I struggle to stay awake, I know that alarm will go off any second and I'll have to drag the carcass out of my warm womb like bed.... working with bands is so glamorous (NOT)...well not at 3.00 in the morning. I visine up, walk around in some sort of circular confusion in the kitchen. To shower or not, it's a hard question to answer one self at this hour of the morning. I mutter yes between clenched teeth... I walk in and enjoy the warmth on my tanned back, I picture my Gryphon tattoo in my head, walking under the fall of water, swishing his tail and loving the feeling. Waiting for him to dig his claws into my back and become part of me again.
I'm awake now, well more like remote control. I throw on clothes and my bio-therm recovery cream, it works well and is the best of their product. Banshee wanders out way too excited, wanting to know what is happening- I hear Mark moan at her, my alarm was picked up by her sensitive feline ears. I peck Mark and cat and leave the safety of home at 3.20. I grab a cd from the archives, a random grab. It's some Neil Finn rough mixes (yey) all from the Sunset Sound sessions in August '99. A decade ago... I do love my bosses solo efforts and his demos and roughs are the best. Songs like 9 O'Clock and Walking into Makeup and that original concept idea of Into the sunset and of course the haunting Turn & Run. This will get me to the airport with some joy on my wings.
It's not too cold outside, cold enough to keep me focused during the blackness of a Kalorama night. Out of 57 traffic lights I only get 3 red lights so my journey is fluent. It takes me a mere one hour to get to Tullamarine. The Qantas guy is really cool, tells me how he met Neil and the boys when he worked for Singapore airlines. he shuffles my seat around and gives me leg room and an empty seat next to me. Brilliant. The freaky flyer area is busy but not insane. I still feel crappy so I have another shower, my second, this one longer- it helps- I feel good when I board.
A bumpy landing at Auckland is a bit off putting.
Customs is so fast and the bags are waiting, I love Auckland baggage service, the best in the world...or the most efficient. My car is some shiny blue with a GPS... I'm on my way.
I arrive Parnell and hotel for me this time round... which is ok..as it's near our favourite NZ fish n chip shop- the sacred address that the Finns shared with me. They make healthy burgers that taste great. I head to the Vector arena after a quick bite. I still don't use the GPS, I have it all mapped out in my head. I drive to the private car park, I am spoilt, Hell on wheels has locked in a spot for me (lucky spot 36), so grand, so appreciated. The gate guard is confused and tries to spot Bic Runga in my car, I tell him she is invisible tonight and he looks even more confused!!!! I'm in and walk through to the production office and band rooms. I must look like I belong as no one tries to stop me , even though I don't have the door opening AAA laminate. This is all familiar... Enz, Crowdies and many more shows... and the lovely Eccles at their desks, the same spots as last time- did they sleep here all these months? They are part of my other family, you know the inlaws that you DO like, the ones that have fun.
I am taken to the band rooms for Finns and Bic, the strange thing is the Finns are given my old work room from the Enz tour. Bic's is up and around the corner , all easy all good. Each time I walk in the green room I swear I sense invisible greyhounds..it will always be the greyhound room to me.! Bic and Daryl arrive and no kid , I wanted to see how he has grown... maybe I'm a bit clucky. Sit and chat and carry guitars and do all that. This is great, so nice just to hang out and not to be working my arse off. It always seems like I am running past people waving hello backstage, I'm the Olympic sprinter of the backstage domain!!!! Not today I can relax. Walk Bic up to the stage, it's divided into two areas as all the artists have short sets, so you can swap them around nice and fast. Three coloured plastic shapes divide the areas..I joke they look rather Spinal tap and Bic, Neil and Don should fight there way out of them at the start of the set, like the Tap movie! Neil can get stuck in tube one.
I head to the side and sit in on a very comfy road case and watch soundcheck. The boss arrives and I'm hidden in the shadows so I just watch them do their thing, nice to be a fly on the musical wall. I like Neils shaggy scooby do style hair do.. jealous he has such a good crop. It's funny these guys just shine onstage, is it something about performers?
I'm handed the running sheet, something like 25 groups-artists at different times, they get anything from 5 to 20 minutes. I'm wondering if the crowds enthusiasm will be burnt out by the time the Finns set foot on the stage.
