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So, as the year draws to a close it's time to say thanks to the people who have made coming to see us almost a religion. We really would be lost without the likes of Sandie and Eric, Jane, Loraine and Liz stirring the punters up. Also, thanks to those outside of Auckland who have shown their support through 2001 by visiting the web site and keeping in touch.
It's been a pretty dysfunctional year musically with all manner of musos coming and going. Things seem to have settled down a bit now, but the moral of the story is never put a photo of the band on the album cover. The curse of the band pic always sees at least one person fall by the wayside. At least Neil has shaken off the tag of "the new boy" after about four years.
Personally, 2001 has been a great year as Melissa and I have watched our precious little baby grow into a robust little man. We have been savouring every moment because all those who have gone before us have told us it happens so fast. They weren't joking. For a look at what the young fella's been up to visit his grandad Ian Thomson on the band page.
The highlight for me of what will be a fairly quiet January is my first trip to the Tamworth country music festival. I will be performing with Michael King on a New Zealand concert and with Bill Chambers at The Pub. Hopefully, I'll get to catch up with a few of the Aussie friends I've made at various festivals in New Zealand and on Norfolk Island.
There is also our annual appearance in Auckland City's Music in Parks event. We will be sharing the stage at Jellicoe Park in Onehunga with Kiwi raconteur Gary McCormick and legendary blues man Hammond Gamble on January 20. Check out the gig guide for a growing list of shows in 2002.
Finally, I'd like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Neil, Ricky, Chet, Rob and Gordon for some sublime performances during the year, and also to the likes of the Jolly Farmer and Papatoetoe Cossie for keeping us in gigs.
Here's a Merry Christmas to all of you and I hope 2002 is a good year for you.
Here I am, just back from two weeks in the brilliant sunshine of
Brisbane and Surfers Paradise. I must say it was a great break for Melissa, Mighty
Quinn and I.
While there it was great to spend some time with New Zealand's own Noel Parlane, who moved to Brisbane earlier this year, and get some advice from Dead Ringer Band's Bill Chambers, father of Kasey Chambers. However, I wasn't able to catch up with Michael King, another expat Kiwi now living in the Sunshine State, as he was on the road with the Blue Heeler Band.
Anyway, Grassy Noel Parlane was in fine form. Noel is a veteran of the halcyon 'That's Country' days, and he is one of the real gentlemen of the New Zealand scene. I am privileged to count Noel as a friend and supporter.
That fine Aussie guitar picker Bill Chambers was another fountain of knowledge and encouragement. Why is it that the Aussie country musicians are more willing to help each other than us Kiwis? Is it merely strength in numbers?
Between the two of them, Noel and Bill, who is based on New South Wales' Central Coast, have now confused me over which location is the best base for having a crack at the Australian market, Brisbane or Sydney. The two weeks away have certainly made up our minds about going, though. Give me 32 degrees over tornadoes in the Bay of Plenty any day.
With the latter half of the month spent overseas, there is not much to report from October. Well, there was the International Country Music Fan Fair at Alexandra Raceway at Labour Weekend, wasn't there?
This event was a very sad indictment on the terminal condition of country music in Auckland. A weekend pass cost $25 to catch a reasonably good line-up of New Zealand artists, an Aussie fiddle legend, a Japanese artist and a handful of American singers, but hardly anyone came.
Chet O'Connell and I performed the only 100% original set of the weekend, on the Saturday afternoon. All right, Ritchie Pickett's "Bastards Of The Rodeo" isn't mine, but I am the only person to have released it thus far. It was great to do all our own stuff, and thanks very much to the 20-odd people who showed up, and especially the 12 or so who remained throughout. I was chuffed to have my son in the audience, and he even clapped in some of the right places.
I was a bit bewildered when we were followed by one of the American artists who truly did think he was Johnny Cash. This guy was the only American artist I got to see, because I had to get home and pack, but I'm sure the standard of the imports only improved.
It was also fantastic to see Carlie and Neil Morgan over from Norfolk Island, who even showed up at the Jolly Farmer the night before, and Jim and Evelyn Toner, old friends from Napier. Jim was looking well after some repair work at Greenlane earlier in the year.
