I've seen on the forum a few people expressing their dislike for the 21st Century iteration of Crowded House. And I can't understand that. I genuinely love both of their albums and really feel like they were taking strides forward. I love the life and energy that Matt Sherrod brings. I still hope for a third album with the Finn/Seymour/Hart/Sherrod line up.

C'mon let's get some love for the now over a decade old "current" Crowded House.

Original Post

As someone who discovered the band only in late 2017, I would be thrilled if they reunited again in any form. I have never seen them live. Seeing Neil live in September for the first time in NZ. If they reunite, no matter where the concert is, I'm buying a ticket immediately!

PS I love Time on Earth. I have not explored Intriguer enough.

You are not the only one! Of course we all miss Paulo, but this different incarnation of the band is still my favorite band! I live in hope that they reunite and make another album sometime soon.  In 2007–2008, I saw them a bunch of times and another bunch in 2010. With the announcement that they are to play the Sydney Opera House show in Australia on tv pretty soon, I am still kicking myself that I didn’t go to Australia... I think it was November 2015? 2016? I’m sure that was an amazing show and anyone who went is so lucky.  Rest assured, when they reunite again  (WHEN!) I’m sure a lot of us will be traveling far and wide to see them more! 😃❤️

Personally I would disagree with the above posts regarding the 2007+ era of Crowded House. I have seen Crowded House several times (1989 Concert of the Decade, 1991, 1993, 1996 Farewell To The World) & I followed everything they did, collected everything I possibly could & I would happily say that nothing will ever beat the 1986 - 1996 era of Crowded House. They were catchy pop songs from a band that were looking for stardom, trying to get somewhere starting from nothing.

The 2007 - 2010 era is very different with 2 albums of fillers that could not be considered to be anywhere near the catchiness of the songs that appeared on the first 4 albums. I even rate the Afterglow album better than Time on Earth & Intriguer.

Time on Earth & Intriguer (for me) were albums where Neil & Nick & Mark did not have anything more to prove as they were never going to reach the same heights of the first 4 albums (with Paulo). It was just a band playing a few new songs to keep the fans happy. They weren't creating anything better, just a new version of Crowded House with different songs that just did not quite fit the same mould as what we have heard previously.

Even though I liked the idea of Crowded House re-uniting, I saw them in 2010 in Brisbane & I did not enjoy it as much as what I should have due to the sound mixing being extremely loud especially knowing that Matt Sherrod likes to really bash the drums & he sounds so much louder than he should which drowns out the sound. I was born hearing impaired & I found my ears were just ringing badly with the sound piercing my eardrums in 2010.

I applaud them for giving it a go but the songs for me are just no match for the pre 2007 releases.

I just revisited the last 2 CD's.  Firstly, I find that TOE is much better than Intriguer.  It seems more raw and real....as if it was more hastily created and recorded which to me makes the songs sound better.   The only hiccup for me on TOE is She Called Up (the song that seemed to try too hard to be Crowded Houseish)  They should have replaced that with Lost Island and it would have been a classic.  Intriguer seems too polished and worked on for too long (tried the songs out on the road for too long....then seemed like they went into the studio too prepared). So that CD just does not seem to do resonate as much for me....I even seem to get a bit down by listening to it.  

For both CD's, seems like they sound like a mature Crowded House.  This probably reflects the fact that Neil had matured even more as a musician and songwriter.  The rest of the band too had gone through more maturity too having been in other bands etc.

So the past CD's especially debut, Together Alone and Afterglow are, to me, leaps ahead of the last 2, in terms of lasting power.  TOE has creaped up there though.

Pajama Club to be is ahead of TOE and Intriguer in terms of lasting power...once again, less polished.  All the classics are the less polished CD's....to me.

 

I love Time on Earth, and as an album I even like it more than their debut — the debut’s first 4 tracks are classic but I don’t need the rest. None of TOE reaches the band’s greatest heights, but it’s solid all the way through & there are some really great highlights: Nobody Wants To, Pour Le Monde, People are Like Suns. I enjoy all the other songs, including You’re the One to Make Me Cry. TOE is the last album of Neil’s I really loved.

I enjoyed the Intriguer process, hearing early versions of the songs, etc, but the final product was a let-down. Even tracks that really felt like classic CH in the development stage, like Amsterdam, somehow fell flat on the album. I’ve never gone back to it.

I think they have one more album in them — I hope anyway — and I think they could still do something great. I hope it happens in the next few years.

I really like Time On Earth but Intriguer is just pleasant background music to me with no standout tracks like all the other albums. My only issue with Time On Earth is that Mark and Matt only appear on four tracks. I know that it started off as a Neil solo album with Nick guesting before Neil decided to reform the band. But I was disappointed that they didn't get Mark and Matt to add to or replace parts on all of the album. Instead their appearance feels token and an afterthought. I guess as Neil and Nick are both original band members they can justify calling it Crowded House. But to me it under values Mark's role in the band. 

I can't really think of TOE as a CH album because, well, it isn't. All bar four songs were recorded by Neil as a solo album, which was only badged as a CH record when he decided - post recording but pre-release - to reform the band. His choices were either to release the album but abandon it promo-wise, or call it a CH album and persuade the band to tour it.

But a CH album it ain't.

So tired of this, but I’ll repeat my counter-argument for the 30th time. The entire thing features two of the original three members, and more importantly, it SOUNDS like Crowded House through and through regardless of the branding. Would anyone claim Nobody Wants To *doesn’t* sound like classic CH, with “only” Neil and Nick? This is why Neil went that direction, because to paraphrase a quote from him at the time, “everyone was thinking it, that it sounded and felt like Crowded House.” Call me crazy but I’ll go with Neil Finn’s assessment over that of his more hair-splitting fans.

So you don't consider Mark Hart a proper CH member or a key ingredient of the CH sound from at least 93 onward? Yes with Neil and Nick TOE has two original members and I never disputed that. But as Mark rejoined the reunited band I was disappointed as a fan that he didn't get to play on the whole album or at least more than four tagged on tracks. I think he deserved better and the fans did too.

The funny thing is tho that paradoxically TOE sounds like more of a band album than Intriguer.

The most disappointing thing to me about CH since they reformed is that they've now been reduced to just one of Neil's side projects that will be picked up and put down at Neil's fancy. Maybe it's just me but I think the band's legacy deserves a bit better.

Jeremy Loder posted:

So you don't consider Mark Hart a proper CH member or a key ingredient of the CH sound from at least 93 onward? Yes with Neil and Nick TOE has two original members and I never disputed that. But as Mark rejoined the reunited band I was disappointed as a fan that he didn't get to play on the whole album or at least more than four tagged on tracks. I think he deserved better and the fans did too.

 

If the original intention had been to reform the band, Mark would have and should have been there from day one, certainly. But it worked out in a more complicated way than that. It happened how it happened and I’m sure nobody had anything against Mark. And don’t forget, the recording is only part of the TOE story, they toured extensively on that album with Mark and Matt In the band, so all things considered Mark was a major player in that part of the band’s career — not to mention literally everything they’ve done since then.  So I think seeing TOE as slighting Mark is taking a pretty narrow view of things.  I’m pretty confident that if someone asked Mark about it (please don’t) he’d say he’s just happy to be a part of it in any way, he understands he’s in the band at Neil’s pleasure and he holds no resentment whatsoever. And I find the assertion that fans “deserve” anything pretty gross, honestly...I don’t personally think fans should feel entitled to *anything* except possibly a bit of appreciation, which Neil and the band show amply.

Thanks for the condescension. I'm familiar with the sad circumstances that led to Neil and Nick reuniting. I don't doubt that Neil respects and values Mark. I just think it would have been better to let him add more to the album. Just my opinion but I doubt I'm alone. I agree that Mark would never complain, he comes across as to nice of a guy. Everything they've done since? You can only be talking about touring and the one album since.

Maybe deserve wasn't the right word but don't know why you took such offence. It's just my opinion. I respect the hell outta Neil. Never used the word entitled and I agree fans shouldn't feel that way and I don't.

Do you not feel it's sad CH is now basically just a Neil side project? 

By the way I find it kinda gross when fans (or fan) can't handle and respect other fans opinions. I'm starting to remember part of the reason I stopped posting for a while and may well do again. 

Jeremy Loder posted:

Thanks for the condescension. I'm familiar with the sad circumstances that led to Neil and Nick reuniting. I don't doubt that Neil respects and values Mark. I just think it would have been better to let him add more to the album. Just my opinion but I doubt I'm alone. I agree that Mark would never complain, he comes across as to nice of a guy. Everything they've done since? You can only be talking about touring and the one album since.

