The cultural importance of Flying Nun and the Dunedin scene seems to be growing exponentially in stature. We music freaks here in the U.S. have over-romanticized the Dunedin scene …
Yeah, it was really vibrant. Most of us were unemployed, it was post- the oil crisis and the beginning of corporate hell really in some ways. There was a lot of unemployment, so a lot of young people with a lot of free time, and unemployment benefits really funded a lot of music and art in New Zealand, especially in the 80s, the old dole. This was the period of the Chills, the Verlaines … We were always doing shows and rehearsing, everyone was always checking each other out and everyone was writing songs. There was so much good music around; it was a little explosion.
There are definitely days when The Clean sound like the greatest band ever. There’s a perfect, timeless feel in almost everything they’ve ever done — it’s not “folk” music in the way we think of it, but it’s natural music, earth music, heart music. You know what I’m saying? I don’t know what I’m saying. Except that David, Hamish and Robert make some pretty righteous sounds, dig? What I’ve got for you today is a 1981 tape of the band at the Rumba Club in Auckland, NZ, playing to a ridiculously tiny crowd. The recording quality could be better, but crank it up and you won’t mind, as The Clean blast through their classic Compilation-era material, as well as some tunes that (as far as I know) never made it to the studio. Of special interest is the epic “Point That Thing Somewhere Else,” which sees the trio stretching out and loosening up over 15 blissful minutes. So good! The Clean keeps on tally-ho-ing to this day, with a U.S. tour imminent. Go see them if you can — and God Bless The Clean!!! Oh, and thanks to Jonah for sharing the tape.
I came across this flow chart about the influence Flying Nun bands have had on influential American and English bands.
One of the most romantic myths about Flying Nun is that its bands were far more acclaimed internationally than in New Zealand […] It is largely unfounded though. Flying Nun bands were mostly even less popular in the United States than they were in New Zealand. There’s a reason why Neil Finn owns a quarter of Flying Nun, while many of its bands can’t afford to buy their own records.
I’m just going to turn this into a Flying Nun appreciation blog from now on. Everyone needs to know.