I walk the boss to his change room- this sounds like an easy task- believe me it isn't. It's like a car with GPS that stops at every shop! People stop every 5 feet to say hello, talk, shake his hand, it's like the Macys Thanks Giving Day Parade, but people-musician floats lining the corridor. It's also kind of touching , as he chats to people all genuine. I take his Korg-micro synthesizer-vocoder out of his hands- I feel like I am stealing a first born. He is trusting, and knows I'd be freaked if I dented the contraption. I decide the best security person is Helen so the Korg hides behind her desk in the production office. You so just want to play with this wizz bang musical do dah! It obviously doesn't have speakers so rather useless to do so. Sit with Bic in her room, she always looks damn fine, but asks about what to wear- a dress, it's that sort of night, so she makes some calls-she has one in mind. "Good advice PG" she laughs.
I'm at the Venue for a bit longer and decide the sensible thing to do is to head back to Parnell, grab a bite to eat and avoid having a nap.
I know the drive so well I could do it blind folded. Eat and watch CNN...get sidetracked and leave for Vector a bit later then expected. I arrive and some bastard has taken my lucky #36 spot so I am now last spot #70 (Phew). More worried where Bic & Daryl are going to park so I speak to the security guy to hold the one spare spot I found. By the time Neil and Tim arrive there will be empty spots. I'm inside and grab my stage torch and go for a walk out front.... and the Crowd is going for it- such passion, and packed. 9990 people at last count... loving all this NZ talent.
I run into Dave Dobbyn in the corridor and he is the same old nice guy... plenty of time for Dave. Check on the food platters and the water and it's all under control... so easy. A few other artists ask me questions and need some help so I guess I'm there guy- hoping I know all the answers- the Eccles worksheet saves my arse a few times. Bic arrives and yep she was spot on, what a frock- sassy black...I'm sure Daryl doesn't mind me saying she looks hot- hell Daryl always looks sassy too.. a fine couple- oh sounds a way bit too threesome ish- IT'S NOT!!!!! Neil's wandered in, thanks me for holding a parking spot for him too. We head out to watch Jordan Luck Band- and they are just great, working up a sweat and the crowd going ape shit. I'm still thinking as far as passion they might of blown everyone away.
I am sitting next to Helen and Brent and the tickets are up to 9998....just two more sales... I say I'll go by them and give them away, my small contribution...as I stand it clicks over to 10,000! Yey such a magic figure- NZ has shown magnificent support for this show. .. Bic, Neil and Don, walk all three to the side stage 'lounge' ...one backstage person a bit panicky that we go when WE go... in the end I think all 3 of these guys are seasoned enough to get their timing down pat... and off we walk. The corridor is almost empty so it's less stopping. Up the silver ramp and on goes Bic... at the final minute she wants me to get Daryl to bring the electric.... which was wise as there was some odd stage power problem... but we were prepared. Any small nerves on the part of Bic were thrown out as 10,000 voices sing SWAY. It's like Dont Dream It's Over for NZ... Bicster just smiles. Neil and Don are on, a new Runga song 'Piece of My Heart' and that goes well, that KORG machine getting a work out. Don-Muttonbirds 'Anchor Me' another classic... happy punters. The photographers descend when I'm walking them off, the trio all good, Jordan Luck jumps into a shot or three-Mr Vibey- nice to see. I grab gear, and guitars and the Korg and boxes and plugs and even some sunglasses, which don't belong to ANY of us (opps). Take them all back to the rooms.
I check my watch expecting the other Finn to arrive soon, so head outside, it's cooler out here, those Auckland shivering nights. I watch 2 kids skateboarding, one almost gets run over by some rapper band departing! Tim rocks in, and I carry some of his stuff. Off to the room, my room their room..a room. My advance scout arrives and wants them on the 'couch' area.... which is ok, as they need to tune up. I jokingly tell Neil that with his Korg it was a 'Gary Numan flashback'... and Tim says that must surely be MY fantasy. Oh so NOT! Fang admits he did play Gary Numans 'Cars' when he first got it...I start singing ' Here in my car, when the image breaks down, will you visit me please? If I open my door, In Cars"!!!! No one joins in and I feel a tad silly! Off we go....and up the ramp. I stand side stage, even have a bit of a dance... I think every musician is side stage...talk about packed.
