By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
So there are fewer tantrums in your life now.
That's true -- being solo has got a lot of blessings. There are, however, things about being in a band that you'll never replace, special magical things: The musical language that develops between people that spend a lot of time together is the character of a great band, and ultimately the most interesting form of music.
Do you try to create situations where you can make something like that happen?
I try to put myself into unusual and difficult situations as often as I can in order to capture the element of struggle in the music. It would be easy to find a technically brilliant band to play my songs exactly as on the record, but it would lack character. There was no way that Paul or Nick were technically brilliant, but they were good interpreters, and there's something about our flaws that gave us a sound. Now, for instance, there were these five shows we did last year in Auckland with a bunch of guests -- we only had three days' rehearsal, and although they were great musicians, it was definitely on the edge of our seats. There's something about that that resembles the experience of what a real band has, those quirks -- nothing's been ironed out completely. It did in fact develop its own kind of momentum and chemistry, and by the end of the week we were kind of a band. And then we got to break up before anything went bad.
I grew up singing at parties, where there was a ritual that everybody in the room would contribute to the singsong, and you would be in amongst a very fluid and in-the-moment kind of expression. I had an Uncle George, a very jolly rotund gentleman who used to drag me out in front of everybody and say, "C'mon, Nugget" -- he used to call me Nugget -- "sing us a song, willya?" This was when I was about 4 or 5, and for some reason the song I always used to sing was called "Terry," which was one of the motorcycle-genre songs, a girl singing about her boyfriend who'd just been killed on a motorcycle. But it seemed to work.
I'm enjoying music a lot at the moment, so I can't wait to get onstage. -
Was there a time when you weren't enjoying it?
Grant Lee Phillips was here a few weeks ago and played a gig at this little club, which we kind of own, and he said a really good thing. He said, "Well, I broke up my band a few years ago, and then I broke up myself. And now I'm just putting myself back together again." And it's a bit like that. It's not like I stopped enjoying music, but I felt it quite hard for a while, getting through my first solo record. It was suddenly being on my own: I had so many options and choices. And just in the last couple of years I've decided that that's the beauty of it.
Neil Finn appears at House of Blues, Friday-Saturday, July 5-6.