The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Scott Mannion

21 Feb 2018  |  4 min read

There was always something generous, gentle and smart about Auckland singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, not-so-closet Wings fan and co-founder of the charming Lil' Chief Record label. Elsewhere first encountered him in 2003 when he was almost embarrassed to be asked about the exceptional music on the two albums by the Tokey Tones released simultaneously (Mannion and others in... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Steve Portolesi of Kings & Associates

12 Feb 2018  |  2 min read

From the opening passages of this Australian band's album of last year, Tales of a Rich Girl, you are thrown into some biting, classy and intense blues-rock . . . as befits a band which picked up the Most Outstanding New Act at the 2014 South Australian Blues and Roots Association for their live shows and their debut album Red Dress. Their long-awaited follow-up Tales of a Rich Girl... > Read more

Nitty Gritty

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Todd Hunter of Dragon

5 Feb 2018  |  2 min read

The rock band Dragon may have been an unusual first announcement for this year's Womad but probably right for the majority demographic which attends. They may find, as Tim Finn did at a previous Womad, that the audience will happily sing the hits for them. And Dragon certainly had plenty: April Sun in Cuba, Are You Old Enough?, Rain, Still in Love With You . . . Formed in... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Stephen Taberner of the Spooky Men's Chorale

31 Jan 2018  |  3 min read

Womad always throws up surprises but what can you say about a group that is billed this way? “As thunderous as a herd of wildebeest, as sly as a wagonload of Spike Milligans and as sonorous as a cloister of monks, the Spooky Men’s Chorale are the gift that keeps on giving”. A pure vocal ensemble out of Australia, they bring their voices – and not a few heroically... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jeremy Marou of Busby Marou

25 Jan 2018  |  3 min read

Australian duo Busby Marou – Tom Busby and Jeremy Marou – are the breezy sound of summer. So much so that they hosted their own One Hot Night festival in Queensland. They've been to New Zealand before (supporting James Blunt) but for their brief return – see dates below – they team up with our own golden summer girl Jamie McDell. They might also be familiar to... > Read more

Living in a Town

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Jimmy Christmas of the D4

22 Jan 2018  |  4 min read

When the line-up for the Auckland City Limits Festival -- which takes place on March 3, see details below -- was announced, there was understandable excitement about the billing of Grace Jones, Beck, Avalanches and others. But equally welcome in the line-up is the re-formed D4, one of the legendary New Zealand rock'n'roll bands of the late Nineties and early 2000s who, alongside the Datsuns... > Read more

Sake Bomb

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Shenandoah Davis

11 Jan 2018  |  9 min read

In the balkanisation of pop and rock so many new genres emerged that critics and record store jocks had to invent names to describe and help identify these myriad forms. One of the most interesting is “chamber pop” which takes its reference points from the sometimes-orchestrated and deftly arranged songs by the likes of the Association, Left Banke, late Sixties Beach Boys... > Read more

Gold Coast

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Darryn Harkness of New Telepathics

18 Dec 2017  |  2 min read

Multi-instrumentalist Darryn Harkness is a man of irrepressible energy and enthusiasms. To Elsewhere's knowledge -- and we are perhaps just scraping the surface here -- he has been in bands such as Braintree, Spacesuit, Serafin (in London) and Loud Ghost, has played in From Scratch for many years, publishes his own poetry and artwork, has a studio space on Queen St in Auckland, was a key figure... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ed Knowles of Racing

15 Dec 2017  |  3 min read

Ed Knowles, singer with Racing, has what the authorities call “prior form”. A decade ago he and Racing guitarist Sven Pettersen were in the hugely popular North Shore rock band the Checks who knocked out three albums in little more than four years and endeared themselves to audiences everywhere they played. They opened for REM and picked up nominations and awards . . .... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE COMPILER'S QUESTIONNAIRE: Grant Gillanders

11 Dec 2017  |  3 min read

When Auckland's Grant Gillanders puts together a compilation or prepares a reissue of New Zealand music – and he has done at least two dozen in the past decade or so – it's not for the money. It is hard work and often quite labourious tracking down copyright, artists and songs in excellent condition . . . but there's no coin in it. Gillanders does it because he... > Read more

