Absolute Elsewhere

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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

BETCHADUPA, INTERVIEWED (2002): First rays of the new rising sons

22 Mar 2002  |  7 min read

Small gestures can be illuminating. After an hour-long conversation, betchadupa singer-songwriter Liam Finn and drummer Matt Eccles get up to leave the sunny boardroom of their Auckland record company. On the way out Finn automatically picks up the water glasses to take them back to the kitchen. His parents should be proud of this thoughtful young man, not just because their boy has... > 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

JOE COCKER, PROFILED ON FILM (2003): The man still standing

8 Feb 2002  |  3 min read

The great soul singer Ray Charles has often said that Joe Cocker is his foremost disciple.He reiterates that compliment - Cocker has "tears in his voice," he says - at the start of the documentary Joe Cocker: Have A Little Faith.Charles is only one of many who pay handsome tribute to Cocker and his singular career.Eric Clapton calls this former gasfitter from Sheffield "one of... > 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

FRED DURST of LIMP BIZKIT, INTERVIEWED (2001): Durst the worst

14 Dec 2001  |  9 min read

One of the most despised men in rock slumps on to the couch, belches, then mutters "Diet Coke", which seems his way of saying "Pardon me". Then he lazily makes an unprintable aside about this small but extremely comfortable room in this expensive art deco hotel on Sunset Strip. If you had come here to try to like Fred Durst, frontman and mastermind behind Limp... > 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

NIKKA COSTA INTERVIEWED (2001): Take care, she's connected

30 Aug 2001  |  6 min read

Here's a pretty cool career high: opening for the Police and playing to an audience of around 300,000 in Chile.  Here's another: hanging out with Quincy Jones, Sly Stone, Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack pals.  And another: singing with the full Don Costa Orchestra, the same guys who backed Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan and other greats. For the woman who can claim... > Read more

CLOUDBOY'S DEMARNIA LLOYD, INTERVIEWED (2001): In the garden of unearthly delights

12 Jul 2001  |  5 min read

The image is appealing. Walking in the hills above Wellington is songwriter Demarnia Lloyd, of Cloudboy, whose ethereal and magical music on their Down at the End of the Garden album has won wide acclaim.It's the kind of place which feeds her imagination and infects Cloudboy's spacious music."I walk in the hills all the time. There's a stillness and within that is your Self. It creates a... > Read more

KEN STRINGFELLOW OF THE POSIES, INTERVIEWED (2001): Back after calling it quits

9 Feb 2001  |  4 min read

There's an irony here. In September 98 Seattle-based Posies, one of the hardest working dark-hearted power-pop bands, called it quits. Through the 90s - from their debut album Failure to their last album Success - they'd raised the banner of catchy rock'n'roll based around cheerful Beatles/Big Star chord changes and introverted lyrics.The sole constants in the band - guitarists and... > Read more

HOUSE OF DOWNTOWN, INTERVIEWED (2001): DJ electronica from the State House

8 Feb 2001  |  7 min read

Their excitement and relief is obvious. Christiaan Ercolano is animated and bouncing on the couch. Across from him Emerson Todd alternates between focused intensity and lopsided smiles.As House of Downtown, Ercolano and Todd have reasons to be cheerful. Their debut album Release, which bridges the gap between house and r'n'b (the latter courtesy of Sydney-based gospel-funk singer Tulele... > Read more

RICHARD THOMPSON INTERVIEWED (2001): Short and bitter-sweet

9 Jan 2001  |  4 min read

Singer/guitarist Richard Thompson almost single-handedly invented British folk-rock with Fairport Convention. He has a reputation as the King of Misery, and is admired by the likes of Neil Finn, Bob Mould, REM and others.He also has a legendary following of obsessive fans, a vast back-catalogue of modestly-selling albums and almost universal acclaim from critics. He can... > 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

DJ GROOVERIDER, INTERVIEWED (2000): The doyen of dance

30 Jun 2000  |  3 min read

The man whose name is synonymous with drum 'n' bass, London-bred DJ Grooverider, brings his innovative and exciting brand of breakbeats to Auckland tonight.An inspiration to a generation of drum 'n' bass DJs - as well as being the man who gave Goldie a break when he played some of his tracks at a club - Grooverider can boast 12 years at the turntables.He's played everywhere from warehouse... > Read more

USHER, INTERVIEWED (2000): The rise of the house of Usher

1 Jun 2000  |  6 min read

He's young, gifted and, somewhat surprisingly, back.When 14-year-old r'n'b singer Usher crashed into the US charts with his single Think of You back in '94, the world seemed at his feet: he was signed to L. A. Reid's Bad Boy label and hanging with Reid, the late Biggie Smalls and Sean "Puffy" Combs.Songwriters like Al B. Sure and Jodeci's DeVante Swing (at Puffy's suggestion) lined up... > 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

St GERMAIN, INTERVIEWED (2000): The global tourist seeing very little

8 Feb 2000  |  4 min read

Ludovic Navarre shakes his head, mystified when I mention the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. This French DJ, musician and producer who currently goes under the nom de disque St Germain has just come from Japan and I have second- guessed he might have raided record shops in fashionably hip Shinjuku as he has during his two-day stop in Auckland.But no. Just saw the hotel in Japan, one interview... > Read more

PAUL McLANEY, INTERVIEWED (2001): Permanence . . . but always moving

8 Feb 2000  |  5 min read

To see Paul McLaney perform is to be in the presence of a commanding voice. To hear his quiet conversation is to eavesdrop on music history as he effortlessly namechecks Cuba's Buena Vista Social Club, British folk-jazz players Nick Drake and John Martyn, and the 70s Indo-jazz fusion outfit Shakti.Within a free-ranging half-hour he also quotes Noel Gallagher and knowledgeably mentions PJ... > Read more

ATARI TEENAGE RIOT, INTERVIEWED (2000): Talkin' 'bout a revolution?

7 Jan 2000  |  4 min read

Today the sound of the coming anarchist revolution gets an airing at the Big Day Out, courtesy of Germany's Atari Teenage Riot.These self-avowed anarchists whose industrial strength implosion of punk, thrash, samples and air-punching sloganeering makes for an explosive noise, are on the barricades - or at least standing on the stage monitors - haranguing capitalism and its evil works.The... > Read more

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