Also the 2016 Sydney performance. I wasn’t offended. This has clearly deteriorated so I’ll just say, feel better dude.

The 2016 shows were indeed awesome, at least the show they showed on tv and what I saw of the others on Youtube. But they never got a cd/dvd release.

Never my intention to offend you. Just calling a spade a spade. Respect isn't a hard thing to have for others opinions. Sorry you find it difficult. I have no problem with you having a different opinion to me. Just you not respecting mine.

Feel better? Bro I'm all good. It's gonna take more than a disagreement on a music forum to spoil my day. And I hope that's true for you too👍.

Just cos someone stands their ground, it doesn't follow their not feeling good. 

slowpogo posted:

So tired of this, but I’ll repeat my counter-argument for the 30th time. The entire thing features two of the original three members, and more importantly, it SOUNDS like Crowded House through and through regardless of the branding. Would anyone claim Nobody Wants To *doesn’t* sound like classic CH, with “only” Neil and Nick? This is why Neil went that direction, because to paraphrase a quote from him at the time, “everyone was thinking it, that it sounded and felt like Crowded House.” Call me crazy but I’ll go with Neil Finn’s assessment over that of his more hair-splitting fans.

Personally, I don't feel that "sounds like" and "features x number of members" are good enough reasons. "Yesterday" featured only one Beatle and didn't sound ANYTHING like a Beatles song up to that point. And yet it IS a Beatles song because it was recorded by a member of that band with the intention of being issued as one of their songs. (Compared to, say, Beautiful Night which featured twice as many Beatles but was recorded by them in their capacity as solo artists and was never intended to be issued as a Beatles song.) 

The vast majority of TOE was recorded by Neil using session players (one of whom just happened to have been Nick) with the intention of being the next Neil solo album. Whether it sounded like CH or not is, to me, irrelevant.

As far as I'm concerned, for the 31st time , it's the INTENT that's key. Put another way: if Neil had issued the record as a solo project, would you have been complaining for the 30th time that it should have been a CH record because it sounded like them and had Nick on it?

(And for the record, no, I don't think Nobody Wants To sounds like ANYTHING in CH's catalogue up to that point. Name me one other mid tempo ballad in their 86-96 catalogue. That's not to say that I don't think its a fabulous song: I do. But I think it sounds just like solo Neil and nothing like CH.)

Paul H posted:
slowpogo posted:

So tired of this, but I’ll repeat my counter-argument for the 30th time. The entire thing features two of the original three members, and more importantly, it SOUNDS like Crowded House through and through regardless of the branding. Would anyone claim Nobody Wants To *doesn’t* sound like classic CH, with “only” Neil and Nick? This is why Neil went that direction, because to paraphrase a quote from him at the time, “everyone was thinking it, that it sounded and felt like Crowded House.” Call me crazy but I’ll go with Neil Finn’s assessment over that of his more hair-splitting fans.

Personally, I don't feel that "sounds like" and "features x number of members" are good enough reasons. "Yesterday" featured only one Beatle and didn't sound ANYTHING like a Beatles song up to that point. And yet it IS a Beatles song because it was recorded by a member of that band with the intention of being issued as one of their songs. (Compared to, say, Beautiful Night which featured twice as many Beatles but was recorded by them in their capacity as solo artists and was never intended to be issued as a Beatles song.) 

The vast majority of TOE was recorded by Neil using session players (one of whom just happened to have been Nick) with the intention of being the next Neil solo album. Whether it sounded like CH or not is, to me, irrelevant.

As far as I'm concerned, for the 31st time , it's the INTENT that's key. Put another way: if Neil had issued the record as a solo project, would you have been complaining for the 30th time that it should have been a CH record because it sounded like them and had Nick on it?

(And for the record, no, I don't think Nobody Wants To sounds like ANYTHING in CH's catalogue up to that point. Name me one other mid tempo ballad in their 86-96 catalogue. That's not to say that I don't think its a fabulous song: I do. But I think it sounds just like solo Neil and nothing like CH.)

It's Crowded House because it was issued by the band and the record company as Crowded House. 

It doesn't have to sound like CH  or include all the members anymore than Yesterday or Eleanor Rigby has to sound like  or include all the Beatles. It's the fact that it was originally issued as CH and subsequently promoted by the whole band world wide that makes it theirs.   They issued it, they own.

Okay. Let's back track. I clearly recall Neil saying in an interview at the time of the release of Try Whistling This that his record company - Parlophone - had asked him to keep using the CH name even though he'd split the band. Neil acknowledged that this would be the most commercially sound thing to do but - in acknowledgement of the contribution of the other band members and the special rapport the band had with its audience - he didn't feel he could do that.

He was clearly acknowledging that CH wasn't just him and whoever he chose to work with at that time. As a huge fan of the band, I was immensely grateful to Neil for that decision and its why - all these years later - I have a hard time accepting the fact that he chose to classify recordings that weren't made while CH was active and only featured one other member as band recordings.

You're right that it doesn't have to include all the members or sound like them: if Crowded House were recording an album but decided that, on a particular song, it only needed, say, Neil and his piano - that's fine. But to make an entire solo record and then after the fact decide to call it a band record for no other reason than convenience isn't the same. It angered me then and it angers me now. I'm actually surprised that fans of the band can feel so blase about this. 

If we accept TOE as a CH album, where do we draw the line? Could every album Neil has made be a CH album in our minds if he'd made a different decision back in 1998 and decided to keep using that name? For me, no.

I recall Neil saying at the time of TOE being released that things changed when Paul died and that he felt different about 'resurrecting' the Crowded House name. 

I personally couldn't care less under whose name TOE was released. It remains one of my favourite Neil albums and the album I am most likely to revisit. 

I agree its a good record, although I do think it's too long. Of course, we'd all remove different songs (and many, I suspect, would remove none). I also think CH had the makings of a great record in Intriguer but, for my money, made all the wrong decisions: picked the wrong versions of Saturday Sun and Isolation, and then included weaker tracks at the expense of some of the best songs from the sessions (The Intriguer, Turn it Around and Eyes Grow Heavy). Again, I could easily compile a terrific album from the sessions.

I would definitely remove She Called Up from TOE....cheapens the record....and then the video came out, and harmed the record even more.  I do think it was Neil's way of purposely recording a Crowded House sounding song.  I would like to know if it was the last one to include.  One last time:  replace it with Lost Island or the other B side song, and it would complete the album.  Also, have People Are Like Suns piano solo version, and TOE could have been close to a classic Crowded House album.

Isn't Lost Island already on TOE?

I was surprised at how many in the 2007 audience knew the song She Called Up in Atlanta.

I suppose that was a gathering place for Regional fans, and we'd all bought the album (or CD, or apple music download).  So come back, already!  We're Still Here!

I say add "Stare Me Out", "Lost Island" and "So Dramatic" and make it a double album! The vinyl has both "Stare Me Out" and "Lost Island" included. It's a great set!

I mean, I love "She Called Up". It was a shot of energy that the album needed to sound more like Crowded House. Saying it should be removed is akin to saying "Black & White Boy" or "Tall Trees" should be removed for their respective albums. And yet, without those songs, my 15 year old self might have never engaged with those albums.

My gateway drug to CH was the 2006 Farewell to the World release - I’d heard of them before, but hadn’t listened to them in a decade or so, and FTTW came out around my 18th birthday. So Time on Earth and Intriguer are the two records I’ve experienced in “real time” so to speak.

And I love those albums, because that whole era was great. In additional to ancillary personal memories, they make me think of the first streamed in studio gig, following all the other pre tour gigs in ‘07, the great tour, the new material shows in ‘08, all the waiting in ‘09, getting a couple of sneak peaks of Intriguer at Neil’s Bush Hall Show in ‘10, and the great ‘10 tour that followed.

It was a brilliant 4 years to be a CH fan, and the records remind me of that. 

Do they stand alone pretty well too? I think so, but in truth I couldn’t possibly hope to be objective.

 

 

 

That's what I thought too....trying too hard to get close to what has been done in the past.  I wonder what Neil's honest opinion is of that song.  I am only guessing but I think he does not look back on it too fondly.  You don't hear about him play that one live anytime or anywhere.  Someone should request him to play it on his site and see what his reaction is...

I wish that CH was Neil's main project and those other projects his side projects. Apparently he mentioned at one of the last CH gigs that it would be a very long time before another album or tour. I hope so soon -- they aren't getting any younger.

Time on Earth is a great Crowded House album and a great album full stop. The artificial boundaries around what is and isn't a Crowded House album perplex me. 2/3 original members and 2/3 available members recorded those songs.