The Gremlins, Blast Off 1970

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Tim Chaisson of the East Pointers

7 Dec 2017  |  2 min read

At this year's Taranaki Womad back in March one of the more popular outfits was the East Pointers out of Prince Edward Island in Canada. The trio of guitars, banjo and fiddle delivered a set divided between Celtic-influenced dance and ballads, but Elsewhere noted in its review that an outdoor setting during the day – which is when we caught them – was not ideal. The... > Read more

82 Fires

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Reverend Peyton

7 Dec 2017  |  3 min read

You gotta love the name: The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. Love it because the Reverend isn't actually one and the “big damn band” is just a three-piece of guitar, homemade drum kit (with a plastic bucket) and washboard. Out of the delightfully named Beanblossom in Indiana, the RPBDBand are schooled in old country blues (Mississippi John Hurt, Charley Patton etc), the... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Paul Van Ross

5 Dec 2017  |  2 min read

Saxophonist Paul Van Ross is no stranger to these shores and returns for what he says is his 15th New Zealand tour next week. The Melbourne-based composer (and flautist) has also played in the US, Japan, Colombia, Germany and Cuba. He studied in New York for two seprate periods, played alongside the likes of Roy Hargrove and George Coleman, has appeared at jazz festivals throughout Asia and... > Read more

Swami in Da House

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE COMPILER'S QUESTIONNAIRE: Alan Perrott

1 Dec 2017  |  4 min read

Auckland DJ and dapper man about town Alan Perrott has long had a love for the classy end of kirsch, MOR, easy listening and soul-funk music. He's a record collector of the nicest kind (he shares the love when appearing as his nom-de-turntables House of Bamboo) and is also behind the new compilation of rare New Zealand soul-funk and disco songs Heed the Call. With John Baker, Perrott... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE COMPILER'S QUESTIONNAIRE: Karl Lock

24 Nov 2017  |  2 min read

There is an art to putting together a good compilation album. The tracks must hang together in some kind of logical way and the running order should take you from one song into the next seamlessly. If there's a theme it might be just a little easier because then you are quite genre-specific perhaps, but others which try to sum up a decade or even just one artist can be very tricky... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Richard X Bennett

20 Nov 2017  |  2 min read

Recently Elsewhere posted a column about the musically and literally itinerant American pianist/composer Richard X Bennett whose two new album were very different: What Is Now was a tough minded and very impressive piano trio recording; Experiments With Truth with a quintet (tenor and baritone saxes added to drums, bass and piano) had its roots in Indian classical music. We might have... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Frazey Ford

16 Nov 2017  |  4 min read  |  1

Singer-songwriter Frazey Ford from Canada is a rare one who first came to attention in the band she founded, The Be Good Tanyas who knocked out three impressive albums in the early 2000s. They are still an occasional going concern but Ford has branched out as an impressive solo artist with two albums so far (starting with the impressive Obadiah) which range from contemporary Memphis-styled... > Read more

Indian Ocean

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITERS' QUESTIONNAIRE: Mel Parsons

31 Oct 2017  |  3 min read

As must be obvious to any longtime readers of Elsewhere, Mel Parsons has always been one of our favourite New Zealand songwriters. We have written favourably about her albums, interviewed her and had her do a Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire . . . but she has never answered our more specific Famous Elsewhere Songwriters' Questionnaire. And so, because she starts a tour with another of our... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sam Trevethick of Shapeshifter

23 Oct 2017  |  5 min read

Half a dozen albums (three of them certified platinum), live recordings and EPs, massive shows, tours of Europe and Australia (where they have been based for the past 15 years), awards for best album and best live act, even more award nominations, side projects and collaborations . . . Shapeshifter have consistently been one of this country's most popular and impressive live acts.... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Declan O'Rourke

25 Sep 2017  |  5 min read

When the great singer-songwriter Paul Brady says Declan O'Rourke possesses a “rich soulful musical voice and a brilliant instrumental ability” and Eddie Reader considers him “one of the finest songwriters on the planet” it is time to sit up and listen. Mojo says O'Rourke writes “the sort of classic songs that people don't write anymore, that... > Read more

Galileo