Neil Finn

Neil Finn Official Website

The Game of Small Gains

Hi there,

I thought I would give you a few insights into my personality, not giving away all the juicy stuff which I will save for my memoirs, but some context for why and how I make decisions.

I have come to realise I can behave in unpredictable ways when greeted with approval or disapproval. Sometimes I recoil from praise and embrace scorn. Why on earth would I be that perverse, but there’s something empowering about knowing the worst anyone can say about you, getting annoyed about it, imagining some withering sarcastic response but then consigning it to the trash.

With my own music I often seem to sabotage my best laid plans. Why would I ruin a good chorus with an arrangement that conceals the hook. Crowded House is a brand that conjures up good will, we made it with hard work and good spirit, but I have had a contradictory relationship with the success and perception it created. We were the band that some reviewers felt compelled to make excuses for liking. We weren’t consuming enough drugs or projecting enough drama or darkness or something but we liked the idea that your Nanna could enjoy us. In fact, Run DMC made the comment when we had a rap battle with them that their mothers were big fans. It may have been a diss but we were delighted.

I have a real suspicion of holiday resorts. That kind of luxury, detached reality, cocktails by the pool, cool music playing, an air of sophistication that seems to whisper “You're going to die one day,” with spa attendants in white uniforms bearing fluffy towels.

Steely Dan has the same effect on me, an overabundance of major 7th chords and super slick arrangements. I know it's good music but it disturbs me.

Yes, I have a degree from the university of perversity. If you tell me "You should just do Crowded House music all the time,” I will start work on Pajama Club. I also have a mild phobia of group activities. If I go to a yoga class, as I once did, and everyone has to introduce themselves to each other, I won’t go again.

The Game Of Small Gains is a great way to pass time in crazy gridlock freeway traffic. You spot a prominent vehicle in another lane and set about making a series of small manoeuvres from lane to lane in order to get ahead of that car. At no point are silly risks taken, but with skill and patience, small gains can be made and immense satisfaction taken. It's much more enjoyable with a passenger on board. They can be of great use with a well timed “Now!” The ultimate prize is to pull off a “sneak“ down an exit lane, just returning to the traffic before the off-ramp. The Greenlane exit “sneak" on Auckland's Southern Motorway is a kilometre and a half of plain sailing… it’s glorious!

OK, a couple of new musical obscurities for you.

Go well good folk

Neil