Phil founded New Zealand’s Split Enz with Tim Finn in 1972, recorded a seminal punk single with Suburban Reptiles, had an Australian #1 hit with The Swingers, then moved to solo and soundtrack work until 2006, since which he’s recorded five thickly textured solo albums including extensive one-man-band work.
We discuss the title track from Flightless Bird (2019), “Kite Flying Day” from Play It Strange (2014), and “Lamplight” by Schnell Fenster from The Sound of Trees (1988). We conclude by listening to “No One’s Best Man” from Novelty Act (2016). Intro/outro: “Sweet Dreams” by Split Enz from Second Thoughts (1976).Here’s the video for “Sweet Dreams” with Split Enz, here’s another early Enz tune, “Spellbound” that he sang lead on (in a scary way), and here’s “The Woman Who Loves You” which features Phil playing the spoons at the end (co-written with Tim Finn, who sings lead). His last song with the band was “Another Great Divide,” which has some of the newer Enz sound. A good, concise documentary about the Enz starts here. Here’s “Saturday Night,” the song Phil did with the Suburban Reptiles, and here’s “Counting the Beat,” that big hit for the Swingers, Here’s “Whisper”, my favorite song from Schnell Fenster. Here’s one of the many tunes that Phil did for a soundtrack. Here’s the video for Phil’s “No One’s Best Man.” Here’s an instrument from a later-career collaboration called The Unthinkables. Here’s a solo tune called “Gutless Wonder” that Phil wrote for the 2016 election. Phil’s solo work really started all the way back in ’77 with a heap of demos like this. Photo by Hayley Theyers.
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