> interview <|
Neil Finn on The Ray Cokes Show, Virgin 105.8Fm/1215mw. 26 May 1998. 7:20pm.
RC = Ray Cokes (DJ), NF = Neil Finn, S = Sarah-Jane (producer)
RC: Harry Hill has just left, well, i think he's gone anyway...yep, he's gone.
It's about 7:20pm, and now we have for you a very famous musician, Neil Finn.
The most talented songwriter in the world. They'll probably tell me off, I'm
saying the wrong thing. So I won't say too much. He broke up the band a couple
of years ago, Crowded House was that band, and now he's out on his own. And
here he is, on the other end of this microphone, I hope, Hello Neil.
RC: Hello Neil. Did I say anything wrong?
NF: No, no. No, I just, you weren't effusive enough with your praise. But..
(muted chord) that's fine.
RC: Should I have written something a bit bigger?
NF: No, No, you're doing fine.
RC: OK, well, I'll, er, I'll be talking to you later, won't I?
NF: Umm, yeah, absolutely.
RC: We can do a -
RC: We can do a big up interview and pay you loads of respect and stuff.
RC: Alright. Try Whistling This is the solo album out on the 15th of June and
this is a track from it, is it Neil?
NF: It is, yes. It's a track called King Tide.
RC: Ok, it's over to you.
NF: I wrote this one at the beach.
RC: Oh, you're alwa-
NF: All those negative ions flying around.
RC: You always take time off and write at beaches than in studios, you have a-
NF: We've got lots of good ones down there, you see. It's all coastline, New
RC: You have a charmed life, don't you?
RC: Neil Finn
NF: I hate long journeys. Long plane journeys.
RC: I know, we'll talk about that later.
RC: One of your phobias. OK, Neil Finn, Live. On Virgin Radio and this is the
first time you will ever have, would have heard this anywhere, I hope. This is
King Tide, from Neil's new solo album, Try Whistling This.
(Neil plays "King Tide" aka "Low World")
RC: Yes, Thank you Mr. Finn.
RC: You extremely talented bloke you. Lovely to have you with us again.
NF: Thank you Ray, nice to be here.
RC: By The way,
RC: I thought Neil, that you were going to give it all up now. And just like,
sit on a beach and chill out for the rest of your life. I expected you to be
away alot longer.
NF: Ah, you can't do that, Ray. You can't do that. You gotta keep active.
RC: Have you?
NF: Otherwise your bones set.
RC: Ah, yeas. But you've, you've made alot of money, and you've got enough
fan's all over the world you could just sit in New Zealand and bring an album
out every ten years, Neil.
NF: Well, I'm, I'm waiting for the internet to kick in really in a big way.
NF: So i can do sort of audio visual link ups.
RC: Nice segue, becasue later on this evening you're going to be taking part
in a world first experiment aren't you?
NF: We are, yes. Some strangely risky internet thing.
RC: Yes, err, you stay tuned to Virgin and I'll tell you more about it. Not
you Neil, the listener, of course. And err, I'll tell you how you can get
involved, even write some lyrics for a new song performed by Neil this
evening. Live. (Laughs), Do you remeber you agreed to that Neil? Don't you?
RC: (Laughs), You can't sat that on the radio.
RC: You just did mate, yeah. Listen out for Neil Finn on the internet, live
music, a new song. Never happend before and you can fax in some lyrics now, if
you like on 0645 30 11 97, 0645 30 11 97. Fax in some lyrics and Neil will put
them into a new song. A little later. You see Neil, you shoulda stayed at
home, in New Zealand and chilled out on a beach and then you wouldn't have to
all this hard work.
NF: Then I wouldn't have to the human experiment that failed.
RC: You, you never fail Neil. You've never failed me before.
NF: No, I won't fail you Ray.
RC: I know you won't. Thank you for being here.
RC: Go and have yourself a beer and I'll talk to you later.
NF: Ok, I'll have some sushi.
RC: Mmm, they're lovely. Neil Finn, exclusively on Virgin. And i was very
serious about that by the way. We are going to be performing a brand new song,
never heard anywhere in the world before. We're going to be making it up. If
you have an internet connection join now at: www.resrocket.com, that's
www.resrocket.com join in. You could play with Neil Finn and if you have a
fax, 0645 30 11 97.
