Absolute Elsewhere

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OVER THE RHINE INTERVIEWED (2006): Coming out quietly

5 Mar 2006  |  2 min read

Karin Berquist and Linford Detweiler get the treatment usually reserved for big stars. A year ago few people here were aware of Over the Rhine, the Cincinnati band formed around the song-writing core of Karin Berquist and Linford Detweiler, whose seductive blend of alt.country and American folk had quietly been captivating an American audience.  Yet here they are now, receiving... > Read more

Over the Rhine: Who Will Guard The Door (from Drunkard's Prayer)

MAX MERRITT INTERVIEWED (2005): The rock'n'roll originator

3 Aug 2005  |  5 min read

At some point in the mid 2000s, Christchurch-born rock'n'roll pioneer Max Merritt was receiving some award for his contribution to New Zealand (and Australian) music. There may also have been some kind of compilation coming out (I forget) so I interviewed him about those early days. I initially asked what it was like being a teenage rock'n'roll hero and how he got started. I... > Read more

RICK BRYANT INTERVIEWED (2003): Following his own stupid good advice

19 Jun 2004  |  6 min read

When Rick Bryant got his university results he knew he could get A Good Job, maybe in Treasury or Foreign Affairs. "But I never had any aspiration for that kind of appointment," he says, unleashing a lung-rattling laugh. It is a voice which matured in smoke-filled pubs and, despite pending legislation suggesting otherwise, sounds the better for it. Even before... > Read more

TRINITY ROOTS INTERVIEWED (2004): Songs for the heart and homeland

24 Jan 2004  |  4 min read

Hailed as a gentle but potent love song to Aotearoa and its people, TrinityRoots' Home, Land and Sea is a celebration and call to unity which shines in contrast with most other offerings currently topping the album chart. Guitarist Warren Maxwell, bassist Rio Hemopo and drummer Riki Gooch have built on their debut True to create a mystic soulful album in which the band... > Read more

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB INTERVIEWED (2003): All together now . . .

9 Oct 2003  |  4 min read

It's a week ago and you have to imagine the scene backstage in a room at Toronto's Guvernment Entertainment Complex. Peter Hayes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has just come off stage. It's 1am and he has run into some musician friends - but also has a phone interview to New Zealand scheduled. Now most people at this point - weary, slightly slurry of voice from whatever - might ignore... > Read more

SALMONELLA DUB INTERVIEWED (2003): This touring life

1 Oct 2003  |  7 min read

For two guys who have done 27 interviews back-to-back in Sydney, arrived in Auckland at midnight and got up early for a Mike Hosking interview on Breakfast, Tiki Taane and Andrew Penman are surprisingly chipper. Taane is playing a Tony Hawk skateboard game on a laptop, and Penman is looking through a scattering of CDs, vinyl and posters on the coffee table of this suite in the upmarket... > Read more

JACK WHITE INTERVIEWED (2003): The heat on the rising son

10 Sep 2003  |  6 min read

As a measure of how mighty or mundane Jack White's life has become, consider this: It made news in Hollywood gossip magazines that he had grown a moustache. Now for him, that's either great fame or a great pain. No two guesses needed about what he thinks. The man who is one half of the White Stripes with Meg White -- his sister or ex-wife, believe what you will -- and largely... > Read more

The Air Near My Fingers

COUNT DUBULAH INTERVIEWED (2003): Music from the Temple

26 May 2003  |  3 min read

Few bands were as exciting, but as irritating, for world music purists as London's Transglobal Underground, who emerged at the start of the Nineties with clubland hit Templehead. A meltdown of big-beat dancefloor, Indian instruments and rock guitars, funky bass and the voice of Egyptian singer Natacha Atlas, TGU had their roots in the tiny basement room of Nation Records in central... > Read more

MICHAEL BUBLE INTERVIEWED (2003): From Sinatra to Queen

15 Feb 2003  |  6 min read

The invitation for dinner-hour drinks and a show in an Auckland hotel ballroom by Michael Buble was clear: dress to impress. Some did, but for many a denim jacket or T-shirt apparently fitted the bill. It can be hard to convince Kiwis some things are worth a little effort. And Canadian singer Buble - pronounced Boob-lay - was well worth it. The singer who locates his heart... > Read more

BRYAN ADAMS INTERVIEWED (2003): Lights, camera, sing . . .