Intriguer is kinda meh because I get the feeling that Neil is guessing at what "we" want and trying to force it in too many songs. In reality, what I  want from CH pt 2 is Neil's songwriting genius presented through the prism of the personalities we know and love.

Gathering Rain posted:

Intriguer is kinda meh because I get the feeling that Neil is guessing at what "we" want and trying to force it in too many songs. In reality, what I  want from CH pt 2 is Neil's songwriting genius presented through the prism of the personalities we know and love.

Intriguer era had a weird feeling of self sabotage running through it also - between Neil’s moustache, Twice If You’re Lucky being...less commercially exploited than it could have been with a different arrangement, etc. 

Interesting point. I think Neil went into TOE with a view to making a solo record which, in his later opinion, just happened to sound a bit like CH. However, when it came to actually being in CH and writing for them, I think he automatically rebelled against what he thought listeners expected of them. It sort of contradicts his assertion that he broke up the band in 1996 because his new batch of songs "didn't sound like CH songs". A very complex place, the mind...

Here's a thought. Maybe Neil feels that trying to "catch lightening in a bottle" twice just isn't working. CH Mark I was amazing, but it was 3 or 4 youngish musicians that this was their LIFE and livelihood. Being well established and financially secure, CH Mark II just sort of seems like a hobby, and there's just too many other projects going on (for Neil, anyway). 

Paul H posted:

Interesting point. I think Neil went into TOE with a view to making a solo record which, in his later opinion, just happened to sound a bit like CH. However, when it came to actually being in CH and writing for them, I think he automatically rebelled against what he thought listeners expected of them. It sort of contradicts his assertion that he broke up the band in 1996 because his new batch of songs "didn't sound like CH songs". A very complex place, the mind...

Fair enough. Maybe a bit off topic but am I the only one who feels that Crowded House could have gone on in 1996 with Mark or someone else as the lead singer, a la Genesis?

Probably.

As great a singer and talent as Mark is, that wouldn't have worked. Hessie was gone so Nick would've been the only original member left. You can't have a CH without Neil.

On a side note, I love See Ya Round but find it hard to consider it an Enz album. It has no original band members. And Split Enz without Tim is as wrong as CH without Neil.

Paul H posted:

I can't really think of TOE as a CH album because, well, it isn't. All bar four songs were recorded by Neil as a solo album, which was only badged as a CH record when he decided - post recording but pre-release - to reform the band. His choices were either to release the album but abandon it promo-wise, or call it a CH album and persuade the band to tour it.

But a CH album it ain't.

By that addage , Now We're getting Somewhere , Weather With You , and There Goes God aren't Crowded House songs. There are others too . Time On Earth features 2 of the origional 3 band members on every song , which is more than can be said for other albums in their catalogue. TOE had a confused begining in terms of identity, but so did the debut album and woodface by all accounts.

In response to the intitial poster on this thread  - Rest assured there are thousands who love Crowded House now as they did then . I'm one of them . They are my favourite band currently in existence , and i think Intriguer is a masterpiece - criminally underrated.

We haven't seen the last of them - Neil has said as much , and I can't wait for the next time they work together.

stuartjb posted:

P.S. Nobody Wants to sounds TOTALLY like Crowded House ! I've always thought that it would  fit perfectly on Woodface - very much in the vein of FAYF or FSIOD

Yes!  It’s got that marriage between a concise, hummable melody, and lyrics which are simple and economical but still say so much. It’s also similar to BBHS that way (and pretty much the same tempo actually). The arrangement and effects might be updated but it screams classic CH to me. It’s the songwriting “mode” that made me fall in love with CH and doesn’t seem to happen much with Neil in recent years (Terrorise Me is one recent example).

stuartjb posted:
Paul H posted:

I can't really think of TOE as a CH album because, well, it isn't. All bar four songs were recorded by Neil as a solo album, which was only badged as a CH record when he decided - post recording but pre-release - to reform the band. His choices were either to release the album but abandon it promo-wise, or call it a CH album and persuade the band to tour it.

But a CH album it ain't.

By that addage , Now We're getting Somewhere , Weather With You , and There Goes God aren't Crowded House songs.

And I'd agree. But you actually make my point: nobody thinks of Woodface as being a Finn Bros album because it contains a handful of their songs, and yet you're apparently quite happy to think of Time on Earth as a CH album when it only contains four songs recorded by the band. Woodface is a CH album because the vast majority of it was recorded by them with the intent of making their own album. 

How would you feel about the ownership of Woodface if - after CH had finished making it - Neil and Tim had decided to take those tracks, add a couple of their own recordings (that is, Weather With You and There Goes God) and issue it as a Finn Bros album?

stuartjb posted:

P.S. Nobody Wants to sounds TOTALLY like Crowded House ! I've always thought that it would  fit perfectly on Woodface - very much in the vein of FAYF or FSIOD

It's funny how we all hear the same thing differently, isn't it? I totally respect your view of it but I just don't share it: to me Nobody Wants To sounds like a solo Neil recording and nothing like CH. It has none of the swing they incorporated into so many songs. But then again, Fingers of Love and Together Alone sound nothing like CH either which harks back to my point about Neil's peculiar justification for splitting the band in the first place.

That's the crux of the issue and the whole point. Whilst you could never have CH without Neil, Neil by himself or even Neil with Nick and some very talented session players don't equal CH.

Everybody here loves and respects Neil and his music. Again, that's not the issue. Who are any of us to think differently? Ummmm. Fans, on a message board forum. Nobody said you had to agree👍.

Paul H posted:
stuartjb posted:
Paul H posted:

I can't really think of TOE as a CH album because, well, it isn't. All bar four songs were recorded by Neil as a solo album, which was only badged as a CH record when he decided - post recording but pre-release - to reform the band. His choices were either to release the album but abandon it promo-wise, or call it a CH album and persuade the band to tour it.

But a CH album it ain't.

By that addage , Now We're getting Somewhere , Weather With You , and There Goes God aren't Crowded House songs.

And I'd agree. But you actually make my point: nobody thinks of Woodface as being a Finn Bros album because it contains a handful of their songs, and yet you're apparently quite happy to think of Time on Earth as a CH album when it only contains four songs recorded by the band. Woodface is a CH album because the vast majority of it was recorded by them with the intent of making their own album. 

How would you feel about the ownership of Woodface if - after CH had finished making it - Neil and Tim had decided to take those tracks, add a couple of their own recordings (that is, Weather With You and There Goes God) and issue it as a Finn Bros album?

I don’t think I do make your point . The whole of TOE has Neil and Nick on it . Only Mark is missing to an extent , because Matt hadn’t been appointed when the bulk TOE was made . 

Dont get your woodface argument to be honest . Not sure the spilt in terms of musicians , but there’s a few pre Tim tracks and a few post Tim tracks . The decision to make it CH OR Finn Bros would have been equally valid , as was the decision to make TOE Crowded House . 

To my understanding , only TOLM , Together Alone and Intriguer are constructed with a “ Full Crowded House “ line up ( and they all had augmentations - Tim , Richard Thomson , Don Mclashan ) 

just my opinion , but I can’t see the the point of the argument .

slowpogo posted:

A lot of thoughtful debate here, but nobody can convince me that a fan's opinion on the matter is more correct than Neil Finn's.  If Neil says it's a Crowded House album, it is.  Full stop.  Who are any of us to say differently?

I feel that Neil called it a Crowded House album as a way to pay tribute to and grieve for Paul.

I feel that Neil called it a CH album because, having decided to reform the band, doing anything else would have made life very messy: what were his choices?

1) Ask the band to tour his SOLO album. Not likely.

2) Release the album with no tour and head straight back to the writing desk. A real shame for the material on TOE, really hard work for the songwriter and frustrating because it would delay actually working/touring with the band.

I remain unimpressed by any argument that he decided to consider a collection of songs as band songs because they sounded like the band. That's just disrespectful toward the band and it's history. Perhaps I'm just really sensitive to this because I lived through and adored CH Mk1. I'd be interested to know whether there's any correlation between the two opposing views and when each of us "came on board".

All I have left to say is that I respect those who are happy to call TOE a CH album. I just have a really hard time with it.

Interesting debate.

For me it highlighted some of the history of the origins of Neil’s recorded work vs. the personnel we got to see touring it because that’s a part of what we’re talking about where Time On Earth is concerned. The musicians who toured that album were Crowded House, that makes it a chapter in the Crowded House career for me regardless of exactly who recorded what on the album, the percentage of Crowded House members on any given song or the number of songs they performed on.