Of course there was a smattering of the faithful, in the form of Jane, Judy and Moose, and those of us trying to create an antipodean flavour of country are lucky to have such a fervent fan base, albeit small.
I finally got to meet Clark Reid, another original Kiwi artist who was generally bypassed while there was a covers band on in another part of the complex. Clark and I share the same ideals on country music and intend getting together to do some writing at some stage.
Unfortunately, the event was the same old story as far as support was concerned. Why Aucklanders don't support these events is beyond me. I suppose the market it was aimed at are too used to going to their clubs for $2 and getting their free cups of tea and some good old Jim Reeves covers.
The weekend pass of $25 seemed reasonable to me for a 24-hour extravaganza. How many Aucklanders will get in their cars, pay $75 on petrol and go to the Taupo festival?
Let's look ahead, though. Cast your eyes over the gig guide at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz. Watch out for the Midnight Chet O'Moffatt Express Band at the Stetson Club on November 16. There's not many New Zealand gigs left, so it would be great to see you at one soon.
Is this year speeding by or is it just me? It only seems like last week I was writing to you all, but here we find ourselves in October already, and the www.glenmoffatt.co.nz site has been active for a whole year. To celebrate I've added a lyrics link. Have a look.
It was a pretty quiet month just gone, but there is a little bit of
news to report. As the Glen Moffatt Band becomes less of a stable line-up and more
whoever's available on the night, September provided me with the opportunity of playing
with a whole host of pickers, pluckers and pounders.
It was a privilege to have two of the Wallace brothers from Whangarei's Outlaws Band helping me out for a wedding in Paihia at the start of the month. I have known Jimmy and Alex Wallace for a fair few years, but never played with them. I certainly wouldn't hesitate using them again. Their web site can be accessed through my Heroes & Friends link.
Jimmy (bass) was part of one of my favourite bands, Ritchie Pickett and the Inlaws, while Alex (lead guitar) and I came up through the awards circuit of the early 1980s. We had a great night, after a four-song run-through in the afternoon, and fooled all the guests in the evening. What helped immensely was having Ian Thomson on the drums, who had at least played the repertoire before.
While Neil Hannan was incapacitated later in the month, my former bass player Alastair Dougal popped up to provide the bottom end at one of the Sky City Casino gigs. Once a few of the cobwebs were blown out, Alastair was right on to the material and it was just like old times. It's just a pity the line-dancers think they can't come when the night is advertised as a "country music night".
Right at the end of the month we were joined by Pete Bayliss on guitar for two gigs. Pete's conviction is evident for all to see and he can slip easily into any situation. As he says, if it comes from the heart, it's real.
Of course, the problem with using all and sundry, and not a regular line-up, is the original songs slip away, as do the more obscure covers you do, and you're left with the old chestnuts everybody knows. "Peaceful Easy Feeling", anyone?
Anyway, enough about me. Some of my pals accessible through the Heroes & Friends link and various other links at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz had an eventful September. Kylie Harris sung on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, introduced by Charley Pride no less, and reports had her receiving a standing ovation. Kylie couldn't confirm this as the lights were in her eyes, she says.
My sometime co-writer Arthur Baysting was recognised as one of New Zealand's top songwriters when his song "Tears" (written with Fane Flaws, and a hit for The Crocodiles) came in in the early 20s of APRA's top 30 New Zealand songs of the past 75 years. Good on ya, Arthur.
Also, Brendon Ham got his much-anticipated web site up and running after giving himself a crash course on the software. It can be visited via the Heroes & Friends link.
It was good to see Donna Dean back in New Zealand, after being stranded in the United States while the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks raged, and we're looking to add some more songs to our co-writing basket. Watch this space.
Don't forget the country music fan fair at Alexandra Raceway at Labour Weekend, details of which are available at http://www.countrymusic.net.nz/?Function=Events, and keep an eye on the gig guide at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz, and I'll see you there.
Hold the phone, could I have found my Don Rich? Those of you
who made it to the casino last month would have noticed how easily Chet O'Connell slotted
into the fold on guitar. I'm rapt with the space Chet gives the songs, his musical
sympathy towards them, and also his added vocal abilities.
