Don McGlashan

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Don McGlashan
Don McGlashan Kings Arms Tavern 2007.jpg
Don McGlashan at the Kings Arms Tavern in 2007
Background information
Birth name Donald McGlashan
Born (1959-07-18) 18 July 1959 (age 55)
Auckland, New Zealand
Occupations Musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer
Instruments Vocals, euphonium, piano, guitar, drums, percussion
Years active 1979–present
Labels Arch Hill
Associated acts Auckland Sinfonia
From Scratch
Blam Blam Blam
The Front Lawn
The Mutton Birds
The Seven Sisters
The Bellbirds
Website www.donmcglashan.com

Don McGlashan (born 18 July 1959) is a New Zealand musician and songwriter who won fame with bands Blam Blam Blam, The Front Lawn, and The Mutton Birds. He has also played with The Bellbirds, The Plague, The Whizz Kids and percussion group From Scratch. McGlashan has composed music for film, television, and New Zealand's Limbs Dance Company.

McGlashan's first hits were with band Blam Blam Blam in the early 1980s. He later released four albums as lead singer of The Mutton Birds.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

McGlashan was born in Auckland, New Zealand, with three siblings. Both his parents were teachers: his father Bain taught civil engineering at Auckland Technical Institute and his mother was a schoolteacher. McGlashan was actively encouraged to pursue music from a young age by his father, who bought him bought parts of various musical instruments to learn on.[1] McGlashan wrote the song 'Envy of Angels' as a tribute to his father.[2] At age seven McGlashan began on cello and piano and "then gradually added more instruments to that. [I] went through the tune-a-day for whatever instrument it was, for just about every instrument I think."[3] McGlashan attended Westlake Boys' High School, on Auckland's North Shore.[4] While at high school he began playing keyboard in local bands and studying the French horn. "I carried on sort of following those two strands - of learning how to write songs, learning how to be in a band, learning all the sort of extra musical stuff that you have to learn - and on the other side I was learning the French horn."[5]

He studied English and Music at Auckland University, and played French horn and percussion in the Auckland Sinfonia from 1979-82. McGlashan began working with the punk group From Scratch in 1979, while playing in the Auckland Sinfonia. McGlashan played a number of more eclectic percussion instruments, such as PVC piping struck with jandals; the name of the group came from the fact that they produced their own instruments 'from scratch'. On Standards, the album he jointly produced with Ivan Zagni for Propeller Records in 1982, he is credited as playing bass guitar, horn, whistle, percussion, marimba and vocals.

1981-1984: Blam Blam Blam, dance scoring[edit]

Main article: Blam Blam Blam

In 1981, McGlashan replaced Ian Gilroy in the punk band The Whizz Kids, who rechristened themselves Blam Blam Blam.[6] McGlashan's song "Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both of Us" reached #17 in the New Zealand charts, and deemed by Rip It Up magazine as 'best single of the year'. Readers voted McGlashan best drummer of the year.[6]

1985-1990: The Front Lawn, movie composition[edit]

Main article: The Front Lawn

McGlashan formed the music/theatre/film group The Front Lawn with Harry Sinclair. In the band he took on guitar duties as well. He wrote the song 'Andy' in memory of his late brother. The song would feature in the APRA Top 100 New Zealand Songs of All Time. The song "The Lounge Bar" was made into a short film that was critically acclaimed and played at a number of film festivals. While the films were used as a means of better capitalising on the bands success than long strings of small concert venues, both McGlashan and Sinclair began to move away from the band to writing songs and directing respectively. McGlashan in particular was keen to return to the live circuit,[7] though he was also doing film composition such as An Angel At My Table.

1991–2002: The Mutton Birds[edit]

Main article: The Mutton Birds

While McGlashan did film and theatre work, David Long moved from Wellington to Auckland and the two of them began working together and auditioning drummers. After playing their first gig on St Patricks Day 1991 with a session drummer, they heard of Ross Berge and convinced him to move back to New Zealand from New York to join the band.[8] The band began to become successful—"Anchor Me" won McGlashan the 1994 Silver Scroll Award—and moved to the UK. However, while the Mutton Birds received acclaim from UK critics and music magazines, they failed to achieve mainstream success. The band eventually disbanded and McGlashan returned to New Zealand. Over this time, McGlashan also collaborated with other New Zealand musicians, playing the euphonium in tracks by Dave Dobbyn ('It Dawned On Me') and Tim Finn.