(fades to ads)
RC: (Fading out "Design For Life" by the Manic Street Preachers) A lovely
drum sound, the Manic Street Preachers. Good evening. You're listening to
Virgin Radio FM 105.8 in London and 1215 am all across the country and
available all over the world on the internet. Its 8.15 and I said that was
a rather nice drum sound, but its not as nice a drum sound as this drum
sound. (plays intro to "She Will Have Her Way") See (over the track), you heard this, thats
Neil Finn's new single and hes her ("She Will Have Her Way" intro still in background but
fading out). Hello Neil.
NF: Yeah, I can pick up from that though can't I now.
RC: You could.
RC: Shall I do that then when you play, I'll play the drums and then....
NF: Yeah, that can be my count off.
RC: And then, but will I fade the drums out afterwards?
NF: I think it would probably be a good idea.
RC: Be a good idea, OK. I'll reset that then, Neil.
NF: (plays a chord on his acoustic guitar). Actually, I'm in the right
key, thats good OK.
RC: I don't know, dont ask me.
NF: Ah, there's always a chance when you tune from .. by ear, that you're
gonna .. could be anywhere, you know.
RC: OK, but you're not anywhere, you're here in London.
RC: And were welcoming you back cos you've got this solo album now.
RC: And er loads of questions I have to ask you. Firstly, you were
together with the boys in Crowded House for so long.
RC: And now, I know you didn't make the record on your own, but was it
difficult to not look around and say "Nick add that bass part I think".
Was, you know, it difficult on your own?
NF: No, I really enjoyed the whole process actually .. .um It's not to say
that I, you know, am not fond of the lads, but .. um I enjoyed being left
to my own devices and also when with other people coming in, you know,
there was a cast of characters throughout the record. It was, it was like
being promiscuous musically which was quite exciting and delicious after
all this time.
RC: I see, I thought, last time I saw you I thought right now the bands
broken up, you've had enough of that, you've said goodbye to Crowded House.
RC: Put a full stop on that one. I really did think that you were just
gonna then chill out and then we wouldn't see you for years. And you're
back again already.
NF: Well yeah, it has been a while you know and I....
RC: Couple of years.
NF: Couple of years yeah, yeah and I had a bit of time to myself. Bit of
time to recoup and re-energise but um I really don't have any other
abilities really, the only thing I can do is play music. I actually tried
my hand at painting and, that was a disaster so, you know, music suddenly
looks pretty good again.
RC: Yeah, thats true. Musicians always go through that though. Bit of
painting, no. Bit of acting, no.
NF: Well at least I haven't foisted my paintings on the public...
RC: No you haven't
NF: ...like, who was it, there was a couple of musicians I can think of
that have fancied themselves in that area now.
NF: Nor will I be acting in the near future.
RC: No, you're quite happy doing your music. But one thing you're not
happy about is travelling all the way over here, its like a 25 hour flight
everytime you wanna come back.
NF: Yeah, no well, its, I've made a choice to live in the most inaccessible
country in the world so I have to, sort of, commit myself to travelling
large distances to get here.
RC: Apart from that fact that it is a beautiful country.....
RC: and your family are there.....
RC: Why not live in like the South of France or maybe in London, why not?
NF: Cos I'm a perverse kind of person and er I like being away from
everybody (laughs). No, no, its the land and the light and the people and
the humour and er its an old connection with the place cos I was born there
and I'm sort of stubbornly hanging on to that, but it doesnt make a lot of
sense in a lot of ways.
RC: Mmmm, how are people with you in New Zealand, are they "oh yes, its our
local hero Neil," or are they sort of you're the bloke down the pub.
NF: Well, I deliberately live in a very old neighbourhood all the people
that live around me are very old people and they don't really give a ....
RC: give a hoot
NF: ...who I am. Yeah, thankyou for that (both laugh).
RC: I was looking for that too.
NF: Yeah, I was looking for a word...
RC: that you can use on the radio
NF: ...but so um yeah so, you know, I mean so that's good. I think if I was living in
a more funky young area of town I might have to er encounter some some
things when I'm out buying my milk at the local shop
NF: But um no, no its good. New Zealanders are pretty cool, they're not that
impressed by celebrity at all.
RC: Is there a good radio station over there Neil?
NF: There's a couple of good stations yeah.
RC: Can you have a word for me one day?
NF: What, you looking for a job?
RC: In a couple of years time. I don't wanna live in London forever
NF: Well, there's places that are closer that New Zealand (laughs).
RC: But can you have a word there too, now you see?
NF: Well, I'll just keep mentioning your name.
RC: Ah thanks Neil.
