A fan-site for enthusiasts of The Mutton Birds, Don McGlashan, Marshmallow and related projects
[ :: NEWS :: AUDIO :: VIDEO :: PRESS :: DISCOGRAPHY :: ABOUT :: ]




12th October '14: Don interview on Weekend Variety Wireless

Graeme Hill interviews Don McGlashan on The Winery Tour, new music, old music and his illustrious career - listen here.




11th October '14: Don McGlashan & Dave Dobbyn on Radio NZ

Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan joined Kim Hill for a chat and to choose some tunes for Playing Favorites - listen here.




10th October '14: Don McGlashan & Dave Dobbyn to tour NZ Wineries in 2015

Don McGlashan and Dave Dobbyn are playing a tour of NZ wineries in January and February. Full details and dates here.




18th July '14: NZ on Screen: Five great Don McGlashan moments

Acclaimed New Zealand musician Don McGlashan celebrates his 55th birthday today. NZ On Screen Content Director Irene Gardiner selects five favourite moments from his long and varied career to mark the day - click here to see her choices.




19th June '14: In my life: NZ stars name their Beatles faves

Taken from this article, which also features Fab Four reminiscing from Tim Finn, Jordan Luck and Mike Chunn among others.

Don McGlashan

Your first Beatles memory?

My older sister had a Philips portable record player. It was beige and red plastic, the speaker was in the lid, and I loved it. I would sneak into her room whenever I could, take it out into the garden and listen to stuff. Initially, the only records she had were The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, but she soon started buying Beatles singles like there was no tomorrow. I particularly remember a B side called Anna, a beautiful Arthur Alexander song that the Beatles covered. I think it was on Please Please Me.

Your favourite Beatles song?

There's so many. This week it's I'll Be Back, a John Lennon song from A Hard Day's Night. The flamenco-ish beat, Lennon's dark voice with its heartbroken-but-threatening lyrics and the way the song wavers between major and minor keys still send shivers up my spine to this day.

What do the Beatles mean to you?

The Beatles was the first music I really listened to. I guess I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today if my sister had stuck to Julie Andrews. I might be running a children's choir, or be a nun. Or a German.

Have they influenced you at all?

You never hear songwriters saying they're overtly influenced by the Beatles. That would be like saying you're influenced by daylight, or food, or something. The thing is, they're such a big part of music in the last 50 years that not being in some way influenced by them would be almost impossible.




25th March '14: Congratulations to David Long!

Congratulations to David Long, who's been announced as the next Composer in Residence at NZ School of Music. Check out the full story here.




17th March '14: New addition to live archive from 1996

A huge thanks to Craig Box for sending a live show for the archive. Recorded at the Mean Fiddler in London on 12th July 1996, the show is notable for taking place about a week before the band headed to Wales to record Envy Of Angels. The show contains a great live take on rarity Inbetween Man, and given that it's from a tape, the sound quality is actually pretty good! Right-click and save this link, or find it down the bottom of the Audio archive page (now the oldest show we have in there!)




29th December '13: While You Sleep, live in Edinburgh

Here's a video of Don McGlashan and Dave Dobbyn (accompanied by Ross Burge and Jo Barus) performing While You Sleep at Edinburgh's Bongo Club on 7th December 2013. A massive thanks to Ingrid Janssens for the video footage!






24th November '13: Dave Dobbyn interview

In advance of the upcoming Dobbyn & McGlashan UK tour dates, we grabbed a few words with the one and only Mr Dave Dobbyn!

Firstly, a huge congrats on the Hall of Fame award - richly deserved recognition! Do we need to get a red carpet ready to roll out at the Union Chapel?

Thank you very much. It was a great night. People were so generous. I blushed a lot, especially during pics and videos of old. I was a nervous wreck on the inside. People are amazing. Regarding red carpet. Relax, any tasteful rug will suffice thanks.

I can think of a lot of NZ acts that moved to the northern hemisphere at some point during their career; you focused your attentions - and reaped great rewards - from Australasia, but did you ever consider moving to the UK?

It had occurred to me often in dreams. Although at the time, Thatcherism had us in full dread, and everything was blowing up. I'd love to have seen the Clash then. It was a pivotal time in music, though I guess it always is. The pull of the land here had me captive those years, toiling away in the provinces, only to fund serious toiling away in Oz. There's no end to touring. It always felt somewhat like camping, living in Sydney for ten years. Moved home in '93, broke as. My wife and I had a wee daughter and doors opened pretty quickly, work wise. Never looked back. This is home.

Aside from Don, which other musician - living or dead - would join you for your dream duet, and what song would it be?

Difficult choice and subject to change but: Paul Buchanan - The Blue Nile - 'Heat Wave'. Or Johnny Cash - 'Said I Wasn't Gonna Tell Nobody'

Have there been any particularly controversial omissions from this tour's set lists?

It was tough sacrificing some great songs to cover the territory of the set. As grace would have it, Don and I swapped lists of must-dos and that made for a cool shape from the start. I think we struck a balance of moods that's uplifting. We both have our ways of making the craft invisible. The songs speak more on their own.

Has reworking songs for these dates with Don made you see any of his (or indeed your own) songs in a new light? Have you discovered any new meanings?

Yes, I feel more relaxed lyrically, having immersed myself in Don's words. He has a great economy, with enough detail for a listener to fill in their own gaps. Quite a master. Wry as. I've learnt a lot.

Unless my counting is wrong (and maths was never my strong point), you have 10 songwriting entries in APRA's Top 100 NZ Songs of All Time from 2001, compared to Don's 5. A good argument-settler when it comes to tour bus disagreements, right?

I'd never think like that. But now that you mention it, I'll have to negotiate a rear seat in the van, so as to perish last, if a logging truck should hurtle itself our way. Sorry Don. Also, first dibs at music selection. And more refreshment stops.

Do you have a different approach to writing a song nowadays as opposed to, say, 20 years ago? Does your history and audience expectation play any part?

I'd like to think I can go farther up and further in, with less to work with now. I still love the challenge of a 3-4 minute song. I'm less interested in anything too ornate or busy. I think an audience always wants to be lifted up, as they should be, as we should all be, when the music's good. My history is irrelevant. Every song must stand up.

If you could only be remembered for one song, which would you choose, and why?

Ah. Not fair. If I didn't think my best three minutes were ahead of me, I'd be lazy and there is no rest for a songwriter. The next one is always potentially the best.

Alongside the dig through your respective back-catalogues, I'm guessing the UK dates will include some nods to contemporary culture. Have you flipped a coin to see which of you will be twerking?

Well, I'm sure I spotted Don having a bit of a twerk on the church tour. He was playing a glockenspiel at the time, so I may have averted my eyes in pious embarrassment. I'm sure he'll attempt it again too, though he may have moved on to the tambouritza. As far as I know he hasn't requested any demolition equipment to drape himself upon. Contemporary culture might have us voguing over laptops in a pyrotechnic cage, you never know. We're so beyond post-modern, it's hard to keep up really.

What have you got coming up that we can look forward to - is there a new album in the pipeline?

Yes a new album. Happily, I'm an independent artist and I now own a studio - Red Trolley. It's a very conducive space to create cool sounds, so I'm a-buzz with the thrill of that. By April we should have a record on the move.




23rd November '13: Full list of McGlashan & Dobbyn UK dates

There have been a couple of additional tour dates added in recent weeks, so here's an updated list:

Friday 6th Dec - Union Chapel, London
Buy tickets

Saturday 7th Dec - Bongo Club, Edinburgh
Buy tickets

Sunday 8th Dec - Bongo Club, Edinburgh
Buy tickets

Monday 9th Dec - Bush Hall, London
Buy tickets




15th October '13: Blam Blam Blam to play Chris Sheehan fundraiser

Blam Blam Blam are to join The Exponents for a one-off show, raising money for Chris Sheehan. This fantastic show will take place at The Powerstation on 31st October - full details here and here.




30th September '13: Don & Dave @ Parnell - NZ Herald live review

"Dobbyn had taken it to the pews of the nation solo a few years ago. This time, with McGlashan, was a chance for the pair to bounce between their respective Great New Zealand Songbooks - both of which probably should come with fold-out maps given their shared sense of geography - and add some new elegant touches to the familiar."

Read the full review here

UPDATE: Here's another review, from 13th Floor




27th September '13: Don McGlashan & Dave Dobbyn - Scotland date

In addition to the London date on 6th December, Don McGlashan and Dave Dobbyn will be heading north of the border the following day:






29th July '13: Don McGlashan & Dave Dobbyn - UK date

Just heard some fantastic news - Don McG and Dave Dobbyn's duo tour of New Zealand's churches is coming to the UK. One date announced so far - 6th December at the Union Chapel in London - with hopefully more to be announced... Tickets on sale now




26th July '13: Chris Starling on new edition of Straight To Your Head podcast

A couple of classic tracks from Chris Starling's 'Planet Painkiller' album feature on the new edition of the Straight To Your Head podcast, so for anyone who never delved into the erstwhile Mutton Birds guitarist's later solo work, here's a fine introduction. Visit the STYH Podcast website here, or subscribe to the free podcast at iTunes




25th July '13: Don McGlashan & Dave Dobbyn announce acoustic tour of NZ

Article from NZHerald.co.nz

High priests of local songwriting, Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan are heading out to play the nation's churches together. We sent them a pre-tour inquisition ...



