Article from NZ Sunday Star-Times
March 24, 1996


by Colin Hogg

WHAT more can a poor boy do, Tim Finn asked himself (and the rest of us) 16 odd years ago on an album called True Colours. Oddly, the question's being asked again right now by Dave Dobbyn on a single that finds him reprising a song made famous by New Zealand's first and strangest famous pop band, Split Enz.

The just-released Poor Boy single is the pointed end of a major musical project that finds big Enz Tim and Neil Finn reinvolved with some of their old songs and some of their old bandmates in a totally new and somewhat epic setting.

The prime mover of the project, which has been unromantically dubbed ENZSO is ex-Enz keyboards player Eddie Rayner, whose career since the Enz split 12 years ago has been as low key as the Finn brothers' careers have been high.

He worked, on record and on tour, with Neil Finn's world-conquering Crowded House without joining the band, preferring to opt for the quiet life and return to Auckland with wife, artist Raewyn Turner, and raise a family.


Last year there was a Rayner solo album, the all-instrumental Horse, but it transpired he had also been plotting for some time to do something grand with a selection of old Split Enz songs. The something grand has ended up involving the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the New Zealand National Youth Choir and vocalists Neil and Tim Finn, Dobbyn, Annie Crummer and the distinctive tones of Sam Hunt tackling a dozen old Enz classics on an album set for release soon. There is also a concert tour which will see the unlikely assemblage performing the tunes live at Wellington's Queen's Wharf Events Centre (next Thursday), the Christchurch Town Hall (next Sunday) and at Auckland's Aotea Centre on April 2 (which has sold out) and April 3.

The concerts will involve at least two other members of the old Split Enz crew- percussionist and costume designer Noel Crombie doing his old party turn, playing the spoons, and Raewyn Turner returning to her old role with Split Enz, as lighting director for the shows.

The ENZSO project gathered momentum last year, with Rayner working up synthesised orchestrations of 16 Split Enz songs, ranging from better-known material like Dirty Creature, I See Red and I Hope I Never to lesser-known early band tracks like Under the Wheel, from the 1975 debut Enz album Mental Notes.

With his music transcribed for orchestra, Rayner then approached the NZSO, the Youth Choir, conductor Peter Scholes (who has worked overseas on orchestral albums of rock {music by the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Who) and the singers. Along the way, the gathering epic attracted the attention of TV production house Maxwell Film and Television, which is making a. 90-minute music documentary on the project, following it through to its Auckland performances.

TVNZ will screen the programme later in the year.

Of the dozen songs that have made it though to the ENZSO album, Dobbyn sings Poor Boy and My Mistake, Neil Finn tackles Message to My Girl, Straight Ol' Line (with Crombie on spoons), Stuff 'n Nonsense and Voices, Tim does I See Red, Dirty Creature, Stranger than Fiction (with Neil and Hunt) and Time For a Change, Crummer sings I Hope I Never and Hunt puts a totally new spin on Under the Wheel. That band might have split, but it never enz...

article pic of Dave, Sam, Eddie, and Neil

back to the home page or frenz.com home page

If there are any problems with this site, please contact webmaster@aswas.com.