He and I have had some really good laughs over the fact it's taken us close to six years to work together, climbing over some self-erected obstacles along the way. And I'm sure it is just the start of things to come. Special thanks to the folks on Norfork Island for being the catalyst.
Most of you will know by now, the family and I will probably be taking off to Brisbane to live the good life next year. I'm hoping to find some like-minded musos over there and have a crack at a real country music market. It's damn tough not being an All Black in New Zealand.
I have plenty of contacts over there after two trips to the Norfolk Island festival, and Australia has a country fan base that is right into original music. Oh, how I've longed for that! The New Zealand media has created a stigma against country here which has seen the market diminish over many years.
The country fans are out there, it's just impossible to reach them cos TV and radio are such a closed shop. Distributors won't touch your product cos record shops have never heard of you cos you haven't been on TV or radio. Nobody buys your product or comes to your shows because they haven't seen you on TV or radio, and round and round it goes.
It has long been my belief that "Anzac Day" (the song) should be a national institution, played every April on all good radio stations. Maybe that's just me being biased. But while it lies dormant on 1250 CDs and tapes around the country, and Holmes licks the bums of Robbie Williams and Alanis Morissette or cover-singing cockies from up north, it shall live on in anonymity.
While Mike Hosking kisses up to John Williamson about the celebration of its original songs being the reason Australia has such a strong identity (not to mention its rugby team), his own employer, and radio stations up and down the islands, refuse to play anything with the words 'New Zealand', 'Maori' and 'Ruatoria' in it. If we heard it we could celebrate it.
I'm not just talking about me, either. There's Ritchie Pickett, Clark Reid, Sam Ford, the latest Warratahs, Donna Dean, Al Hunter, the Coalrangers, the Valentes, Bill Lake, the list goes on.
I realise I'm talking to the believers here, and maybe that's a good case for cloning. If there was another 90,000-odd of us, what a great place this would be (!)
So I'm going. I've had enough. But not before appearing again at the Coromandel Flavours festival in February. We had a ball there last time and they've invited us back. This time we'll try and tie on a couple of extra gigs down that way at the same time.
Last year we finished late in the afternoon just as the crowd were getting deep into party mode. Perhaps the pub might be an option for later on in the night, eh, Dawn and Bill? 6am finish, anyone?
Well, there's been some sprucing up at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz, particularly with the addition of a new page called Ancient History. This mainly came about after a discussion at the Duke with Liz Pearce, who thought there should be some 'older' photos on the site. Your wish is my command.
If anybody has some ideas for inclusion on the site, don't hesitate to get in touch with me. One suggestion has been to include a lyrics page. As I've said before, the site is ever-evolving, so it pays to come back often.
Don't forget to have a look at the gig guide, and I'll see you there.
After more than a month the whole team was back on board at the New City Bar of the Sky City Casino late last month, and Ricky Ball brought the band a new name back from Indonesia with him - Seven Weeks Of Bad Rice! What do you think?
While it was like slipping on a comfortable boot having all the boys back together, I must say it was also good catching up with former Guns For Hire Murray Pomare and Lisle Kinney, who both filled in admirably, and at last gigging with Chet O'Connell. In fact, Chet is with us again at the Stetson Club on Friday August 10, and we're gonna give him a chance on the guitar while Rob is away with When The Cats Are Weighed next month.
While on the subject of that O'Connell boy, the two of us are going to do an acoustic thing at the upcoming Labour Weekend Kiwi Fan Fair and International Country Music Spectacular at Alexandra Park Raceway. Other acts there include Clark Reid, from Christchurch, and Joy Adams, from Waikato, as well as American artists Rusty Evans, Shelly Streeter, Taylor McKay and Jerry Hill.
The brave man behind this event is Robert Dew, who is also the man behind TLC Radio 100.2 FM Otahuhu (The Little Country Radio). More information on the event, how to buy tickets to it, the radio station and other things New Zealand country music can be found at www.countrymusic.net.nz.
There's been another exciting development in the area of country music/adult contemporary alternative radio with Wolf FM broadcasting on Sky Digital channel 73. I had the opportunity to have a listen to it while on a trip to Napier earlier this month. Talk about a breath of fresh air - I think I even heard some Kiwi country. Tuning details can be obtained from their web site at www.thewolf.co.nz.