Around here we're going to be calling the tour "DD Mass" ... think it will make the poster?

Dave Dobbyn: Maybe, if we were ever to contemplate a metal opera tour, festooned with hideous artwork and fiery props. But we'll get back to you on that one.

Don McGlashan: I think calling it a Mass might be false advertising. Very little of the show's going to be in Latin, and we won't be passing out wine or wafers, as far as I know.

To our knowledge you haven't toured or played together before. If not, why not? But if you have, when was that and please provide a memorable anecdote to prove it happened.

DD: We have played many a benefit together and if Don would call, I'd be a tad apprehensive until I'd figured what the cause was, or if a politician was on the loose. We did a songwriters' night at the St James once, where I murdered Anchor Me and tried to make up for it by re-enacting Hillary's conquest of Everest using a couch. Tensing made the top of the couch first. I hope the audience has forgotten. Not sure if Don has.

DMcG: Well, we've done the odd benefit together. I also once joined Dave onstage in Taupo when we were on the same bill, and I played euphonium on a song on his album Twist. A beautiful song, too - called It Dawned On Me. I don't know why we haven't played together more. We've been good friends for years and Dave's always inspired me with his music.

We're assuming you will be swapping songs and singing harmonies and playing on each other's songs. Is it the sort of show that requires much rehearsal, adjustments of key, teaching each other long misheard lyrics?

DD: Yes, a week of rehearsal will be quite intense. I imagine Don will need to shepherd me somewhat. These days I'm better at knowing the songs well and almost over-rehearsing myself, just to nail the lyrics to my cerebral cortex. In May, I learned 30 new songs for the Stories Old & New tour and found it refreshing not to be tortured by the writing process and have a head full of other writers' songs. So bring on the church tour - I'm in a good learning headspace. Don is a performer of great precision, so my challenge is to keep up with him and know everything so well as to lose ourselves in the songs. That's when the music happens the most.

DMcG: Yeah. Can't wait to do that Royal song. Seriously, though, I've grown up loving Dave's stuff, but it'll be a whole other ball game getting inside the arrangements and learning how to play them. We're planning to rehearse quite a bit for this tour, and I'm looking forward to that very much.

It might be a church tour, but given your respective roots, are you also doing your bit for Catholic/ Protestant harmony?

DD: Hell no. I won't be that tribal. Besides, church culture is an endless source of humour. Don's razor wit will no doubt hone itself on and off stage, at the expense of all sorts I hope. But all in fun, peace, love and misunderstanding.

DMcG: I only know how to sing Protestant harmonies. I'm hoping Dave will teach me some Catholic ones.

Random common themes or subjects in your guys' songs: bridges, angels, rivers, rain, the sea ... what have we missed?

DD: Fire and light. Soil and trees. Sun and blood. Ice and drought. More rain and endless roads. Buildings and clouds. Cars and guitars. Trains and buses. Malls and pedestrians. Towers and skydiving. Mountains and deep space. Daughters and sons. I'm sure they're all in there somewhere.

DMcG: Well, not many people know this, but Dave, like me, has written dozens of songs about inanimate objects: heaters, toasters, nail clippers, toilet brushes and the like. However, he tends to suppress them for some unexplained reason. I'm hoping I can bring that side of him out into the light. No; I think bridges, angels, rivers, rain, and the sea are a good set of themes. They should keep us both busy for a few years yet.

Which song of the other's canon do you particularly admire and why?

DD: I've always loved Anchor Me for its vulnerability and because it is classic McGlashan with its spooky dramatic chord changes. I saw Don do Andy supporting Elvis Costello at the Civic. It made me cry a bit. It's a sign of great endurance for a song to do that.

DMcG: There are a lot that I think are great, but Maybe the Rain is one that springs to mind (speaking of rain). It's hard to write a decent protest song that has clarity, heft and humility, but I think Dave nailed it with that one. Lovely recording, too.

What does the other do in his songs that you maybe wish you could do in yours?

DD: I've admired Don's lyrical economy and his sense of mood in arrangement. I guess it's kind of quirky, but he has a way of dramatising the ordinary and making something new with it. Don is a sharp observer of people so I think he'd be more skilled with characters in songs. I've yet to populate my tunes with developed characters, probably because I'm still developing mine.

DMcG: One of the things we strive for as songwriters is to come up with something that sounds as if it's always been there; something that seems like it's grown up out of the soil. Dave's written a number of songs like that, and there's a grace and effortlessness about them that's truly remarkable. I admire that a lot.

Complete this sentence. The last time I actually went to church was ...

DD: For a joyful wedding at Knox Church, Parnell, during a thunderstorm. Everybody danced and sang. There was a conga line. Also I went to Dave McArtney's funeral. It was a beautiful honouring of a great man.

DMcG: A few weeks ago, actually. I try to get to our local Quaker Meeting when I can. I treasure the silence and down-to-earthness of it. But I'm still pretty wavery on whether there's an external God, other than human love. That may change as I get older, but that's where I am now. Dave's much more publicly celebratory of his faith than I am, and I applaud him for his openness and courage on that score. I imagine he and I will cover the subject of religion pretty thoroughly on this tour; whether onstage, in motels, or over breakfast on the Interislander. I'm looking forward to that, too!

Who: Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan's Acoustic Church Tour
When and where: Thurs, Sep 26, Hamilton Chapel of Christ the King; Fri, Sep 27, Tauranga Holy Trinity; Sat, Sep 28, Auckland Holy Trinity Cathedral; Monday, Sep 30, Napier Cathedral; Tues, Oct 1, Wellington Old St Paul's; Thurs, Oct 3, Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral; Sat, Oct 5, Dunedin Knox Church.

Tickets: On sale from Mon, Aug 4 from www.acousticchurchtour.co.nz

- Russell Baillie




23rd July '13: Chris Sheehan battling cancer

Found out some really sad news about former Mutton Birds guitarist - and solo artist of some renown - Chris Sheehan, who's battling cancer. Chris's guitar work with the MBs around the time of Rain, Steam & Speed is the stuff of legend, and the couple of records he released under the name Chris Starling around the same time - Planet Painkiller and Sounds Like Chris Starling - are full of pop gems and hugely worth seeking out.

Click here to contribute to the fund enabling him to make one final record. Best wishes Chris!




6th July '13: Story songs blog

"There's nothing like a good story song. Lyrics come to the fore, elevated by the music that supports them..."

Interesting blog post here including a mention of A Thing Well Made.




23rd June '13: Ron Sexsmith covers Esther

Check out Ron Sexsmith's fantastic cover of Esther:






12th June '13: Podcast love for Marshmallow

The latest edition of Pete Storry's rather wonderful Straight To Your Head podcast features a tune from Marshmallow - not a new song alas, but hopefully its inclusion will get a few people interested in this fine record as it turns 10.

Details at http://www.styhpodcast.com/podcast_more.asp?pid=45

The podcast is well worth subscribing to anyway, featuring as it does 10 new songs from up and coming (as well as the occasional more established) acts. There's already a sizeable archive available on iTunes.




25th March '13: Miracle Sun radio edit

A few people have been asking about the radio edit of Miracle Sun that as far as I can tell was never officially available to buy (it was streaming on Don's Myspace page, but wasn't officially released as a single). For your listening/downloading pleasure, here it is:

Don McGlashan Miracle Sun (radio edit) (right-click and save)




7th February '13: A Thing Well (re)Made - podcast now updated!

Peter Storry's fantastic Don McGlashan & Mutton Birds podcast (see news item from 13th Sept 2012 for full details) has been updated, in light of last October's reunion show. Now 20 minutes longer, the new improved file can be downloaded from here




12th December '12: CD tray insert for Too Hard Basket

Following on from the recent news about the self-released CDs being available again - buy online here - Mike Blackwood has created an inlay tray design for anyone who has purchased Too Hard Basket (which comes without the original sleeve). So if you've bought one and are storing it in a jewel case, you may like to download and print Mike's artwork.

Click the thumbnail to access the full-size image.






6th December '12: Don's speech from the Silver Scrolls

Don's keynote speech from the Silver Scrolls in September can be viewed online here

(Thanks again to Carolyn for the tip-off)




5th December '12: Free Range CD available at amplifier.co.nz

Free Range can be purchased on CD from http://www.amplifier.co.nz/default,92965.sm

(Thanks to Carolyn for the tip-off)




30th November '12: Free Range now on iTunes

Free Range: The Mutton Birds Live 2012 is now available on iTunes:

UK store
NZ store
US store




29th November '12: Live recording of Shepherd's Bush show

A huge thanks must go to Oli Draper for sending over live recordings from the Mutton Birds' recent one-off London show! Download the zip file here (right-click and Save As)




28th November '12: Self-released albums available online

Just had some excellent news - the stock of Angle Of Entry, Too Hard Basket and Live In Manchester CDs that recently resurfaced are now available to buy online.

Currently here: www.discogs.com/seller/muttonbirds

Likely to also be on Amazon Marketplace among other places soon.

That page will also be stocking the new live album, although I'm told that won't be til March. In the meantime, it'll be available on iTunes from Friday 30th November.

(Thanks to Jasper for the update)




7th November '12: Videos from London

A few clips of footage from the Shepherd's Bush show are now on Youtube. Had some issues with embedding, so here are the links...

