Outside The House
While Neil Finn made megabucks with Crowded House, he cut his recording and performing teeth with his brother Tim in one of New Zealand's premier rock bands (and the first to garner international success), Split Enz.
The Beginning Of The Enz
Formed in 1972, Split Enz were a zany bunch of Kiwi individualists arguably more renowned for their outlandish stage costumes (designed by resident spoon specialist Noel Crombie) and anarchic antics than for their decidedly-quirky music.
They recorded their debut album, "Mental Notes", in 1975 showcasing an arty and eclectic mix of styles.
The original lead guitarist and co-founder, Phil Judd, was, initially chronically stage-frightened. At one open-air rock festival, with thousands of heavy metal fans raging to see Black Sabbath, he almost refused to take the stage!
Eventually disillusioned with audiences and touring, he went his separate way during a tour in the mid-Seventies. To replace him, lead singer Tim Finn roped in younger sibling Neil.
They released the "Dizrythmia" album featuring little brother's already-apparent talents in 1977. Its opener, "My Mistake", was their first Top 20 hit in the Anitpodes.
In England, however, punk had burgeoned. With a classic case of atrocious timing, their sojourn there met the kind of contempt you can well imagine from the likes of Sid Vicious and co.
Neither album nor single fared wellin the U.K.]
In 1978, they released the disappointing "Frenzy" album and a single, the rocking "I See Red" This latter charted well in Australasia.
This was followed the year after with the far more satisfying "True Colours", featuring the Neil-penned single"I Got You". Both were predictably-successful chartbusters in Australia and New Zealand, platinum in Canada and performed respectably in the U.K. and America
In fact, their success at this time was such that, on their 1981 American tour, they got equal billing with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Following a break from the intensive touring schedule, the band re-grouped to record "Time and Tide", regarded as their most personal and artistically-creative album to date. MTV, doted on it, giving heavy exposure to the singles "Dirty Creature" and "Six Months In A Leaky Boat".
Aunty Beeb, for reasons best known to herself, banned the latter Something to do with Margaret Thatcher and the Falkland's war.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Up to this point, Tim had been responsible for the bulk of group's songwriting credits. In 1983, he sidestepped Split Enz to release a solo gem, "Escapade", with its hit "Fraction Too Much Friction" single.
Upon returning for the "Conflicting Emotions" album, he found not only a new drummer - Paul Hester - and a band bereft much of its origina breakneck impetus but also little Brother writing most of the songs on the set.
Perhaps this was just as well; Tim later announced his departure. Now in the lead role, Neil gathered the band for their last hurrah, the patchy "See Ya Round".
Not The Enz
Split Enz were dissolved in 1985 but Neil remained teamed with Paul, creating Crowded House; the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1996, Tim and Neil undertook a major New Zealand tour backed up by none other than the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra.
Set up by Enz keyboards player Eddie Rayner, it also involved another Kiwi rock legend, Dave Dobbyn, chanteuse Annie Crummer and popular poet Sam Hunt. The concerts received rave reviews and were well received by appreciative audiences everywhere.