The Mutton Birds
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|The Mutton Birds|
|Origin||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Past members||Don McGlashan
All three members came into the band with experience: McGlashan came from Blam Blam Blam and The Front Lawn, guitarist Long had played in the Six Volts and Burge had played in the Spines and Sneaky Feelings. Burge was also playing in Dribbling Darts alongside the Mutton Birds. They gained bassist Alan Gregg, also from Dribbling Darts in 1992 and recorded their first self-titled album. It went platinum in New Zealand and gained them notice outside college radio, notably for a cover of Wayne Mason's "Nature" - originally recorded by Mason in 1970 with The Fourmyula and subsequently voted in 2002 as New Zealand's greatest song of the previous 75 years. The Mutton Birds debut album remained on the charts for over a year.
For their second album, Salty, they signed with EMI Australia. It was self-produced and mixed by Tchad Blake. Again the album went platinum in NZ but received little notice beyond Australia and New Zealand.
Their third proper CD, Envy of Angels, was recorded in Wales and released in 1996 worldwide. It sold typically well in Australia and New Zealand, and sales increased from those of Nature in the rest of the world. This year also saw The Mutton Birds' contribution to the soundtrack of Peter Jackson's film The Frighteners with a cover of Blue Öyster Cult's 1976 classic "(Don't Fear) The Reaper". The band now moved to the United Kingdom where they would remain based until 2000.
As they began touring, David Long quit, replaced by Chris Sheehan. Two self-released CDs followed, Angle of Entry (an acoustic live album) in 1997 and Too Hard Basket (subtitled B-sides and Bastards, it contained various rarities) in 1998 as the band looked for a record company. By 1999, Alan Gregg had decided to leave the band. He was replaced by Tony Fisher for their latest CD, Rain, Steam, and Speed which was also released independently. Another independently released live album (Live in Manchester) was issued in time for the 2000 UK tour, during which their line-up was augmented by ex-Sneaky Feelings and Dribbling Darts guitarist Matthew Bannister. A greatest hits collection called Flock was released in 2002.
In late October 2011 it was announced that The Muttonbirds would temporarily reunite to play a series of performances at New Zealand wineries in February and early March 2012.
|1992||The Mutton Birds||
|1996||Envy of Angels||
|1997||Angle of Entry||
|Too Hard Basket||
|1999||Rain, Steam and Speed||
|2000||Live in Manchester||
|2002||Flock: The Best of the Mutton Birds||
|2012||Free Range: The Mutton Birds Live 2012||
The group have appeared on many compilation albums since the inception in New Zealand. The following is a list of these albums that have featured tracks by the Mutton Birds.
- (1999) - The Best Beer Drinking Songs In The World (EMI) - "Nature"
- (2001) - Live At Helen's (Festival Mushroom Records) - "Pulled Along By Love"
- (2001) - 100% Kiwi Rock (Warner Music) - "Dominion Road"
- (2002) - Nature's Best (Sony Music) - "Dominion Road"
- (2002) - Absolute Bliss (Festival Records) - "Dominion Road"
- (2002) - Nature's Best 2 (Sony Music) - "Anchor Me"
- (2009) - The Great New Zealand Songbook (Sony Music) - "Dominion Road"
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1992||"Dominion Road"||31||The Mutton Birds|
|"In My Room"||14|
|1996||"She's Been Talking"||19||Envy of Angels|
|"(Don't Fear) The Reaper"||—||The Frighteners soundtrack|
|1999||"Pulled Along By Love"||—||Rain, Steam, and Speed|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.|
- 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
- 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