Come Around

Trouble With You

A Thing Well Made

The Heater

These - and many other Mutton Birds, Don McGlashan, Marshmallow etc videos - can be viewed at the muttonbirdsandbeyond Youtube channel.

In other news, esteemed music journo David Hepworth has been bigging up A Thing Well Made here




28th October '12: Shepherd's Bush

The original line-up of the Mutton Birds returned to London for a solitary show on Saturday 27th October. It was a great chance to hear the expected classics alongside lesser-heard tunes like Too Close To The Sun and Ngaire. The full set list was:

Envy Of Angels
Dominion Road
In My Room
A Thing Well Made
Straight To Your Head
Trouble With You
Too Close To The Sun
Wellington
Ngaire
While You Sleep
Come Around
Queen's English
The Heater
Nature
-------
White Valiant
Along the Boundary
Pulled Along By Love
-------
Anchor Me
-------

Here are a few pics taken by Dave Thake:












28th October '12: Free Range: The Mutton Birds Live 2012

People at the Shepherd's Bush gig on Saturday had the first chance to buy the brand new live CD, Free Range. Looks like it'll be available on iTunes from the end of November - waiting on news as to where the CD will be available. The track-list for the CD, which was recorded live at the King's Arms in Auckland on Feb 29th 2012 is as follows:

Envy Of Angels
Dominion Road
In My Room
A Thing Well Made
Too Close To The Sun
Come Around
Trouble With You
Queen's English
The Heater
Along The Boundary
White Valiant
Nature
Anchor Me

And it looks like this:






26th October '12: BBC Radio live sessions, yesterday and tomorrow

So the day has almost arrived! The Mutton Birds' first UK show in over a decade is tomorrow night, Saturday 27th Oct. Looks like there may be some tickets left from Ticketweb.

Last night on Gideon Coe's BBC 6Music show, the band played three live tracks. Listen here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ngw6g (Dominion Road just after 14 mins, While You Sleep at 1 hr 19 mins and A Thing Well Made at 2 hr 37 mins )

And then tomorrow afternoon, Dermot O'Leary's BBC Radio 2 show, broadcast between 3-6pm, will be broadcasting a pre-recorded live session with the band. Details at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ng0t6




25th October '12: Live session on BBC 6Music

Hearing reports that the Mutton Birds are recording a live session today for broadcast on Gideon Coe's BBC 6Music show this evening.

Show details are here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ngw6g

(Thanks to Richard for the tip off)




19th October '12: Live show on Radio NZ

The Mutton Birds' live set recorded at the Kings Arms in Auckland back in February this year will be broadcast on Radio NZ on Saturday 20th October at 4.10pm.

More info here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/collections/live/themuttonbirds

Hopefully it'll be available on demand afterwards, for those of us who can't figure out time zones...




3rd October '12: Mutton Birds on BBC Radio 2

Hearing reports that The Mutton Birds will be recording an acoustic session for Radio 2's Dermot O'Leary show, to be broadcast on the afternoon of the London gig, 27th October. Further details soon!




1st October '12: Don McG live Radio NZ session

Here's a link to a session Don recorded for Radio NZ's Music 101 show on 29th September, featuring fantastic live acoustic versions of Bad Blood and Courier:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/radionz/programmes/nat-music/audio/2534064/don-mcglashan-in-session




23rd September '12: Reunion interviews #4: Don McGlashan

In the lead-up to the Mutton Birds' London date on 27th October, A Religion Of A Kind had been interviewing all four band members. Here's Don.

Are you someone who is generally in favour of bands getting back together for a run through the hits?

There's always the fear, when you go and see a favorite band who have decided to reunite many years on, that a) they'll sound like a lame tribute band to themselves, and/or b) they'll look like tragic old guys trying to re-live their former youth and dangerousness.

This hasn't been a problem with us, as a) we've all been agreeably surprised at how good we sound this time round, and b) we were never particularly young and dangerous (except in our own heads).


The London show is being billed in some quarters as the last ever Mutton Birds show. Are you definitely ruling out further reunions in the future?

I guess you can't rule it out completely. We needed an extraordinarily good set of conditions to get us to reunite this time (for the NZ Winery tour in Feb/March this year): guaranteed audiences, a well-organised tour, no financial risk, heated towel-rails in all the motels… I suppose if all that were to be offered us again some time in the future - and we can all still stand up and hold our instruments - we'd have to look at it seriously.

The Mutton Birds recorded four consistently brilliant studio albums. Which one are you most proud of, and why?

Probably the first one - I don't know if it's the best, but it was where we kind of invented ourselves.

The debut album has now turned 20 - were there any (or are there any belated) plans for an anniversary re-issue?

The CD market has dived pretty sharply in NZ (as everywhere) so it's hard enough organizing a new release from a going-concern band with a big promo push behind it, let alone one from a band like ours.

We've thought a bit about special vinyl releases. We'll think again once this London show is over.


You famously re-mortgaged your house to fund the making of that first Mutton Birds album. Did you have a backup plan in case the record hadn't succeeded?

Not really. Just to work harder. The guy whose home studio we used said at the outset that he only wanted to be paid if the record broke even, so that was a big help. It was a thrill to be able to write him a cheque when the album started doing well.

Many of your songs have taken on anthemic status. When you were writing something like Anchor Me, did you have any idea that it might connect with people so deeply?

I think once the band started playing it to audiences (and someone came up specially to compliment us on "…that Ankle Deep song") I began to realise that it might resonate with people. Songs can gradually grow into themselves over time, too. Even after 20 years, I'm still learning new things about our material. We've made a live album from a show recorded during the Winery tour this year (It's called "Free Range - The Mutton Birds Live 2012". The plan is to bring that to London and have it available at the Shepherds Bush gig), and I think there are a few versions of songs on that which are actually better than the studio versions - because we've finally worked out what the song's about.

You've returned to London a few times for shows since moving back to NZ. What are the key differences for you when you view it now as a visitor, as opposed to the years you were living here?

Although it was great to be working full-time at being in a band, and great to be in a huge, exciting city with my young family, I was pretty miserable for large chunks of our time living in the UK. I found the effort of trying to 'make it' in the cut-throat mainstream music business very stressful, and, ultimately, not something I was really cut out for. It's been really fun coming back since then and reconnecting with old friends and audiences on a more manageable level.

Having written for rock bands, film scores and theatre productions among your many varied projects, is there any other area or as yet unexplored discipline you might turn your hand to at some point?

Actually I find I'm less inclined to do weird collaborations nowadays. I just want to make good albums and do good live shows, on my own or with a band, and I don't really want to be distracted from that. That's not to say that interesting things don't come up from time to time though. Mid-next year I'll be musical director for a big show involving the New Zealand Dance Company, a brass band, and lots of floating fabric.

I'm also occasionally playing in a terrific group called The Spoilers Of Utopia. Two trumpets, vibes, eupho, trombone, tuba, drums, guitar and string bass. We play standard hymns and marches which disintegrate into improv, then re-congeal.


It's been over three years now since your last solo record Marvellous Year - can we expect something new any time soon?

Absolutely. I feel I'm getting up to speed again with my writing. There'll be a Bellbirds album (Sean Donnelly's side project quartet that I'm in with Sean, Sandy Mill and Victoria Kelly) released in the early part of next year, then hopefully I'll record my next one after that.

There was talk (or maybe just rumours) a few years back about how you might be working on something new with former Front Lawn partner Harry Sinclair. Is there anything to report?

No not much unfortunately. Harry and I have been getting together on and off over the last 5 years. We have a script, on which a fair bit of work's been done, but not enough success on the funding side yet to give the project the green light. I'll keep you posted.

You were quoted, back in the day, as remarking how “the love that dares not speak its name is the love for The Mutton Birds!" A sold-out Shepherds Bush Empire will surely beg to differ - what do you think the band's legacy will be?

New Zealanders of my generation tend to put themselves down before someone else has a chance to - so that's probably where that remark came from.

It's been really great to see the depth of interest in the band that's still there today, and yes, a full house at the Empire on October 27th would be pretty vindicating, and evidence enough for me that what we did made a difference to people. I guess that's the only kind of legacy that matters.


And finally, a few quick-fire ones...

Favourite Mutton Birds song that'll be in the Shepherd's Bush set list?

I'm really enjoying playing "Too Close To The Sun" at the moment.

Favourite song that probably won't make it into the set list?

"While You Sleep" has been refusing to behave except for a good acoustic version we did live on Radio NZ. We ended up leaving it out of the winery tour sets. We'll have another go when we get back together in London.

What new albums/bands have you been listening to that you'd recommend?

I like a young band from Auckland, called Rackets

I also love "Come on, Feel The Illinois" by Sufjan Stevens (which is not that new).


Best bit of advice you've heard in the last ten years?

"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left". (Paul Crowther, first Split Enz drummer and Mutton Birds sound man for many years).




13th September '12: The Mutton Birds: A Thing Well Made - the podcast

Mutton Birds fan extraordinaire and podcaster Peter Storry has been busying himself putting together something that every Mutton Birds fan will absolutely love. I'll let the man himself explain:

THE MUTTON BIRDS: A THING WELL MADE - A PODCAST INTRODUCTION

It took me more than two months, but in the last few days, my labours finally came to fruition.

The newly re-formed Mutton Birds gave me an excuse to lock myself away in the lab' to work on what I hope, is one of the most complete stories ever told about the history of the band, in audio form.

