Neil Mullane Finn OBE is a New Zealand recording artist. Along with his brother Tim Finn, he was the co-frontman for Split Enz, a project that he joined after it was initially founded by Tim Finn and others, and is now frontman for Crowded House. He has also recorded several successful solo albums and assembled diverse musicians for the 7 Worlds Collide project; contributor Ed O'Brien, also guitarist for Radiohead, has hailed Finn as popular music's "most prolific writer of great songs". Finn rose to prominence in the late 1970s with Split Enz and wrote the successful songs "One Step Ahead", "History Never Repeats", "I Got You" and "Message to My Girl", among others. Finn rose from prominence to international fame after Split Enz broke up in 1984. While his brother Tim Finn left for England, Neil was the founder of Crowded House with Split Enz's final drummer Paul Hester in 1985. The group achieved international success in 1987 when they released the single "Don't Dream It's Over", written by Neil Finn.
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Hey I am Neil Finn, you may know me from my work in the bands Split Enz and Crowded House. My new album is Dizzy Heights. I am interested in the internet and you, so ask away!
EDIT: O.K. folks, I have to run to the airport and catch a plane but I enjoyed my first outing on Reddit, perhaps I can come back this evening or tomorrow and answer a few more questions but thank you for your good thoughts .....cheerio!
Being World Suicide Prevention Day, how did Paul Hester's passing affect you? In hindsight, were there any warning signs? As a drummer and big fan of Crowded House, Paul's passing made me really sad.
I miss Paul hester every day . It always hard to accept . I never once thought he would end his life that way . It taught me to really pay attention to the people I love .
Can you tell me about the process of writing "Don't Dream It's Over" and what it's about?
It's one of my favourite songs of all-time and I often find myself reflecting on life while listening to it. Thank you for your music!
I wrote in on my brother piano . There were visitors in the other room , "they came to build a wall between us " I was avoiding them because I was feeling sad .I had just had big argument with someone I loved . I'm glad its been a comfort to people
My wife and I are huge fans from all the way back to Split Enz. We saw you and Tim (Finn Bros.) in Detroit at The Majestic a few years back and I walked in on you washing your hands in the bathroom before the show. I immediately stuck out my hand for a shake and you said, in a very nice way, "Sorry mate," and held out your wet hands. Of course, I just went straight in for a bear hug, said I loved your work, and you were on your way. My question is, does that sort of thing bother you? If so, I'm terribly sorry...
I shouldn't have held out my wet hand to you , that was unhygenic but I do understand that you have grab opportunities to say hi when they come around
What is Distant Sun about?
Distant Sun is my attempt to acknowledge the great cosmic mysteries of the universe as having strange influence over us and attracting repelling our emotional lives . I was told by a guru once that every action is either pro or anti life . That made sense to me
What's your favorite cover of a Split Enz/Crowded House song?
These songs go off and have their own lives . I like a Jimmy Little version Into Temptation a lot , there was Spanish version of fall At Your feet that had something , Boy and bear did good job of that one too . As I've said before you can't choose who you're children sleep with . Some of my songs have been quite promiscuous
Neil thank you for doing an AMA. My question to you is was there a back story to the song I got you?
I wrote I Got You In Rose Bay while Tim was in the other room writing Nobody Takes me Seriously . I thought the chorus was too corny but thats probably why it became a hit
Hi Neil! Huge fan! I saw you guys at Live Earth in Sydney. Any highlights from the day?
The best moment of Live Earth was when the power went off and we only had one light bulb swinging above us ,we sang Better be Home soon and the whole audience sang with us . You don't need all the varilight/
lazer bullshit for a good time
Hi Neil. Do you feel you have more freedom (creatively or otherwise) writing and recording as a solo artist, than you do with a band?
Yes it does mean I can venture into any area I want and actually in the future i think I may try to unify the threads , putting out single records that include collaboration with all the best people in my life...but what to call it ..What do you think ?
Thanks for making great music Neil. When is the next Pajama Club album coming and what is your favorite Liam Finn song?
Pyjama Club is influencing everything I do as it taught me a new way of writing and gave Sharon and I a shared passion . We were both beginners together . Thats the key to a long marriage for me .I love so many of Liams songs , my current favorite is Miracle Glance
How did Dizzy Heights come together musically as an album? I can't imagine you sitting down with an acoustic guitar and pulling a track like "Dive Bomber" out of nowhere.
