Thoughts: Of Music and a Deep Love of Covers

Hi team!

I hope you’re all holding up ok. It’s day 79 in this lockdown with not a lot on the horizon… except perhaps access to Bunnings next week.

Putting that aside, one of the absolute best things one can do to shift perspective, to stop complaining, to focus on better thoughts, is to listen to your favourite music. A song? An artist? A genre? It can be anything.

I’ve given myself a little positive project.

I’m building a playlist of Covers. You know, songs performed by artists that have a different take on the original performance. We all know ‘Nothing Compares 2U’ by Prince, and performed amazingly by Sinead OkConnor? But have you heard Chris Cornell’s version?

Sometimes artists cover their own songs in a completely different genre. Steven Tyler singing Janie’s Got A Gun on his Country album is fabulous!

This is what I’m talking about.

I’m wanting your recommendations. What cover versions of songs blow your mind each time you hear them?

Here’s a couple more that I love to start you off.

The Pot – Brass Against. (I just love the quirk and the talent on display here!)

Seal – Fly Like An Eagle

So send me your favourites please! Educate me!


Thoughts: A First and Much Gratitude

One of the pleasures I’ve had to cut back on in recent years has been going to arena concerts. The reasons are many and varied of course, but I’ve trained myself to not be too bothered by FOMO. It’s been a bit tricky with all the bands I grew up with doing potentially their last tours.

I’d decided against seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers, mainly due to not being able to afford tickets when they were released all those months ago. I would, once again, live vicariously through the experiences of my friends, both real and virtual.

Last a Thursday I got a text from my bass-playing 13yr old daughter: “The Chilis are in town, how appropriate do you think they’d be for me?”

A conversation ensued, and at the end of it, I was taking my kids to see this band, and it would be their first-ever concert. She’s been learning bass for nearly a year and loves Flea’s playing. What an opportunity for her. My son is a drummer. To expose him to Chad Smith live – just wow.

My ex – their mother – paid for all three of us. ‘ I’ll take it out of child support’.

I am humbled. Gobsmacked. And so full of gratitude for this gift. This memory.

Thoughts: VNZMA’s [updated]

OK. So last night was the Vodafone NZ Music Awards. I’ve attended these in the past, and really enjoyed the event.

It is a celebration of a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears that our Artists have endured. It is their night. I love the fact that Lorde has achieved so much. And seeing her growth over the last year is a joy.

I love the fact that through the event I am introduced to Artists I haven’t really paid attention to. Broods, Tiny Ruins. Brilliant.

I love seeing people perform that I haven’t before. I enjoyed Benny Tipene. I thought the tribute to Supergroove was excellent. Loved the arrangement.

However, I wasn’t at the event. I was watching it on TV.

And I had to get off Twitter.

I was horrified at the absolutely appalling coverage and production that Mediaworks subjected us to. Shannon and Dai were OK. A little off beam with their banter but it came good. The rest of the presenters… well.

Jono and Ben were a disgrace. Their banter. Their crass attempts at humour. They lowered the standards to a point where I felt it was completely disrespectful.

I understand the need for production costs to be covered, and the support of a broadcaster is critically important to an event such as this. I don’t understand the need for the broadcaster to roll out all the ‘stars’ (and I use that term loosely) to be involved in what was really an exercise in self-promotion.  Why was The Block NZ represented? What’s that got to do with NZ Music? Why on earth would you have an award presented by people who (yes, they’re judging X Factor next year – oh, right) don’t know the artists receiving the award and have a script saying how much they love them… LIES. All for the sake of promoting another Mediaworks show.

When writing for an event like this, the question needs to be asked of every idea: “Is this adding to the event or detracting from it”? Clearly a step missed by Mediaworks.

It was good that the event was less politicised than in previous years, but by the end of the broadcast I felt let down. Disappointed.



So I unexpectedly got the opportunity to see Rihanna play Vector Arena in Auckland last night.

Honestly, I only really have a vague familiarity with her music. Except perhaps for ‘Umbrella’, which I had the misfortune of having to sing in a Singstar game against a friend and her two daughters. Over and over and over, as it was their (then) favourite song.

I didn’t have huge expectations, but I was looking forward to seeing a show.

Then something happened.

About 30 seconds into the first song, I realised that I was watching my second-favourite guitarist* ever, Nuno Bettencourt. This changed my concert experience instantly.


I loved the performance of the show. I loved the musicality of the show.

It looked like Rihanna was also enjoying herself.

It was a fun night.

* my first-favourite guitarist is Steve Lukather.