Split Enz | Artist
Split Enz was a New Zealand rock band formed 1972 in Auckland by Tim Finn (vocals, keyboards), Phil Judd (vocals, guitar), Mike Chunn (bass, drums), Miles Golding (violin), Michael Howard (flute), Wally Wilkinson (guitar) and Rob Gillies (saxophone). Golding, Howard and Wilkinson left soon after the initial formation and were replaced by Eddie Rayner (keyboards) and Noel Crombie (percussion, drums). Tim's younger brother Neil Finn (vocals, guitar) joined the band in 1977. Split Enz were hugely popular during the late 1970s and early 1980s in NZ and Australia, as well as internationally in the UK and Canada. They have eight songs listed in the APRA Top 100 New Zealand Songs of All Time, more than any other band. Starting out, Tim Finn and Neil Judd became friends at university and formed a band with various other friends. Originally named "Split Ends" they were an odd and eclectic mix some members having a formal education in classical music and Finn being strongly influenced by British bands the Beatles, the Move and the Kinks. In 1973 they issued their first single, "For You"/"Split Ends", and undertook their first short first tour, supporting British blues legend John Mayall. By early 1974, after having achieved recognition in NZ, the band moved to Australia and were soon spotted by Michael Gudinski who signed them to his new Mushroom Records label. Split Enz were soon touring nationally and gaining exposure playing prestigious support slots for major international acts including Flo & Eddie, Lou Reed and Roxy Music. In May 1975 the group recorded their debut album Mental Notes at Festival Records' Studio 24 in Sydney, produced by veteran NZ musician David Russell. The album did well, selling 12,000 copies on its first release and going to #19 on the Australian album chart and #7 in New Zealand. Over the next decade Split Enz went on to release a total of Nine studio albums, all of consistently excellent standard. Standout albums include Second Thoughts, True Colours, Waiata, and Time and Tide. Also highly recommended are the 2007 compilation of live material The Rootin Tootin Luton Tapes, and the 1997's Spellbound collection of their excellent early singles. Early in their career, the group made the decision to treat records, live shows, publicity photos, stage design, costumes, hair and even makeup as a total package, influenced by their wide-ranging interests in literature and the visual arts: Judd was already an accomplished painter and subsequently created cover paintings for two Enz albums. His artist friend Noel Crombie was soon roped in to become the group's "stylist" and went on to create the unusual costumes, hairstyles, makeup and stage sets which soon became their trademark. As a point of interest, in late 1973 Split Ends entered New Zealand's New Faces television talent show and much to their dismay they finished second-last in the contest. Although this first appearance was not recorded by TVNZ, the Finn family still have the shaky, silent 8mm black and white home movie footage they shot directly off the TV screen and a portion of that was later included in the Split Enz documentary Spellbound.
Featured Albums: Split Enz