Post-Crowded House Mark 1 the cast of musicians who perform on virtually everything Neil has done have rarely been the same ones who perform the songs live on the resultant tour. It’s especially true of the rhythm section. Have a look - 

Try Whistling This featured several drummers. Sebastian Steinberg played bass on the bulk of the album, but not on any of the tour. Robert Moore played on bass in the touring band - he's only on one of the album tracks.

Similarly, One Nil wasn’t recorded with Sebastian Steinberg and Scott McPherson (or Shon Sullivan). JJ Johnson, Jim Keltner (who had a birthday yesterday) and Wendy Melvoin played drums.
Neil and Wendy shared bass duties - neither of them played bass or drums on the tour.

Everyone is Here was initially recorded with Ross Burge and Bones Hillman backing the Finn Brothers on drums and bass, not the Stacey brothers and Tim Smith.

Alana Skyring was recruited for Pajama Club for drumming duties to free up Neil to sing and play guitar on the tour dates, she didn’t drum on the album.

The Dizzy Heights touring band were formed shortly before the tour and had no involvement in the recording of the album that I’m aware of.

So focusing on the Time On Earth album -  Joey Waronker, Ethan Johns and Rikki Gooch on drums for the bulk of the record. In that respect Time On Earth is entirely consistent with how Neil has operated after Crowded House broke up: record the songs with collaborators, focus on how it will be toured and who the musicians will be on that tour - essentially how it’s ultimately presented to the public - afterwards.
So the big exception is that Nick Seymour played bass on the recordings AND the tour and he was a long-term Crowded House bandmate. Neil and Nick on stage touring a record with some songs inspired by Paul’s passing was always going to evoke Crowded House, so Time On Earth’s identity as a Crowded House album has always made complete sense to me. Plus you just know if Neil did tour those songs solo with Nick on bass with some Crowded House songs in the set every night, there'd be fans questioning why he couldn't just get Mark Hart and Peter Jones back on board and tour as Crowded House - there was no winning there.

I saw Neil unveil many of those Tine On Earth songs for the first time at Largo in late 2006 before we were aware he’d decided to reform Crowded House, assuming it was a preview of a third solo album. But as soon as he brought Mark Hart back on board and recruited Matt Sherrod as a member of Crowded House, Time On Earth was a Crowded House album.

I respect that for some Time On Earth’s identity as a Crowded House is a sticking point and it’s objectionable because all of the band members didn’t play of all of the tracks, but start reading your liner notes because the Crowded House debut album and Woodface must be equally objectionable by that standard, and as highlighted above this is how things have been done since 1996.

It’s coincidentally come full circle in a way because when Neil was announced as a member of Fleetwood Mac, there was a vocal “no Lindsey, no Fleetwood Mac, cover band” contingent blissfully ignoring the many incarnations of the band both before and also during Lindsey’s membership of the band.

I just think if you require a calculator to gauge how authentic/valid a record is, you're overthinking it and making it harder to fully appreciate.

The choices of who to work with in the studio are much different than who to work with live. Ligature’s point about Neil “presenting” a record live with usually scant relationship to the people who record it is spot on and not unique to Neil. McCartney’s band hardly plays on his albums, Noel Gallagher’s band doesn’t play on his either (even though Jeremy Stacey stopped touring with Noel, he still does his studio drumming), similarly with Bob Seger and countless others.

The pattern always sort of makes me laugh, particularly if someone has a hot live band - inevitably you see the tour and think “now why didn’t they record it with these people?!” But the studio process is mysterious, and the people you want around you while you’re grasping around for sounds and songs have a wholly different set of requirements than those you want to traipse around the world with.

 

 

For me, the differences are that those examples quoted were for solo albums. Who he works with is vs who he tours with is of limited interest. However, if I'm buying a record by Crowded House, I expect Crowded House to have recorded that record. I'm not bothered by the odd instance of "outside help" and I don't expect the band to have played on every song. Never said I was.

The issue isn't one of "how many band members played on each song". It's about the intent. As I noted above, Beautiful Night has more Beatles on it than Yesterday but no one (no, not even me) would consider it a Beatles record because it wasn't recorded to be a Beatles record and the two Beatles who are on it performed in their capacity as solo artists not members of that band.

This is also the case with TOE. It was recorded by Neil as a solo artist with Nick playing bass as a session man/collaborator but neither felt they were acting as members of CH and there was no intent to make a CH record.

I don't think anyone here would describe any of the line ups that recorded the core of Time on Earth (that is, the songs that were recorded before the band reformed) as being Crowded House. Of course, where one draws the line is subjective and I understand why anything with the core of Finn/Seymour would be acceptable as CH to some.

It raises the question of what constitutes a band: for my money (and I suspect, Neil's) the heart and soul of CH was lost when Paul quit in 94. Personally, I was prepared to accept that a band comprising Neil, Nick and Mark could legitimately continue as CH and, I guess, if Mark had bailed at some point and Neil had recruited again, it still would have been CH. But would an act comprising Neil and Nick with random session players coming and going have been CH? Personally, I'd have said no.

All I can reiterate is that I have a hard time accepting an album that was recorded by Neil as a solo album being considered a band album. It just seems disrespectful to the idea of CH as a band. It basically suggests that Neil could work with whoever he wanted to and call the resulting album a CH album. 

Clearly, I'm too emotionally attached to the idea of the band.

Actually, I don't think Paul played any drums on the Together Alone title track. All session players!

This is always going to be a gray area that can be endlessly debated. I accept that Neil and Nick started recording Time On Earth together with sessions players and at some point decided that what they were creating sounded more to them like a Crowded House record than a Neil Finn solo album. 

But Paul H's comment that it is intention that matters and not who is on the record means that the very first Crowded House album may not be a Crowded House album. Similar to TOE, when Neil set out to record Crowded House, he was not aiming to make a band album. That's why it was deemed acceptable to use a different drummer and bass player on "Now We're Getting Somewhere". Only after the album was recorded did Neil and company decide that it sounded like a band album and should be released under a band name. Then they just took the name of the album and made it the band name.

I think at this point it's clear that the only real Crowded House album is Temple of Low Men. Neil, Nick and Paul road tested the songs, played on all of them in the studio and then played them on tour. The rest of the albums are a mix of solo and Finn Brothers projects or different bands using the Crowded House name.

Tim sang on TOLM and he wasn’t in the band then , and Richard Thompson was on guitar , so it’s not a “ real “ crowded house album either ..... 

nick and Neil are on all of TOE . Mark is on some of it , and they got a new drummer towards the end of the sessions . It’s definatley Crowded House , and what’s more - it says so on the album cover .

One more example of a band with no stable lineup is the very prolific Guided by Voices. It’s understood the “band” is really just Robert Pollard and whoever he chooses to surround himself with at the time. But even if he writes all the songs, he still fleshes them out into band arrangements with other people, and it’s definitely rock band music (apart from his occasional solo numbers).  I think his touring lineup has been a bit more stable but in general, good luck forming any coherent concept of “core membership” for that band beyond Pollard.

BUT, nobody ever argues with the branding.  Nobody’s saying, “Is that really a GBV album?” Which gets back to my earlier point, that an artist gets to define themself. They don’t need our input.

I don’t know much about Guided By Voices, and am okay with saying Robert Pollard and 3 guys named Joe could call themselves GBV and I would by okay with that.  Diehard GBV fans may disagree with me, but I have no opinion.

As far as Crowded House is concerned, I do have an opinion.  It is almost impossible for me to conceive of a Crowded House without Paul Hester.  I think he was integral to everything I love about the band.

I can begrudgingly accept Crowded House with Neil Finn and Nick Seymour and/or Mark Hart.

Neil Finn and 3 guys named Joe?  Not Crowded House for me.  Even if one of those 3 guys is named Tim Finn.

 

brownie posted:

It is almost impossible for me to conceive of a Crowded House without Paul Hester.  I think he was integral to everything I love about the band.

I can begrudgingly accept Crowded House with Neil Finn and Nick Seymour and/or Mark Hart.

Neil Finn and 3 guys named Joe?  Not Crowded House for me.  Even if one of those 3 guys is named Tim Finn.

 

This is where I'm at. I think anyone who Crowded House back in their heyday would say that Hester and the band's chemistry with each other was as much a part of the draw as the songs and performances. 

To be honest - and I'm really trying hard to pick my words carefully here so please understand that I mean no offence to anyone - I find it genuinely baffling that anyone who can honestly say that CH and their music means much to them, or has had a great emotional impact on their life, can then happily accept the co-opting of the name for a set of recordings that were made when the band didn't exist.