I was thrilled to see another former Gun For Hire, Jeremy Dart, was strapping on his guitar again to do some gigs with Donna Dean in London. All the best for those, Jero, old mate.
If you check the gig guide at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz you'll see we are returning to the Duke of Wellington, the Papatoetoe Cossie Club, the Jolly Farmer and the Sky City Casino this month. It's great to catch up with our regulars old and new at these venues. We also have our first booking for 2002 - January 20, Jellicoe Park, Onehunga, with Hammond Gamble and Gary McCormick, as part of the Auckland City Council's Music In Parks. Now, why does that date sound familiar?
Until next time, catch ya at the gigs.
Glen Moffatt Band is...
Glen Moffatt: vocals/rhythm guitar
Rob Galley: lead guitar/vocals
Neil Hannan: bass guitar/occasional vocals
Whoever picks up the phone: drums
Who was that smiling local country singer in the Truth at the start of the month? It's not often the camera will catch me with the pearly whites exposed. The album has started receiving some favourable press in papers around New Zealand so hopefully we'll get some sales outside of the upper North Island!
Well, it's been an eventful few weeks with our drummer Ricky Ball overseas. Not even the band has known who would turn up with a drum kit for the last bunch of gigs. The most surprising was a certain guitarist who's now part of the Honorary Guns For Hire list on the Band page at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz. What a difference a couple of bottles of whisky and a power of bourbon and Coke can make, eh?
I've also been rehearsing a new guitarist who can sing, and he's coming along very well. Photographic evidence of this can be seen in the Gallery at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz. Watch out for his inclusion at a later date, possibly while Rob is on tour with When The Cat's Away in September. Go, Rob!
While still on the subject of the web page, there are photos on the site now of most of the musicians who have been through the ranks, and the Heroes & Friends links page is now active. It will take you to some of my greatest influences and to web pages of my friends around New Zealand and the world.
New Zealand country music is popping up on the Net in the form of the New Zealand Country Music Network at www.countrymusic.net.nz. This site has news of a 24-hour international country music spectacular in Auckland planned for Labour Weekend. Check it out.
Please remember to visit the Gig Guide at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz. We end this month with three gigs on the last weekend, including our first at the Duke of Wellington and our returns to Java Jive (where Liz will be celebrating a special birthday) and Sky City. Like the web site, the Gig Guide is constantly updated so keep coming back.
See ya at the gigs.
Glen Moffatt Band is...
Glen Moffatt: vocals/rhythm guitar
Robin Galley: vocals/lead guitar
Neil Hannan: vocals/bass guitar
Ricky Ball: drums
Many, many thanks to those who made the album launch earlier this month such a success. Should I make special mention of Dancin' Andy? He won the buy-a-CD prize, which entitled him to buy a copy of 'If That's What You Want' for $5 more than everyone else. Confused? So were we.
Anyway, 'If That's What You Want' is well-and-truly launched now and almost through its first hundred copies. Reviews and articles should start appearing in the major newspapers over the next few weeks. In fact, the first review is due in this week's Truth, followed by an article in that paper next week. As for television, don't hold your breath.
Our webmaster, Paul Smith, has been busy at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz lately. He has added a counter to the site, so we need you all to visit again to get it up into the thousands. There is also a new video there of me performing solo at the recent Celebration of Performing Arts at the Aotea Centre, and a photo of me at the recent Norfolk Island festival.
The next plan is for a links page at the site featuring my heroes and friends taking their music to the world, including Donna Dean (in Europe), and Kylie Harris and Kevin Greaves (in Nashville). That will hopefully be included by the end of the month, as well as individual photos of the band. The site is constantly updated so it pays to keep visiting.
Paul has also been preparing a long overdue web page for Ritchie Pickett, which can be accessed from the bio page at my site. Paul's own company site is at http://www.productionz.co.nz and is well worth a look if you need any digital video and multimedia work done or a presence on the Internet.
Things have quietened down a bit after the full-on pace of the Bay of Islands and Norfolk Island festivals and the launch. We're back at the Jolly Farmer and Sky City Casino shortly (with top-secret drummers while Ricky is overseas), and we return to the Java Jive for a gig on June 29.
