14 Aug 2006 // An interview by Shade
Who are your favourite NZ bands and artists?
Largely, but not exclusively, those I've also known and loved. At this particular moment, de profundis and all logrolling aside, I am thinking of The Enemy, Toy Love and Tall Dwarfs, Mark Thomas, Bill Vosburgh's The Perfect Strangers, early Watchdog, King Loser, later AbleTasmans, the Beat Rhythm Fashion 7"s, and Sam Swan's "Have You Checked The Children?" (Life in the Fridge Exists, from the LP ****). Two great guitarists, David Kilgour and Dave Mitchell. And so many unsung overnight heros besides.
I'm playing the new Dimmer album, and Humphries and Keen's "The Overflow", both of which have measurable traces of genius - they also sound beautiful. I rate Bic Runga, Pluto, Don McGlashan (probably no coincidence most of these people play on one anothers' songs).
Heath: Favourite NZ bands? Bailter Space, Clean, early Verlaines, Pretty Wicked Head and of course the Puddle.
What is your favourite NZ venue?
Sammy's, - Dunedin, Chicks, and the Town Hall - Port Chalmers
What is the best thing about being in The Puddle?
The whole gang thing: looking out for each other.
The Work Ethic.
Knowing that there are, on occasion, enough people in New Zealand with good taste to fill a large room, and that, whenever they meet, they want The Puddle to entertain them.
What is the best live gig you have ever been to?
Undoubtedly a Puddle gig, Chicks at Port Chalmers. Then Watchdog doing covers at the Invercargill Town Hall, Xmas 1973, and Tall Dwarfs' first Dunedin gig. The Violent Femmes. The Great Unwashed with David and Hamish Kilgour, Peter Gutteridge and Ross Humphries were astounding live, so were The Perfect Strangers as a 3-piece or with Mark "Sharkface" Thomas singing. Other contenders include Celia Pavlova singing with The Axel Grinders at the Wharf, Dunedin, The Enemy at Zwines, Toy Love at the Last Resort, Watchdog at the Invercargill YMCA 1974. Add one each of the heavy metal and pop-rock groups that also played at those Invercargill Y gigs (3 bands every Friday night) and you perhaps do have the best gig. Ever. Glam and metal (Zep, Alice, Purple, Sabbath, Heep), so theatrical, are ideal styles for covers bands (I've always prefered the better covers bands - the better the songs, the better the gig, and few bands have as many good songs as a covers band, right?). Live music in NZ went downhill in 1975-76, when the bands began to get "funky" in a costive and fidgety, imitation honky-cat style…and the buddha sticks dried up. The hippies had to go straight,
And suddenly only those who could ride the new wave would have a chance.
Where do you see The Puddle in 5 years?
Another 5 years ahead of our time, I suppose, in 2016. Or (2011) getting high at Abbey Road or the Record Plant and recording another classic album. Or, assuming that I don't win Lotto, in a garage somewhere rehearsing for the hell of it.
How do you keep in contact with your fans?
They know where to find me. And then there's http://blog.myspace.com/georgedhenderson - and former puddle keyboard guru Richard Cotton (the genius behind the samples on Southern Man) has an excellent website at www.insanitywetrust.com, with much Puddle info; also, the Powertools sites (especially the German one, which includes some notes on "…Emily Valentine") are worth a visit.
What rumour would you like to start about yourselves?
Are there not enough already?
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring musicians?
Play as much as you can now, while it all still sounds good, because once you have good taste it'll be harder to get that valuable experience.
Beware the boyfriend/girlfiend axis.
You're competing in the only sport where doping's still good form. Don't be a sucker - make sure you're fully informed about everything you do.
Music can carry just as much meaning as you want to give it. Or as little. But the most primal rocker and the most crafted ballad, if both done for love, have more in common with each other than with any music made to please some supposed "market".
Anything that would be good in a novel or a poem is probably fit material for a song.
If your music has to play loud, do something to protect your hearing. If it doesn't, then turn everything down to protect ours.