Graham Reid | | 3 min read
Both of course can bring emotion to the table.
Derek Lind of Auckland belongs to that latter, mature and experienced category.
He is a father and a grandfather, a painter and was an art teacher, and since the mid Eighties has crafted some of the most penetrating lyrics in the vast New Zealand songbook.
His new album Solo – a double set, with a terrific empathetic band – finds him exploring many of life's experiences, among them travel, celebration of children, quiet moments of reflection, doubt in his faith and the death of his wife Ra two years ago.
Needless to say there is emotion in these songs.
Elsewhere is on record saying this is an exceptional collection of songs which cut to the heart and soul. But Lind and the band also marry his penetrating or soul-baring words to memorable tunes.
So it is with pleasure we flicked our Famous Elsewhere Songwriter Questionnaire to Derek Lind . . .
The first song which really affected you was . . .
O Little Town of Bethlem - I was about 8 years old and made to sing it in the Sunday school Christmas presentation at a Gospel Chapel in the Lower Hutt. I can still vividly recall the terror!
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .
When I was about 14 years old I joined a Record Club (some readers may recall them!). The first four albums I ordered were: Beatles - Abbey Road, Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water, A Bob Dylan Greatest Hits, and Neil Young - After the Gold Rush. These selections were all rather fortuitous, but as fate would have it, my early role models were not too shabby!
The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?
Gotta be Dylan
As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Johnny Cash or Kris Kristofferson?
Lennon-McCartney (but I loved the Stones blues influences), kd lang, Michael Jackson (Off the Wall - killer album), Johnny Cash
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . .
A Case of You - Joni Mitchell, Simple Twist of Fate - Bob Dylan, Angel from Montgomery - John Prine .
Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?
For me, most times it's kinda simultaneous. But not always. I can write without a guitar in my hands, hearing the melody and feeling the tempo in my head (or my heart!).
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
Crosstown Traffic by Charles Shaar Murray was a memorable read from decades ago. I've just started reading the bio of Bruce Cockburn, Rumours of Glory. It's pretty interesting.
If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . .
Gosh, that's a tricky one. It would have to be someone pretty compliant...so that's most of my songwriting heroes out! Maybe someone like Ry Cooder, who could bring some added musical virtuosity to the table.
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
I think it was the last Sufjan Stevens album - Carrie and Lowell
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .
Geez...another tough one...how 'bout Every Grain of Sand - Bob Dylan
One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .
"....the wages of sin don't adjust for inflation
It's a buyer's market when you sell your soul "
– Jeffrey Foucault (Ghost Repeater)
Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?
Sadly, about 90% perspiration! In the past few years, because of my circumstances, I struggle with concentration and motivation. I have to really force myself to go to my music space (or my painting space) and work because I know that the discipline and sometimes drudgery of work is what makes the ideas come. That's the formula: Work = Ideas
Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?
Hardly ever, but Do as You're Told off the new album pretty much wrote itself. I'm sure I made some small lyrical adjustments later.
And finally, finish this couplet in any way you like: “Standing at the airport with an empty suitcase at my feet . . .” (You are NOT allowed to rhyme that with “meet” however)
“...I see you at the baggage carousel
My empty heart is filled, replete.”