Friday, September 4, 2009

Australia & New Zealand

9-4-09 Australia and New Zealand

In the 1980’s, I went to New Zealand about 7 times. However, I only got to Australia (Melbourne) once, in 1987. I like both places very much, and the music that comes from that part of the world.

There was certainly an element of exclusivity in my NZ music fandom. I was the only person I knew of who was going to NZ between ’81 and ’87 strictly for the music. I did make some very good friends in NZ, however. There are several people there that I still know 25+ years hence. Hi Gary!

Easy: English is spoken in both countries. Kiwis and Aussies are very easy to get along with. It seems to me that I spent a lot of time, especially in NZ, having people wonder aloud WHY a young U.S. music fan should find himself in NZ so often! “Uh. I really like Split Enz, especially Mental Notes” was what I answered with often. I also got to see amazing bands play live, such as Blam Blam Blam and D.D. Smash. I made good friends with The Clean and Tall Dwarfs (Get well soon, Chris-san!). I remain in awe of the talent of Fane Flaws – the best album you’ve never heard is by his band I Am Joe’s Music.

What I was really a fan of was the voice and writing of Phil Judd (of Split Enz, The Swingers and Schnell Fenster). In Australia, I was a big fan of all those bands beginning with “M”: Mental As Anything, Midnight Oil, Models, Machinations etc. Time has been kind to Aussie rock music. I remain a big fan of The Whitlams, Boom Crash Opera…and Barry Humphries. Dame Edna isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I do recommend seeing Barry / Edna perform if you ever get the chance.

When they closed the record pressing plants in NZ about ’87 or so…and all Kiwi product had to be made overseas…maybe that’s what burst my bubble. And, as always, the mode of the music changed. Gone was the sweet NZ pop music I had grooved to for so long; NZ bands were then (late 80’s, early 90’s) all trying too hard to sound like U.S. acts, as far as I was concerned.

It is not out of the question that I would return to either NZ or Australia. I have friends to visit in both countries. And if you’re in one country, the other isn’t all that far away.

And I know some of my friends in the U.S. largely because of NZ music – shout out to Brian Ware & Bob Gaulke! Anybody else out there remember “ANZ Imports”? That was me, working for Tony Harrington. We really sold a lot of NZ & Aussie LP’s in the U.S. over the years – many hundreds, if not thousands of ‘em. It’s always great to be looking through used LP’s these days to spot an NZ pressing of an NZ artist – and know that I was partially responsible for that LP making the long journey up here!

She’ll be right, good on ya, mate – too right, ah yeh, nice (pronounced “no-o-o-ice”),,,

- Ron

Blogs resume on Tues. 9-8-09


Jim said...

How's the food in NZ? I'm guessing as a commonwealth country - not too swell. I ask because I contemplated a trip there for my 40th birthday. My lure? Not the music as much as the visual beauty of it. My 40th came and went and due to moving to Asheville a few years earlier, no money for such a trip, etc. So now my big trip might happen for my 50th (I'm 45 now). But the shine may be off NZ. I'm thinking Europe instead. The only previous Eurotrip was Sue's 40th in Spain (Andalucia).

Ron Kane said...

Food was OK in NZ / Aust. - Certainly better than England.

If I went back to EU, it would be Holland or France. Both countries are expensive.

My next trip will be Singapore & Malaysia. Not so expensive, and I want to see some of the birds (& other fauna) there before they become extinct.

Looking fwd to your 50th, Jim-san!


Brian Ware said...

I still have my ANZ Imports catalogs from the early 80s as well as all your early letters to me. This was pre-internet and you took the time to write such friendly notes. What a long strange trip it's been...