Thursday, January 18, 2007

Number 671 - Split Enz

Number 671

Split Enz

"Message To My Girl"

(1983)
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Genre:Alt Pop
Now before existed there was a band here in New Zealand (Oh good grief, never heard of NZ? ugh, here are the co-ordinates for you .. Latitude 36°50'59.99"S Longitude 174°45'35.98"E ) anyway, there was a band called Split Enz which featured band members and brother . Split Enz were one of the most important rock acts ever to come out of Australasia.

Part One
The Beginning....
The origins of lay in the friendships that developed amongst a group of young students in the late 1960s and early 1970s. After finishing primary school, attended Sacred Heart College boarding school, where he met Jonathan Michael Chunn. They wrote songs and played music together there over the next five years. In 1971 Tim and Mike went to Auckland University, and there they met and befriended a group of art students including Philip Judd, Noel Crombie and Rob Gillies.
The close friendship between Tim and Phil became the core of ; the band soon started writing together with Phil working out the basic form and lyrics and (who was strongly influenced by classic British pop like
the Beatles, the Kinks, and the Move) providing melodies.

As the partnership developed, they began stockpiling songs and decided to form a group as an outlet for their compositions; the material they wrote together in this original burst of creativity provided the bulk of the Enz repertoire for several years. They approached classical trained violinist , reed player Mike Howard and together with Tim's old friend Mike Chunn they formed a five-piece acoustic group called Split Ends in October 1972.
Pass me the mouse
Golding's musical skills helped Tim and Phil to build complex and impressive neo-classical structures and arrangements for their material. After months of rehearsals, and with financial backing provided by their friend and fan Barry Coburn, (who became their first manager), Split Ends issued its debut single, "For You/Split Ends", in April 1973. In March, just before the single was released, Golding left the group to study in London, although they would meet again years later.

With Miles' departure Phil & wanted to give up the band, but at Chunn's urging, the band "went electric" and expanded, adding drums, lead guitar and brass. When the single was released in April, the band started a small tour of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, supporting
John Mayall. Mike Chunn's brother Geoff was called in for the tour replacing original drummer Div Vercoe. The other new permanent members were lead guitarist Paul Wally Wilkinson and their university friend Robert Bruce Gillies who joined part-time on saxophone and trumpet. By this time, the band had become a full-time preoccupation for Tim, and he dropped out of university.

