|   |  3 min read

Darren Watson: Can't Get Enough of You

Darren Watson of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, has long been a multiple-threat; powerful and souldful singer; excellent blues guitarist; great songwriter.

He first came to attention in Chicago Smokeshop (an appropriate name for a blues band from another city full of politicians) which later became Smokeshop, and released a series of well-recived albums in the Nineties. In the past decade Watson has stepped out under his own name with the 2005 album South Pacific Soul and 2010's excellent Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy which showed the maturity of his songwriting.

In April 2009 Darren won first place in the blues section of the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville. Among the judges were John MayallJames Cotton and Tom Waits. His winning song was All Going Wrong from South Pacific Soul.

In 2010 he came third with Can't Get Enough of You which appears on St Hilda's faithles Boy, and his song Love is an Ocean (see clip below) is a finalist in the 2011 awards, the winner to be announced in April.

Watson here joins the long list of those who have answered The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelling Band (B side of Who'll Stop The Rain)

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

My cuzzie Rod Stone's band, The Librettos

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?


If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .


The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Howlin' Wolf – Forty Four;  I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down – Ann Peebles; Late In The Evening – John Mooney

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

Love my autographed BB King LP that was mastered out of phase and will not play.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life – Laurence Bergreen

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Riley BB King – yep, I'd play for sure.

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

This Is Spinal Tap; It's A Wonderful Life; The Last Waltz

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

James Harman – Strictly Live in '85

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .

Here In My Arms – by yours truly

61I5KdinQlL._SL500_AA300_The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

My autographed copy of BB King's 'Let Me Love You' on Kent.

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

The Beatles' Revolver album cover (back sized)

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

In New Orleans. Gigging regularly. Getting slide guitar lessons from John Mooney.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

Because it's the first time I have left the studio and felt like I didn't make any compromises. It's the first album I have made I really feel I don't need to explain.

Share It

Your Comments

Mike - Sep 29, 2014

Chicago blues right here in New Zealand. I saw Smokeshop over 20 years ago now, at some Jazz and Blues concert in Hagley Park, Christchurch and they literally knocked me off my feet. What with all the bands from way back when, making a comeback, what about a Smokeshop tour of NZ and a new album. Darren is one hell of a guitar player in my books.

post a comment

More from this section   The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire articles index

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Charlotte Ivey and Harley Williams of The Tiny Lies

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Charlotte Ivey and Harley Williams of The Tiny Lies

The Tiny Lies who are based in Lyttelton but are currently touring (see dates below) describe the music on their debut album The Oaks They Wil Bow as "alt-folk-country-noir". At... > Read more



Auckland-based keyboard player and composer Alan Brown has been around the New Zealand jazz scene for decades in groups like Blue Train and the Grand Central Band, has toured and played with the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER GARRY BRANDON captures an old Auckland picture palace

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER GARRY BRANDON captures an old Auckland picture palace

Some weeks ago when Elsewhere wrote about the singer-songwriter Jamie McDell's show at Auckland's Crystal Palace picture theatre, photographer Garry Brandon not only took the excellent shots of the... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DANIEL JOHNSTON: In a mixed up, shook up world

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DANIEL JOHNSTON: In a mixed up, shook up world

Being eccentric or even downright loopy has never disqualified anyone from a career in rock culture. Indeed, some would argue being slightly off-beam is a prerequisite. Rock is littered with... > Read more