The basis of the podcast is this: Three interviews I did with Don McGlashan, in March 1998; November 1998; and July 2010.

Thanks to Don's comprehensive answers, I have been able to structure the podcast so the story is told largely by the man himself, in his own words.

We not only spoke about the records, but Don's song writing processes, and his thoughts on the struggle of working within the constraints of a major label.

It's dotted with other titbits too. For example, the band's stance on nuclear testing in the Pacific, their work for the movie The Frighteners, and why calling the band “the Black Sheep” was an idea thrown into the bin pretty quickly.

Also covered, are numerous aspects of Don's solo work between the band's break-up, and reformation for the 2012 tour, including working with Neil Finn & Crowded House and his solo records.

And what is “Giant Friend” all about?

I have added music to illustrate the subject matter, as well as some candid moments from rare live performances that you might remember. 99% of the interview material in the 2 hour+ podcast, has however, never been heard before.*

The pain-staking process of sifting out the best bits of the interviews began earlier this year, when I decided to weave parts of them together in a chronological fashion, rather than stick with my original running order of questions. As I was 18 and 19 years old at the time, my knowledge of the band far out-weighed my ability to structure an interview in the fashion upon which my career has since come to rely.

The total running time for my chats with Don was between 3 and a half to 4 hours long, so I listened to every question and every answer, making notes along the way about how best to put it all back together in a more sensible running order than the rather hap-hazard order of questions I chose to follow back when I was a naïve teenager.

I re-ordered the content to focus logically on the band's activities from the early 90s, to their split around a decade later. You'll be able to spot when we jump from one interview to the next, by the differing levels of sound quality. The two 1998 recordings were made on cassette, and after lying dormant in boxes for more than ten years, time has inevitably taken its toll on the tapes. I have however, cleaned up the sound as best I can, using hiss reduction techniques and such like. You might find the best way to listen is on an mp3 player rather than through your PC speakers. Having said that, you might not. It's up to you how to enjoy it I guess!

If there's one thing I wanted to achieve with this podcast, it was to share a rare glimpse into the band with likeminded fans, and perhaps, newcomers, who are yet to have the pleasure of listening to the band for the first time.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of this project for me personally, is that Don has heard it and given me his blessing to release it to the world online. I guess that makes it officially endorsed by the band as an accurate record of one of my, and presumably your, favourite bands.

Thanks must go to Don, Alan, David, Ross, and all the other fine musicians that have worked on the music that has proved that, in a world of throwaway pop songs, beautiful, intelligent songs endure the harsh test of time.

Listening to these tapes for the first time in more than ten years re-revealed long-forgotten & little known facts to me about the band and the man behind the lions' share of the songs that have become an integral part of New Zealand's musical landscape.

I hope you find it as ear-opening as I have.

Peter Storry, August 2012

The podcast can be downloaded free from iTunes HERE (Please leave a review!)

UPDATE: 7th FEB 2013 - the new improved file can be downloaded from here




12th September '12: Reunion interviews #3: Ross Burge

In the lead-up to the Mutton Birds' London date on 27th October, A Religion Of A Kind will be interviewing all four band members. Here's Ross Burge.

You started the year with the newly re-formed Mutton Birds touring NZ's Wineries. How long had that been on the cards?

For the last few years. The line-up with Gin Wigmore and Avalanche City was a cracker, so we joined in.

Are you someone who is generally in favour of bands getting back together for a run through the hits?

Why not, as long as they can still play.

It was reported that during the Wineries tour, yourself and Alan didn't succumb to the temptation to follow Don and David in growing beards. Given the months since, should we be expecting some impressive facial topiary from the two of you at the London show?

Have you seen Don and Daves chins?? The rhythm section remains true.

Are you looking forward to playing in London again? Can you pinpoint key differences between audiences in the UK and NZ?

I love playing London, I've done a few with Dave Dobbyn and the audiences are a blast. I'm expecting more English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish than Dave pulls, but there's no real difference- excitement is excitement, no matter where you're from.

Anything you particularly miss about living in England?

The history aspect, the congestion, Lorraines' Mum and Dad, not in that order, obviously.

What are your memories of the early days of the Mutton Birds? Do you remember there being a game plan when the band first formed?

We always had plans to get overseas, and to make a living out of the band, and that worked for a time. I liked the touring.

The Mutton Birds released four peerless studio albums and conducted what looked like endless tours during the 90s. Is there one particular high point that stands out from that time?

Er, the van breaking down on a French motorway and being loaded on to a flatbed truck to be taken to a garage with all of us still in it. Watch out, here comes another overbridge! Oo-er.

When the group disbanded at the turn of the century, was there a sense that it had come to a natural end, or do you think/wish it could've continued?

It felt like its time was up.

Who were your musical heroes when you were growing up, and at what point did you decide the drum stool was for you?

The Beatles- Ringo (fantastic live!), Charlie Watts, Bonham, Moon, Billy Cobham, Steve Gadd. I was about 5 or 6 when I started beating the rubbish tins.

If you tried to distil your drumming style into five words, what would they be?

"How does that go again?"

What would be your advice for up and coming drummers?

Play the song.

Your musical CV reads like a who's who of NZ rock, having played with everyone from the Finn Brothers to Wayne Mason, Bic Runga to Sharon O'Neill. If you could drum for any other artist, living or dead, who would it be?

Graham Brazier

Have you ever had the desire or temptation to put the sticks aside and front a band?

Well, now there's auto-tune......

I've seen you described on a forum as a 'damn groovy legend'. Would that be a fitting epitaph?

Damned drummer, more likely.

And finally, a few quick-fire ones...

Favourite Mutton Birds song that'll be in the Shepherd's Bush set list?


Straight To Your Head

Favourite song that probably won't make it into the set list?

Don't Listen To This Song

What new albums/bands have you been listening to that you'd recommend?

Laura Marling, Lawrence Arabia, The Walkmen

Best bit of advice you've heard in the last ten years?

Spend time with your parents.

Best joke you've heard in the last ten years?

Er, I'm not gonna repeat that here!

(Thanks to Jasper @ Spacific for arranging the interview)






7th August '12: Reunion interviews #2: David Long

In the lead-up to the Mutton Birds' London date on 27th October, A Religion Of A Kind will be interviewing all four band members. Next up is David Long.

Are you someone who is generally in favour of bands getting back together for a run through the hits?

Ha! I don't really have a strong opinion on the matter; I think that, if people make good music, then it's worth it. Of course, sometimes it can be sad but hopefully we're not too sad. We may be older but I actually felt like we were as good, if not better than ever.

Have you been back to the UK since you left the band?

I've been back 6 times I think. I do love London - although it's harder when one has a couple of little kids.

You left the Mutton Birds after making Envy of Angels. Given that the recording of that album in Wales sounds like it might not have been the happiest time for you, how's it been to revisit those songs?

It's been great revisiting those songs. Envy has, however, been the hardest to learn as I only did one tour after it was finished. The parts for the first two albums seem to be more embedded in my bones.

Did you have any regrets leaving the band at a point where things looked fairly positive for its musical future?

I tend not to think 'what if...' I'm very happy with where I am now in my life and so, if I changed one thing, maybe it would have all been different? I think leaving was the right thing for me to do at the time. I really loved the band but I remember having a sense of wanting to do other things before it was 'too late'. Too late for what I'm not sure….

The apocalyptic, squealing feedback that ends 'Too Close To The Sun' remains a spine-tingling highlight not just of Salty, but the band's entire back catalogue. Would you have liked the band to go down more sonically challenging roads?

I'm very proud of that guitar stuff. I do love making feedback and I've spent a lot of my life making it but as to if I wanted more in the Mutton Birds… I think it's more important to do something that one thinks will serve the song first before serving one's own agenda. I guess what I mean is, the songs come first. I've made lots of sonically challenging sounds (I like that term!) in other contexts.

'Inside My Skin' and 'Answerphone' were fine songs; why didn't more of your own compositions didn't make it onto Mutton Birds releases?

I was always writing things but they often didn't seem right for the band. I loved collaborations on songs (I think collaborating is the thing I enjoy doing most) and loved writing things like 'Too Close to the Sun'. I think I imagined doing that more as time went on but life in London seemed to preclude it - it always seemed so hard to get anywhere!

In 2001 you released an album, featuring guest vocalists, under the name Slim Volume. The songs were quite left-field and satisfyingly experimental in tone and arrangement. Was this a one-off, or do you have a stock-pile of songs waiting for a follow-up? Who would your dream guest vocalists be?

For a while I was writing lots of songs but I seem to be not writing lyrics these days. If I had had a good voice I would probably have been a singer-songwriter but God knows we have enough of them these days and don't need yet another OK one. I loved making that album though and loved the people on it. If I did another I'd probably get Mutton Birds on a lot. Another vocalist? Asha Bhosle - the great Bollywood singer.

You've composed for a wide variety of films in the past couple of decades, from low budget short films to blockbusters like the Lord of the Rings films. What do you look for when choosing projects?

What do I look for? It's an interesting question because it's my job so - to a certain extent - I look to pay the mortgage but I do turn things down sometimes that don't seem like me. I've loved working on the big films - I got to make about 15 minutes of additional music on 'The Lovely Bones' and then to meet Brian Eno off the back of it and that was amazing. I do, however, have a real soft spot for smaller budget films. Often there is more artistic license given and there isn't a team of people analysing whether it's right. Some of my favourite work ever has been composing scores for the live shows of the choreographer Douglas Wright. In one I wrote for orchestral harp, tuba, french horn and banjo and in the last show a lot of the music was a sort of duet for hulusi (a chinese reed instrument) and feedback guitar.