2003-present: Solo work[edit]

After the breakup of the Mutton Birds, McGlashan returned to composition. His song "Bathe In the River" for the film No. 2. and featuring Holly Smith reached number 2 on the New Zealand music charts and went platinum. The song also won him the 2006 APRA Silver Scroll Award, his second win.

In 2005, "Anchor Me" was re-recorded to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior bombing. McGlashan allowed the song to be used but did not perform on it out of the concern that it would turn the attention to him rather than the event the charity song was to represent.[9]

After the Standards project with Ivan Zagni, McGlashan's first solo album, entitled Warm Hand, was released in May 2006. In March 2009, the Marvellous Year album was released through Arch Hill Records. This album is the first to be credited to 'Don McGlashan & the Seven Sisters'. It includes a new version of the hit 'Bathe in the River', this time with McGlashan on lead vocals.

McGlashan played the euphonium on Time On Earth, by Crowded House. He played live with Crowded House at Glastonbury 2008 and has been a regular member of the touring line-up throughout their 2008 world tour.

In 2011 McGlashan provided the score to the fireworks during the opening ceremony of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.[10] At the 2012 Apra Silver Scroll Awards he spoke of the power of songwriting and the changing New Zealand music scene.[11]

McGlashan played euphonium on the track 'Hole In My Head' by Melbourne singer/songwriter Marjorie Cardwell, on her album 'In Another World', released in 2012.[12]

In 2012 McGlashan was part of a select number of artists given permission to visit Antarctica, and in 2013 he was awarded the two month Michael King residency.[1]

Musical style[edit]

McGlashan is noted for creating stories with New Zealand imagery, many around his hometown of Auckland. Examples include Auckland's Dominion Road ("Dominion Road"), Auckland's Harbour Bridge ("Harbour Bridge"), Takapuna Beach ("Andy"), the Coromandel ("Passenger 26"). The Valiant in "White Valiant" is a common New Zealand 1970s car: McGlashan never owned one, though fellow musician Dave Dobbyn had.[13]

He is also known for writing about New Zealand events:

McGlashan noted that while living in England with the Mutton Birds that he still wrote New Zealand "letters to home" in his songs as he struggled to find a connection with English imagery.[14]

McGlashan explained his writing process in 1998 as "trying to write about people that I know. I suppose ‘write letters’ to people, or try to unpick a moment that I’ve lived through and either tell the story in the first person or make up some characters who then tell the story in their own words - and by using what they don’t say as much as what they do say, try and paint their world in a song."[15]

He has also played a number of different instruments throughout his musical career: when asked what instruments he plays, he answered, "Well I don't play violin".[16] However, he is noted for playing the euphonium and French horn. With Blam Blam Blam, McGlashan played drums and euphonium. He later picked up guitar duties for his work with The Front Lawn and The Mutton Birds. McGlashan has also collaborated with other New Zealand musicians, playing the euphonium in tracks by Dave Dobbyn ('It Dawned On Me'), Tim Finn and on Time On Earth, by Crowded House. He played live with Crowded House at Glastonbury 2008 and has been a regular member of the touring line-up throughout their 2008 world tour. McGlashan played euphonium on the track 'Hole In My Head' by Melbourne singer/songwriter Marjorie Cardwell, on her album 'In Another World', released in 2012.[12]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Title Details Peak chart
positions
NZ[17]
2006 Warm Hand
  • Released: 1 May 2006
  • Label: Arch Hill Recordings
  • Catalogue: AHR024
11
2009 Marvellous Year
  • Released as Don McGlashan and the Seven Sisters
  • Released: 2 March 2009
  • Label: Arch Hill Recordings
  • Catalogue: AHR038
26
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

With Blam Blam Blam[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see Blam Blam Blam.
  • Luxury Length (1982) Propeller/Festival Records

With The Front Lawn[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see The Front Lawn.
  • Songs From The Front Lawn (1989) Front Lawn Records
  • More Songs From The Front Lawn (1993) Virgin Records

With The Mutton Birds[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see The Mutton Birds.

