March 30, 2014
Doors at 7:00 pm
Show at 8:00 pm
STG Presents Neil Finn at the Neptune in Seattle on Sunday, March 30, 2014.
Born in Te Awamutu, 27/5/58. Son of Mary (nee Mullane) and Richard Finn. The youngest of four children, Carolyn, Tim (originally Brian) and Judy. Taught by nuns at St Patrick’s Primary, boarded at Sacred Heart Boys College for a little over a year before switching to co’ed Te Awamutu College for the rest of my high school days. I remember two good English teachers, Ron Martin and Marion Evans, as early inspirations and motivators.
I was also inspired by my older brother Tim to learn “Lara’s Theme” on piano at the age of 7. A few years later he joined Split Enz with talented painter and musical savant Phil Judd in 1972. Such a highly original band was a rare thing in NZ and their refusal to tread the usual path, not playing pubs, writing sprawling complex songs, embracing theatrics, costumes and makeup set my imagination free.
Also influenced by the singer-songwriters of the time – Neil Young, Cat Stevens, Elton John, David Bowie, Carole King – I found an outlet to sing and play some of these songs on piano and acoustic in the local folk club, learning much along the way about traditional folk from folk club stalwarts the Saxby family. I won a talent quest at Beach Resort Mt Maunganui, singing “Coming Into Los Angeles” and “You’ve Got A Friend”. Also won school music prize at Sacred Heart singing “Carolina On My Mind” with the McHardy Brothers.
Wrote my first song at the age of 15, “Late In Rome”, with an experienced musician from the folk club – Rod Murdoch.
I was asked to join Split Enz in April 1977 after Phil Judd departed. I wore glasses without lenses and jumped around a lot for the first year to cover my obvious lack of skill. Soon after, however, I wrote the song “I Got You” which went on to become a big hit so all turned out pretty well. After four more albums, playing alongside brother Tim, the very talented Eddie Rayner, Noel Crombie and Nigel Griggs, the band eventually broke up in 1984.
I formed Crowded House immediately following with drummer Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. Our first album, recorded in Los Angeles with producer Mitchell Froom, eventually went on to become successful, generating two top ten US hits – “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “Something So Strong”. Crowded House went on to make four albums. In 1989 we took on a valuable fourth member, Mark Hart, and thereafter, following much touring, enjoyed good success in the UK and Europe, becoming known as a very entertaining and spirited live band. Back home in Australia and NZ our songs seemed to make deep connections across generations. The band eventually broke up in 1996 after recording what we regarded as our finest album, Together Alone, with producer Youth. We performed a memorable free and final concert in front of 150,000 people in front of the Sydney Opera House.
Soon after, I co-produced with Tchad Blake an album with brother Tim, upon which we played all the instruments. Although sales for this Finn Brothers project were modest, this album has become a fan favourite.
I then went on to make my first solo album Try Whistling This with Marius De Vries. Another solo album followed, One Nil / One All, recorded with Tchad Blake and featuring Wendy and Lisa (talented collaborators of Prince in his best period) and Jim Keltner.
A one off flight of fancy project unfolded around the same time, the year 2001 – “7 Worlds Collide” which brought together on stage friends and enthusiasts Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway, Johnny Marr, Ed Vedder, Sebastian Steinberg and Lisa Germano for a series of five shows in Auckland NZ which was filmed, recorded and released as a charity record for the benefit of Medicins Sans Frontieres.
This project was reprised seven years later with the addition of four members of Wilco and local music luminairies Bic Runga and Don McGlashan. A double album was recorded in three weeks and released for the benefit of Oxfam. Both 7 Worlds films have recently been released on DVD.
I worked again with my brother Tim in 2004 on a Finn Brothers record alongside Jon Brion and Sebastian Steinberg with production assistance from Mitchell Froom. It was mixed once again by rocket scientist and frequent collaborator Bob Clearmountain.
Since then, Crowded House have been revived with a feeling of things left unsaid in the aftermath of losing dear friend and original member Paul Hester. Two further albums have been recorded with production contributions from Ethan Johns, Steve Lillywhite and Tchad Blake and Jim Scott.
Three years ago, following a series of late night jams with my beautiful wife Sharon on bass and me on drums, we recorded an album under the name Pajama Club alongside respected NZ songwriter Sean Donnelly.
I have just recorded an album scheduled for release early 2014 with producer Dave Fridmann and featuring my sons Liam on guitar and Elroy on drums, together with Sharon on bass. I have also written and performed with Elroy and Liam “The Song of the Lonely Mountain” for the end credits of the first Hobbit movie.
In Feb/March I embarked on a series of live dates around Australia performing on stage together with old friend and much loved Australian songwriter Paul Kelly.
All through the years I have loved performing on stage and am happy to have become known for spontaneous and relaxed evenings, always looking for a chance to step into the unknown. That’s where all the good stuff happens in my experience. My audiences know they have a good chance to influence proceedings.