From your experience of working with and producing younger bands, is it still the case that for many, the ultimate aim is to head for the UK? Do you think the way the industry has changed in the last decade had any effect on that mindset? What advice do you give them?

I think that young bands have an idea that music can be a career now which I never had. I felt like I stumbled on following my nose and suddenly one day, realised it was my career. I think the idea of a career is both good and bad. NZ music is taken more seriously in NZ now and that's great. On the other side there's something lovely and naïve about music made without any idea of making money from it. Now every band yearns for a song in Grey's Anatomy or a coke ad. I'm not saying that's a bad thing but it does change the way people approach music. Do they want to go to the UK? I think in NZ we always look offshore and that's a good thing. I'm not sure if I tell anyone anything except to see if my favourite bars or cafes are still in cities they go to.

Do any have any other music projects we should be looking out for?

Music projects… I hope to make another CD sometime. They're sort of vanity projects really as I don't expect to make money from them. I did a CD a few years ago called Cross Creek which was music from a few projects I'd done and I'd like to do something like that. I've written a piece for electric guitar and string quartet which was meant to be performed with the NZ String Quartet but we never made it happen. We've talked about recording it. I'd like to do that and give it some sort of small life outside my head. Also, with an occasional group called the Labcoats we have a second album slowly making its way towards release.

And finally, a few quick-fire ones...

Favourite Mutton Birds song that'll be in the Shepherd's Bush set list?

That's very hard. We did 'Too Close...' a few times and I enjoyed that. It's quite challenging to play live for me.

Favourite song that probably won't make it into the set list?

'He Turned Around'

What new albums/bands have you been listening to that you'd recommend?

Ummm… I just did an album with someone called Matt Barus called Alabaster Mountain. We recorded it in my little studio, Lee Prebble mixed it, Mike Gibson mastered it and I feel very proud of it and I keep listening to it - which is something I don't normally do after a project. Also, over the last few years I've listened a lot to the Ethiopiques label. Ethiopian pop music made in the 70s mainly and very beautiful. Get Best of Ethiopiques 1 and 2.

Best bit of advice you've heard in the last ten years?

I can't think of any... sorry.

(Thanks to Jasper @ Spacific for arranging the interview)




15th July '12: New Marjorie Cardwell album

Don has a guest spot on In Another World, the new album by Marjorie Cardwell, playing a euphonium solo on opening track Hole In My Head. The album can be purchased from here, where some songs, including Hole In My Head, can also be streamed.




14th July '12: Upcoming Don McGlashan Australian Dates

Don has a couple of upcoming Australian dates at the end of the month:

Friday July 27th
Notes
75 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW
Ph: 02 9557 5111
Pre sales tickets and to book a table go to www.noteslive.net.au $25 + bf

Sunday July 29th
The Toff In Town
2/252 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC
Ph: 03 9639 8770
www.thetoffintown.com
Pre sales tickets from Moshtix, $20 + bf




30th April '12: Reunion interviews #1: Alan Gregg

In the lead-up to the Mutton Birds' London date on 27th October, A Religion Of A Kind will be interviewing all four band members. First up is Alan Gregg.

The Mutton Birds have reformed for what appears to be a brief, never-to-be-repeated tour. Did any one member need more persuading than the others?

No, not really. I think the idea of playing in wineries in New Zealand was quite attractive to everyone. I'm not sure if we would have been so keen to do a tour of pubs or clubs. But other musicians had told us it was a fun thing to do.

Are you someone who is generally in favour of bands getting back together for a run through the hits?

Not really. I've been disappointed a couple of times by seeing reformed acts play live. But we sound better than we did ten years ago.

Are those old basslines etched into your psyche, or was there a period of re-adjustment and re-learning?

They are surprisingly well etched. We learned 'Ngaire' in ten minutes one afternoon at the soundcheck and we played it for the first time that night - and my fingers seemed to know where to go. Well, there were a few shaky moments . . .

Presumably there must've been numerous offers to reform the band in recent years - what was it about the Wineries tour earlier this year that clinched it?

Playing in beautiful venues at dusk with a great production team and being in bed by 10pm. Sometimes 10.30.

Is the prospect of new Mutton Birds material - either now or in the future - definitely out of the question?

I would be surprised if there was more Mutton Birds material. I don't remember it being discussed during the wineries tour.

Going back to the 90s... after signing with Virgin and deciding to come to the UK, what was the band's initial game-plan? Was there a tick-list of ambitions and a time-frame in which to achieve them?

We didn't really have a tick-list. We couldn't believe we were in the UK. We thought we had something to offer but we didn't quite know where we fitted in - it was the days of Britpop and the Spice Girls. So we just played the best shows we could and did the best recordings we could and hoped somebody would notice.

A (possibly untrue) story from a few years back was that in order to supplement your incomes from the band in the early London years, jobs taken by band members included gardener (Don) and postman (Ross). Did you have a similarly unlikely position?

When we were still in New Zealand I worked in a warehouse for a record company packing CDs. One of the CDs I was packing was 'Twist' by Dave Dobbyn which was a top ten album in New Zealand at the time - and an album which Ross and I had played on! That was a sobering moment.

From an outside perspective, Don doesn't come across as an egomaniac, but when your 'Come Around' was chosen as the lead single from Envy of Angels, was there any inter-band resentment? Presumably it was a record label decision?

I believe it was a record label decision - but I don't think there was any resentment. And no, Don is not an egomaniac.

I recall it being mentioned on a Mutton Birds live album that 'Esther' was about a real person. Are you still in touch with her, and what was her reaction to the song?

'Esther' is about a real person and that is her name. I probably should have changed it but I needed to keep it in for the rhyme with 'best of'. I used to work with her in a record shop but I think she went to live in Holland. I doubt that she's heard the song.

When you left the band, the bass player role was taken by Tony Fisher. Is he going to appear on stage halfway through the Shepherd's Bush show for a bass duel?

I hope not - he'd win.

After that stint in the UK, the rest of the band one by one moved back to NZ. Did you always have an inkling you'd stay in London, and what were your primary reasons?

My wife has a very good job in London which she enjoys. So that kept us in London more than anything.

Post-Mutton Birds, you released a fantastic album under the name Marshmallow, on which you enlisted the assistance of the likes of Bic Runga and Ron Sexsmith. Had it been a long-term ambition to put out an album where you not only wrote all the songs but also called all the shots? And how did your writing process for those songs differ from the songs you brought in for Mutton Birds albums?

I didn't really have a long term ambition to make an album. I ended up back in London with a few songs which I didn't know what to do with. Also, it was a way for me to work out how recording software works. I had plenty of time to make the album and I really just pleased myself. Dave Long helped me a lot when it came to finishing things off. The songs just sort of arrived and I never really thought about doing songs which were different or similar to the Mutton Birds. In fact, The Mutton Birds did record 'Come Sunday' during the sessions for 'Rain, Steam and Speed.'

I suppose I was calling the shots, but at times I really missed having someone else there to make suggestions or provide encouragement.


In 2005, you suggested that while the recording of the follow-up to the Marshmallow record had begun, you were also keen to "let things take their natural course and not be too careerist about it". Seven years on, there's still no sign of it! Is it indie-pop's very own 'Chinese Democracy'?

Yes it is. Actually, the reason why Axl Rose hasn't finished 'Chinese Democracy' is that he's been working on my album.

I did begin a second Marshmallow album but it kind of ran out of steam. It takes a lot of stamina to make an album and then get out to promote it. The first Marshmallow album had a great response, but I had problems with record labels. I still tinker with the songs occasionally and they may see the light of day some time.


Do any have any other music projects we should be looking out for?

Erm, no.

And finally, a few quick-fire ones...

Favourite Mutton Birds song that'll be in the Shepherd's Bush set list?

'Envy of Angels'

Favourite song that probably won't make it into the set list?

'April' - I suggested it a couple of times in New Zealand but Don wasn't keen.

What new albums/bands have you been listening to that you'd recommend?

I like the Scottish singer Julie Fowlis. She often sings in Scottish Gaelic and she has a beautiful, unaffected way of singing. I think one of the reasons I like her is that I don't know what the lyrics are about.

Did you manage to get tickets for anything at the Olympics?

No.

Best bit of advice you've heard in the last ten years?

Life is like a staircase - some people going up, some people going down.

(Thanks to Jasper @ Spacific for arranging the interview)




7th March '12: London - 27th October - details

Tickets for the one-off London date for the original line-up of the Mutton Birds are now on sale. Click the image to book:



Press release:

THE MUTTON BIRDS TAKE FLIGHT AGAIN FOR LONDON SHOW

The original line-up of The Mutton Birds, reunited after 10 years, has announced a London show on October 27 at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire.

The Mutton Birds began in New Zealand in 1991, founded by singer and songwriter Don McGlashan, who had earlier fronted kiwi favourites, Blam Blam Blam and The Front Lawn.

Three years later The Mutton Birds were about as big as it is possible to be in New Zealand. They had released two platinum albums: a self-titled debut and another collection called Salty. They'd scooped music awards, McGlashan had won the APRA Silver Scroll for his song-writing, and they'd become one of the biggest live acts in the country.