Soundtracks[edit]

Movies[edit]

Short films[edit]

TV[edit]

Acting in film[edit]

Shorts[edit]

The Front Lawn:

  • Walkshort (NZ 1987) all the characters were played by Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair.
  • The Lounge Bar (NZ 1989) Don McGlashan - Mike
  • Linda's Body (NZ 1990) Don McGlashan - Ben

Feature Film[edit]

  • Perfect Strangers (NZ 2003): singing "Anchor Me" with band in bar.

Theatre[edit]

  • Co-founder of Watershed Theatre, Auckland 1990 (disbanded 1995)
  • Play 2, Maidment Studio Theatre, October 2002: Don McGlashan played a choirmaster.

Dance[edit]

Music for Limbs Dance Company[edit]

New Zealand

  • Arcade (1981)
  • This Is A Love Song (1983)
  • Decoy (1984)
  • Souvenirs (1984)
  • Vigil Switch (1985)
  • Now Is The Hour (1988)

Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians[edit]

New York, 1983

  • He co-composed the scores to two new Dean pieces
  • Later appointed Music Rehearsal Director.
  • Toured with the company on US and European tours, playing drums and synthesiser.

Awards[edit]

New Zealand Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1981 Blam Blam Blam - "No Depression in New Zealand" Single of the Year Nominated[20]
Blam Blam Blam Most Promising Group Nominated[20]
1989 The Front Lawn - Songs from The Front Lawn Album of the Year Nominated[21]
The Front Lawn Most Promising Group Won[21]
The Front Lawn International Achievement Won[21]
The Front Lawn Best Film Soundtrack/Compilation Won[21]
1993 The Mutton Birds - The Mutton Birds Album of the Year Won[22]
The Mutton Birds - Nature Single of the Year Won[22]
The Mutton Birds Best Group Won[22]
Fane Flaws and The Mutton Birds - "Nature" (The Mutton Birds) Best Video Nominated[22]
1995 The Mutton Birds - Salty Album of the Year Nominated[23]
The Mutton Birds Best Group Nominated[23]
Don McGlashan - "Anchor Me" Best Songwriter Nominated[23]
1996 The Mutton Birds Best Group Nominated[24]
1997 The Mutton Birds - Envy of Angels Album of the Year Nominated[25]
The Mutton Birds - "She's Been Talking" Single of the Year Nominated[25]
The Mutton Birds Best Group Nominated[25]
1998 The Mutton Birds Best Group Nominated[26]
International Achievement Best Group Nominated[26]
2000 The Mutton Birds - Rain, Steam and Speed Album of the Year Nominated[27]
The Mutton Birds - "Pulled Along By Love" Single of the Year Nominated[27]
Don McGlashan (The Mutton Birds) Top Male Vocalist Nominated[27]
2006 Don McGlashan - Warm Hand Album of the Year Nominated[28]
Don McGlashan - Warm Hand Best Male Solo Artist Nominated[28]
Don McGlashan, Sean Donnelly, Ed McWilliams - Warm Hand (Don McGlashan) Best Producer Nominated[28]
2009 Don McGlashan and the Seven Sisters Best Male Solo Artist Nominated[29]
Don McGlashan, Sean Donnelly - Marvellous Year Best Producer Nominated[29]

Silver Scrolls[edit]

McGlashan has won the APRA Silver Scroll twice. In 2006, McGlashan had two songs nominated for this award - a feat last achieved by Dave Dobbyn in 1995. Bathe in the River, written by McGlashan for the film No. 2, later won the award.

Year Work [30] Result
1994 "Anchor Me" Won
2006 "Bathe In the River" Won
"I Will Not Let You Down" Nominated

In 2001, a vote by members of APRA to find New Zealand's Top 100 songs (what would eventually become the Nature's Best series) included 5 McGlashan songs. These were:

  • 23: The Mutton Birds - "Dominion Road"
  • 49: The Mutton Birds - "Anchor Me"
  • 66: Blam Blam Blam - "Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both of Us"
  • 69: Blam Blam Blam - "There Is No Depression in New Zealand"
  • 82: The Front Lawn - "Andy" (co-written with Harry Sinclair)

Other awards[edit]

Personal life[edit]

