Q&A Scene: Don McGlashan

Q&A   – Don McGlashan

Lucky StarsTell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

I’ve just released my new album “Lucky Stars” in Australia. It’s good and I think everyone should listen to it.  Coincidentally, I’m playing some gigs next week in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. 

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

Never eat in a restaurant with slim kitchen staff; they obviously don’t love food. I love writing and singing songs, and I think you can hear it in what I do.

I like dim bars that encourage conversation between random strangers; busy Vietnamese restaurants that shoot out clouds of steam when people open the door and step out into the rain; single malts in double shots; the smell of brass instrument cases when you first open them, the smell of creosote that’s been used to mark out a summer sports field.  If I could get all those things at the same time, that would be my perfect scene.

Which song resonates most strongly and why?

There’s one on the new album called “Charles Kingsford Smith” , which, not surprisingly, got started at Sydney Airport.

Initially it was going to be about how bored CKS would be if he came back to life and visited the airport that’s named after him: everything running smoothly, minimal risk, no impromptu aerobatics. But the song had its own ideas, as they often do, and ended up being about distance, inertia and longing.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Those oblong Pelion olive tins (the only serious pen and pencil holder), are good.  I fill them with black ballpoints, so I can get ideas down wherever they strike.  I also write a lot of initial ideas for songs when I’m on trains, ferries,  airplanes,  or in crowded cafés. When The Mutton Birds were signed to Virgin UK and we lived in London I would sometimes ride the Northern Line from top to bottom and back again, just watching people and scribbling down ideas or mumbling them into a dictaphone.  Often I was just one of several scribbling, mumbling, destination-free passengers, so I fitted in well.

What’s next for you?

I’m heading back to New Zealand to do a tour I’m calling the “There Goes The Neighbourhood Tour of Auckland”. It’s a spread-out city with patchy public transport, so I figured I should take the music to where people live.

 What’s your scene?

I like dim bars that encourage conversation between random strangers; busy Vietnamese restaurants that shoot out clouds of steam when people open the door and step out into the rain; single malts in double shots; the smell of brass instrument cases when you first open them, the smell of creosote that’s been used to mark out a summer sports field.  If I could get all those things at the same time, that would be my perfect scene.

 

 

DMG New Zealand has long been home to some of the world’s greatest musical minds. Storytellers and lyrical painters, there is an inherent and undeniable beauty in their work. Holding his own revered position in this country’s proud music history is Don McGlashan.  Enjoying over 30 years of success, both locally and internationally, McGlashan’s name and reputation is rightly deserving of its place alongside the likes of Neil and Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn.
 
With five entries in APRA NZ’s 100 Best NZ Songs of All Time, 2 Silver Scroll wins (1993’s “Anchor Me” and 2006’s “Bathe in The River”) and as a founding member of iconic NZ bands Blam, Blam, Blam, The Front Lawn & The Mutton Birds, McGlashan’s CV is impressive to say the least.
 
In April of this year, McGlashan released “Lucky Stars” in his homeland; just his third solo album to date (after 2006’s Warm Hand and 2009’s Marvellous Year).  The album has proved to be McGlashan’s most successful record since his hits with The Mutton Birds, going top five on the NZ charts, and earning much critical acclaim.
 
For Your Touch, with its swathe of falsetto vocals and sense of grief is the most gorgeously heart-breaking moment of the album – and possibly of McGlashan’s entire career. It’s the centrepiece of one terrific record. A personal classic. – 5 STARS, NEW ZEALAND HERALD
 
McGlashan started the raw material for this new album at a small beach house on the Thames Estuary, then realised them in Neil Finn’s writing room at Roundhead Studio, Auckland, with guitarist Tom Rodwell. He produced them with former Mutton Birds bandmate David Long, (who contributes some textural guitar, organ and banjo) and enlisted former Seven Sisters and current Phoenix Foundation drummer Chris O’Connor.  The results are stunning.
 
…all the hallmarks of his singular style are in place — the spine-tingling way he moves from major to minor keys, his keenly observational eye, the thoughtfulness with which his songs are forged… No one else gets close to writing songs like that, and making them work. – METRO MAG
 
Lucky Stars was released in Australia on October 30, and McGlashan has announced a short run of shows in Sydney, Canberra, Katoomba and Melbourne.  
Tickets on sale now
 
Wed 11 Nov           Smith’s Alternative Bookshop                      Canberra                                
Thur 12 Nov           Petersham Bowling Club                             Sydney                                   
Fri 13 Nov              The Clarendon Guesthouse                           Katoomba                             
Sat 14 Nov            Melbourne Folk Club @ Bakehouse Studios     Richmond                         
                                    with support from Jed Rowe
LUCKY STARS OUT OCT 30 ON ONLY BLUES MUSIC
 
AVAILABLE ON iTUNES HERE
 

About Mary Boukouvalas 850 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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