Early singles
In late 1973, Split Ends entered the New Faces TV talent contest, and in preparation for their performance, they recorded "129" and "Home Sweet Home". Soon after, they also recorded the retro-1930s sounding "Sweet Talking Spoon Song", which would become the second single. To their dismay, they finished second-last in the contest, but their performance secured them a 30-minute concert special for Television , which was recorded soon after.
Windy Wellington?
In November 1973,
EMI NZ issued the band's second single, "Sweet Talking Spoon Song"/"129". The next eighteen months saw Split Ends refining their material and performances. The TV special spawned a concert tour, albeit without Phil Judd, who decided he did not like performing live — he was discouraged by negative reactions to the band, and felt that their music was too complex for successful stage presentation. He initially opted to stay at home to write and record new material while the rest of the band toured, although he made occasional appearances and eventually rejoined full-time.
Theatrical sets
In February 1974 the band altered its original name to the patriotic "". Phil and decided that, rather than slogging it out on the traditional pub circuit, they would play only in theatres and concert halls, which enabled them to stage a full theatrical presentation, and they began to develop elaborate sets, costumes, hairstyles and makeup. After seeing one of these live performances, Judd decided to return to the band and began making occasional appearances, as did their old Auckland university friend, Noel Crombie. In June 1974 Geoff Chunn and Rob Gillies both left the band. Emlyn Crowther joined on drums in July; Gillies was not replaced.
Their music at this time was in a broadly similar vein to British progressive bands of the time, albeit rather "poppier" and more melodic than many such bands.
Family and Traffic were almost certainly important influences, and though they always balked at the frequent comparisons to Genesis, there was a 'English-ness', and a definite eccentricity that was common to both groups, and which set the Enz apart from almost every other local act.
Jammin'
The band might have made considerably less impact had it not been for the unique visual identity they developed. In the autumn of 1974, their old university friend Geoffrey Noel Crombie became a full-time member. He performed on percussion—and spoons—and sang occasionally, but his primary role soon proved to be as Art Director for the band. His wide-ranging talents enabled to present a complete audio-visual experience, showcasing their accomplished performances of the intricate Judd–Finn compositions in a unique live show, complete with wild, colourful matching costumes, bizarre hairstyles and makeup, sets and special effects. Their "look"—a mixture of the weird and the whimsical—drew on influences like the
circus, music hall, gothic horror, Expressionist cinema, pantomime, psychedelia, surrealism and modern art—all filtered through the band's bizarre demeanour and crazed on-stage antics. The costumes and stage personae also proved to be a useful facade for a group of young men who were, essentially, rather shy personalities.
Tim Finn
Like Rayner, Noel was a crucial addition to the band, and in many ways he became the 'heart and soul' of . His designs crystallised the band's image, and spanned the entire range of their visual material—stage costumes, hair styles, sets and stage designs, posters, buttons, badges, handbills, promotional photos, tour programmes and album and single covers. He also directed almost all of their music videos, (some co-directed with Rob Gillies). Some of Noel's finest costumes are now part of the collection of the Victorian Museum of Performing Arts.
Crombie's lugubrious stage presence endeared him to audiences and his trademark spoon solos became a favourite feature of Enz shows. His regular 'spot' grew out of one of the typical random events that marked their early shows—they brought Rayner's aunt on stage to perform an impromptu tap dance during one of the songs. It was a roaring success, but they quickly realised that they could not really take her on tour with them, so Noel's spoon playing routine was substituted and soon became an essential part of each show.

In concert, the band was already in a league of its own and their live performances from this era soon became the stuff of legend. An early NZ TV performance had a "desert island" theme; they brought in a load of sand and created a miniature indoor beach, complete with palm trees and a wading pool, with band members dressed as hankie-hatted tourists, reclining on deck chairs and sipping drinks. For a now-legendary live performance of their live epic "Stranger Than Fiction", a woman friend was recruited to crawl across the stage during the song, under pulsing strobe lights, with a bloodied axe apparently embedded in her skull.
End of Part One

For The Beatles see Number 489, #587, #894 & #947
For Genesis see Number 684


What does Rolling Stone think about Split Enz?
Tim and younger brother Neil have made music together around the house and professionally since they were kids. Neil joined Tim's Split Enz in 1977, and Tim joined Neil's Crowded House more than a decade later.
"We perform for each other and against each other so the process is more dynamic and emotional," says Neil. "This makes for good music that is outgoing. Tim has a knack for titles and clear themes, whilst I have a tendency to take a lateral turn or two. Tim likes to do a song and then leave it alone. I tend to tinker and look at it from all sides. Between us, a good balance emerges."


Everyone Is Here, the Finn Brothers' first album together in eight years, is due August 24th. The Finns' second outing as a duo began with a jam session in their native New Zealand. "Both of us had come off a cycle of two solo records, and we knew that together something special might happen," says Tim. "One of the first songs we came up with whilst jamming out on the West Coast of Auckland didn't make the album, but it was about our mother who passed on three years ago, and so we felt her presence . . . and it opened the floodgates."

Crowbarreds choice for Website to find more on Split Enz ... Click on the address http://www.radionz.co.nz/nr/programmes/enzology/ep03

Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (We thought Split Enz was a disease of the hair) and the Album ranked at Number (So ahh, Nup)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 69.6 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

underlay trademe

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1 Comments:

Anonymous ejaz14357 said...

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10:38 pm  

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