Mondays mean BandsOnBands, and we’re excited to be posting the PropertyOfZack feature today with Paul Delisle of Smash Mouth. We know we don’t cover bands in Smash Mouth’s vein much, but how could we pass up the chance to help the band promote their new album, Magic, which comes out on September 4th. Paul wrote about Split Enz, a band that was around in the late-70’s and early-80’s in the “new wave” scene from New Zealand, and he did a great job showing his love for the band. Make sure to listen to great songs by Split Enz on Spotify here and check out what Paul had to say about one of his biggest influences below!
From Paul Delisle of Smash Mouth:
It’s funny how rock ‘n roll history (now that it’s old enough to actually have a history) tends to immortalize certain bands from specific eras and genres while often ignoring the true greats. The KKK might take me away for saying this, but let’s face it: The emperor has no clothes. The Ramones weren’t very good. (How many people who own a Ramones T-shirt actually listen to the Ramones?). Dead Kennedys, for one, were just…way better. Same thing with the Sex Pistols. They weren’t even really a punk band (mute the lead vocals and they’re basically Foghat). Hell, even 999 kicked their asses.
Bold statements, I know. And I ain’t tryin’ to piss anyone off here, but I’m pretty sure at least some of you know what I’m talking about. It’s like with the New York Dolls or the Velvet Underground. No one listened to that crap. It’s just cool to say you did.
Which somehow brings us to Split Enz. Co-fronted by brothers Tim and Neil Finn, Split Enz was a late seventies-early eighties “new wave” band from New Zealand. Although these Tasmanian angels were pigeonholed with the quirky/silly “new wave” tag, the breadth of their oeuvre defies any kind of categorization. And believe you me, these puckish Kiwis with the fucked up hair-do’s could downright ROCK YOUR ASS OFF live. I saw them at the old Keystone Palo Alto in 1982. At the time I was on the fence between traditional butt rock and the new-to-me-yet-fascinating world of punk/new wave/alternative/whatever. This was the show that left no doubt what side my heart was on. “That’s for me”. They were that powerful.
At the height of their creative forces, Split Enz released (in succession) three timeless masterpieces: True Colours; Waiata; and Time and Tide. I always thought “True Colours” and “Waiata” could easily have been two discs of a double album. With “Waiata” simply continuing the ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it perfection of “True Colours”. Maybe just a bit more rockin’ (production). What I dug most about Split Enz was the risks they were willing to take. Like the straight up ballads. It’s like they were saying, “Fuck it. We’re on the bottom of the world. We’ll do whatever the fuck we want”. That’d be awesome if they said that.
“I got you” (from True Colours) was their only real U.S. hit. But criminally under-exposed gems such as “One Step Ahead”, “Hard Act to Follow”, “History Never Repeats”, and the exhilarating opus “Six Months in a Leaky Boat” shoulda just as easily been huge. Still, what a body of work.