'I Got You' kicks off the set... the crowd are up in their seats. Tim reaches out 'It's good to be part of something special and one off' and he's right. I think 'Wont Give In' was my favourite song onstage. Some All Blacks wander on by mistake during 'It's Only Natural, everyone was meant to be up during the last song.... I look at Neil and just chuckling, these guys are so big! We all look so puny. They wander about confused, how come no one else is up....... 'Don't Dream' finishes the night and the stage is full of artists and people who worked on the show. I stay side stage and direct people up with my torch. Finally it's over so march them back to the room, photographers are running wild like wilder-beasts . As the night rolls on people drift away... walk Bic and Daryl to the car and hope to catch up tomorrow. "Good frock Runga" I bellow. I grab all the Finn gear from side stage, guitars and amps, Neils strange fake grass green bag full of stage bits and pieces. (I hide the ugly 'not ours' sunglasses in his bag). For once the younger Finn brother is covered in sweat, so track down a new shirt. Neils now in the Green room with a small crowd. People are all going home but I'm waiting, I never leave till I make sure he's left the building. Eventually it's time and 2 of my catering staff, who we've worked with before offer to help me carry all the gear. I say aloud 'Only in Auckland do they offer to carry your gear' and Neil chuckles and says 'that's right'. Say goodnight and catch up tomorrow for the interview. 'Night Pete'.
Watch some late night news, Southern India flooded again and hundreds killed millions displaced-worst in decades, not nice thoughts to go to sleep on.
October 20thI wake up to a rainy grey Auckland day, like the many times before when I stayed here. It's ok I'm sue to it, I kind of like Auckland cool and cold...
I park in that super big car park off Queen street, the one that has been there as long as I can recall. It's probably paid for itself ten million times over. I head to that Starbucks on the corner, Frappuccino Mocca Grande..yum yum yum...(predictable old me) I sit and write and watch the crowds go by. I call into Marbecks down at Queens Arcade, it's been here as long as that car park too-always a friendly staff they look after me.
I head to my favourite street- High Street that runs parallel to Queen street. I call into the Tshirt shop next to Pauanesia , as they have a 'Chairman Meow' tshirt which is Chairman Mao with a cats head on, I'm sure the Blue Baldur site must have these as this Auckland shop had quite a few of their shirts on display. Actually i think it's ZAZZLE (www.zazzle.com) that has the Chairman Meow stuff.... they also have the really fun "Jesus Saves!....passes to Moses, shoots and scores" which I do adore. As I'm leaving the Tee shop empty handed (they only had small Chairman Meow) I hear some rather familiar music in the shop next door. It entices me into Pauanesia. Pauanesia is 35 High Street Auckland (www.pauanesia.co.nz) I bought a Sheep-Hola tea towel which don't appear to be on their website. They are like the Warhol Marilyns but sheep heads!!!! That music was still playing, the shop had quite a run of customers... I lean over to the girl and say 'Is that Liam Finn playing' (knowing it was) and she says 'Yes..but not the album this is the new EP...and stick around I'm playing his dad Neil's new album The Sun Came Out'. I just smile- what a shop- this girl should really work for our record company. They also have these very cool lamps, made from sixties style NZ lamp shades. I spot a really nice framed print - 'Towards Piha' - Neil Buddle created it. Would make a nice christmas present for a certain families beach house.
Anyway a cool shop, for those International travellers holidaying in NZ it's worth checking out. Just up from Paunesia is Unity Books (19 High St) my favourite book shop in Auckland. I never get past the window, always a few goodies in that. Once inside I have to limit my time otherwise I will depart broke. This time I buy 'The Magicians Elephant' (Kate Di Camillo) and another book 'Pop Salvation'. It's weird- I get an email a week that says the same thing 'I read this book and it made me think of you'!. So seeing a copy of 'Pop Salvation' I just had to buy it- Lance Reynolds penned it. "Caleb Watson is not like other children at his Washington DC private school.............Caleb simply does not belong. But on a field trip to the art museum, Caleb discovers his hero-his icon-when he is exposed to the art of Andy Warhol................. plus the glorious camp of The Rocky Horror Picture Show". It's an easy read. I start it while eating lunch at Cima once more on High street- I like their coffee too. I like the book and yeah I can understand why people think some of it is me....god that sounds egotistical!!!
