Absolute Elsewhere

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DON McGLASHAN INTERVIEWED (2015): This time it's personal

13 Apr 2015  |  14 min read  |  1

In late January I was approached to write a brief biography for Don McGlashan to accompany the release of his new album Lucky Stars album. At the time I wasn't available but was sent an advance download of the 10 songs . . . and because the album release was some way off and many of the songs sounded so self-revelatory I made the time in early February to interview Don – whom I... > Read more

The Waves Would Roll On

JIMMIE DALE GILMORE INTERVIEWED (2015): A mind with a mind of its own

8 Apr 2015  |  8 min read  |  1

Jimmie Dale Gilmore – speaking from his country home 45 miles outside of Austin, Texas – takes a stab at what his most popular song on Spotify might be. “Now let's think. I would suspect it might be Dallas, that's the best known one,” he says referring to his bitter-sweet paean to that Texas city which includes the lines “Dallas is a jewel, Dallas is a... > Read more

Dallas

THE GRATEFUL DEAD CONSIDERED (2015): If you can remember the Sixties . . . they were there

6 Apr 2015  |  4 min read  |  2

The word is oxymoron: it means when words putting together seem to contradict each other. Like “honest politician” or “skinny bass player”. Or “The Best of the Grateful Dead”, the title of a new double CD. Most people would say there can't be a “best of” a band which started its career half a century ago and has divided rock people... > Read more

Ripple

LED ZEPPELIN REVISITED, PART THREE (2015): More graffiti scribbles

1 Apr 2015  |  1 min read

As we have now learned to our (literal) cost, the Jimmy Page remastering of Led Zeppelin albums plus a "bonus disc" of uneccesary "mixes" is little more than a PR job to flog more product. The previous reissues and remasters of the actual albums are excellent, but this nonsense about rough mixes or a different mix from a different studio elevates discarded versions.... > Read more

Sick Again (early version)

POKEY LaFARGE INTERVIEWED (2015): The past is alive and well and living in the present

26 Mar 2015  |  15 min read  |  2

In a stylish blue shirt buttoned to the neck and topped by a red neckerchief, blue dungaree jeans with turned up cuffs above his sturdy and well polished lace-up boots, Pokey LaFarge cuts a very interesting figure in this downtown Auckland hotel room. He may look like someone from the better-scrubbed end of the Thirties – and his music certainly steeped in traditional jazz,... > Read more

Underground

MIKE SCOTT OF THE WATERBOYS INTERVIEWED (2014): The nearest thing to hip . . .

26 Mar 2015  |  8 min read

About 15 months ago Mike Scott of the Waterboys released a whopping seven CD set of the sessions which lead to the band's two-years-in-the-making breakthrough album Fisherman's Blues. The band had enjoyed success prior to this particular channeling of Celtic music, rock'n'roll and American gospel – notably with the singles the Big Music and Bang on the Ear – but... > Read more

I Can See Elvis

BETH HART INTERVIEWED (2015): Coming home to herself at last

24 Mar 2015  |  6 min read

After repeated efforts – I have been the wrong international codes – I finally get through to Beth Hart who it turns out is in Pattaya, Thailand. “It's rock'n'roll and we're supposed to be late,” she laughs when I explain my delayed phoner. No, we are supposed to be punctual because we are older and know better, I say.... > Read more

Tell Her You Belong To Me

TYSON KELLY INTERVIEWED (2015): He is the walrus

11 Mar 2015  |  8 min read

If we were in England – and believe me, he does an excellent Liverpudlian accent – then we might say, in the phrase much favoured by British bobbies, that Tyson Kelly has some “prior form”. Kelly from LA, who plays John Lennon in the acclaimed stage production Let It Be which opens in Auckland soon (see dates below), has been playing Lennon for years in various... > Read more

THE EASYBEATS REMEMBERED (2015): I got hit songs on my mind . . .

9 Mar 2015  |  6 min read  |  1

The edges of the vision are blurry but at the centre of the frame things are clear. I am a teenager, my friend Barry and I and perhaps a couple of others are stumbling down a dark road near what is now the Whangaparaoa shopping centre. We had just been at a movie – may have been kicked out – and are drunk on Blackberry Nip or McWilliam's Sweet Sherry. As we pass by the old... > Read more

She's So Fine

ADESOLA OSAKALUMI INTERVIEWED (2015): The fellah who is Fela

9 Mar 2015  |  11 min read

When the Nigerian military raided the compound of the outspoken activist and musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti in 1977, they beat him senseless, destroyed his famous nightclub The Shrine and threw his 82-year old mother to her death from an upstairs window. Yet Kuti – who died of Aids-related illnesses in 97 – just kept coming back, presenting and recording his incendiary music... > Read more

