Given Neil's Announcement, is CH Through?

I'm wondering if Neil's announcement that he's working on a solo and another project with Liam means that CH is essentially through?  Perhaps the upcoming reissues are essentially a denouement.

Original Post

I don't think that's the case. On a radio show a few months back they asked him if he's working on solo projects, a family band album, Finn Brothers or Crowded House next and he said something like "all of the above, I'm not sure what will emerge first."

He also said in the not too distant past, that Crowded House are "up on blocks in the garage" - dormant but still existing.

With all that said, I bet it'll be several years, given his current projects, before we hear anything new from Crowded House...

I think we've seen enough hints on Facebook that CH will be doing something this year.  It might not be a new album, but I'm still hoping for a remastered box set/albums with bonus tracks.  There's bound to be some good promotion to go along with that.  Maybe some shows/promotional interviews?

I hope you are all right. But given Neil's inclination to work solo or with family & friends, this is the last new material we're going to hear from CH ("new" meaning original stuff we haven't heard).  Otherwise, after he does do promotion for these re-issues, how long will it be before his next solo work? Or something with Liam, or Tim?  What about touring after any or all of these efforts?  I just can't imagine when he would bring the members of the band together to record a new record and tour on it.  He might as well keep the band up on those blocks in his garage; or, at least that's what I think he will eventually conclude.

There was a post on the forum a few weeks back, from someone who asked Mark Hart if they were working on a new CH album, and Mark's response was "no new album, but a 5 disc box-set is expected to be released around November this year..." . That post was deleted shortly after...

I personally think that goodhearted Mark spilled the beans on something that will probably  be announced publicly at a later time... (i really hope he didn't get in trouble for that).

Also, Matt has recently said that he is STILL a member of CH. If the band were through, he (and others) would refer to their roles in past-tense.

My final piece of evidence, is that we've been told that Nick Seymour is currently working on the Artwork for the box-set. That to me proves his involvement with the band...

We probably won't get a new album or tour for now (I really hope I'm wrong), but I predict he CH machinery (press releases, new website, interviews, articles, etc.) will be VERY active later this year...

Any promotional shows this year will be great, I hope they happen.  It just occurred to me that it's been six years since Intriguer...and with two other projects it will be at least 10 years before the next studio CH record, which would be the same gap as between Farewell and Time On Earth.  CH Mark 3.  I don't know...I just can't see that happening.  But that doesn't mean I'm not thrilled with the idea of reissues or a box set, I am---I've been waiting on this since it was first intimated, which was a long time ago (not sure how long at this point).  Believe me, I'm grateful for anything we get and will be first in line to buy whatever comes out in the fall.  I'm just speculating as to what the future of the band looks like, and if there is one.

The last few years Neil has talked a big game about upping his output, saying he wants to release an album every year and things like that. But so far it's been business as usual.

If he ever actually works as quickly as he wants to, we could see a CH album a lot sooner than 10 years. Actually, if it was next after the current projects, at his regular pace it would still be sooner than that (I'd guess 5ish years).

Not holding my breath though...

Hi Slowpogo: You're right, I phrased it wrong.  I meant to say that any new CH record will likely be 10 years (at least) from Intriguer; the same gap there was before Time On Earth.  Which I find astonishing; I never thought we'd see such a long break again, that is, without breaking up the band for good.

The average time it takes for Neil to put out an album of all new material is 30 months.  Neil generally releases *something* every 20 months (new album, live album, rarities collection, etc.).

It's been 27 months since Neil released Dizzy Heights, so we are overdue for something this year (probably the box set).  The longest time Neil has gone without releasing anything was 36 months between Temple of Low Men and Woodface.  The second longest time was between Pajama Club and Dizzy Heights at 29 months.

The longest time Neil has gone between proper album releases of all new materials is 41 months between One Nil and Everyone is Here, but he filled that gap by releasing One All and the 7 World Collide live album.

Both Pajama Club (15 months) and Dizzy Heights (29 months) were released sooner than the average of 30 months.  In order to continue to beat his average, he would need to release a new album in July, which would be 29 months from the release of Dizzy Heights.  That doesn't seem likely. 

So, aside from Pajama Club, there is little to signal that Neil is picking up the pace.  I guess he's working on two albums at once right now though.  If they both come out before the end of 2017 that would be a feat.  Then we could see a new Crowded House album between January and June 2020.  That's my prediction.

If he doesn't release an album of new material by August 2017 it will be the longest he has ever gone between releases of new material.

I would also add that if you break up Neil's career into decades you get the following averages:

1986-1995 - New album every 28.0 months
1996-2005 - New album every 35.3 months
2006-2014 - New album every 28.5 months

So while not quite releasing new materials on pace with the original Crowded House albums (and Finn), he's certainly picked up the pace from the long slog of 1996-2005 when he only released three albums of new material.