RC: Brilliant, brilliant OK. I always knew I could count on you.
NF: Yeah, Ray. I actually wrote wrote a song .. remember .. you sang a
song, I'd written a song about Ray.
NF: Years ago. I don't know if I can remember how it goes anymore.
RC: Neither can I.
RC: You did, didn't you on MTV, you wrote a whole Ray song for me.
NF: Well you thought I wrote it for you (laughs).
RC: (in background) - Hell what! (laughs)
NF: I hate to, well, it was actually existed before then but......
RC: But you adapted it for me.
NF: It was the only time I'd ever sung it, so......
NF: Might as well have been.
RC: Well, its still a proud moment in my life.
RC: As well as that moment in Barcelona when you sang one when I came on,
you see, I remember all these things Neil.
NF: Barcelona (says it the proper Spanish way).
RC: Now its time for you to sing now...
RC: ...cos Sarah-Jane producer
blokes getting very angry with me, just ..... I'm just chatting to my old
S: No, I'm not getting angry, no.
RC: I haven't seen him for years.
S: I'm not getting angry. Neil, I'm not angry.
NF: No you don't look angry to me ( S & RC laughs). I know angry and that's not angry (RC & S snickering).
NF: Count in and get ready to fade.
RC: So youre gonna play us your new single aren't you?
RC: What about the intro, aren't I allowed to do it Sarah-Jane?
S: Yeah, you can do the intro.
RC I thought you were telling me off for doing that. (S laughs) Calm down woman! Neil, I'm gonna do the intro then I'll fade it out. This is Neil Finn, his brand new brilliant single "She Will Have Her Way" performed live, and heres me on the drums.
(actual intro starts to "She Will Have Her Way" (not with Ray on the drums). At the end of the song you can hear Neil slapping the body of his guitar, then as he finishes.......)
RC: Gor blimey (S: Fantastic) blinking bazookas what a fantastic job I
have. That was Neil Finn and She Will Have Her Way, his brand new single.
What a great job I have eh Sarah (S: yeah not bad is it) to sit here and
listen to Neil Finn live in your bloody headphones. I mean what a great
job we've got.
S: Can you do the whole album? (laughs).
RC: Yes Neil, we're just here for your pleasure and entertainment.
NF: How long have you got? (all laugh).
RC: That was absolutely lovely and superb. Thank you very much.
RC: OK (plays "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood). Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Relax and if you listen in the background
you can hear the rare spotted Neil Finn (can hear Neil playing a quiet
little jangly tune on his guitar) playing, see. Neil Finn's still here.
Mark in Severn says "please tell Neil that he's a musical genius." He
doesn't like the word genius Mark, but er he is anyway. It's 8.28 here on
Virgin and Neil Finn's coming up playing some live new material from his
solo album very very soon and also a song completely made up on the spur of
the moment with lyrics supplied by you. We'll be back, back blast! (Sarah
Ray plays the Bluetone's new song here.
RC: That's the Bluestone's and "If" and as you've probably heard already this
is where they run out of lyrics and they just sing la, la, la, la for half
an hour, look now they're down the pub. You see now that wouldn't happen
with our special guest tonight, 'cos he's one of the best songwriters in
the whole wide world. Neil Finn's with us. Never happen to you Neil is
it, you run out of lyrics and have to sing la, la, la at the end would it.
NF: Well thats funny because the song I've just sung actually has a bridge
section that goes do do do doo, so you know (all laugh).
RC: Da da da daa.
NF: I wouldn't be so sure about that.
RC: (still laughing) Neil's joining us tonight, he has a brand new solo
album out on June 15th, Try Whistling This. Is that your little cynical
attempt at being not a sing-a-long bloke anymore Neil?
NF: Ah, it's just a challenge. Putting the challenge out there you know.
You gotta, yep, you know there's actually the song "Try Whistling This" which
is on the record, erm, it's probably a very difficult song to whistle, so
there's certainly a contradiction there.
RC: Good. It's not fair you know, because er I knew you were coming in
today, but ah they wouldn't give me an album or anything.
RC: So I haven't got one, no. I haven't even heard it. (Neil can be heard
muttering some sort of "Ah God" type curse here!). Thats good isn't it.
NF: (lightheartedly) Are you sure you still got a job Ray? (laughs).
RC: Eerr No, no (snickers)
NF: They still haven't told you yet.
RC: No Neil.
NF: No, no, no there'll be one coming, I'm sure they're being very
tight-fisted with it at the record company.