In 1995, the band began to get restless and moved to the UK where they turned heads all over Europe. Two more critically acclaimed albums followed: Envy Of Angels and Rain, Steam and Speed. Although the band's live following in the UK was growing steadily, some of the members decided to return to NZ which eventually led to the Mutton Birds disbanding in early 1999. They last played together in 2002 and began 2012 by reuniting for a series of concerts back in their homeland, to ecstatic reviews.

The band has a large and familiar catalogue, songs infused with the images of New Zealand. "Music should taste of somewhere.” McGlashan says.

The Mutton Birds are:
Don McGlashan: lead vocal, rhythm guitar and Euphonium
David Long: Guitars
Ross Burge: Drums
Alan Gregg: bass, vocals





7th March '12: Don hits the right note

Don has been honoured as one of Auckland University's distinguished alumni. Full story here.

Thanks to Carolyn for the link





3rd March '12: London date announced

The Mutton Birds will return to the UK for a live date in London on Saturday 27th October. Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 7th March - details here




27th January '12: Mutton Birds live on Radio NZ

The reformed original line-up of the Mutton Birds played an acoustic set on Radio NZ on 26th Jan, to promote their upcoming tour. An extensive interview and live versions of Dominion Road, Anchor Me and While You Sleep can be heard here




2nd November '11: Don receives a distinguished alumni award

Don McGlashan is one of the recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards from the University Of Auckland. More info here




27th October '11: The Mutton Birds reunite for NZ Winery Tour

The Mutton Birds are reuniting for a 16-date Winery Tour of NZ. An interview with all four original members can be read here



Dates:

Friday 3 February - Matakana Ascension Wine Estate
Saturday 4 February - Matakana Ascension Wine Estate
Sunday 5 February - Tutukaka Tutukaka, Marina Reserve
Friday 10 February - Tauranga Wharepai Domain
Saturday 11 February - Gisborne Brunton Road
Sunday 12 February - Havelock North Black Barn Vineyards
Thursday 16 February - Upper Moutere Neudorf Vineyards
Friday 17 February - Upper Moutere Neudorf Vineyards
Saturday 18 February - Waipara The Mud House Winery & Café
Sunday 19 February - Dunedin Logan Park
Tuesday 21 February - Cromwell Olssens Vineyard
Thursday 23 February - Blenheim Villa Maria Estate
Saturday 25 February - Martinborough Alana Estate
Sunday 26 February - New Plymouth Sentry Hill Estate
Friday 2 March - Hamilton Vilagrad Winery
Saturday 3 March - Auckland Villa Maria Estate

Further details can be found on the Winery Tour website




29th September '11: Blam Blam Blam reunite for fundraising gig

Story from here

Blam Blam Blam, one of the most important and influential New Zealand bands in the early 1980s, are getting back together to perform a special fundraising gig for Starship Children's Hospital.

They'll be playing at Juice Bar at Auckland's Windsor Castle in Parnell on Friday 11 November, with Mark Bell, Tim Mahon and Don McGlashan all on board.

Also playing will be Scrunch (all the Newmatics minus Ben Staples) and seminal 80s New Wave act The Features, as well as Fetus Productions, former Mocker Andrew Fagan, and Soul Agents.

Tickets will be $25 with all proceeds going straight to Starship Children's Hospital.

Thanks to Carolyn for the link




23rd September '11: "Veteran finds his own voice"

New interview from the Nelson Mail with Don here:

Singer-songwriter Don McGlashan has come rather late to performing solo, considering he's done almost everything else.

"I'm a bit flat out," he says when the Nelson Mail calls. It's his last day in the studio mixing the music for upcoming feature film Sione's 2, the sequel to the 2006 hit Sione's Wedding. Ideally, scoring would take a couple of months – this time, he's had six weeks.

A rush, but still fun. "It's been brilliant," he says.

The film is the latest of two recent big projects. He conducted the Auckland Philharmonic in an original composition for the 12-minute fireworks finale of the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony on September 9. "I was pretty flat out with that, too."

This week he'll travel to Nelson for tomorrow night's performance at the Theatre Royal, then will return to Auckland for another RWC gig with band the Seven Sisters. Flat out indeed.

But that's the freelancer's dilemma, he says. "You have lean times and times when there's three or four jobs stacked up at once. It's a blessing and a curse; the blessing is that it's a really interesting life."

McGlashan has never had "a proper job". Instead, he says he's been lucky enough to have spent his entire adult life playing music. And thank goodness for that.

He hardly needs any introduction here; McGlashan is one of our best-loved and most respected musicians. He was in Blam Blam Blam and The Front Lawn in the 1980s, and the Mutton Birds in the 1990s, then embarked on a solo career, releasing two albums: 2006's Warm Hand and 2009's Marvellous Year. In between, he's scored feature films and television shows, including the recent drama series This Is Not My Life. He opened for Crowded House on their 2008 tour of Britain, Europe and the United States, and Roxy Music this year, as well as singing in Christchurch earthquake benefit shows.

In March this year, he was cycling home with groceries when he was "doored" by a car driver – ironically, it was on Auckland's Valley Rd, just over halfway down Dominion Rd. He broke three ribs and a collarbone and punctured a lung, but recovered to take on a 10-date North Island solo tour in May. In June, he played more solo shows to sellout crowds in London and New York.

London, New York, and Nelson. McGlashan missed us out in his May 2010 South Island tour, so he's putting on this freestanding solo evening "to fill in the gaps". It will just be him on stage, together with a guitar, loop pedals, a horn and an array of other instruments.

Recasting himself as a solo artist has been "a revelation", he says.

"Expanding my arsenal of options so that I can play solo if I want to has been really great.

"You don't have the interplay with the other musicians, so I miss that spontaneity. But there's a different kind of spontaneity because you can stop in the middle of a song, you can slow something right down, you can do all manner of things in a solo show that would involve a large committee meeting [in a band].

"There's swings and roundabouts ... when you've got a band, your loyalty really is to the people you're on stage with."

In contrast, he finds it "really enjoyable" having a one-on-one relationship with the audience – "having fun with them, interacting with them and creating an atmosphere with them. It means people can call out for songs, and I can stop and tell a story if I want to".

After the Nelson show, it's back to being flat out for the rest of the year; more live shows and penning the score to Kiwi Flyer, the feature film currently shooting in Nelson. It'll include a rearranged, unreleased song of his, The Closer You Get, for the ending.

"It's a small movie, really intimate, and I'm really looking forward to it. The last couple of things I've been involved with have been quite high-stress, and this'll be a nice change."

Thanks to Carolyn for the link




22nd September '11: Big Takeover Podcast - download now!

There's a great interview with Don, available as an MP3 from Big Takeover - grab it from here (broadcast 14th Sept)

Thanks to Mick Dillingham for the link




21st June '11: Australian Shows

(Info from here)

DON McGLASHAN Australia Shows:

Don McGlashan is heading across the Tasman to play a series of shows in Sydney and Melbourne. He doesn't get over that side too often so we suggest you take advantage and get yourself along!


Don McGlashan Live in Sydney 28th Jul 2011

Lizottes, Dee Why

Show ticket only with a a-la-carte menu available $28.00 Show only with bar menu available $28.00

Support from Zoe Elliot

Tickets: http://www.lizottes.com.au


Don McGlashan Live in Melbourne

Oakleigh 29th Jul 2011

Caravan Music Club, Melbourne

Doors at 8pm General: $20 plus BF Reserved Seat: $25 plus BF

Special Guest Andrew Keoghgan

Tickets: http:// www.caravanmusic.com.au


Don McGlashan Live in Melbourne - Northcote

30th Jul 2011

Northcote Social Club

Doors at 830pm $20 plus BF $25 at the door

Support from Andrew Keoghan

Tickets: http://www.northcotesocialclub.com


31st Jul 2011

The Basement

Doors 7.30, Show 9pm Gen. admission standing $25 + booking fee presale, or $30 on the door if available (purchase online at the bottom of this page or thru Moshtix 1300 438 849) Dinner & Show tickets: $73.80 Dinner & Show tickets include entry, seating and a 2 course meal (entree & main, 4 choices for each). Dinner & Show tickets are only available by phone. Call the Basement Box Office to book on (612) 9251 2797 (Mon - Fri 10 am - 5:30 pm)

Tickets: http://www.thebasement.com.au




21st June '11: Bush Hall footage

Don's show at Bush Hall in London (11th June) had a great set-list, including lesser heard stuff like Ngaire and A Man And A Woman (below):



The rest of the footage can be found here.

(A huge thanks to Jill for uploading)




20th May '11: Auckland's Sonic Museum



Don has contributed to Auckland Museum's Origins exhibition.

"Don McGlashan remembers childhood trips to the beach where his father, a civil engineer with a lifelong interest in geology, would pick up stones and point out the seams and cracks, telltale signs of huge, violent forces. Holding those still, cool pieces of quartz and manganese he would feel like he was holding all the remembered energy of the ancient cataclysms that made them. These powerful memories made the Origins gallery a natural starting point for his composition..."

Read more, hear a clip of Don's composition, and download the album here




10th May '11: Live on NZ National Radio

"Saturday 7 May, 2:00 pm - Happy NZ Music Month! This week......Don McGlashan

Don McGlashan is hitting the road (not literally, this time - he's recovered from being swiped off his bike by a car door recently) and stops by the Music 101 studio to play some songs."