In a complex series of manouvres I drift with chords and mlodies and vocals sounds until a combination arrives that makes me feel somthing , thena I make a series of every improving demos , focusing each time on the strength of what I discover listening back to my drifting . The melody and atmospher of Dive Bomber was the 3rd incarnation of that song . Initially it was jaunty 40's style swing song . I love to destroy my work in order to rebuild it and transform it
What is your favourite song that you have written, whether solo, with Tim or with one of the bands?
What is your favourite song by someone else?
Fun anecdote: I once interviewed Tim for an Australian magazine, and was ridiculously excited, until I realised my two favourite Split Enz songs were written by you and I couldn't talk about them. It was still the highlight of my journalism career so far.
Both Tim and I get called each others names almost every day so we are steeled against that sort of thing , I hope you are not burdened by that . A while ago someone called across the street ''Hey Tims brother "
I Can't really pick favorites as I think the songs songs will get upset
Which of your music videos are you happiest with? Is it true that you hate the "Instinct" promo?
yes its true I feel very embarrassed sitting next to the space model in that video . She was too thin . I'm not going to tell you which other videos I don't like because you will just go and watch them . I do like DDIO , FAYF < and I really enjoyed making videos fpr my recent album .Dive Bomber in particular . watch out for a new one for Liams song Wrestle with Dad. Do you think I overact in my videos?. I used to
Hey Neil! Do you have any strong feelings for or against touring and how it affects your life in terms of family/friends, creativity, health, etc? From an outsider's perspective, it seems like you and countless other professional musicians put an absurd amount of work into your tours. Is it hard to get up night after night and give each show energy and passion? It looks exhausting!
Like everything the more you tour the better you get at adapting to the lifestyle but there is a point when numbness sets in . The show is a glorious opportunity to achieve higher states of consciousness, the temptation is to take additional stimulants to help get there night after night and that catches up with you .
What's your favorite type of cake?
not Chocolate as had too many of those when the single came out, a nice lemon cake perhaps , very fond of a chocolate eclair . We get amazing cookies almost every day on tour in america from a very generous lady. I need to lower my sugar intake .I'm writing a song called Sugar free diet .
Thank you Neil. Your music made my life so much better. Seeing Split Enz on early MTV was pretty life changing. I just finished reading Chris Bourke's Crowded House biography and I was curious what you thought of it?
I Think Chris did a good job of telling story forma chronological point of view . I don't think anyone has heard the real story which for me was the humour and the dynamic struggle of our relationship . That was special
Hi Neil, huge fan! My friend, Fionn, has on occasion claimed that you used to babysit him when you were still in Crowded House in the early '90s. Is there any truth to this? P.S. What is the true meaning behind Fall At Your Feet? It's one of my favourite songs of all time!
mmmmm....Fionn , I don't remember anyone called Fionn and I think I would so mmm, does he have a history of fantasy ? I'm sure he's a lovely fella . Of course I am not rembering everything well these days so.....what was the question again ?
Do you think musicians have more of an advantage or disadvantage in making it in the industry now as opposed to say 20/30 years ago? If that's a little too much then more simply put, has the music industry changed for the better over the past few decades?
good songs are still in short supply , there are more great producers that ever because technology has made that far easier now . Nobody wants to pay artists , thats a problem for sure but real lifer musicians do it anyway, no matter what Its hard to do it well for a long time ...always was.....mystery , mystery , wonderful mystery
What's going on with "Gentle Dave"? Will we ever get to hear it?
I will release Gentle Dave when I have a good recording and mix of it but also when i get Leo Do Caprio to star in the video
Hi Neil, wondering if your relationship with fans on Twitter has influenced you in any way musically?
I have enjoyed the connection on twitter especially the ability to make random associations and twist the narrative of everyday life . I know I am not able to meet expectations on there though , May people have moving stories and worthy requests that remain unanswered so there is a slight unease in that way. I thanks you all though for giving me good ideas
What do you like to do in your down time?
I like to work in my down time
You recently stated in an interview that you'd be touring less and spending more time in the studio. Is touring becoming less enjoyable or is it a case of you being on a creative roll?
p.s. Apologies for being the over exuberant drunk in the Jumeirah Creekside. But Jesse and Alistair helped finish off my Duty Free by way of compensation!
I think I am on the cusp of making really amazing record and I feel its going to take a couple fo years of solid writing and recording and then probably another album stright off the back of that so touring might have to wait for a while . I'm looking for great one off ideas though for live performance ..open to suggestion ?
Hi Neil-being greedy and adding a second question. Any advice on how to curb my 7 yr old son's swearing problem? Should I ignore, etc. Seriously, I need advice! ;-) Yep, he just called his brother an a-hole...
The only lesson anyone needs to learn about swearing is when and who you can do it with . Brothers will call brothers arsehole from time to time