McGlashan lives in Auckland with his wife, dancer and writer Marianne Schultz, and their two children, Louie and Pearl.[2][37]

In 2008 McGlashan was angered that TVNZ had used a song performed by the Mutton Birds (Anchor Me) when the election results showed that the National Party had won the New Zealand elections. McGlashan stated that he "would rather have sex with a very ugly crayfish" than let the National Party use his music. The song had been used by TVNZ in terms of the Australasian Performing Right Association's blanket licence with TVNZ.[38] He has since expressed regret for the 'tribalism' that followed, though he also questions whether he even made the comment in the first place.[1]

On 28 March 2011 McGlashan suffered three broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a broken collarbone after he hit a car door while cycling in Valley Road, Auckland. He was hospitalised.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Stuart, Sarah (5 March 2013). "Twelve Questions: Don McGlashan". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Warner, Kirsten (2 September 2012). "Kiwi singers share lyrics written for their dads". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Musical Chairs: Don McGlashan". Radio New Zealand. April 1998. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Westlakers". Westlake Boys' High School. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Musical Chairs: Don McGlashan". Radio New Zealand. April 1998. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Blam Blam Blam". Audioculture. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Musical Chairs". Radio New Zealand. April 1998. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Musical Chairs". Radio New Zealand. April 1998. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Rainbow Warrior song heading for the top". NZ Herald. 14 July 2005. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Toupee, Nic (25 July 2012). "Is Don, Is Good". The Music. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  11. ^ McGlashan, Don. "GUEST WRITER DON McGLASHAN on the power of songwriters in a cold climate". Elsewhere. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Marjorie beats brain illness to release CD". Portadown Times. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Mora, Jim (13 September 2013). "NZ Live - Dave Dobbyn & Don McGlashan". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "Musical Chairs". Radio New Zealand. April 1998. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "Musical Chairs". Radio New Zealand. April 1998. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "DON MCGLASHAN IN NEW ZEALAND CHARTS". Charts.org.nz. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  18. ^ Gilchrist, Shane (11 April 2009). "Marvellous year for McGlashan". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "Episode 94 - Jenny Morris & Don McGlashan". RocKwiz. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  20. ^ a b "1981 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c d "1989 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c d "1993 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c "1995 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "1996 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c "1997 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  26. ^ a b "1998 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  27. ^ a b c "2000 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  28. ^ a b c "2006 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  29. ^ a b "2009 Winners". NZ Music Awards. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  30. ^ "Silver Scroll Award Winners". APRA. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  31. ^ "Don McGlashan named Distinguished Alumnus". University of Auckland. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  32. ^ "Don McGlashan - Musician". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  33. ^ "Auckland stars become Living Legends". Scoop. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  34. ^ "2012 Distinguished Alumni". University of Auckland. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  35. ^ "Artists & writers programme". Antarctica New Zealand. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  36. ^ "WRITERS IN RESIDENCE2013". The Michael King Writer's Centre. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  37. ^ "Don McGlashan". NZ Herald. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  38. ^ Rushworth, Anna (16 November 2008). "'I would rather have sex with a very ugly crayfish' - McGlashan". NZ Herald (APN Holdings). Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  39. ^ Wade, Amelia (1 April 2011). "Car door puts Kiwi star in hospital". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 

Other sources[edit]

  • Chunn, Mike and Chunn, Jeremy, The Mechanics of Popular Music, A New Zealand Perspective, GP Publications, 1995. ISBN 1-86956-130-9
  • Dennis, Jonathan and Bieringa, Jan (eds), Film In Aotearoa New Zealand, Victoria University Press, 2nd Edition, 1996. ISBN 0-86473-309-7
  • Dix, John, Stranded In Paradise, Penguin, 2005. ISBN 0-14-301953-8
  • Eggleton, David, Ready To Fly, Craig Potton, 2003. ISBN 1-877333-06-9
  • Martin, Helen and Edwards, Sam, New Zealand Film 1912-1996, Oxford, 1997. ISBN 0-19-558336-1
  • Shute, Gareth, NZ Rock 1987-2007, Auckland, Random House, 2008. ISBN 978-1-86979-000-4
  • Spittle, Gordon, Counting The Beat, GP Publications, 1997. ISBN 1-86956-213-5

External links[edit]