RC: Fair enough.
NF: But they're about to emerge, I think they're .......
S: You know what it was....
S: It was so popular, we had about 20 of them. They all went before you
RC: Oh really.
NF: I think you've just gotta get up earlier.
S: That's right.
RC: You don't need to be creepy to Neil you know.
S: I do, I like him. He's a sweety.
RC: Yeah but you don't need to be creepy to him.
S: I'm not creepy.
NF: Insult me like Ray! (S laughs).
RC: I dont insult ya do I?
NF: (still laughing) Wh.... I was being ironic.
RC: I thought it was just a little bit of banter between us. All these
years I've been insulting you and you never told me before.
NF: No, no you copped it a bit from Paul and Nick though, but they're not
RC: That's true
NF: Paul .. Paul particularly I think.
RC: That's true. Yeah.
NF: On a couple of his darker days.
RC: Yes, that's true. Paul Hester we're talking about, drummer Crowded
House. We won't talk about that that's in the past.
NF: Oh well it is but you know.
RC: And now, now we're in the future.
RC: Er now Neil has agreed to make up a song very quickly just off the back
of lyrics that you've faxed and e-mailed us. Hundreds of faxes and
e-mails, thankyou very much for your interest on this one. Neil has
narrowed it down to three faxes and e-mails, theyre those lyrics that he
considers to be the best sent in this evening, I think that's fair to say.
Er one is from Mark Karf ..k (could not figure this name out but the two
lads made a bit of a joke out of it) is that it Neil.
NF: Karkf, but don't say that word backwards.
RC: No (snickers). Mark Karkf, we think, sorry Mark. Er Jason Sheldon and
Daniel Grudzien (spelling probably way out there) have all faxed in or
e-mailed in some lyrics and er Neil has em in front of him and I believe
youre gonna just make something up Neil.
NF: Yeah ah a quick hello to all the people on *Tongue in the Mail* there's
a note down the bottom, *Tongue in the Mail* that's our mailing list on the
internet. Umm yeah, I've .. I've chosen one here and it cou.. gonna be
risky business 'cos I haven't actually attempted anything yet, but I'm just
gonna freeform it down to .. it starts with a guitar opening so.....
Big strum from the acoustic here
NF: There's the guitar opening and er (more chords)
More top strumming from Neil. This is what the made up on the spot song goes like, lyrically from what I
*Attach yourself to a falling star,
See the lies of what you are
Pain is all I see
And pity all I feel.
To others you're an easy friend,
To me you're just a liar.
You find yourself waiting,
Waiting for the punch line.
And when it comes
Well blacken your eyes
Time after time
I hope you've cried
I hope you've cried
Oh (could be *or*) fear me
Yeah, yeah fear me
Oh when you fear me
I feel angry just beware
'Cos when it comes
I'll be there*
NF: Now it says guitar solo
Back to the strumming accompaniment:
*So attach yourself to a falling star
RC: (as Neil is strumming the ending) Don't worry I'll join in!
RC: Oh Neil, brilliant. That's what I mean about you. (clapping in the
To tell the lies of what you are
Shame is all I see
And pity all I feel.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah (Neil begins to laugh here while sing a few more
I'm running out of steam now
Got nothing to say now.
NF: Er ..it..... it wasn't brilliant. (chuckle from Neil).
RC: It was!
NF: No it wasn't brilliant (RC: But we all liked ....), but it was a good
old college try.
RC: Tuts. Oh you see.....
NF: That's what they call it.
RC: I think you're just too being modest like me you see (NF: No, no) he
picks it up from me you see.
NF: Thank you..... Thank you Mark for sending those words in, its a bit .. a
bit of an angry song that one. He's a slightly angry man, but er..... its
good, it was .. it was er a challenge and I arrived at the other side of
RC: And I think you've risen to the challenge (NF: Er I've .. yeah). And
that .. that was Neil Finn's version of just throwing (Neil lighthearted
gasp here)something together at the last minute. Later on I'll play you my
version of that song (snickers; NF: Alright, yeah) if you like. Alright
Neil, if you think that was not brilliant, (NF: I don't)
then, d'you mind (?)
NF: Yeah I'm not quite sure if I know what ha.....what just happened, but
(S & RC chuckle) lead us out of here, Ray. (RC: well play a tune......)
Let's go down another path.
RC: OK Neil here's some music.