Listen to the archived stream here

(Thanks to Tricia for the link)




11th March '11: Bush Hall, London - 11th June

Just had some info about a one-off show Don's playing in London, at Bush Hall, on Saturday 11th June.

Ticket information is here




25th November '10: Matariki soundtrack / Balcony TV performance

Don has composed the score for new movie Matariki. The soundtrack CD can be bought from, among other places, Marbecks, and the track-listing looks like this:

1. What Love Can Do (Bella Kalolo)
2. Siva Mai (Te Vaka)
3. Ride With Us (Boss)
4. Rude Mechanicals (Pitch Black)
5. These Roses (Gin Wigmore)
6. Teine O Le Atunu'u (Jamoa Jam)
7. Fools Love: Matariki Remix (Misfits of Science)
8. Raining Blood (Concord Dawn)
9. E Sio Vare Vare (Tongarewa 5 with Mr Taia
10. Sneaky Sneaky Dog Friend (Connan & The Mockasins)
11. Bolero Bamboos (Bill Sevesi)
12. Cupid (The Brunettes)
13. Mum (Prince Tui Teka)
14. Sister Risk (The Phoenix Foundation)
15. Feels Like Rain (The Stone Feather Blues Experience)

Here's a short video about the film's music:



And here's a video of Bella Kalolo's single 'What Love Can Do' (written by Don):



(Thanks to Carolyn for the heads up)

And in other news, this interview and fantastic live performance of Girl Make Your Own Mind Up from Balcony TV appeared online a few weeks ago:






12th October '10: Updates / new live recordings

Head over to the audio archive to download a recording of Don's 5th August show in Bishop, CA. It's a fantastic recording - many thanks to Tricia Lew for sending it over.

Also, a great article on Don appeared recently in the Bay of Plenty Times - read it here




11th August '10: Upcoming theatre shows in NZ

Some really interesting shows are coming up in NZ - here's the info:

Don McGlashan will perform intimate theatre shows in Pukekohe and Tauranga next month. He’s at the Harrington Hall Theatre in Pukekohe on September 18 and a week later at 16th Avenue Theatre in Tauranga.

Don will not only deliver songs from his stellar career, but he’ll be interviewed on stage and take some questions from the audience too.

Having written classic tunes including Anchor Me, Dominion Road, Bathe In The River and Don’t Fight It Marsha, It’s Bigger Than Both Of Us, Don has a major catalogue to call on. Five of his tracks made APRA’s 100 best NZ songs of all-time and twice he was won the APRA Silver Scroll. His latest album was 2009’s Marvellous Year.

Doors for these nights open at 7pm with the shows starting at 8pm. Don will be supported both evenings by Mt Maunganui’s Matt Bodman.

Tickets go on sale on August 12 through Ticketmaster (for Pukekohe) and Ticketdirect (Tauranga).

Further details are at www.mynewfavourite.com


Download the flyers here - Pukekohe / Tauranga




30th July '10: New downloads - Dublin, Edinburgh and an audio interview

I've had some great stuff sent through this week. Following on from Peter Storry's fantastic recording of Don's London show, he's also sent an MP3 of an interview he carried out with Don before the show. It's well worth a listen, and is now over in the audio archive.

Also in the archive you'll find downloads from Don's show at Whelans in Dublin from 25th July. A big thanks to Robert Love for the MP3s.

And if that wasn't enough, Jill Baldock shot some brilliant footage of Don's show in Edinburgh on 23rd July. It's all on Youtube (search for Don McGlashan Cabaret Voltaire), but as a taster here's Envy of Angels:






28th July '10: Dingwalls downloads

A huge thanks to Peter Storry for sending over a live recording from Don's show at Dingwalls in London last week. Head over to the audio page to download the show.




17th July '10: Big Takeover, NY

Here's some further info on the Big Takeover festival which features a set by Don, and is taking place over 30/31 July:


(click for larger version)

Tickets are available from here:
http://www.ticketweb.com/snl/Search.action?query=The+Big+Takeover+30th+Anniversary




23rd June '10: An evening with Don McGlashan

Just received some info which may well be of great interest to anyone in London on 21st July (the day before Don's Dingwalls show):

"Kea is proud to be hosting a very special evening with Don McGlashan on Wednesday 21 July in advance of his UK Tour. The evening will provide music lovers, musicians and fans of Don’s music with a unique opportunity to hear a master craftsman talk about his passion and and what inspires him to create his aural works of art."

Tickets and info here:

http://www.keanewzealand.com/united-kingdom/events/kea-inspire-don-mcglashan




14th June '10: New interview

Leading up to his forthcoming tour of the northern hemisphere, I fired a few questions at Don.

Topics include choosing set-lists, his songwriting process, his involvement with the Bellbirds and his work with Neil Finn and Crowded House.

Read it here!




8th June '10: European tour dates - update

The venue for the Amsterdam gig has now been confirmed, so here are those European dates in full:

22 July - Dingwalls, London. 7-11pm. £10 +b/f from ticketweb.co.uk
23 July - Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. 7-10pm. £8 +b/f from ticketweb.co.uk
24 July - Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
25 July - Whelans (upstairs), Dublin. 7-11pm. €10 +b/f from tickets.ie




27th May '10: Article about composing

Here's an interesting article where Don talks about how he composed the Dean Spanley soundtrack:

"I've never used a PC. They creep me out"




12th May '10: Audio Interview

There's a very interesting interview with Don online here where he talks about the story behind Queen Of The Night, among other things.

(thanks to Olivier for the link)




28th April '10: Free download from Arch Hill

Arch Hill Records are giving away a fantastic 18-track sampler, which features Don's 'Everything's Broken; Life's So Sweet'.

Go here for more details.




27th April '10: US date announced

Don will be playing a one-off US show at the Bell House in Brooklyn on 31st July. It's part of a festival organised by the Big Takeover.

Tickets ($25 for one day or $40 for the weekend) are on sale from here




26th April '10: European tour dates

22 July - Dingwalls, London. 7-11pm. £10 +b/f from ticketweb.co.uk
23 July - Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. 7-10pm. £8 +b/f from ticketweb.co.uk
24 July - venue tbc, Amsterdam
25 July - Whelans (upstairs), Dublin. 7-11pm. €10 +b/f from tickets.ie






22nd February '10: Don on RocKwiz

There's some great footage here from RocKwiz, broadcast last October (?):

Don playing Pulled Along By Love

Don and Jenny Morris covering Crowded House's It's Only Natural

The full show

(Thanks to Phil H for the links)




1st February '10: Greenpeace Concert Footage

Footage of Don and the Seven Sisters playing Marvellous Year at the Greenpeace Sign On concert in Auckland on 5th Dec 2009 can be seen online here.

(Thanks to Olivier for the link)




27th November '09: Vinery dates with the Topp Twins

Don and the Seven Sisters will be joining the Topp Twins at the following dates:

Jan 5 - Cable Bay Vineyards, Waiheke Island
Jan 7 - Mangaweka Tavern, Mangaweka
Jan 8 - Ascension Wine Estate, Matakana
Jan 10 - Wharepai Domain, Tauranga
Nov 16 - Black Barn Vineyards, Hawkes Bay

Book Now: ticketmaster.co.nz

Tauranga and Hawkes Bay Book Here:
Wharepai Domain - Ticket Direct. 0800 4 Ticket
Black Barn Ph 06/877 7985 or www.blackbarn.com




27th November '09: Live webcast - 5th December

A Planet A concert featuring Don on 5th December will be streamed live here. The show will also feature Midnight Youth and Opshop, and will be MC'd by Rhys Darby.




27th November '09: Don to support Wilco in NZ

Don will be the support act for two Wilco shows in NZ next year.

Civic Theatre, Auckland - Tuesday 27th April 2010: Details
Town Hall, Wellington - Wednesday 28th April 2010: Details




The Bellbirds 21st October '09: The Bellbirds

Don's involved in a new project called The Bellbirds, which also features Sean Donnelly, Sandy Mills and Victoria Kelly.

Sign up as a Facebook friend on their official page.

The first demo, I Gave My Heart To A Fool, can be heard here.




2nd August '09: 7 Worlds Collide article

Here's a great article about Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide project




16th July '09: Don interview from The Australian

There's a good new interview with Don at The Australian website - read it here.




15th July '09: Don on Talk Talk (NZ TV)

Here's Don and band playing Marvellous Year on Talk Talk from 12th July 2009:






13th July '09: Don on Good Morning (NZ TV)

Here's Don on Good Morning from 10th July 2009 (3 parts):

Envy Of Angels (live):



Marvellous Year (live):



Interview:






12th July '09: Ross Burge - Eru Dangerspiel

Former Mutton Birds drummer Ross Burge will be playing as part of an all-star line-up in Eru Dangerspiel at Auckland Town Hall on August 8th. More info can be found here.

(thanks to Tricia for the link)




1st July '09: Australian release date

'Marvellous Year' is being released in Australia on 17th July, through Good Red / Shock Records. Full press release here (PDF format).




19th June '09: Video interview

A fantastic video interview with Don is now online over at NZ On Screen, which is well worth checking out.




