darkness

13 Jul 2015  |  3 min read  |  1

Many decades ago on his Graceland album, Paul Simon sang, “Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts”. New Zealand threw one of the most unexpected up its singles chart: At the dawn of the 80s Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart went to number one. Some might think that confirms the country as emotionally bleak, a place where novels and films almost invariably... > Read more

The Sound of Music

JON SPENCER INTERVIEWED (2105): Another rock-blues implosion from New York

6 Jul 2015  |  5 min read

Jon Spencer is just back in his adopted home-city of New York after an American tour then a few festival dates in Europe with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the band he formed 24 years ago. He's only got a little downtime however before coming to Australia and New Zealand for shows and then a punishing schedule through until the end of the year. He's going to be 50 this year and... > Read more

Funeral

DAVE BAXTER, AVALANCHE CITY INTERVIEWED (2015): Finally, above ground again

3 Jul 2015  |  9 min read

The cafe where we meet is very nice and attracts a particular clientele, as you'd expect. It is in Herne Bay, the country's first $2 million suburb apparently. Neither Dave Baxter nor I live around here of course – he's out west in Massey and I'm a few suburbs to the south – but with his hipster beard and beanie he fits in better than I do. Neither of us are good for... > Read more

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING STONE (2015): Where's Bill? Why man, he done gone!

29 Jun 2015  |  3 min read  |  1

When he was in the Rolling Stones, bassist Bill Wyman was mostly an impassive and seemingly disengaged presence on stage, only occasionally flicking a knowing look at drummer Charlie Watts as Mick Jagger pranced and preened. Bill Wyman was the Silent Stone. After he left the Stones in '93 however he wrote Stone Alone, a strangely compelling and scrupulously detailed account on... > Read more

Jumpin' Jack Flash

SCALPER PROFILED (2105): New clothes for an old ceremony

22 Jun 2015  |  2 min read  |  1

Scalper – known to his family as Nadeem Shafi – is one of the politest e-mailers it has been Elsewhere's pleasure to have contact with. For the past few years he's sent us sample tracks from his forthcoming album, always signed off with “Peace” and has cheerfully accepted that Elsewhere doesn't review singles or EP (too many full length albums commanding... > Read more

Lullaby (Scalper w Claire Duncan)

JAMES TAYLOR INTERVIEWED (2015): Even now, there's a stretch of highway

19 Jun 2015  |  10 min read  |  1

Against the odds of age – and a bank balance probably falling below those necessary multiple millions rock-gentry seem to require these days to survive in the lifestyle they created and have become accustomed to – James Taylor is touring again. However, despite being 67 and having seen more than his share of concierges in strange hotels, unappealing backstage areas and... > Read more

Stretch of the Highway

DISCO, NOW AND THEN (2015): The genius of Giorgio, and getting the Fever again

19 Jun 2015  |  4 min read  |  2

At 74, the pioneering producer Giorgio Moroder should be slowing down, but in fact he's started again. His new album Deja-Vu will be his first in 30 years and the renewed interest in him was doubtless prompted by his appearance on Daft Punk's 2013 Random Access Memory in which he spoke over an archetypal Moroder piece entitled Giorgio by Moroder. Among the guests on the new album... > Read more

La Disco by Giorgio Moroder

BARRY SAUNDERS INTERVIEWED (2015): The road and the runaways days call again

15 Jun 2015  |  10 min read

Barry Saunders is lighting the first fire of winter at his Wellington home when he takes the call. But as the singer and songwriter in the long-running Warratahs, he's got plenty to talk about  . . . because they've just released their first album in nine years. And they are going back out on the road [dates below]. Although of the latter prospect he's prepared to admit as... > Read more

Faraway Sun

GARRY VAN EGMOND INTERVIEWED (2015): It's only rock'n'roll but I underwrite it . . .

12 Jun 2015  |  14 min read

Garry Van Egmond has never had a heart attack, and given the nature of the business he's been in for more than four decades – where the stakes a big, the egos often bigger and financial ruin can be looming at any point – that's a real surprise. “I've always stayed very calm,” he smiles with a demeanor which confirms it. It's big business but “I play a bit... > Read more

Rock Or Bust

CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT INTERVIEWED (2015): Two for the road

28 May 2015  |  8 min read

The body language of the two men sitting in the corner of this Mt Eden cafe could hardly be more different. Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Gaffaney (on the right) seems slightly ill at ease, the eye contact fleeting and smiles wry and rare. Guitarist/songwriter George Pajon Jr seems entirely comfortable, maintains a steady and clear gaze and speaks with a smile. He even... > Read more

Climbing Through Ashes

PRINCESS CHELSEA INTERVIEWED (2015): She are very happy-ish

7 May 2015  |  13 min read

Chelsea Nikkel – aka Princess Chelsea – sits at the table in her flat-cum-studio space (the latter rightly referred to as "the Ghetto") with a second-pour coffee and admits she's tired. She looks it. And during the course of our digressive, always interesting and sometimes extremely candid hour-long conversation -- which traverses her excellent second album The... > Read more

All the Stars

BRITPOP IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR (2015): From Blur to beyond

4 May 2015  |  4 min read  |  1

When Britpop was going off in the Nineties, we had some cynical distance from the hype. Life had taught us the British press would build 'em up and knock 'em down. And this time round with different clothes (shell suits?), a bit of anti-American jingoism added (Who needs Nirvana when you've got Menswear, right?) as well referencing the great heroes of the Sixties, Britpop looked as... > Read more

RINGO STARR REFLECTING (2015): He ain't going nowhere, man

20 Apr 2015  |  4 min read

Ringo Starr's few -- actually only two -- contributions to the Beatles' vast catalogue of original songs hardly set the world alight or gave any indication of great promise, unlike late bloomer George Harrison. Neither Octopus' Garden nor Don't Pass Me By (which tok him six years to finish and get on a Beatles album) suggested any great writing talent, but as a drummer his gifts lay... > Read more

Rory and the Hurricanes

NOOKY STOTT INTERVIEWED (2015): Bringing on the Rebel beat

15 Apr 2015  |  15 min read

The guy who had the best seat in the house to watch the rise of the Auckland rock band Larry's Rebels in the Sixties was Nooky Stott. He was the group's drummer and a child of Fifties rock'n'roll. “I lived in Ponsonby and our local picture theatre was the Britannia. I think I saw Rock Around the Clock and Don't Knock the Rock at least 10 times,” he says. Stott –... > Read more

Let's Think of Something (NZ version)

HERBS; WHATS' BE HAPPEN? (2015): The hard truths from the street

14 Apr 2015  |  2 min read  |  1

History, according to Napoleon (among others), is written by the winners. True in one sense. But if the losers are still out there they are often so forgetful of their history as to be worthless and absent witnesses. Many buy into the narrative of the winners, whom you might have thought would be their adversary. Take the New Zealand reggae band Herbs for example: Their Very Best Of... > Read more

Whats' Be Happen?

MEL PARSONS INTERVIEWED (2015): And the road goes on forever

13 Apr 2015  |  7 min read

On a wet Monday morning in Wellington, Mel Parsons takes a break from rehearsals in the Surgery studio with her band and, cheerful as ever, talks about her new album Drylands which she is taking to the country with starting on Wednesday in Auckland (see dates below). “It's exciting actually, just nice to have a new body of work to be touring with and be... > Read more

Get Out Alive