So there was the Flying Nun label, right. It was formed in 1981; this community-spirited venture, a guy passionate about music - actually several guys passionate about music - and they toiled and troubled away and with some sticky-tape and snips and a big person helping from time to time, gosh-darn-it, they done made themselves a label.
We know now - and with time people caught on, different stages, different ages - that this label has served up a bunch of New Zealand's greatest music. I'll say what I've said before, and I'm not the first (and hopefully not the last) to say it: some of the world's greatest music.
There was The Clean and The Bats, The Chills and Alastair Galbraith, The Verlaines and The Puddle, Chris Knox and David Kilgour, Straitjacket Fits and Tall Dwarfs, JPS Experience and Able Tasmans, The Stones and Snapper, 3Ds and The Skeptics - and those are just a few of the names I first thought of so apologies to any of the seminal folk I've left out.
But in most cases those names still apply, in that many of those artists are still releasing new music (solid albums from The Verlaines and The Bats last year and even if they're off the label thank Dawkins we still have The Puddle) also, as I said, age/stage, people are still discovering The Clean go on click here, here's the Boodle Boodle Boodle EP for you to listen right through to - why wouldn't you want to discover that? Magic.
So we all know the story - or at least the key part: Flying Nun ground to a halt in the 2000s. The music was being distributed by Festival/Mushroom for a while there - then that label was bought and absorbed by Warner, meaning that Warner had the Flying Nun catalogue and sat on it; squashed it.
So that was that.
For a long time you couldn't really get hold of all of this great Flying Nun stuff. You wanted to hear Love's Ugly Children again or buy a copy of one of the great compilations - like Pop-Eyed, maybe for your older brother based overseas (just as an example) - well good luck. You could try the secondhand stores. And that was about it.
Then there was the news that Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd was back in business. Oh joy. We would have all that great Flying Nun music. And there were bigger promises too. Not only the good old stuff - but more. New bands would be signed. The old catalogue would be reissued - there'd be vinyl! Well it was all just sounding a bit too good to be true.
But there was faith to be had. Neil Finn was in on the buy-back, he'd propped up a bit of the deal, done his bit for Kiwi music. And the artists were all enthused and of course there was last year's big 30th Anniversary. In many ways that got the label through last year and into the first half of this year.
Some new acts have been signed. Grayson Gilmour was an early recruit. And there are others (F in Math, Surf Friends) but don't you think that Flying Nun has just, well, sorta disappeared?
Maybe it's just me. But I am worried we're about to hear that the label will fold. Again. Disappear. Again.
Now, it's a tough market and music labels are not going to get out of this world alive - but this is cultural heritage we're talking about.
So what happened?
Is it a case of poor/non-existent marketing? Is there no money to make these great albums available once again? Is it unrealistic actually thinking that there will be people out there - in this day and age - to pay for music from that day and age?
Or was the label restarted as an expensive folly? Something to make an old man feel good?
There was a 3Ds vinyl reissue. And a couple of other treats were timed for last year's anniversary. But then - that was it. There have been a few new releases, a trickle at best. But does anyone really feel like Flying Nun Part Two has so far been worth it, past the party they threw last year? (And I'm not sure that really did all that much in the end.) Oh, and the few months back in 2010 when Shepherd was walking tall and promising a whole lot; back in the game, back with a purpose.
I'm bitterly disappointed.
I feel conned - just a wee bit. I keep waiting and wishing and hoping...
But I don't think any of those moves will bring me the bunch of records I'd love to see newly reissued on wax. And I don't think the new acts are really being given much of a shot. Nor do I think, in most cases, that they mean anything in the scheme of things. It's a name - Flying Nun - and it's being used as a thin prop.
It's about to come crashing down, I reckon. And that seems a shame. An inevitable shame perhaps - but I just don't get the feeling anything is really being done; I don't believe we're getting what we were promised. I think it all sounded good for the sake of a big announcement - and then (now) nothing.
So what do you think? Do you agree that this new Flying Nun has gone AWOL? Do you feel it's been lacklustre and do you also sign on for the inevitable departure notice?
Or maybe you have some answers? If you're reading this and you know a bit more about the fate of Flying Nun then please provide some answers below. Because I wish the label all the best. But I'm preparing for the worst - even worse than the dearth of product and information that most of the last two years has served up (half-baked and all).
What are your thoughts on the second attempt from Flying Nun? What do you hope for from the label and for the label? Do you think it's been an unrealistic dream and it's time to wrap it up? Or are you holding out for a bunch of great Kiwi albums to be re-released and for more exciting, innovative music to be announced and released?
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