Out of the crowd, into the clouds

Neil Finn of performing at the Hard Rock Calling 2010. Photo: Andy Paradise/AP/PA Photos
Neil Finn of performing at the Hard Rock Calling 2010. Photo: Andy Paradise/AP/PA Photos

There are musicians all over the world struggling to find a band to play with.

Once upon a time, there would be scores of adverts in local newspapers, newsagents’ windows or music weeklies.

Now, it’s more likely a website like Gumtree is where you’ll find the Lennon, and you won’t even have to leave the house to do so.

For Crowded House frontman Neil Finn, finding a band to play on his latest solo album Dizzy Heights was easier still. He just asked his sons, Liam and Elroy.

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” says Finn who’s no stranger to keeping things in the family.

As a teenager, before Crowded House was a twinkle in his eye, he joined his brother Tim’s band Split Enz. At the time, they were one of New Zealand’s biggest ever bands.

“I’d love to do work with them again, too, maybe more of a writing collaboration next time. My whole family is talented. I’m very admiring of the songs Liam has written and the way he plays, and our son Elroy is developing as a good writer, plus he’s a great drummer. It wasn’t a hard sell for me.”

As he says, his family is talented. Liam, 30, has released two solo albums with a third on the way, while Elroy, who’s six years younger, has played drums for his brother and is in various bands.

“We’re not competitive,” says Finn who kicks off a UK tour in Glasgow on 23 April. “There’s a little bit of winding each other up, but if someone in the family has written a song, it inspires me to go off and write one myself.”

Finn reckons his skill as a songwriter is in his perseverance, in willing his talent to come back when it’s seemingly deserted him.

“It would be easy for me to say, ‘No, I’ve written enough songs now’, but actually, I still find it mysterious and amazing, and I’ll endure a lot to write songs.”