Phil Judd

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Phil Judd
Birth namePhilip Raymond Judd
Born (1953-03-20) 20 March 1953 (age 70)
Hastings, New Zealand
GenresRock, pop, vaudeville, alternative
Occupation(s)Musician, producer, artist, songwriter
Instrument(s)Guitar, mandolin, ukulele, vocals
Years active1972–present

Philip Raymond Judd (born 20 March 1953) is a New Zealand singer-songwriter known for being one of the founders of the bands Split Enz and The Swingers.

Split Enz[edit]

In 1972, Judd and Tim Finn founded the arty folk band Split Enz. In its early days the band was known for its eccentric behaviour, wacky clothes, makeup and crazy hairstyles. In the early days the band members all adopted their middle names, with the exception of Phil Judd, the only member from that era to use his first name.

While the other members of the Enz had hairstyles that were out of the ordinary, Judd chose to shave his head after the release of the first album Mental Notes. After the second album Second Thoughts was released, tension arose between Judd and Tim Finn. Judd left the band in 1977 shortly after the release of the single Another Great Divide, to be replaced by Finn's younger brother Neil Finn.

After leaving the Enz, Judd wrote songs and recorded demos until later that year he was approached by Tim Finn to rejoin the band. The Enz toured in 1978 with two lead guitarists in Judd and Neil Finn, who got along rather well. During this time the band played some new songs by Judd that won favour with the audience, including a self-confessed favourite of keyboardist Eddie Rayner, "Play It Strange".

Later that year, Judd once again left the group. It was after this time that Split Enz went on to their greatest international success.

After Split Enz[edit]

After leaving Split Enz, Judd became involved with Auckland punk band The Suburban Reptiles. He produced their second single, "Saturday Night Stay at Home", and performed live with them. He was also briefly a member of Chris Knox's band The Enemy. Out of the remnants of The Suburban Reptiles he formed The Swingers with future Midnight Oil band member Bones Hillman and Buster Stiggs. The band went through a couple of lineup changes, but managed to release a No. 1 song in New Zealand and Australia, "Counting The Beat". The song was used in the 1990s on commercials for DEKA chain of general merchandise stores, and was also used for the New Zealand TV3 Slogan "There aint no place I'd rather be" in 2011. The Swingers also wrote lyrics and composed music for Gillian Armstrong's 1982 New Wave musical Starstruck.

After The Swingers broke up in 1982, Judd recorded the Private Lives solo album, released by Mushroom Records in 1983.[1] It would be 24 years before he released his next solo album. In the US, selections from Private Lives were released as a five-track EP called The Swinger.

In 1986 Tim Finn contacted Judd to write some songs for his new album Big Canoe. It would have been the first time they were to write together since Split Enz. According to Finn, instead of writing, the two spent most of the time drinking and catching up on old times and wrote no material.[citation needed] Instead, Judd played guitar on the album.

Schnell Fenster[edit]

In the late 1980s, Judd went on to be part of Schnell Fenster and was involved in recording movie soundtracks, most notably The Big Steal, winning the AFI award for his first score Death in Brunswick. Schnell Fenster was composed of former Split Enz members Nigel Griggs, Noel Crombie and Eddie Rayner, along with guitarist Michael den Elzen. Rayner left the project soon after its birth.

The debut album The Sound of Trees was a moderate success, but due to Noel Crombie developing tinnitus, the band was unable to tour extensively to support the album. A second album, OK Alright A Huh Oh Yeah, was released in Australia and New Zealand in 1991. The band then broke up.

Judd has worked in movies, including Rikky and Pete, Amy, and Mr Reliable, and on television programs such as Good Guys Bad Guys, Stingers and Sky Trackers.