Jim B. posted:

Can you really call it a band if you keep taking decade-long breaks?  

Sure you can. Split Enz occasionally reforms, not even to do an album but just to perform, and they're a band. The 7 Worlds Collide group was only around for a week, but you can call them a band too.

A band exists until the members decide that it doesn't any more. And even then they can change their mind. The Eagles: "Hell Freezes Over". I guess that everyone will be able to guess why that album was called what it was.

Neil basically will be able to convene CH pretty much any time he wants to. I'm not sure if I hope he does; I'm happy with whatever he blesses us with.

If Neil wants do record a new CH record - what I personally hope - with the existing members, it had to be in the next 1-3 years. Remember, Mark Hart is 62 already, and the other members aren't getting younger too...So I doubt "it'll be years and years from now..", especially when it comes to touring. If there will be a new CH record, it has to be in the very near future. That's just MHO.

I was thinking something very similar, Patrick.  I don't think there are "years and years" left, even for Neil himself when it comes to touring.  Having made that trip to NZ from the east coast of the US twice myself, I can't imagine that getting any easier with age.

I don't think they're through. Neil was quite deliberate in 96,  when he made it quite clear ch mark 1 had come to an end. No such statement now. I don't think he ever meant it to be this long,  but time passes so quickly ( for me anyway) .  I reckon they'll definitely do something towards the end of this year however brief to coincide with the album reissues. Mark being 62 is irrelevant. Have you seen how fit the guy is?! 

 

 

 

 

stuartjb,

I hope you're right. It certainly would make sense for Neil to use the release of the Reissues or Box-Set later this year, as an opportunity to play live again with Nick, Mark and Matt.

Nobody seems to know for sure what the other guys are up to these days or what kind of commitments they may have that could potential interfere with a CH reunion.

In terms of Mark's age vs. his physical health, he sure does seem to be a healthy guy and does not look like a sexagenarian. 

 

imo, o...the ch i fell in love with were through in '96. i saw them under the same moniker after that but it wasn't the same band, the same sound or the same vibe...it wasn't bad, it was just so different. the name should have been changed when they "reformed". but i guess there's some benefit to keeping the name "crowded house" when the song "don't dream it's over" is attached to it...

I agree with Stuart that it's the chemistry of the band I yearn for. It's just that I agree with Awamutu that it was lost when the drummer changed back in 1994. CH has been a fine band since; they've made some wonderful music that stands on its own, but so has Neil outside of CH. And, for my money, there's little difference now between Neil solo and CH, but a world of difference between current CH and the CH of 1992-93.

I'll happily take a new CH album but I'd be no more excited for a new CH album and tour than I would be for a solo or Finn Bros album/tour.

The CH I fell in love with came to an end back in April 1994.

i was there the day paul left (but didn't know he had left til hearing it on the radio 2 weeks later) and that saddened me but i could understand his reasons. what saddened me even more was when neil declared it was over. then i knew, no more crowded house. that's why the reformations under the same name didn't make sense to me (but then, one can always change their mind, lol).

in my ears, neil solo and ch are worlds apart, no matter what time frame. i definitely prefer the stuff he does on his own/with family to the last two ch albums. i'm very much of the opinion that if he doesn't want to do anymore "crowded house" projects, that would be a good thing, because they could be jinxed! i suddenly have a craving to sing "let it go"...


I have a different take---I feel like Neil's work is clearly differentiated depending on the outlet for it.  Take Pajama Club or his new solo CD (or his previous solo CD's for that matter).  I think Neil tends to write much more in an accessible style for Crowded House, especially comparing his contemporary work with CH & CH Mark II.  His classic "Leonard (Cohen)-McCartney" (in his words) songs that distinguish CH are not found much at all on his recent work.  He allows himself much more experimentation, which is great, but I don't enjoy them as much.  The only true "CH" style record, IMO, outside of CH is "Everyone Is Here"---Tim and Neil admitted they wanted to write a very straight-forward and appealing record (more so than the rough-edged debut)---that was their stated goal, not my interpretation.  And with Froom adding his touches, much of it felt like an addendum to Woodface.  But besides, say, "She Will Have Her Way", Neil doesn't really shoot for a classic, Beatlesque style outside of CH.  So it matters to me, anyway, which outlet he chooses to write for.  I doubt Neil himself would agree with me, but I don't trust his opinion.  His goal, IMO, with a lot of his "any record could be a CH record, it's all me" interviews of the past decade or more, is rather to establish himself as the primary creative engine behind CH, which of course we all know but he gets defensive about it, subtly at times but it still is a need of his.  So, whether it's sub-conscious or not, a Finn/Finn Bros./PC/Neil and Liam record planned is not gonna sound like a CH one, based on my ears anyway.  So if CH is done, I will mourn it, whether it's version 1 or 2 or 3...