If the draw of the band is Neil working with that set of musicians, I really can't understand how it would be acceptable to consider a set of songs made without that set of musicians as being band recordings. They're just not.

Several people in this thread have made silly comparisons to individual songs and suggested that, if TOE wasn't a CH album then songs like Now We're Getting Somewhere shouldn't be either. That's nonsense. It's common practice - in fact, one might well be hard pressed to find many albums - that don't feature outside assistance. The fact remains that four all of their first four albums, Crowded House entered a studio, recorded a set of songs together and released them as an album. 

That didn't happen with TOE. Neil Finn entered the studio with a set of session musicians (one of whom happened to be Nick) and made a solo record. Crowded House didn't exist when those recordings were made. They weren't even on hiatus.

But what of Weather With You, I hear some shout. I agree that there are similarities between the TOE situation and that of WWY. However, there are important (to me) differences: WWY was recorded by the Finn Brothers at a time when CH still existed. They'd recorded Woodface but hadn't released it. The decision to co-opt that recording was taken by the band (albeit most like by Neil, but he was still IN the band and they were actively in existence working on the album). TOE wasn't recorded while the band were in existence and wasn't co-opted by them. 

There's also the matter of scale. Of course, it would be impossible for me to set some kind of arbitrary rule over how many songs its okay to co-opt but there's clearly a difference between one or two songs and a whole album.

Now, much of this, I suspect, comes down to one's personal definition of what constitutes a band. There are a great many two-man bands in the world but Crowded House was never one of them. Going back to Brownie's point, I can grudgingly accept CH without Hessie. But CH is/was a band of more than two members and that band featured, at it's demise, Neil, Nick and Mark. Unless Neil had formally reformed CH, invited Mark and he'd declined to return, CH still needs to feature those three people in order to be CH. In my world.

Presumably, those who accept TOE as a band album are happy that anything featuring just Neil and Nick together is also CH. Personally I can't. It would imply I saw the band reform (for encores only) several times before TOE: every time Neil or the Finn Bros played Dublin! And several times after as well...

But I doubt anyone would seriously consider Nick guesting on a few performances as being a reformation. And yet that's exactly what happened - but on a grander scale - in the studio during the making of TOE.

So, rightly or wrongly, that's why I have a problem with accepting TOE as a band album.

One final question (and then I'm out of this thread): how do folks consider the track Alone from Out of Silence? It was written and performed by Neil and Tim so surely it must be a Finn Bros track, right? Or is it still a Neil solo song that Tim just happens to be on? In which case, what's the difference? I'd argue its that old thing Intent again. The song wasn't recorded with the intention of forming part of a Finn Bros record, which is why it isn't considered to be by them. At the risk of labouring the point, that's part of the reason why I can't accept TOE as a band album: it wasn't recorded by them with the intention of being their new album.

Now, I've beaten this horse to death, so I'll apologise to the OP for hijacking the thread.

In order to get it back on track, I'll add that I'm a big fan of TOE regardless of who I consider it to have been made by. It features some of Neil's best post TWT songwriting and some of the best performances/production of his solo career. I loved the production of TWT but found it very uneven in terms of song quality. One Nil/All had some terrific songs but was seriously compromised by some really poor production choices. Everyone is Here was an excellent album, well played and produced, and TOE followed in that vein. I don't like every song on the album - I could happily lose three or four tracks - and I regret the omission of Lost Island which is, perhaps, his most beautiful tune since Four Seasons.

But overall I think TOE is a terrific record. My difficulty with answering the OP's question directly is that, as you can see from the material I've chosen to compare it with, I have a hard time assessing it against the first four CH albums. But I guess you'd worked that out already

It’s hard to accept “ I honestly mean no offence “ when it’s followed by comments like “ people make silly comparisons ..”

just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t make them silly . 

Paul was a massive part of the band , but I remember when Peter took over , I invested just as heavily in the band then . I loved how his drumming made the band sound , just as I loved the way Paul played . 

Neil and Nick were 2 thirds of the original line up . It’s not perfect , but it’s Crowded House if they want it to be and works for me . I wish they had gotten Mark in at the ground floor but they didn’t . 

Im afraid I don’t understand your thoughts on what makes a Crowded House album at all . I know what does for me , and I can live with that just fine .

Well, Stuart, "silly" may be a criticism but if you take offence at criticism then I can't help you nor be held responsible for any offence you may take. I stand by the comment because I believe your examples were silly in the context of the discussion: they were exaggerations aimed at making a point. As such, they didn't address the point at hand and merely attempted to provide distraction from addressing it. I'm pleased you're comfortable with a version of CH that only features two band members. I remain surprised but then, life is full of 'em. 

I believe “ silly “ is derogatory rather than constructive . Calling something silly because you don’t agree with it is poor in my opinion . There were no exaggerations from me , just plain facts . I can’t help it if you can’t accept them .Here was me thinking you “ were done with this thread ... 

But the facts weren't relevant to the discussion, Stuart. But okay, look. I am done with this thread but I stayed to see what response I received out of respect for you and others whose comments I've picked up on. If nothing else, it gives me an opportunity to offer you an apology. So if you're offended by the use of the word silly, I'm sorry. Pick another word: how about "inappropriate" or "unhelpful" or "unconstructive"? 

Now, back to your regular scheduled programming. 

Dear Pinapple Head, here is one more who really loves new CH with Matt

While TOE was very good album by me, Intriguer was excellent album, fresh and innovative (in Neils case, not music in generall), and all TOE/Intriguer era was so good to me, that I have only wonderfull memories from it - me and wife Helena was in Wien 2007. first time to see CH (and Neil) live, and year after that in Zurich in summer of 2008...wonderfull memories, band in excellent form, great personality of new drummer Matt and drumming skills...Than in 2010. expectation of new album Intriguer...wonderfull moments... listening for a first time ,my reactions, emotions on it, really bunch of critic and media reactions (comparing to later non CH albums), expectations which song should be next single... lot of things, intrigues, reactions, themes was going on here also..

Anything after that from Neil didnt move me that much as those TOE/Intriguer era...to be complete honest, I am not from those who will explore and listening music or band for which I am not interested at all, just because my favorit musician playing some part in it... ofcourse I am talking about this Flatwood Mac era.. to be complete honest, I am just waiting to be finally over and really hoping that result from all of these would be that Neil starts to dream about one more CH album, for one more big tour, one more CH album with some new anthem, for which he is still capable of, I am sure...with guys from CH!

Listened to Intriguer this morning while working. First time in a while. Some of it sounded forced or tired, but there were a few good "feels" still. While it's not as complete a work as TOE, it's still called "Crowded House", so it deserves to be in the mix.

I have a hard time listening to TOE start to finish, there's always an interruption or I'll stop along the way and end up not finishing it. A lot of gems though, that's for sure.

I presume most folk here try to listen to Some Finn music every day. Heh. I chuckle remembering how much I used to always listen to the Beatles. I found an original Let it Be LP and spin that every now and then because it's not as familiar (Dig it). For the most part, I've lost interest in the fab four. But it was listening to them that prompted a vendor to lend me CH material to investigate, so I'll always be grateful for that.

CH's return was like Santa Claus. You know inside it's not really what you've always heard, but you play along because of the gifts freely bestowed. 

There are lots of threads on this forum from 2010 when it was released.  I seem to recall that most people liked it at the time, but it was not unanimous among forum members nor among critics.  I liked it well enough when it was released, but it faded very rapidly for me, particularly because of earlier versions of Twice If You’re Lucky and Either Side of the World that I had grown to love.  I never returned to it over the years.  I loved the bonus material that was released years later, but never returned to the original.

Intriguer is easily the most divisive CH album. I thought it was okay but a little disappointing back then; it’s faded away completely by now.  It’s not the quality of the songs necessarily. I don’t think the producer delivered, frankly. Everything seems not quite there yet, and I hate the way it was recorded and mixed.

Freofan posted:

As someone who discovered the band only in late 2017, I would be thrilled if they reunited again in any form. I have never seen them live. Seeing Neil live in September for the first time in NZ. If they reunite, no matter where the concert is, I'm buying a ticket immediately!

PS I love Time on Earth. I have not explored Intriguer enough.

Love that attitude, some things you have to see no matter the cost and effort. I had never seen CH live (hadn't really been old enough) until 2016, I flew to Sydney for the Opera House shows. There were countless reasons to go, but I was definitely pushed along by the possibility that CH may never play again. It was so incredibly worthwhile, one of the best times of my life.

