Flocks of families will be filling our bay ferries to flood the already sold out Queenscliff Music Festival to see this Finn brother. The family-friendly festival returns for 2019 for with a gigantic line-up of talent including Missy Higgins, The Cat Empire, The Delta Riggs, Mojo Juju, Remi, Ross Wilson, Troy Cassar-Daley and The Waifs, but it’s the special appearance from Split Enz and Crowded House legend, whom we claim as our own homegrown talent, Tim Finn, that will cause a frenzy.
“Claim away- it’s very flattering,” Finn laughs. “I moved to Melbourne in the ’70s and went back again in the ’80s and the ’90s and lived in Sydney. Our first child was born in Sydney. We’re pretty much Aussies. We’re Kiwi-Aussies – that hybrid format.”
While his brother and long-time collaborator, Neil Finn was just here touring extensively with Fleetwood Mac, Tim Finn, hasn’t played the Australian stage in quite some time. He is, however, excited to show off his catalogue to Queenscliff audiences with his four-piece band.
“You know I’m sort of semi-retired from live work. I really just do festivals and sort of one-off special events these days and I really enjoy them but don’t need to go out and tour like I used to. I stay at home more and write and collaborate on theatre projects and musicals and various things. That suits me better these days,” says Finn. “I like playing festivals because you do play to a real cross-section of different people across all ages and it’s great to see the kids out there on their dads shoulders and they might know one of my songs, they may have heard ‘I See Red’ or something, but they don’t know me that well. It’s a big wave and I ride it. I love it!”
Finn hasn’t entirely missed out on our sunburnt country though. Having resided back in New Zealand for the latter half of his life, Finn has been making his way back and forth across the Tasman over the last couple of years through his compositional involvement with the theatre production, ‘Ladies In Black’. Premiering at Queensland Theatre Company in November 2015, the production clocked a massive 152 shows and has broadened his musical palette.
“It was really great and it whetted my appetite to do more. I’m developing some now- there’s a couple [in the works] and they always take a few years to get up from the first time you sit around a table to a theatre. But it’s a great ride, very collaborative and I enjoy it so I definitely want to more of that,” Finn says. “It’s definitely one of my main focuses now.”
Those other focuses include a virtual, email file share, musical project with fellow Split Enz former members, Eddie Rayner and Noel Crombie, and a similar project with some Irish friends that he teases may be surfacing in 2020 but there’s no real rush.
“There’s this Russian writer Nabokov who wrote the book Lolita and he was asked one time, why do you write? He said ‘aesthetic bliss’ and I think I subscribe to that because it is a blissful state when you are writing and when you’re not you just patiently wait for it to come.” he says. “But the air is thick with creative projects flying around from country to country, city to city.”
Another project that Finn is really immersed in involves his family, wife Marie Azcona and children/musicians in the making, Harper, 21 and Elliot, 16. While Harper has already dabbled into his own musical career, Finn has a family collaboration planned.
“Another project I’m trying to do which is based around our house. I love the house we live in, we’ve raised our kids here and it’s a big old wooden house, 100 years old and I think it would be really nice to write an album with the kids about being in this house before we leave it because I can see the writing on the wall in the next 5-6 years the kids will be gone and we’ll probably move on too which will be sad because there are so many memories in each room. That’s a project I would like to try to do but I don’t think that will be 2020. That will be probably be more 2022, 2023 [laughs]. As they’re loading out the furniture I’ll be finishing the last song but next year should be something in the works for sure,” explains Finn. “I’ve already written the first song because I’m always the first one out of the gates but now I’m like ‘come on, it’s your turn to write – write about your bedroom or something’. They’ll come on board but they’re just teenagers. They’ll do it in their own time. I’m just inviting them into a creative wonderland! Don’t they know what’s good for them! [laughs].”
See Finn bring his own creative wonderland to the Queenscliff stage on Friday 22 November 2019.
Written by Tammy Walters
Photo by Stephen Ward