I drive to Roundhead studios, for once I get it right and don't end up on that insane freeway. I park in one of Sharons's Sharondelier car parks and grab our HD camera and gear and head on over. The lovely Miss Julia lets me in and I join her and Sharon in the office. Chat for awhile and I check out Sharon's lovely Sharondelier shop. It's part of the fun visit, I get amazed by all the shimmy shiny parts, the new creations, truly they captivate me. I look in the cabinet that has the necklaces, as last year I found one for my sister for Christmas. I spot some cool creations, I love those one off gifts made by Sharon Finn. So I think Sis will get another one this year. If you are after something special created by Sharon, you can see some of her pieces on the site: http://www.sharondelier.com/ Just click on the jewellery area. The aquamarine I really like- anyway cool Christmas presents for a special someone and I think they take major credit cards. tell them PG passed on the link.
The boss comes down to greet me, and we decide to head up to his private inner sanctum, the small room by his own recording area. He settles in on the couch and we run through some questions. Bits and pieces around the new album, and some 7 Worlds stuff, some questions by some of the fans and finally some for the the Ghost Cars On The Freeway book, mostly around the debut album. I'll hopefully have nearly all the band members talk about a different album. It goes well, about 45 minutes worth on HD. Easy to work from. We all end up back downstairs and chatting- this place always feels good. You can feel that they have all put a lot of energy into this old masonic lodge. Julia has the 2 dogs with her, so good to see Lorraine again.
She recognizes me and comes over for a lick and cuddle. Her various illnesses are still evident but the love she gets and good medication means she will be happy for her remaining years- Paul would be stoked that she has been shown such loving care. I keep catching her looking at me with that "I know you' look. A long time since we were both locked in the kennel at the Lost Dogs Home eh mutt? I look at my watch and need to escape, a big thanks to the Finns who have been as gracious as ever. before I head off Julia gives me one of the vinyl copies of The Sun Came Out. Vinyl so gorgeous smells great and the artwork....excellent. Neil has ten copies, now 9, he knows my big vinyl heart will love this.
I call in and grab some food, and pack. Call Mark and watch a movie on my portable dvd player. Home tomorrow.
October 21stAuckland -Melbourne.
My breakfast arrives, it's good, a nice way to start the day. I'm on the 1.00 flight so i can relax and take it easy. Business class so some comfort going home. I'm really sleepy, I never do well away from my own bed. I do the drive, and I head to the Auckland Freaky Flyer and pick up the paper. Nice shot of Neil and a 2nd one of Bic in that cool dress from the show. A very positive article-review. So glad I made it over for the gig.
I see that Joseph Wiseman who played the wonderful Dr No in the first James Bond movie died- a very cool Bond Villian. (Watch Dr No on Blu Ray with Mark that night in his honour)
Customs are great let me walk straight through, my car is waiting... but it's peak hour so it will take me ages to get home. I have music, I have water I just relax and enjoy the drive.
Mark made his very famous homemade sausage rolls- they taste amazing especially after plane food- lovin from the owen. It's great to be home.
October 22ndWe take some time off today to work in the yard, while the weather was good it seemed like a good idea. We ache, our crusty old bones not digging the digging!!!!
October 23rdI work on the next mail out in the morning. We head off around midday and have lunch at Mountain Gate. I am searching for pumpkins for Halloween, hope I find some today. We call into Woolworths and do our shopping. No decent pumpkins here only slices already cut. We decide to buy 2 huge boxes of coke, just so we have them in the house for the Summer and for mixes at Christmas. We hold the boxes up for the girl to scan and head to the car. Mark checks the docket when we are driving off and it is our lucky day, we were not charged for them. We are in one way traffic so no way are we trying to turn about. A $36.00 saving. Lunch is equally impressive, $20 off our bill, I think they like us. My theory of good things happen in threes is proven right. I take a punt and head into Coles in the hope they have a pumpkin. As we walk in we spot 3 perfect American style pumpkins in the Halloween section.... excellent perfect. We grab them and take them to the check out chick. They don't scan a price so I hand her the sign. They say $2.50 per kg... the machine somehow reads them as $2.50 so our gorgeous pumpkins wok out to be $7.50!!! Total. In a few days we see some at Safeways $24.00 EACH for the same ones, if we would of paid that it would be $72.00 instead of $7.50. Some days the discounts just happen.....