Of course, I hope they do return and you get to experience it. They still sounded so amazingly tight, it only added to the frustration that they aren't making new music or touring. I respect Neil and co's creative decisions, but from a selfish perspective I think the peak of all the band members' careers has been with CH and that's where they should be focusing their energy, because the clock is ticking.

Time on Earth, to me, isn't a Crowded House album. Don't get me wrong, I have Crowded House listed as the 'artist' in the album's FLAC files. But if something was not envisioned, written or recorded as a Crowded House album then I can't truly consider it as such.

Here are some examples of what I consider more (or as equal to) Crowded House than what the Time on Earth album was (which, by all intensive purposes, was a Neil Finn solo album that happened to feature Nick Seymour as its studio bass player).

  • The 1993 Split Enz reunion tour (Neil, Tim, Paul — three quarters of the Woodface line-up, which was released just two years prior under the Crowded House name)
  • The 1995 Finn Brothers album (The singer-songwriters behind Woodface, and in many respects a sequel to it)
  • Deadstar, in 1996 and 1997 (featuring Nick and Peter — two of the four members of Crowded House's 1994-1996 line-up — as full band members. Irrelevant, but this band also featured Michael den Elzen of Schnell Fenster)
  • The 1997 ARIA Awards performance, featuring Neil, Nick and Paul post-Crowded House break up).
  • The 1998 episode of Hessie's Shed (featuring a rotating line-up of musicians including Neil, Paul, Nick, Largest Living Things, John Clarke and Paul Kelly).
  • A few of the 1999 Try Whistling This shows (featuring Mark Hart in Neil's touring band, making it two thirds of the official Recurring Dream Crowded House line-up post-Paul)
  • The 1999 Enz of the Millennium shows (Neil, Tim, Paul — three quarters of the Woodface line-up)
  • The 2001 Live at the Chapel television special (recorded to promote One Nil and featuring the classic line-up of Neil, Paul and Nick playing Crowded House songs for the entire second half of the show)
  • The 2003 Tarmac Adam album (which featured two thirds of the "classic" Crowded House line-up — Nick and Paul — as full members of the band)
  • The two 2004 Finn Brothers shows in Melbourne (Neil, Tim and Paul — three quarters of the Woodface line-up playing Woodface songs)
  • The two 2004 and 2005 Finn Brothers shows in Dublin (Neil, Tim and Nick — three quarters of the Woodface line-up playing Crowded House songs)
  • The 2009 Sound Relief concert (billed as a Liam Finn solo set, featuring three fifths of the most recent Crowded House live band — Neil, Nick and Liam — and three quarters of the Woodface line-up — Neil, Nick and Tim)
  • The 2013 A F'inn Christmas concert (featuring Neil, Tim and Liam — three musicians having performed with and as Crowded House in the past)
  • The 2015 Finns at the Zoo show(s) — same deal, playing a heavy Crowded House setlist
  • The 2017 Out Of Silence / Infinity Sessions project (which at various points featured Neil, Tim, Liam, Elroy and Nick during the webcast — five musicians who have performed as part of Crowded House at one point).


I agree with a lot of what @Paul H has said throughout this thread and have enjoyed what everyone has added to the discussion.

It definitely raises the question of what constitutes Crowded House and what doesn't. In some respects everything fits somewhere on a spectrum.

The first "Crowded House" album was reportedly envisioned, written and recorded as a Neil Finn solo album. Woodface was envisioned, written and demoed as a Finn Brothers album, the aborted 5th Crowded House album (Neil, Nick, Mark, Peter) didn't "feel like" Crowded House according to Neil, and (as already stated) Time on Earth wasn't envisioned, written or recorded as a Crowded House album.

And yet Time on Earth sounded more "Crowded House" than the next official album, which was written, recorded and released under the Crowded House moniker.

Then there are all those songs which started off as Crowded House songs, but ended up becoming Neil Finn solo songs (Can You Hear Us, Dots on the Shells, The Spirit of the Stairs, Loose Tongue, Blue Hotel, Strangest Friends, etc.)

As I said earlier, you could make the argument that everything fits somewhere on the Crowded House spectrum / compass. Neil has also said something to the effect that whatever project his batch of songs get released under (Crowded House, Pajama Club, 7 Worlds Collide, Finn Brothers, soundtrack, solo, Neil & Liam, etc.) is irrelevant to his songwriting process, and that every album cycle is part of his own continuity / a natural progression of Neil Finn. Obviously Pajama Club might be the exception to that rule, as the songwriting process was vastly different to his usual method. Don't quote me on my recollection of that Neil quote, as I can't find the source, but perhaps someone else recalls what I'm referring to?

But I digress. Back to the original topic (Crowded House Mark II). Perhaps the best 'Crowded House' album would be a double album of songs made up from outtakes and alternative versions from 2007-2010, featuring a few songs that were released on either Time on Earth or Intriguer, or during that era:

         DISK ONE

  1. The Only Way To Go Is Forward
  2. Turn It Around
  3. Either Side of the World
  4. Even a Child
  5. Lost Island
  6. Isolation (Original Version)
  7. Twice If You're Lucky (Original Version)
  8. Silent House
  9. Beautiful Live
  10. English Trees
  11. All Comedians Suffer
  12. Blue Hotel

    DISK TWO
  1. So Dramatic
  2. Don't Stop Now
  3. Better Things
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Bound to Rescue
  6. Transit Lounge
  7. Saturday Sun (No auto-tune version)
  8. People Are Like Suns (Piano Version)
  9. Cars Collide
  10. Pour le Monde
  11. Eyes Grow Heavy
  12. 798 (The Intriguer)

I don’t get these comparisons at all I’m afraid . A prime case in point is comparing time on earth to Deadstar - that makes no sense to me . 

As much as I think all the members of Crowded House are of paramount importance , one person  that Crowded House can’t exist is Neil ! 

For the record I was making a tongue-in-cheek point, while simultaneously  pushing the absolute boundaries of my argument, by including Deadstar in the conversation.

Can I addd Sheryl Crow's Everyday Is a Winding Road single in my list. Neil featured on the song's drowned-out backing vocals, and she once met Eddie Rayner and Craig Hooper at separate parties in the mid '90s. So that's practically Crowded House too, right?

Secret God (Stew) posted:

The first "Crowded House" album was reportedly envisioned, written and recorded as a Neil Finn solo album. 

I really want to get to the bottom of this. I've read nothing over the years to suggest this. I've read Something So Strong more times than any other book. I even went back and re-read the relevant chapters when this idea was first discussed in this thread.

Maybe I just interpreted something Burke said in a particular way and am now blinkered/pre-disposed to interpret it that way every time I read it, but I'd love someone to point me to the information (in Burke or elsewhere) that suggests that their debut was originally intended to be a solo album.

I don’t have a source but I definitely remember reading somewhere that they were initially deciding between a band name or more of a “Neil Finn and the _____” situation, a la Elvis Costello and the Attractions. I see that as a little different from a pure “solo” act though. I think Capitol thought a band name would be more marketable. 

As for “Time On Earth”, I sat in on some of the of the sessions in early and mid 2006 and asked Neil whether it was a solo or band project. He and the others all said they really didn’t know at that point. All that mattered was getting the music down. 

This should be an easier question, how close to the first album did their name change from The Mullanes to Crowded House? They were still calling themselves The Mullanes when they played the live version of Grabbing By The Handful which appears on the Deluxe reissue. I'm not sure when and where that show took place and how much longer they kept that name.

That show was on 16th June 1985. The date's in the Deluxe Edition book.

According to Chris Bourke's book, Something So Strong, the band name was chosen after the album had been recorded in the early months of 1986, and only when they hit the deadline for the album artwork.

Neil Finn and the Tearaways had been suggested. Mitchell Froom was apparently asked to join the band at one point and jokingly said, "Only if we can be Neil Finn and the Losers." Neil found the phrase, Crowded House, while looking through books in a library, but Capitol wasn't keen on it at first.

Jaffaman posted:

The first album was always a band project. It was Capitol who suggested banking on Neil’s name and calling the band “Neil Finn and...”

That's my recollection. My understanding is that Neil was uncertain as to whether they'd really gelled as a band and could consider themselves as one in that sense, not whether they should be a band or a solo act.

It does makes more sense for the "band" to have been tossing up between calling themselves 'Neil Finn and the...' versus a 'Band Name' (as opposed to a legitimate 'Neil Finn' solo record.) I feel like we would have known about this for years otherwise.

I can't remember who started this recent 'band vs solo' discussion, but it was definitely someone who worked with them during the early days. When he was quoted as saying the first album was originally going to be a solo record, perhaps what he meant was that they had planned to use the 'Neil Finn and the...' prefix.

