Seven years ago, Neil Finn called on a very special group of musical friends. They came from all around the world and converged on Auckland, New Zealand. Over a short few days in 2001, they formed a band and rehearsed a lengthy set, taking it to the stage of Auckland’s St James Theatre for a series of five incredible shows under the banner Seven Worlds Collide.
Some would call it a risky move, but the resulting shows were simply extraordinary. And really, you’d expect no less; the band members included Radiohead’s guitarist and drummer Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway, legendary guitarist Johnny Marr, founder member of The Smiths and current member of US alternate rock innovators Modest Mouse, New York avant-garde group Soul Coughing’s bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano, alongside Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and members of the musically gifted Finn family - Neil’s son Liam Finn and brother Tim Finn.
Now, after completing a successful world tour with the reformed Crowded House for their album Time On Earth, Neil Finn is at it again. Perhaps it’s due to his upbringing in provincial New Zealand, where his family gathered around to share music, singing and performing together. Because once more, Neil is about to surround himself with an ensemble of some of the finest musicians in the world, to record an album under the title Seven Worlds Collide.
And look out – if you think this is just going to happen behind closed doors, you’re mistaken – Neil plans to share this unique event with music fans in New Zealand by presenting a short series of intimate and informal live performances at a nearby club venue.
Over Christmas 2008 and New Year 2009, Neil will bring together the same core band of Johnny Marr, Phil Selway, Ed O’Brien, Sebastian Steinberg and Lisa Germano, along with Liam Finn, to expand the Seven Worlds Collide concept and create a studio album of entirely brand new material in the welcoming surroundings of Roundhead studios in Auckland, NZ.
Neil confirms some other exciting guests will be contributing their time and talent to the album, including four members of Wilco, one of America’s most innovative rock groups: singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, drummer Glenn Kotche and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, who no doubt will be sharing their exquisite vocal harmonies. Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall is also confirmed, as are Neil’s musical friends from New Zealand, Don McGlashan and Bic Runga. And more guests are expected to be added to the album lineup over the coming weeks.
All proceeds from this very special recording will go to support the continuing great work of Oxfam International.
“Many of us have had previous connections with Oxfam,” says Neil, “We are working with them on this album not only to highlight the great work they do but to hopefully make some money for them as well.”
The aim is to create an event and to share a wonderful musical experience. “Our hope for these few weeks,” says Neil “is that a genuine musical exchange will occur. We aim to keep in heart and mind the sense of a band in the studio. We are determined that our album will be soulful and cohesive and that a great time will be had by all.”
All three recording spaces at Roundhead studios will be bursting at the seams with musical expression and innovation as the band works around the clock on this project. The quick turnaround will ensure a fresh vibe for the songs, and the album will stand as a document of the occasion – both a snapshot and a time capsule.
The recording will be mixed by Jim Scott, a master recording engineer who over the years has worked on albums with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Foo Fighters and the late great Johnny Cash.
So get ready, people. It may have taken seven years, but for Neil Finn, and his friends and fans, seven worlds are about to collide once more.
Added by this is emily on December 1, 2008