18th June '09: A couple of Aussie dates

A couple of Australian dates have been announced for Don and band -

Melbourne - Northcote Social Club - July 16
Sydney - Opera House (Studio) - July 18

(thanks to Andrew D. for the tip off)




17th June '09: New Topp Twins CD produced by Don

Extract from The Topp Twins Newsletter, 17 June 09:

NEW CD - Palomino Moon

"Last week we started recording our new CD at Roundhead Studios, Neil Finn's studio in Newton, with the fabulous Don McGlashan producing it for us. Don and his talented band are also playing with us. We're very excited about releasing this new album later in August."




12th June '09: Dyslexia Action Week

Don has written a song for Dyslexia Action Week 2009 (15-21 June).

"The Closer You Get, The Bigger I Look" is produced by Sean Donnelly and performed by dDub. Info on the song, and a free MP3, can be found here

(thanks to Carolyn)




22nd April '09: Bad Blood video

The video for Bad Blood, directed by Sally Tran, is now online:






20th April '09: Updates

Just uploaded a new interview from the Otago Daily Times here, and an album review from The Listener here.




15th April '09: NZ tour dates announced

The following info is taken from here:

To celebrate the release of his super good new album, Marvellous Year, Don McGlashan and his band the Seven Sisters are hitting the road in a giant campervan, playing 13 shows of musical goodness from Queenstown to Auckland.

Fresh from a world tour with Crowded House, Neil Finn's 7 Worlds Collide shows with members of Radiohead and Wilco, solo shows in London, Amsterdam and Vancouver and scoring two feature movies, this is the first national tour of Don McGlashan in some time.

It will be a great chance to catch his top form band playing new stuff, old stuff (including Mutton Birds and Front Lawn favourites) and everything in-between. The band is made up of Don McGlashan, Chris O'Connor, Maree Thom, John Segovia and Dominic Blaazer.

Don McGlashan and the Seven Sisters - Marvellous Year Tour With special guest Reb Fountain.

Thursday 7th - NAPIER - The Cabana
Friday 8th May - WHANGANUI - The Repertory Theatre
Saturday 9th May - WELLINGTON - The Front Room
Sunday 10th of May - NELSON - The Nelson School of Music
Monday 11th May - GREYMOUTH - Franks
Tuesday 12th May - KAIKOURA - The Mayfair Theatre
Wednesday 13th May - CHRISTCHURCH - The HarbourLight
Thursday 14th May - OAMARU - The Penguin Club
Friday 15th May - DUNEDIN - Sammy's
Saturday 16th May - QUEENSTOWN - Revolver
Friday 22nd May - CLEVEDON - The Clevedon Village Hall
Saturday 23rd of May - LEIGH - The Sawmill Cafe
Friday 29th of May AUCKLAND - Monte Cristo Room
Tickets $28 + BF or $35 on the door.

Presales from www.undertheradar.co.nz, Real Groovy and Venues.




20th March '09: NZ Musician

Check out the great article over at NZ Musician.




9th March '09: Radio sessions

A couple of live interviews and live sessions -

Wammo.co.nz session (free MP3 download)

27th Feb '09 Radio NZ session (the link also leads to an interview where Don discusses the Dean Spanley soundtrack)




24th February '09: Marvellous Year released on 2nd March

Marvellous Year Don's new album, 'Marvellous Year', is released on Arch Hill Records in NZ on 2nd March. The track-list is:

01 The Switch
02 Bad Blood
03 Not Ready
04 You're The Song
05 Everything's Broken; Life's So Sweet
06 18th Day
07 Marvellous Year
08 Radio Programmer
09 C2006P1 (Make Yourself At Home)
10 Bathe In The River
11 Theme From 'The Colossus Of Roadies'

The album can be ordered from Marbecks.co.nz. Tracks will very shortly be available to hear on the Myspace page.




29th January '09: Borderline bootleg now online

Massive thanks to Olivier for sharing some fantastic audio of Don's second Borderline show (22nd Jan). The MP3s can now be found in the audio archive.




13th January '09: 7 Worlds Collide - bootleg

Don's songs from the 7th Jan show - White Valiant and Long Time Gone - can be found in the audio archive...




4th January '09: 7 Worlds Collide

Don is one of many fantastic musicians and songwriters taking part in Neil Finn's latest 7 Worlds Collide project for Oxfam. Other contributors include Bic Runga, Liam Finn, Johnny Marr, KT Tunstall, and members of Radiohead and Wilco. Regular video updates are being posted on the 7 Worlds Collide Myspace and Youtube pages.




23rd December '08: Amsterdam date added

Don will be playing in Amsterdam on Friday 23rd Jan, details as follows:

Bitterzoet, Spuistraat 2, 1012 ts Amsterdam

Doors Open 8pm. Pre-door 9,00 / at door 12,00

www.bitterzoet.com / www.homegrown-events.com (download flyer)




16th December '08: Second London date added

Just had some info through saying that due to the first one selling out, there'll be a second Don show in London, also at the Borderline, the night before:

Weds 21st January - Borderline: Tickets from Seetickets and Ticketweb (download flyer)




30th October '08: More live dates for Don

In addition to the London date (as mentioned below), here are some other dates for the diary:

- Saturday 1st November @ 8pm:
Titirangi War Memorial Hall, NZ (additional info here)

- Saturday 29th November
Tolosa Park, Hobart, Australia (with Crowded House)

-Tuesday 2nd December
The Forum, Melbourne, Australia (with Crowded House)

- Thursday 4th December
Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia (with Crowded House)

- Saturday 6th December
Homebake Festival, Sydney, Australia (with Crowded House)

- Sunday 25th January 2009 @ 8pm
Capilano Performing Arts Theatre, Vancouver, Canada (info here)




10 October '08: Don in London - 22nd January 2009

Great news for UK fans: Don will be playing a one-off solo gig at the Borderline in London on Thursday 22nd January. Following on from his fantastic support slots on the last Crowded House tour, this'll be his first headlining UK show since the final Mutton Birds' tour in December 2000.

Tickets are now on sale from the usual outlets, but Ticketweb is usually the most reasonable in terms of booking fees etc.




10 October '08: New Don interview

Following on from a successful stint in the US, the Don-aided Crowded House tour hit Europe for a run of shows. One of which was in the Sherwood Pines Forest in Nottingham, where Spence and Dave caught up with him for a chat.

Read the interview here.

Don at Sherwood Pines Forest - photo by Dave Thake. Don and Neil at Sherwood Pines Forest - photo by Dave Thake




08 July '08: Don and Neil at Glastonbury

Head on over to the Audio page and have a listen to the couple of songs Don and Neil played live backstage for Radio 2 after Crowded House's main stage set, along with a short interview. Many thanks to Dave for capturing the audio.




24 May '08: US tour - live recordings

Head on over to the Audio page for a couple of Don's recent sets from the US (thanks John B for the files!)




19 May '08: US tour going well

Photo by Chappo

Sounds like Don's US/Canada tour with Crowded House is going well. He's been joining the band for a few songs each night, and Neil Finn has been returning the favour by helping out on Andy and Anchor Me in Don's set.

Here are some Youtube links (thanks Oren!) for some recent performances:

Anchor Me @ the Fillmore, New York, April 29, 2008

A Thing Well Made @ the Fillmore, New York, April 30, 2008

While You Sleep @ the Fillmore, New York, April 30, 2008

Still awaiting word on whether he'll be on the UK/Europe leg of the tour....




24 April '08: More videos up

The Youtube channel has now been updated with the Box Of Birds videos (the singles from the first two albums), more live material, a feast of Front Lawn footage and a TV performance of an as yet unreleased solo track from Don in 2002. It's all now embedded here too, so please have a look.




18 April '08: Youtube channel up and running

Spence and Dave's Mutton Birds and beyond Youtube channel is now up and running. Currently featuring 16 videos - promos, interviews and live sessions - more will be added in the next couple of weeks. Keep checking back for updates.




15 April '08: Don Joins Neil Finn At WOMAD

Don recently joined Neil Finn onstage at WOMAD to perform the Crowded House songs English Trees and Don't Dream It's Over.


Photo by Michael Flynn




31 March '08: US Tour Dates with Crowded House

Don has been confirmed as support act and special guest for Crowded House's upcoming North American tour. He will be playing at the following dates:

April 28 - New York, NY - NY Fillmore at Irving Plaza
General onsale 28 March, 10am

April 29 - New York, NY - NY Fillmore at Irving Plaza
General onsale 28 March, 10am

April 30 - New York, NY - NY Fillmore at Irving Plaza
General onsale 28 March, 10am

May 2 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
General onsale 3 April, 10am *Please note new onsale date*

May 5 - Boston, MA - Somerville Theatre
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 4 April.

May 6 - Boston, MA - Somerville Theatre
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 4 April.

May 7 - Toronto, ONT - Danforth Music Hall
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 5 April.

May 10 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
General onsale 29 March, 10am

May 11 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
General onsale 29 March, 10am

May 14 - San Francisco, CA- Fillmore
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 6 April.

May 15 - San Francisco, CA- Fillmore
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 6 April.

May 16 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
Presale 9 April 08, 10am. General onsale 13 April.

May 17 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
Presale 9 April 08, 10am. General onsale 13 April.




:: OLDER NEWS




Listen to recent Don and Blam Blam Blam sessions on Radio NZ's website






Digging Up Music From The Front Lawn - NPR (US), listen now




eXTReMe Tracker