It also makes you wonder if the band prefix would have allowed Neil to utilise more of a floating band membership over the years, closer to the way he's operated since 1997.

Jaffaman posted:

Neil Finn and the Tearaways had been suggested. Mitchell Froom was apparently asked to join the band at one point and jokingly said, "Only if we can be Neil Finn and the Losers." Neil found the phrase, Crowded House, while looking through books in a library, but Capitol wasn't keen on it at first.

That's fascinating. Love hearing about little bits of history.

Interesting to hear that at one point Mitchell Froom was a genuine chance to join the band. Until Mark Hart became a fully-fledged band member, Froom, Eddie Rayner and Tim Finn all played that "floating 4th member" role to some extent.

If the 'Neil Finn and the...' prefix was used it could have, in theory, made it a bit easier for him to switch members in and out, depending on the feel and sounds he was going for at the time. Just theorising though.

Jaffaman posted:

As for “Time On Earth”, I sat in on some of the of the sessions in early and mid 2006 and asked Neil whether it was a solo or band project. He and the others all said they really didn’t know at that point. All that mattered was getting the music down. 

I find this remarkable. Neil and Nick are working together in a studio and they're musing on whether or not this is a CH project without poor old Mark being anywhere in sight. Perhaps you'd say I was talking out of turn, Jeremy, but it seems from here that Neil really does have very little respect for Mark's place in CH.

It seems self-evident given that Neil is happy to consider ALL the tracks on Time on Earth to be band tracks even though only two members of the band are on most of them.

Indeed you did but which other band might that be, given that we're talking Neil Finn and Nick Seymour? I think pretty much anyone would consider a "band" project involving those two to be Crowded House. And given that said project eventually was issued under that name, I can't believe they were considering a different project. 

Regardless, as I noted, it seems that Neil was quite happy to issue a set of songs as Crowded House songs even though Mark wasn't on any of them. It's one thing for a member to not be on a song or two if the arrangement doesn't require his/her input, but this isn't a similar situation. Obviously, Mark is happy enough about it (or, at least, resigned to being treated this way).

Paul H posted:

Indeed you did but which other band might that be, given that we're talking Neil Finn and Nick Seymour? I think pretty much anyone would consider a "band" project involving those two to be Crowded House. And given that said project eventually was issued under that name, I can't believe they were considering a different project. 

 

Well I would consider it to be Crowded House yes ! 

Is this not what the whole argument has been about ?!

Understood, Jeremy. But this news does leave me rather baffled. If it wasn't definitely thought of as a Neil solo album what on earth else might it have been considered as? Surely Neil went into the studio with a set of songs to make his next album... As I say, If not, what else?? Don't tell me Nick was the original second member of Pajama Club! 

Paul H posted:. 

Regardless, as I noted, it seems that Neil was quite happy to issue a set of songs as Crowded House songs even though Mark wasn't on any of them. It's one thing for a member to not be on a song or two if the arrangement doesn't require his/her input, but this isn't a similar situation. Obviously, Mark is happy enough about it (or, at least, resigned to being treated this way).

I feel like you’re imposing a rigid personal rule about what a band is, in a creative/artistic space where there are few rules to begin with.

@Paul H, the 2005-2006 sessions were the first main project Neil worked on following Paul Hester's death, and I think having Nick back playing bass was mainly about the two reacquainting themselves with one another.

Unlike @Jaffaman I obviously wasn't present in the recording sessions or anything like that, but I do remember a TV interview from 2006, featuring both Neil and Nick, where they talked about how good it felt to be working together again.

When pressed about what the batch of songs would be released as, no straight answer was given. Neil did mention something about possibly starting another band together. So when Jaffaman referred to a "band" album a few comments ago I knew exactly what he meant.

At the time I genuinely thought the album would be released under a name other than Neil Finn or Crowded House. When the Crowded House reunion was announced I was actually quite shocked. Despite Neil and Nick recording together I was certain the Crowded House boat had sailed with Paul's death.

That was just my impression at the time, and for all we know Neil and Nick had secretly planned for a Crowded House reunion, but were holding off on the announcement until a bit later. Would love to see that interview again! Anyone else recall it? My guess it that it was on the ABC.

I still firmly believe Time on Earth began as a solo album, slowly morphing into a unknown project with Nick once recordings were underway, which eventually morphed into a Crowded House album once it was decided that was the best option.

Secret God (Stew) posted:

@Paul H, the 2005-2006 sessions were the first main project Neil worked on following Paul Hester's death, and I think having Nick back playing bass was mainly about the two reacquainting themselves with one another.

Unlike @Jaffaman I obviously wasn't present in the recording sessions or anything like that, but I do remember a TV interview from 2006, featuring both Neil and Nick, where they talked about how good it felt to be working together again.

When pressed about what the batch of songs would be released as, no straight answer was given. Neil did mention something about possibly starting another band together. So when Jaffaman referred to a "band" album a few comments ago I knew exactly what he meant.

At the time I genuinely thought the album would be released under a name other than Neil Finn or Crowded House. When the Crowded House reunion was announced I was actually quite shocked. Despite Neil and Nick recording together I was certain the Crowded House boat had sailed with Paul's death.

That was just my impression at the time, and for all we know Neil and Nick had secretly planned for a Crowded House reunion, but were holding off on the announcement until a bit later. Would love to see that interview again! Anyone else recall it? My guess it that it was on the ABC.

I still firmly believe Time on Earth began as a solo album, slowly morphing into a unknown project with Nick once recordings were underway, which eventually morphed into a Crowded House album once it was decided that was the best option.

Since Crowded House had officially been broken up, and a "Farewell to the World" concert played, along with Afterglow to clean up loose ends, it is not too surprising that Neil and Nick were considering a new band together (although this is the first time I've heard that). May have been the label's preference, or maybe nostalgia on Neil's part to revive the CH moniker.

No matter what, the label says Crowded House, so who are we to say otherwise?

Steve Shealy posted:
Secret God (Stew) posted:

@Paul H, the 2005-2006 sessions were the first main project Neil worked on following Paul Hester's death, and I think having Nick back playing bass was mainly about the two reacquainting themselves with one another.

Unlike @Jaffaman I obviously wasn't present in the recording sessions or anything like that, but I do remember a TV interview from 2006, featuring both Neil and Nick, where they talked about how good it felt to be working together again.

When pressed about what the batch of songs would be released as, no straight answer was given. Neil did mention something about possibly starting another band together. So when Jaffaman referred to a "band" album a few comments ago I knew exactly what he meant.

At the time I genuinely thought the album would be released under a name other than Neil Finn or Crowded House. When the Crowded House reunion was announced I was actually quite shocked. Despite Neil and Nick recording together I was certain the Crowded House boat had sailed with Paul's death.

That was just my impression at the time, and for all we know Neil and Nick had secretly planned for a Crowded House reunion, but were holding off on the announcement until a bit later. Would love to see that interview again! Anyone else recall it? My guess it that it was on the ABC.

I still firmly believe Time on Earth began as a solo album, slowly morphing into a unknown project with Nick once recordings were underway, which eventually morphed into a Crowded House album once it was decided that was the best option.

Since Crowded House had officially been broken up, and a "Farewell to the World" concert played, along with Afterglow to clean up loose ends, it is not too surprising that Neil and Nick were considering a new band together (although this is the first time I've heard that). May have been the label's preference, or maybe nostalgia on Neil's part to revive the CH moniker.

No matter what, the label says Crowded House, so who are we to say otherwise?

Completley agree 

slowpogo posted:
Paul H posted:. 

Regardless, as I noted, it seems that Neil was quite happy to issue a set of songs as Crowded House songs even though Mark wasn't on any of them. It's one thing for a member to not be on a song or two if the arrangement doesn't require his/her input, but this isn't a similar situation. Obviously, Mark is happy enough about it (or, at least, resigned to being treated this way).

I feel like you’re imposing a rigid personal rule about what a band is, in a creative/artistic space where there are few rules to begin with.

I'm imposing no rules at all, unless you count the basic rules around interpersonal relationships/behaviour. If you're happy for people to be thought of merely as resources to be tapped or not as the mood fits, fine, but I'd hope for a more humane view.

At the time it broke up, CH consisted of three people. If two of them get together and reform the band, surely it sends a very public message to the third member that they weren't wanted or that their input wasn't appreciated. That must be very humiliating and hurtful. As I note, that's for Mark to decide, not me. All I can do is watch and comment.