Pretenders:*Dont Get Me Wrong* (Over the intro Neil and Ray continue to chat):
RC: Thank you for doing that.
RC: Its just gone 20 to 9 and Neil Finn's gonna stick around for another 10
minutes, I think (Neil tapping on guitar), I think and to play a new
record (tapping gets louder and faster). This is the Pretenders (more
tapping) that's Neil on the guitar by the way. (More like drumming now)
Go for it Neil! (both snickering). This is Virgin. We'll be right back with Neil Finn performing another song from his new solo album, please keep your radio tuned into Virgin.
Some ads, then *Halo* by Texas
RC: Texas, Halo. Broadcasting to the nation, whatever nation you happen to
be under at the moment, this is the sound of Virgin radio, classic tracks,
todays best music and Neil Finn joining us live in the studio. Are you
still there Neil?
NF: (sounding a bit further away from the mic) I am. (RC: He is indeed,
there you are) I am.
RC: Now Neil (NF: (louder now) I'm here) Neil. Thankyou very much for
joining us tonight I'm gonna stop the music now (Halo is still playing in
the background, but Ray cuts it off) because we've gotta get on with this
'cos you're gonna go home in a minute. Er... lots of people faxing in and
er asking about the .. can we see you on stage sometime soon. Now the new
album is out on January the 15th (NF: (obviously not noticing the gaff)
Yeah), June the 15th (NF: That's right), "Try Whistling This," you've got a
current single out at the moment. What about a tour then?
NF: Ah, there is a tour and its happening in September.....
NF: And we're going to quite a few cities around Great Britain so good
chance that anybody who wants to can get along.
RC: OK. And er, so you've put the band together already have you?
NF: Got a band together yeah. They're all a bunch of my friends actually
umm and we've had a couple of rehearsals, we did four rehearsals in two
little gigs in Auckland and er .. felt fantastic.
RC: Ah, cool. OK.
NF: Yeah. And they're all pretty good characters you know. They're not
gonna be a bunch of faceless session musicians, nothing wrong with session
musicians of course (lighthearted; RC snickering in background), but ..
but er it didn't want it to be too serious nor too sophisticated.
RC: Now you are also doing umm..... er a secret gig, ahem (can't spell a
knowing cough!) in London (Neil gives a mock gasp) tomorrow night aren't
RC: Well er if .. I just wanted to say that if you listen to this program
tomorrow evening I might tell you umm where it is and......
NF: Tomorrow evening'll be too late.
RC: No! I'll do it about er 7 oclock or something like that. (Neil
exhales). I might give away my tickets.
RC: Is it?
RC: Ah well. Should have asked you that before shouldn't I.
NF: Not a lot of good planning going on here is there really (Ray and Neil
RC: Yeah, we just throw it together but I always have thrown it together
NF: Well .. look..if.. if..not, yeah well work something out anyway.
RC: Alright and er you're back in September to do a major proper tour.
NF: I'm here in September.
RC: Brilliant. OK. Now you're gonna do another track from the album.
RC: "Try Whistling This" and you're gonna do a live acoustic version. This
is Neil Finn, what song you gonna do?
NF: Er ...a song called "Sinner" and its er.......
RC: You don't like talking about all the..... what it means do you, but is
this particularly inspired by anything this song.
NF: Ah well I mean I suppose there's.... I was b..... I was raised as a
good Catholic boy down in er in New Zealand and er (Neil plays a soft chord
here) I.... it'll be mining it for umm lyrics ever since.
RC: (chuckles) Sinner.
RC: You are indeed. (NF: Alright). OK. Neil Finn live on Virgin radio,
turn it up.
Clapping and cheering from Ray and Sarah-Jane.
S: Fantastic, cor blimey.
RC: Well, were lucky aren't we to have a private audience with Neil Finn
and of course its not private 'cos youre listening in at home. Er......
"Sinner" and that was Neil Finn and if the devil has the best tunes that was
definitely one of them. Neil (little laugh from Neil) thank you very much
for joining us tonight.
RC: It was a great pleasure to see you again.
RC: Good luck with the new album (NF: Good to see you). Good luck with the
RC: And er .. the tour in September, album in the summer, June 15th.....
RC: It was lovely to see you and I can't believe I've got such a great job
sitting here listening to Neil Finn playing in our headphones, hope you
enjoyed it as much as we did. Goodbye mate and see you again soon
NF: Yeah, see ya soon. Bye.
Beginning transcribed by Sara, the rest was done by Deborah Reilly.