TIM & NEIL FINN
Tim and Neil Finn, two of New Zealand’s most successful musicians ever, played at the benefit concert for Spiro Philipas, a respected Melbourne bass player. The concert was held at The Palace in St. Kilda, Melbourne, in late 1991. I had been invited to photograph the show, which included many of Australia’s leading musicians. It was the first time I had seen either of them in the flesh, and, like the rest of the audience, I was most excited to hear these men of genius perform.
Older brother Tim, born in 1952, had risen to fame as a founding member of Split Enz, which had started out in 1972 as Split Ends, a collection of art students, including Phil Judd and Mike Chunn. They became known for their crazy stage antics, wild costumes, hairstyles and makeup; with a unique style of ‘art-rock’ music with a Dada edge, which steadily gained an enormous fan-base. In 1975, they shifted to Australia and signed to create their first album with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Records, and then produced a second album in England in 1976, before touring the United States in 1977.
Young brother Neil, born in 1958, who showed great potential as a guitarist and singer-songwriter from early teenage years, joined the band later in 1977. Split Enz produced an inspiring collection of songs which have acquired classical status, such as ‘I See Red’, ‘One Step Ahead’ and ‘History Never Repeats’. The band eventually split in 1984.
Neil formed Crowded House in 1985, with drummer Paul Hester and bass-player Nick Seymour (younger brother of Mark Seymour, of Hunters and Collectors fame). Some of their songs, such as ‘Better Be Home Soon’ and ‘Into Temptation’, are truly beautiful; written by Neil and sung in his wonderfully melodic voice.
Crowded House held its final concert, titled ‘Farewell To The World’, in the vast forecourt of the Sydney Opera House on 24 November 1996. Tim Finn sang and played guitar, and Peter Jones did a drumming set, along with Jules Bowen on keyboards. The adoring crowd was huge, at least 100,000 people came to sing along to hits such as ‘Better Be Home Soon’, ‘Something So Strong’, ‘Weather With You’ and, finally, ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’. A CD and a DVD are available of the concert, capturing the enthusiasm of the crowd.
Tim and Neil, for their services to the music industry, were each awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). Their fan base is huge, testament to the enduring nature of their unique music. They have continued to record together, and work as solo acts.