Split Enz reunite without Judd[edit]

Judd has been reported as feeling bitter about not being invited to join Split Enz on their 2006 reunion tour.[2] In an interview on community radio program Living in the Land of Oz, Judd said that Neil Finn wanted him to "get up and do two or three songs or at least be involved somehow" but this did not happen at either of the Melbourne concerts. On stage with the Enz in 2006, Tim Finn claimed that his relationship with Judd is "complicated".[citation needed]

Around the time of the Enz tour, Judd and Tim Finn had decided to get together with former Enz violinist Miles Golding for a few recording sessions dubbed 3 of a Kind. With the success of the Finn Brothers' latest album and the resurgence of interest in Split Enz, Tim Finn was offered a chance to release another solo album through EMI and took it. This left no time for any side projects and the project has not come to fruition.

Mr Phudd[edit]

Judd sells copies of Mr Phudd and His Novelty Act through his website. Some fans have likened it to his work from his days with Split Enz.[citation needed] Judd is also a visual artist and his surrealistic portrayal of Split Enz for the band's 1975 Mental Notes album won a music industry award for best cover design.[3] He has continued to paint over the years and has work in the National Gallery of Victoria.[4]

In 2006, Phil worked with Australian band Pinky Tuscadero, producing their EP Look Your Best.[5]

His album Love is a Moron[6] was released in December 2008.

Personal life[edit]

In 1992, Judd was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He suffered a stroke in 2004 which damaged his spleen.[2]

Judd was convicted in March 2009 of stalking three sisters in his Melbourne neighbourhood. He received a 12-month suspended sentence.[2][7] On 1 January 2010, Judd was jailed for two weeks for violating a restraining order brought against him by his ex-wife during a dispute over custody of their young son.[2]



List of albums, with selected details
Title Details
Private Lives/The Swinger
  • Released: 1983
  • Format: LP, Cass
  • Label: Mushroom (L 37992)
Death in Brunswick
  • Released: 1991
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EastWest (903174188-2)
  • Note: Soundtrack
Mr. Phudd & His Novelty Act
  • Released: 2006
  • Format: CD, Digital
  • Label: Mana Music
Love Is a Moron
  • Released: December 2008
  • Format: CD, Digital
  • Label: Native Tongue Music Publishing
Play It Strange
  • Released: 2014
  • Format: CD, Digital
  • Label: Phil Judd
  • Released: 2016
  • Format: CD, Digital
  • Label: Phil Judd
Flightless Bird
  • Released: 2019
  • Format: CD, Digital
  • Label: Phil Judd
Planet Sublime
  • Released: 2021
  • Format: CD, Digital
  • Label: Phil Judd



Music for several Melbourne Theatre Company plays 1989–1993 including Miss Bosnia, Cosi and Summer of the Aliens, directed by Nadia Tass.

Lyricist for The Lion The Witch & The wardrobe songs, A touring musical production 2001–2003.

Awards and nominations[edit]

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music. They commenced in 1987.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
1992 Death in Brunswick Best Original Soundtrack, Cast or Show Album Nominated [8]


  1. ^ Phil Judd at AllMusic. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Tim Hume (20 February 2010). "Phil Judd: Fallen idol". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Cover design award to group member". The New Zealand Herald. 4 March 1976.
  4. ^ "Phil Judd, NGV Collection online".
  5. ^ Trajstman, Adrian (2006). "Pinky Tuscadero – "Look Your Best" in Releases". Mess + Noise. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  6. ^ "Love is a Moron". Phil Judd. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Rock star Phil Judd stalked three girls". Nine News. 1 November 2009. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009.
  8. ^ ARIA Award previous winners. "History Best Original Soundtrack, Cast or Show Album". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  • Chunn, Mike, Stranger Than Fiction: The Life and Times of Split Enz, GP Publications, 1992. ISBN 1-86956-050-7
  • Chunn, Mike, Stranger Than Fiction: The Life and Times of Split Enz, (revised, ebook edition), Hurricane Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9922556-3-3
  • Dix, John, Stranded in Paradise: New Zealand Rock and Roll, 1955 to the Modern Era, Penguin Books, 2005, ISBN 0-14-301953-8

External links[edit]