Happy 40th Anniversary to Split Enz
On the 10th of December, 1972, Split Ends (as they were spelled then) performed their first gig at Auckland’s Wynyard Tavern. There is no audio or visual record of this night but we do have the next best thing: television footage from a year later which hasn’t been seen at this length, nor the correct speed, since its broadcast in 1973.
New Faces, 1973 was a talent competition which guaranteed a large nationwide audience on New Zealand’s only television channel. For their TV debut, the band mimed to their EMI recording of “129” (aka “One Two Nine” and “Matinee Idyll”) for their heat, broadcast Sunday night, 18th November 1973.
Neil Finn: I remember so clearly watching New Faces in the living room 1973, black and white TV, Tim singing 129 with Phil strumming the mandolin. It was remarkable that one of our family was on TV but it sounded amazing, still does. One of the judges thought it was too clever. I thought, “what an idiot.”
The final was broadcast the following week. Split Ends performed “Sweet Talking Spoon Song”. The Enz lost to Bulldogs All Star Goodtime Band.
Tim Finn — vocals and piano
Phil Judd — mandolin, vocals and spoons
Wally Wilkinson — guitar
Mike Chunn — bass
Geoff Chunn — drums
(Robert Gillies plays brass on the sound recording)
Compere — Jim McNaught
Judges include Ray Columbus and Phil Warren.
NZBC wiped the videotapes after the broadcast. Fortunately, Split Ends’ performances were captured from the TV screen onto silent 8mm film by Trevor Langley, an amateur film club friend of Tim’s father, Richard Finn. Because the film spools allowed only three minutes of filming, the camera was turned off during the instrumental sections.
Watch the video below.
The audio interviews with Tim, Wally, Mike and Phil are from Radio New Zealand’s ten part series “Enzology — The Story of Split Enz”. The entire series can be streamed or downloaded at www.radionz.co.nz/enzology
“129” and “Sweet Talking Spoon Song” are available on the Split Enz CD The Beginning of the Enz through Warner Music.