Monday, March 18, 2013

[twelve bands]


Finn-related music (including Split Enz, Crowded House, Tim Finn, Neil Finn, the Finn Brothers, Betchadupa, Liam Finn)

I grew up with the Finns. My earliest memory of music is me dancing around to History Never Repeats by Split Enz in our house in Littleton, Colorado. I had such crappy hearing for much of my childhood, but it didn’t stop that music from getting through to me and making me fall in love with it all. Split Enz were already finished by the time I was born, with Crowded House forming the year I was born. Paul Hester was my favourite “Crowdie” from the start, even though the Enz were always more important to me as a band. Paul was the one doing cartwheels and handstands and fake kissing Nick Seymour and smiling his goofy contagious smile in the Crowded House videos when I was little. He was the funny one. He was the drummer and I will forever love my drummers. I have never, ever been affected by the death of someone I’ve never met like I was when Paul Hester died and can’t imagine I ever will be affected quite like that again.

Out of the Finns themselves, Tim is and always has been my favourite. He always did his own thing; his creativity and originality circa his first band still amazes me. The craziness that was Split Enz in the early days is still the most ‘punk’ thing I know. To be from such a small New Zealand town like Te Awamutu and dress like they did and sing like they did and just not care what people said... No one can tell me that Split Enz weren’t my first introduction to a true ‘punk band’. I truly think Tim and Neil Finn write some of the most incredibly beautiful songs that exist.

Prior to the Split Enz reunion show in Perth in 2006, my mum and I were able to sit in on a soundcheck. It's something that happens once in a blue moon for 'life' Frenz (Finn fan club) members. My mum and I only have one membership between us, because 15 years ago when we joined we thought it was pointless paying for two memberships when we'd share the news, competitions, etc, with each other anyway. So when I was 12 years old, it was put under my name. Then when the soundcheck opportunity came up, I was devastated because I realised only I would be able to get in. Thank god Peter Green, who runs the fan club, was incredibly lovely and responded to my email asking if my mum could go instead of me by saying that we could both go. We didn't get to personally meet the members of Split Enz, but the six or seven of us that were there did get to talk to them and request songs from them on stage. Oddly, my favourite moment of the whole thing was when we were all leaving and they were on stage and no one was watching the stage anymore except me. Neil did this little wave, realised no one was watching, put his hand down, and then I waved back and he smiled this huge dorky Neil smile and did another bigger wave just at me.

When I was 12 years old, a few weeks before I turned 13, my mum and I saw Neil Finn live for the first time. His eldest son Liam was playing guitar and (other times) the drums, at the age of 14. I told my mum that I'd marry him one day just so she could meet Neil, who, since the late 1970s in New Zealand, has been her favourite singer. Nine years later, I saw Liam Finn perform in this ridiculously tiny venue after his first solo album post-Betchadupa was released. I spoke with him for a while after the show and he signed my 7 inch single of his with, "Dear Linda. All my love, Liam." I showed my mother later (who naturally came to the show with me) and said, "See? We're totally still going to get married."

“History never repeats” will be inked into my skin someday soon, because they will always be my first love in the music world – I don’t know a life without knowing every one of their songs and lyrics. Nothing compares to the ‘home’ feeling I feel whenever I hear the intro to History Never Repeats or Weather With You, no matter where I am in the world.

There’s Eskimos in summer clothes, I don’t suppose you’d like to laugh with me