Rosemaree does some typing for us, far neater then I am. I'm crap. Nice to have her home, I wonder what she does to celebrate Halloween. Do any of our friends carve Pumpkins in Australia?
October 24thWe start the tedious task of newsletter envelopes today for the mail out, so so so boring it takes forever- the labels look like giant white snakes twisted and turning over the floors and over flowing from boxes. After awhile they start to blur, in fact it all blurs, the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome takes over and the hands and fingers start aching It's like a week of doing this, even the noise of the label machine makes me cringe!
We had a chuckle whilst watching a Dallas DVD tonight. A young man (Randy..that his name not how he felt) is on the screen seducing Priscilla Presleys onscreen teenage girl Charlie. As he walks down the stairs and delivers his 6 lines, I say to Marky 'No way I'm sure that is Brad Pitt". and it was. He looks 12! Mark assure me he was in his twenties, this is way before Cutting Glass and Thelma & Louise by about 2 years- he was in 4 episodes of Dallas. I remember he was in 21 Jump Street too with Johnny Depp wasn';t that in 1988? You never remember him in such things eh? Fun fun fun.
October 25thWe book our Qantas flights to head home for Christmas. They seem rather expensive, but it's done now.
I notice 'Where the wild things are' is at #1 on the USA box office. Some of the movie was filmed up here in the Dandenongs a stones throw from Kalorama. It looks pretty cool. Great creatures, they resemble our road crew when they haven't had a shave for weeks!!!
October 26thWe are announcing the Byron Bay Blues Fest soon, Crowdies will be headlining. Neils played it before (solo) and Tim twice last year. Always a warm enthusiastic crowd. It's awhile off so hoping they play some other shows too. That would be nice, especially with the new Crowded House album coming out early next year.
We watch CONTACT with Jodie Foster on Blu Ray tonight, still a very cool movie, it doesn't date that much.
More orders today for the Crowdies Book, it's endless but good that so many people are excited by it. Random House send me a rough of a Finn Bros book which I'm just checking.....having a read *GRIN*.
October 27thI work on the Neil interview-Mark has transferred it all to DVD so I watch it via the Blu Ray player and make notes, some of it is in the upcoming newsletter, it reads ok. We seem to do a few interviews per year, I prefer to film them these days.
It's an incredible day on top of the mountain, all the parrots are out today. In the morning to let out the chickens I see our owl sitting on a branch. He lets me get very very close, I am so pissed that I don't have a camera. I'm about 3 inches from his face- yieks what a big beak you have, I picture in my head the owl biting off my nose! I slowly step back not letting him sense my total fear. He's incredible, I think owls are related to Gryphons, they must be eh...he knows (nose?) I am a friend. I love that we have a wild owl...that wouldn't happen at Greville street, Prahran.
October 28thSkyhooks "Living In the 70's" turns 35 today. This still could be my all time favourite album- that's a big comment!
We have a chuckle as 'Peter Green & Friends' are also on the bill with the Crowdies at Byron. If I'm at the show this Peter Green has to have a photo taken with THAT Peter Green- I wonder how many Fleetwood Mac songs he plays in the live set? Of course a lot of people pick up the Peter Green at Byron line and I spend the day replying to harmless emails. I hope Peter Green has some Peter Green Tshirts as part of merch, that would be fun.
October 29thI get a call from the Herald Sun today, my media contact telling me that the newspaper is doing an article on Phil Judd. Apparently the mother of the girls he stalked went in and wants to name and shame him. The cat (Banshee?) is well and truly out of the bag. I haven't spoken to Judd for months, he never apologized for being a prick and telling me he hopes I die (nice)... so we decided it was best to just step back. However we think good things of his son young Pete and I also worry that they could say anything in the article and he doesn't have a chance to say his side. I refuse to give them his phone number but suggest I pass theirs on. I call one of Phils mates, (who is one of ours too) and ask for some council. We decide I should call him and tell him. While all this is going down the newspaper heads to Judds and pretty much corners him. One takes a photo of Judd leering out the front door. I eventually call him, and let him know all I can, the main request is for his side of the story. Which he says no to at first, but hopefully after some thought it would be wise to give his side or some of it. Things like this have a habit of growing before they vanish, for the many many months I always had an itching in my brain that it would re surface. Chickens have a habit of coming home to roost. I think he can tell by the seriousness in my voice that I think The Sun will run with this, if nothing else I know newspapers. he doesn't thank me, probably has no gumption of how hard it was to even make the call, in the end it doesn't matter I've done my bit.