30 Jan 2003  |  6 min read

It's below 40C and Bryan Adams is heading to the improbably named Chicoutimi, 200km north of Quebec, for a gig. It's only a 5000-seater and for someone who has played stadium shows for more than 100,000 this seems a small deal. He laughs and admits it isn't premier-league stuff, but the cost of touring means he has to pepper in a few other shows around the main ones, in this case dates... > Read more

OPETAIA FOA'I OF TE VAKA INTERVIEWED (2002): World famous, except in New Zealand

31 Jul 2002  |  7 min read

From the semi-rural side street, the home of Opetaia and Julie Foa'i in Laingholm is unremarkable other than for its size. It sprawls across the property and boasts a high A-frame, but other than that you would drive past without a second glance. However, this is the spiritual home and business centre of Te Vaka, Auckland's pan-Polynesian group whose celebratory and exotic... > Read more

THE PROCLAIMERS INTERVIEWED (2002): Just the usual Scottish stuff; death, family and politics.

8 Apr 2002  |  5 min read

Serious guys these Proclaimers. And that's despite their uplifting Everlys-from-Scotland sound which often comes off as singalongs, notably the naggingly addictive I'm Gonna Be with its beerhall chorus "I will walk 500 miles." But being Scottish, and it's a trait observable in those cooler climes, they also knuckle down to the serious stuff. When they emerged 14 years... > Read more

JOSH ROUSE PROFILED (2002): The stars come out

3 Mar 2002  |  3 min read

To say American singer-songwriter Josh Rouse, doesn't arrive with the ballyhoo of our inflated cover star says little. His new album still comes with the obligatory self-congratulatory bio full of Josh quotes which are testament to his worthiness, and has him saying it's his best album so far.No doubt Britney Spears is on record boasting much the same about whatever her last achievement -... > Read more

ALIEN ANT FARM INTERVIEWED (2002): Ant music again

6 Jan 2002  |  5 min read

Okay, here are some things about Alien Ant Farm, who might otherwise be dismissed as one-hit wonders for their recent top-10 cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. First, singer-songwriter Dryden Mitchell is a smart guy, grew up on metal and sensitive folk equally and writes damn fine, angst-driven rock. Secondly, they have a great rhythm section which kicks along... > Read more

BUBBA SPARXXX INTERVIEWED (2001): Slo-mo hip-hop from the South

31 Oct 2001  |  5 min read

There's nothing particularly special about what Bubba Sparxxx does, he says so himself. But in the hip-hop world of swagger'n'brag, that self-effacing comment alone makes this 99-kilo, almost two-metre tall former football player from a small town in Georgia pretty special indeed. Bubba Sparxxx, born Warren Anderson Mathis in March '77, is being far too modest anyway. His debut album... > Read more

JOSE FELICIANO INTERVIEWED (2001): Lighting the quieter fire

1 Jan 2001  |  4 min read

If rock'n'roll hadn't been invented, Jose Feliciano would probably still have had a career, although maybe not one quite as spectacular as that he enjoyed for a shining, if short, period in the late Sixties. Feliciano's breakthrough hit in '68 was a moody, acoustic Latin treatment of the Doors' Light My Fire complete with jazzy vocal improvisations, but the Puerto Rican-born... > Read more

BETH HART INTERVIEWED (2000): Stories to sell and tell

18 Feb 2000  |  3 min read

On what felt like one of Auckland's most humid days of the year, Los Angeles-based singer Beth Hart was coiled on a couch in the lobby of the Sheraton, swathed in an enormous black woollen coat. Gaunt and sporting a massive shoulder tat, the anorexically thin serial smoker cut a striking figure. But up close it was her eyes -- penetrating, impossibly clear, unwavering and betraying... > Read more

LA Story

OZZY OSBOURNE INTERVIEWED (1997): Free range expletive man

3 Jan 2000  |  3 min read

Bat-biting, dove-decapitating, parent-baiting, C-of-E, heavy metal man . . . and a thoroughly nice bloke with a personal best of four unpublishable obscenities in a mere 10 seconds. Then again, he was talking about the royal family and, although he concedes he’s “not a royalty person,” saying that Princess Diana “Wasn't a Royal person. She was like a regular... > Read more