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Richard Thompson

2 Mar 2015  |  7 min read  |  3

Richard Thompson starts on the back foot. The legendary British songwriter whose career dates back to the seminal folk-rock group Fairport Convention in the late Sixties and whose admirers include the Finns, Bob Mould and latterly Jeff Tweedy of Wilco among many others, including Elsewhere – came to New Zealand's inaugural Womad at Western Springs Park in Auckland in '97, but hasn't... > Read more

The Snow Goose

MARC RIBOT CONSIDERED (2015): Cosmopolitan guitarist without portfolio

25 Feb 2015  |  2 min read

If there is a distinguishing feature of American guitarist Marc Ribot's style it is that you'd be unwise to attempt to attribute a distinguishing feature or style to it. In the words of  Walt Whitman, he contains multitudes. And he can go anywhere with them. Which is doubtless why Tom Waits -- making his career turn in the mid Eighties -- called on Ribot to bring his angularity... > Read more

The Cocktail Party

AUSTIN BROWN OF PARQUET COURTS INTERVIEWED (2015): Future now but old school on many fronts

23 Feb 2015  |  5 min read

Anyone who has paid even just passing attention to New York-based Parquet Courts will get the connecting points: a guitar band with a keen ear for the past which includes bands like Television, Velvet Underground, Modern Lovers, the Strokes and so on. But add in some thought-provoking lyrics and songs which slow the tempos right down and you can hear that Parquet Courts aren't just... > Read more

Stoned and Starving

THE MOVE: ALWAYS AND FOREVER; BELATEDLY (2015): Classic pop, great rock then forgot

23 Feb 2015  |  8 min read  |  3

Anyone dumb enough to rely on an encyclopedia of rock or -- worse -- that self-described disgrace which is "Classic Hits" radio, would be forgiven for not knowing that the Move ever existed. Those DJs at "classic rock" certainly would have no clue . . . but we expect them to be clueless, I suppose. Shame on them.  It seems the Move -- despite their... > Read more

Fire Brigade

JIM PEPPER, REMEMBERED (2015): A man comin' an' too soon goin'

16 Feb 2015  |  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

Jim Pepper: Ya Na Ho

FRED FRITH CONSIDERED (2015): The prince of plinkety-plunk

13 Feb 2015  |  4 min read  |  1

The term “prepared piano” – where the musician places objects onto the strings to get odd and often random sounds – is well known in the classical world. But few people know Johnny Cash got into “prepared guitar” when he recorded I Walk the Line back in '56. To get that clacking rhythm he placed a dollar bill under the guitar strings and got a sound... > Read more

Heat c/w Moment

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING INTERVIEWED (2014): Space is the place

9 Feb 2015  |  13 min read  |  2

I know this is very wrong, but while talking to J. Willgoose – not his real name – who is the taller half of Britain's Public Service Broadcasting, I am picturing him as like the actor/writer Stephen Merchant. He has the same dry humour and delivery. And he's tall, with glasses. Willgoose and Wrigglesworth as PSB have created some of the most interesting music-cum-film... > Read more

Fire in the Cockpit

KIM RICHEY INTERVIEWED (2015): The writer on the road, again

9 Feb 2015  |  11 min read

Kim Richey pulls the car off into a gas station somewhere in Alabama to take the call from Elsewhere. She's halfway between Birmingham and her home in Nashville and is delighted to say before she comes to New Zealand she is going to spend time seeing the country. “I can't imagine coming all the way to New Zealand and not seeing it,” she says after telling how she put a... > Read more

Breakaway Speed

CHRIS ELDRIDGE of PUNCH BROTHERS INTERVIEWED (2015): The Radiohead of bluegrass

4 Feb 2015  |  8 min read

Towards the end of a digressive and interesting conversation with Chris Eldridge, guitarist for Punch Brothers, I ask if the description “bluegrass” -- which has most commonly been applied to their music -- has any relevance anymore. After all, they have edged their music towards art rock with classical references, have thrown in covers of songs by Beyonce and the Cars... > Read more

Julep

LISA MARIE PRESLEY REMEMBERED (2015): A child of her time

2 Feb 2015  |  2 min read  |  1

Mercer Ellington did it, so did two of Sinatra's kids Frank Jnr and Nancy. Two Lennon's and George Harrison's son Dhani did it too (in fact every Beatle has a kid who's done it). So did a few Marleys, Judy Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli and Steve Earle's boy Justin Townes. They all went into the family business. If we suspend our scepticism about this we'd have to concede it's... > Read more

Soften the Blows