I take a break have a green tea and read the Green Guide. Eric from True Blood is on the cover, he is a sexy Vampire isn't he! What you don't watch True Blood- what is wrong with you?
October 30thBanshee the cat lets me sleep in, I feel great. ..that's until I remember 3000 more address labels to go, hold shit so many. We work in the office the whole day, and till 10.15 that night. I get several emails from Judd, no idea what half of them mean , which is nothing new. If he is emailing he must be ok, right?
I win something on Ebay, just something for one of our bands archives. An 8 track cartridge..odd I know.
As we go to bed we start to notice flashes in the sky, first just lightening and eventually every section of the sky is full of electricity ...I remember there are 16 million lightening storms a year. I've never seen one like this. We stand at the big kitchen windows and look down into the valley, as far as the eye can see the sky is a mass of light. I suddenly feel very scared, kind of like cavemen must of felt not being able to understand such thing, a natural fear passed down somehow. It was like something could happen and it could mean a disaster. Nothing did, but soon after a huge storm rolled in, wind and rain and the sky stayed lit like a strobe light stuck in a disco ball. Made me feel very small and fragile. Banshee sat upright on the bed for ages, at the storms peak she sidled up next to me and said 'meow meow' which was probably what the fuck is happening in cat language. An hour later it was all over.
October 31stHappy Halloween.
It's a long day, I get emails from the newspaper, they are running an Enz photo and want me to verify that a certain person in the band is Phil. I point out that not only do they have the wrong person (they circled Neil for Phil!!!!) that Phil wasn't even in the photo. I sent them a better shot where he at least looks cool. God knows how brutal this story is, so even the slightest distraction in the article might help him. ..and yes he did wrong, I know, believe me I think its' shitty.
BY dusk I carve our three Pumpkin. I put my special Pumpkin light that I bought in the USA in one of them, it changes to endless colours so the pumpkins inside look amazing..especially the RED colour. The local wonderful kids come over and we organise a photo session for them.... I get out our smoke machine, and light the pumpkins. They all gather on the steps of Ailsa Craig and we surround them with smoke... it's fun, just what I need. So many covens up here I imagine quite a few wicca ceremonies happening in the hills tonight, a bit of sky clad dancing under the cloudy moon!
I still have work to do so Mark and myself walk to the office. I get a call from Phil, and decide that you don't kick a dog when it's down and just talk him through stuff. I avoid the accusation as much as possible though he is far far far far from off the hook. It's just not the time, when someone is this sad I can't help but try to be a good person. The next hour or two I wont go into , but if the mother of the kids wanted him to be a broken man she succeeded. But you know in a few months when all this dies down, she'll still be bitter (and you know she is their mum and has every right to be furious), and all that would of happened is chaos and family members being hurt. The newspaper scores sales. I don't know if Phil will change or can change, only he can decide.
I don't sleep too well, this sort of thing is never nice, very private and incredibly fucking sad. The one weird thing is that he mentioned was this diary in our estranged chat, I think my 'karma will get him back' line stung the old Judd , if thats the most horrible thing I've said he should consider that he escaped my vicious mouth *GRIN*.
November 1stI leave a message for Wally from the Enz to call me, he is still close to PJ so hopefully he is visiting him.
I'm at the Verandah, sit down for my coffee, open the Sun and recall, page 3, a full page-there is the Judd story, in all it's horridness. I thought it would be some small article in the back of the paper not page 3. I take a rather deep breath and gulp my coffee. I can't imagine how many emails are now arriving. It destroys my morning, nutty thoughts running through my brain.
I'm in the office and hear from Neil and I've lost count of who else. By mid afternoon the story has legs. Wally is at Phil's and he tells me a channel Ten tv news crew is walking around Phil's backyard- and they don't get a chance to film him.
I try to find some area of balance, I only read the newspaper article once, once is enough. At some stage the other media start use the Phil Novelty Act hobo image , it's like they are trying to add some scary faced image to the stalker charges.
It's a strange ending to an odd week, makes you feel a bit flat, I hope some lessons have been learnt...
be good to your kids, as your actions help shape them