Steve Shealy posted:

No matter what, the label says Crowded House, so who are we to say otherwise?

I guess it depends on how important Crowded House was/is to anyone. For me, Crowded House was as close to a religion as one could get: I ate, slept, breathed CH for years. They were the only thing I played. That isn't about the brand, it's about the people who were in the band. I find it hard to reconcile the notion that anyone could love Crowded House but not care who was considered to be in it.

Of course, if Mark had been invited to take part in those sessions but had turned it down, I would have had less issue with Neil and Nick carrying on as CH on their own, but Neil very specifically chose to invite Mark back when he decided to reform CH.

As I said earlier (and I'm aware I'm repeating myself) I find it hard to accept an entire sessions' worth of material as being band material when it was recorded while the band was in abeyance, while there was apparently some doubt as to whether the project was a solo album or "not-Crowded House-band" album, without a key member of Crowded House and before it was decided to formally reform the band and invite back that missing member.

And I find it hard to understand how anyone who loves Crowded House can accept a random set of session players as being "Crowded House".

Clearly I'm being too precious

I think you raise a fair point @Paul H.

I completely understand Neil and Nick not inviting Mark to take part in the sessions, as at the time the album was not planned to be released under the Crowded House moniker.

I wonder what the story was with Peter Jones not being involved in the reunion though. Once Mark was back in the fold, and Crowded House had officially reformed, I saw no reason why Peter wouldn't have been the default and most logical choice. He was the band's drummer from 1994 until 1996, recorded in the studio with them, and even played a few songs at Farewell to the World despite Paul being back for the occasion. On top of being a great drummer, he was also close with Nick following the break-up, with both being members of Aussie band Deadstar.

Of course I have no inside knowledge into the decisions being made at the time, and for all I know he may have been invited and declined the offer. Does anyone know if he was even considered? I realise he sadly died from brain cancer in 2012, so perhaps he had health issues as far back as 2006, which prevented his participation? Anyone have any insight on this? (@Jaffaman, @gryphon)

And if not Peter Jones, then why didn't Ethan Johns become the new Crowded House drummer? He was all over that album, playing drums on the majority of the tracks. He even provided backing vocals and harmonies, mixed half the album, did the string arrangements on a few songs and also played various types of guitars on different songs.

Mark (and Matt) did still play on four of Time on Earth's songs (Don't Stop Now, She Called Up, Even a Child and Transit Lounge), so at the very least we did get what was effectively a Crowded House EP amongst the new batch of songs. Three of those four 'Crowded House' songs were released as single in some capacity (Even a Child only a promo), so there was definitely more emphasis placed on the full band tracks over the "solo" material.

@Paul H, How would you (or anyone else reading this) have gone about things at the time? Or how do you think Neil, Nick and co. should have gone about things? I'm genuinely interested.

Should the original 12 Time on Earth songs (I'm including Lost Island and Stare Me Out here) have been quickly released as a solo record in late 2006? Perhaps with a quick low-key 8-10 date Australian & New Zealand tour and a few TV appearances?

That would have allowed them to hold off on a reunion announcement until 2007, and perhaps released a 4-track EP of the actual  new Crowded House songs, followed by a proper album when they were ready?

Should the 12 Neil & Nick songs have been shelved completely? (at least until further notice). What if they were all re-recorded with Matt replacing Ethan's drum tracks and Mark replacing most of the guitar and adding his backing vocals? Would that have made it more of a Crowded House  album to you?

Anyway, I've written far too much for the one post so I'll leave it at that!

Secret God (Stew) posted:

@Paul H, How would you (or anyone else reading this) have gone about things at the time? Or how do you think Neil, Nick and co. should have gone about things? I'm genuinely interested.

Should the original 12 Time on Earth songs (I'm including Lost Island and Stare Me Out here) have been quickly released as a solo record in late 2006? Perhaps with a quick low-key 8-10 date Australian & New Zealand tour and a few TV appearances?

That would have allowed them to hold off on a reunion announcement until 2007, and perhaps released a 4-track EP of the actual  new Crowded House songs, followed by a proper album when they were ready?

Should the 12 Neil & Nick songs have been shelved completely? (at least until further notice). What if they were all re-recorded with Matt replacing Ethan's drum tracks and Mark replacing most of the guitar and adding his backing vocals? Would that have made it more of a Crowded House  album to you?

It's an excellent question, isn't it? Neil really did put himself in a spot when he decided that he did want to be back in a band and that that band could only really be Crowded House.

The cleanest solution to me, would have been to release Time on Earth as a solo album and tour it as such, even if only briefly. I know that tours can be important for selling albums but at that stage of his career Neil was pretty much preaching to the converted only; that is, he was only selling albums to his hard core fan base and only those people were catching him on tour. I don't think he'd have lost sales of the album if he hadn't toured it extensively. As you suggest, he could then have issued a four-song EP of the new CH recordings as a teaser for a full-scale reunion. CH could then have toured with a handful of new songs to add to their set list, giving Neil some time to write more material. However, I totally get that this path would not have immediately addressed his desire to be back in a band and would have been frustrating for him.

I think the album didn't deserve to be issued and abandoned (although later events - I'm thinking about the fate that Lightsleeper suffered after Neil, um, decided he wanted to be in a band) suggest he could have done this. Of course, he later issued Out of Silence with no follow up tour and I don't think that hurt sales either.

I think Neil suffered one of his moments of indecisiveness: once he'd decided he wanted to work with Nick on a new album he needed to make a decision before recording had started as to whether it was a solo project or a CH album and stick with that decision even if he regretted it. In the end, he vacillated and we ended up with what I consider to be a very unsatisfactory solution.

I'm sure Neil would tell me to stop being to so hung up on it all and just enjoy the music but that just seems to ignore or demean the idea that Crowded House meant something. Neil addressed this issue early in his solo career when he confirmed that Parlophone had asked him to continue using the CH name and he'd refused, saying that he was aware that fans had had a special rapport with the band and that it was disrespectful to the relationship they'd had with their fanbase and the work that the other members had put into it by continuing to use the name. He gained an awful of respect from me at the time, respect he lost when he chose to issue ToE as a band album, going back on all he'd said.

I do feel that Neil hurt the reputation of his solo career by not issuing such a great record as a solo album, and I do think he undermined the idea of Crowded House by issuing the album as a band album which, personally, I find very disappointing given what CH means to me (see what I did there?). Perhaps Neil feels uncomfortable or frustrated by the idea that CH means a lot to some people.

Well, I think the recent news that poor Mark has been dropped from the band finally shatters the idea that the name Crowded House has any meaning at all. From being so respectful of the contribution of its other members that he refused to carry on using the name after he broke the band up, to now feeling - apparently - that any line featuring him and Nick can be called Crowded House. 

As someone who adored Crowded House back in the early 90s I'm so saddened to feel that it is now nothing more than a brand.

Perhaps I do Neil and Nick a disservice. Perhaps, in reality, the band was just the two of them from the moment Paul left, with other players merely hired hands. Perhaps I just projected onto them an idea of band-ness because I wanted to carry on believing that a version of the "classic period" line up could still be thought of as a band. 

And perhaps Crowded House really is just Neil and Nick and whoever they choose to work with. It all seems so far away from the real band I saw tear up venues across the UK in 1992-4.

I'll be honest, I still believe that is a band. I adore Mark but even without him, I'm sure that Crowded House will still be Crowded House. Just different. I think it will be a combination of the classic Crowded House sound we are all used to and the post Dizzy Heights style of Neil's music. 

I know change is scary but I think we should put more faith in the man that is a large part of the reason why we are all here together [alone]. I believe this will legitimately be Crowded House and also a new project. And that excites me.

Paul H posted:

Well, I think the recent news that poor Mark has been dropped from the band finally shatters the idea that the name Crowded House has any meaning at all. From being so respectful of the contribution of its other members that he refused to carry on using the name after he broke the band up, to now feeling - apparently - that any line featuring him and Nick can be called Crowded House. 

As someone who adored Crowded House back in the early 90s I'm so saddened to feel that it is now nothing more than a brand.

Perhaps I do Neil and Nick a disservice. Perhaps, in reality, the band was just the two of them from the moment Paul left, with other players merely hired hands. Perhaps I just projected onto them an idea of band-ness because I wanted to carry on believing that a version of the "classic period" line up could still be thought of as a band. 

And perhaps Crowded House really is just Neil and Nick and whoever they choose to work with. It all seems so far away from the real band I saw tear up venues across the UK in 1992-4.

Completley agree . I’ve championed the name of Crowded House for years , but it seems like I was wasting my time .

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