Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Bird Nest Roys apparently never actually signed to Flying Nun even though their music appeared on the label, and they didn't quite fit the stereotypes anyway. They weren't from Dunedin or Christchurch (they were from Auckland and specifically West Auckland before it became fashionable to be a Westie) and they didn't wear black jeans and polo-neck sweaters.
They actually dressed up in strange and colourful clothes.
But -- despite these seeming disadvantages and music which was more sunshine than shade, more amusing than melancholy -- they were accepted by the Flying Nun inner circle, and their introduction was opening for the Chills in '85.
They didn't last long -- one album, an EP and a single -- but they were a source of delight for anyone who saw them.
As Big Ross says in the liner notes to the reissue of all their music now crammed onto a single disc Me Want Me Get Me Need Me Have Me Love (on Flying Nun of course), they didn't make any money but a psychic told him they would have a lot of fun.
"She was right," he writes. "We had fun, we were fun and many of the friends and associates I met through that silly old band are my friends today."
Big Ross and Little Ross were the chief songwriters in Bird Nest Roys and so on the occasion of the reissue of their material on CD -- also available on vinyl, see here -- Little Ross answers our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.
The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .
Daydream Believer (The Monkees) and Georgie Girl (The Seekers) followed by Puppet on a String (Sandie Shaw).
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .
David Bowie and Neil Young.
Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?
Lennon, Ramones, Madonna and Jacko.
If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .
Professional boxer or tennis player.
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .
Ain’t Mutatin (Bird Nest Roys), Song to the Siren (This Mortal Coil) and She’s In Fashion (Suede).
Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?
I’ve got some original photos of the Rolling Stones playing Western Springs from the early Seventies.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
Shakey, Neil Young.
If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)
The Happy Mondays and me on bongos.
The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The Elephant Man
This Is Spinal Tap
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Neon Bible by Arcade Fire and my most recent download was Melanie Safka’s Greatest Hits.
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 . . .
How Bizarre by OMC.
The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .
Bird Nest Roys tour poster by the late Glen “Solvent” Thomas.
You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .
The logo on the bottle-top for Ravenwood Lodi Zinfandel.
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?
In a fantastic eco-friendly mansion on Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, fishing, growing veges, diving for paua, and creating/recording music in my own private home studio.
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 something that I don’t visit very often but when I do, I feel very proud of it.