Keep an eye on the gig guide at www.glenmoffatt.co.nz, and catch you there.
Glen Moffatt Band is...
Glen Moffatt: vocals/guitar
Rob Galley: lead guitar/vocals
Neil Hannan: bass guitar
Ricky Ball: drums
"It's Anzac Day morning..." Hope you've all played the song today. It's been another quiet month while we've sorted the new album out. It's got a name now: 'If That's What You Want', and it's away being pressed and printed in time for May 12.
Talk about a musically inspiring month. Emmylou Harris and Little Feat both played in Auckland in April and both cooked. I made a point of having a good look around at both concerts and I couldn't help wondering where all those people go when there isn't an international touring act in town. We could use just a percentage of them at our shows.
We've been laying low recently, but we're rehearsing now for the upcoming Bay of Islands and Norfolk Island festivals. Red McKelvie is joining us for the Bay of Islands, but unfortunately he's had to pull out of the Norfolk trip. However, we will be joined by Ritchie Pickett for the hoedown night over there.
Well, I'm looking forward to a big month in May and I hope to see you at the gigs (don't forget the gig guide at the above site). Stay tuned for details on the album launch party; if the last two are anything to go by, it should be a doozy!
The Glen Moffatt Band is Glen Moffatt: vocals and guitar
Rob Galley: lead guitar and backing vocals
Neil Hannan: bass guitar and backing vocals
Ricky Ball: drums
Welcome to the first of what is intended as a monthly update of what the Glen Moffatt Band is up to.
Well, the Glen Moffatt Band has come to the end of an era on two fronts recently. In February we farewelled our long-time drummer Gordon Joll, and at the beginning of March we ended our year-long residency at Ponsonby's Java Jive Cafe.
After around seven years with the band, Gordon Joll has left to pursue other musical avenues. Gordon has been an integral part of the band, playing on both the 'Somewhere In New Zealand Tonight' and 'A Place To Play' albums as well as the forthcoming release (more about that later).
The Glen Moffatt Band wishes Gordon all the best with his increasing workload in his home studio, and live music fans will still see him out and about with Shayn Wills and the Swamp Diggers, and Tom Sharplin and the Cadillacs.
We are pleased to welcome Ricky Ball to the drummer's stool. Ricky played a few gigs with us at the end of last year and I'm sure he's no stranger to any of you with even a passing knowledge of New Zealand music history.
He was part of this country's premier bubblegum group The Challenge, which appeared on 'C'Mon' in the late 1960s, before forming what author John Dix described as "New Zealand's ultimate acid band", Ticket, in the 1970s. But it was Ricky's other major band that had him touring New Zealand and Australia and playing in Los Angeles: Hello Sailor.
It's starting to look like the Glen Moffatt Band has become a haven for former Hello Sailor rhythm sections; Ricky, Neil, Gordon and Lisle Kinney, another bass player we've used, have all recorded and toured with Sailor.
As mentioned earlier, we've drawn the curtains on our Sunday night residency at Java Jive. We felt it was time for a break to recharge our batteries and get our new album finished.
Since late 1992, various line-ups of the Glen Moffatt Band have played Sunday nights at the Java a total of four and a half years. When our first stint ended there in 1996, Rob continued on a number of years of Sundays with The Waltons and then John Kempt.
We'd like to thank those who made Sunday nights their regular haunt over the last year, and to those who bemoan the lack of live country/roots music in Auckland: where were you? Also, thanks to Diana and Neil Edwards at the Java for having us. Keep supporting the Java Jive!
We are currently putting the finishing touches on our new album, which will be released in time for the Bay of Islands festival on May 12. There's no title for it yet, but it will go under the Glen Moffatt Band banner, unlike the previous two albums.
We recorded the basic tracks at Avondale College in December, keeping to just the band line-up with a smattering of piano from Stuart Pearce. Our engineer was soundman supreme and former Split Enz drummer Paul Crowther. It's also Gordon's swansong with the band and he has made a considerable contribution.
Keep an eye on the gig guide at http://www.glenmoffatt.co.nz (this web site is ever-evolving under the watchful eye of Paul Smith so do pop back often) and check out the mp3.com site at http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/209/glen_moffatt.html.
All the best for now. Catch you at the gigs!
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