Zaine Griff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Zaine Griff
Also known as Glenn Mikkelson
Born (1957-10-04) 4 October 1957 (age 56)
Origin Auckland, New Zealand
Genres Synthpop, new wave, ambient, electronic
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass
Associated acts The Human Instinct, Screemer, Hans Zimmer, Yukihiro Takahashi, Ultravox, Gary Numan, Kate Bush, Lindsay Kemp
Website Fahrenheit 451

Zaine Griff (born 4 October 1957, Auckland, New Zealand)[1] is a singer-songwriter who formed part of the English new wave scene of the 1980s. Although being educated and beginning as musician in New Zealand, he moved to England in the 1970s, where he continued with his artistic and musical career, becoming a solo artist. He worked with Lindsay Kemp, in arts, and The Human Instinct, The Kinks, David Bowie and Hans Zimmer, in music.


Being brought up in New Zealand and Tahiti by his Danish parents, he learned guitar in an early age.

In the early 1970s he joined rock band The Human Instinct at age of 16 as bassist, with the stage name of Glenn Mikkelson.[2] During his time with the band he recorded two albums, The Hustler (1974) and Peg Leg (recorded in 1975 but not released until 2002). In spite of his young age Griff wrote 7 songs for these albums and did lead vocals on 5 of them.

By 1975, he quit The Human Instinct and moved to London, England to continue his musical career. There, he became vocalist and bassist of a band called Baby Face and began to study mime and movement, alongside Kate Bush, Adam Darius and Lindsay Kemp. At the time, he joined Kemp's production of Flowers, a play written by Jean Genet, but quit to stay in London to continue with music, when the company went to tour in Australia.

After leaving the Kemp company, Griff joined Screemer, with whom he released two singles, "Interplanetary Twist", in 1976, and "In The City", in 1977. Griff also played bass guitar with The Kinks on their album, Misfits.

In 1979 for his solo career, he used various musicians for his band, including future film music composer and musician Hans Zimmer and Ultravox drummer Warren Cann. He released two albums, Ashes and Diamonds (recorded in 1979, released in 1980) and Figvres (1982). Ashes and Diamonds was produced by Tony Visconti. On both albums, Hans Zimmer played keyboards and computers. At the album "Figvres" the influence of Zimmer was more present in the musical arrangements of the songs. For Zimmer the album "Figvres" was an inspiration for his later work in making sound tracks for films.

There have been many rumours about David Bowie visiting the London recording studio's where Zaine Griff's first album was recorded. Due to the words of Zaine Griff himself - in an interview on New Zealand radio, 5 April 2013 - producer Tony Visconti had just returned from working with David Bowie in Berlin, when they started to record Zaine's album in autumn 1979. During the sessions David Bowie walked in, saw Zaine recording and asked Zaine and his band to record three new versions of his songs. One of them the acoustic Space Oddity (1979 version) the other one a total different version of Panic in Detroit, later added to Bowie's next album Scary Monsters and years later again to Heathen. Tony Visconti has confirmed he brought David Bowie and Zaine Griff together in the studio.

On the second album Figvres, Kate Bush sang backing vocals in the song "Flowers", which was dedicated to their mime and dance teacher Lindsay Kemp. Also Yukihiro Takahashi of Japanese electronic band YMO joined the musicians. The single, "Tonight" peaked at #54 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1980, whilst "Ashes and Diamonds" reached #68 in the same listing in June that year.[3]

In 1982, Griff had an art exhibition in Ebury Galley, London, to which also the London artist Mark Wardel contributed his art, inspired by Zaine Griff's music. In 1983 Zaine Griff was involved in the Helden Project of Hans Zimmer and Warren Cann. Griff sang on five of the songs on the recorded album "Spies". The album, however, was never released. Only the single Holding On - a duet of Zaine Griff and singer Linda Allan - was released.

In 1984, Griff returned to New Zealand, where he became the owner of a jazz club in Auckland. He has produced several artists and wrote new songs in more recent times. In January 2010, Griff started to record his third album "Child Who Wants The Moon", which is released in August 2011. Zaine's first two albums "Ashes and Diamonds" and Figvres" were re-released on CD and iTunes in June 2012. In November 2012 they were released in a special Japanese release with bonus songs.

In 2011 Zaine Griff returned to live music. After a series of live concerts in his homeland New Zealand, he returned to the London stage in October 2012, when he was a guest in Toyah's live show "Resurrection" in O2 Islington. In September 2014 Zaine Griff does two live concerts in Tokyo, Japan.

In April 2013 Zaine Griff released his fourth album "The Visitor" in Auckland, produced by Eddie Rayner of Crowded House. Later that year Griff found a box with old studio demo recordings he thought he lost long time ago. The demo's were recorded in London between 1978 and 1983 and consist of two early versions of songs he rerecorded years later for his album "Figvres" and ten songs which had remained unknown. In an Auckland studio he had the tapes repaired and the demo's remastered and released them as his fifth album "Immersed" in May 2014. All five albums are also available as digital downloads in iTunes and other major webstores.

Currently Zaine Griff is in the studio, working on his new studio album, which will represent, in his own words "a more European sound" like his early albums.


With The Human Instinct:

  • The Hustler (Zodiac, 1974)
  • Peg Leg (recorded 1975, released 2002)

With Screemer:

  • "Interplanetary Twist" (Bell, 1976)
  • "In The City" (Arista, August 1977)

As solo artist:

  • "Tonight" - single (Automatic, February 1980)
  • "Ashes and Diamonds" - single (Automatic, May 1980)
  • "Run" - single (Automatic, August 1980)
  • 'Ashes and Diamonds' - album (Automatic, October 1980)
  • "Figvres" - single (Polydor, July 1982)
  • "Flowers" - single (Polydor, September 1982)
  • 'Figvres' - album (Polydor, October 1982)
  • "Swing" - single (Polydor, October 1983)
  • "Child Who Wants the Moon" - album (ZG Music Ltd, August 2011)
  • "Ashes and Diamonds" - album (rerelease ZG Music Ltd, June 2012)
  • "Figvres" - album (rerelease ZG Music Ltd, June 2012)
  • "The Visitor" - album (ZG Music Ltd, April 2013)
  • "Abjure" - EP, 4 songs (ZG Music Ltd, April 2013)
  • "Immersed" - album (ZG Music Ltd/Ode Records, May 2014)

With Helden (as guest vocalist):

  • "Holding On" - single (1983)
  • 'Spies' - album (unreleased)

With Yukihiro Takahashi:

  • "This Strange Obsession" on What? Me Worry? album

With Gary Numan:

  • "The Secret" on the album, Berserker (1984)


  1. ^ 451
  2. ^
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 236. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]