McGlashan to rock Geraldine
With a career that includes Blam Blam Blam, The Front Lawn, The Mutton Birds, solo albums and film scores, Don McGlashan shows no signs of slacking off.
In fact he's been performing more and more in recent years.
Catch Don McGlashan at the Geraldine Cinema on September 29.
At 53, he sounds enlivened and ready for the road, enthused about the series of small gigs before the recently reformed Mutton Birds play London in December.
There have been thousands of gigs over the years. McGlashan cut his teeth playing with From Scratch, from 1979.
Like many Kiwi counterparts, he has made use of the No 8 wire mentality, exploring eclectic percussion, French horn, guitar and vocal arrangements.
McGlashan has used those skills on a series of platforms, most notably in popular music but also in film, theatre and dance.
He is unsure at first if he has played Geraldine before. There have been many small towns across the US, Europe and Australia, plus the pub circuit in New Zealand he became familiar with through the 80s and 90s.
"Have I played Geraldine? I'm not sure; no I haven't played Geraldine.
"I played Timaru but not for quite a long time; Probably 92, 93 we came through."
McGlashan says the thought of playing small venues excites him.
He last toured the South Island with his solo show in 2010.
"I played settlements with populations of 35 and 45 would turn up to the gig; it's just nice to get out and see the country."
He is cutting a live Mutton Birds album in between touring commitments.
They are booked to play a one-off show at Shepherd's Bush in London before Christmas.
Geraldine, however, can expect a selection of compositions going right back to Blam Blam Blam.
So how did the variation in themes and styles come about and what inspired him to move between group, solo, film and theatrical efforts?
"I guess the thing that is central to me is to write songs, to sing and record them.
"On one hand they have been opportunities; people have grabbed me between albums.
"I've covered a lot of bases because you can in a small country like this."
More recently he's collaborated live with the likes of Australian master-songwriter Paul Kelly and Brian Ritchie of The Violent Femmes.
McGlashan opened for Crowded House on its 2008 world tour and was a guest musician with the band.
In 2009 he took part in Neil Finn's Seven Worlds Collide project - collaborating on his own songs with Johnny Marr, and members of Wilco and Radiohead. In 2010 he featured on Stroke, the benefit/tribute album for Chris Knox that also includes Yo La Tengo, Lambchop, The Mountain Goats, Will Oldham and Lou Barlow.
"I've managed and been lucky enough not to have become a dentist," he quips.
"I'm pretty enthusiastic; some people might say that I've been inconsistent but if you look at my songwriting it's always been about the same sort of things; friends, family, history, dreams and loss - all the things people have always written about."
McGlashan has no shortage of praise for New Zealand.
"I look at my career and think if I'd been in a bigger country I wouldn't have had the opportunities and maybe would have been a bit more narrow in my songwriting approach."
And he is confident about the future of popular music in New Zealand.
"There's enough people who are doing now; when The Mutton Birds started we were the first act to have an album chart for 12 months.
"When we arrived, New Zealand music wasn't really being played on radio."
He sees the inspiration in his 18-year-old daughter.
"She played me material from a new Whangarei band last week.
"It made me think there's plenty of role models for young musicians to get into music now."
- © Fairfax NZ News