Paul H posted:

I agree with Stuart that it's the chemistry of the band I yearn for. It's just that I agree with Awamutu that it was lost when the drummer changed back in 1994. CH has been a fine band since; they've made some wonderful music that stands on its own, but so has Neil outside of CH. And, for my money, there's little difference now between Neil solo and CH, but a world of difference between current CH and the CH of 1992-93.

If band chemistry is one's concern, I don't know how anyone can argue it's the same, or as good, as when Paul was there, so I totally agree on that point.

I definitely disagree that there's little difference between Neil solo and CH. Time on Earth is easily my favorite thing Neil's done since 1996, and it's the one record where certain songs truly seem to harken back to the band's heyday. Nobody Wants To, Don't Stop Now in particular, but others too. There's a certain magic there when those guys (or even just Neil and Nick) play together, no matter how much Neil pretends it doesn't matter what name you put on his stuff. I can see how he would resist going to his grave as "the Crowded House guy" when he's done so much other stuff, and I think that's where that attitude of his comes from, but Crowded House is definitely it's own separate entity in my mind. I didn't like Intriguer very much, but I chalk a lot of that up to the production (I don't think Jim Scott was up to the task) and engineering (I don't like how things made in Roundhead Studios sound, sorry). The sound of Matt's drums, especially, doesn't work for me on Intriguer. And I can imagine how Mitchell Froom would have just knocked most of that album -- in particular something like Amsterdam, the most Crowded Housey song ever, which ended up weirdly inert and boring on Intriguer -- out of the park. I remember when Pajama Club came out, and more than one review noted that the most successful song on the album, TNT for Two, is also the one that sounds most like Crowded House. Go figure.

At this point I'd love to get just one more album from Crowded House. I wouldn't expect more than that, but I think they've got one left in them, and I'm confident they would bring the magic back once more. If all we ever get from them is one more studio album, and this upcoming remastered/rarity set, it would complete a great legacy for Crowded House and I'd be satisfied with it.

slowpogo posted:

I definitely disagree that there's little difference between Neil solo and CH. Time on Earth is easily my favorite thing Neil's done since 1996, and it's the one record where certain songs truly seem to harken back to the band's heyday. Nobody Wants To, Don't Stop Now in particular, but others too. There's a certain magic there when those guys (or even just Neil and Nick) play together, no matter how much Neil pretends it doesn't matter what name you put on his stuff. 

Interesting that we all hear the same things differently. Time on Earth was, of course, a solo album (albeit with Nick on bass) until it had been completed, at which point Neil decided to reform the band. At that point, it made no sense to have CH touring a solo album and so it was badged as the CH record it never was (by way of token gesture, they recorded four new tracks for it but even so, musically it remains a solo album). And, to me, it sounds much more like a Neil album than a CH one, in terms of songwriting and also in terms of sound. 

Perhaps that's because Neil consciously tried to get away from the CH style of songwriting when he left the band the first time around (Try Whistling This being an oblique reference to that fact). As a result, very little of what he's done since sounds like CH (honourable exceptions go to songs like Anytime or Amsterdam) which is why I don't really yearn for a reunion: much as I love seeing him onstage with Nick and Mark (and, don't get me wrong: I do), it was Paul Hester who gave them their swing and made their shows so spectacular. 

I've actually found their post-reformation live shows slightly awkward sometimes as Neil tries to share the banter with Nick but it often seems forced; like they're trying to keep that mad stage banter going but it was Paul who drove that stuff.

And besides, a CH reunion would just force all of those gorgeous solo songs back in their box. And, if I'm honest, I'd rather hear Into the Sunset than Into Temptation at this point in time...

Paul H posted:

Interesting that we all hear the same things differently. Time on Earth was, of course, a solo album (albeit with Nick on bass) until it had been completed, at which point Neil decided to reform the band. At that point, it made no sense to have CH touring a solo album and so it was badged as the CH record it never was (by way of token gesture, they recorded four new tracks for it but even so, musically it remains a solo album). And, to me, it sounds much more like a Neil album than a CH one, in terms of songwriting and also in terms of sound.

I think the component you're leaving out, is why Neil decided to reform the band. It wasn't a coincidence that he was recording with Nick at the time. As I remember it from interviews back then, after recording an album with Nick, both of them, and Ethan Johns and others felt like the music they were making sounded an awful lot like Crowded House...I specifically recall a Neil quote to the effect of "I kind of gave in and admitted to what we were all feeling, that it felt like Crowded House"...and he took it as an indication the time was right to get the band back together.

At least that's how I've remembered it all these years, that making music with Nick not only rekindled their friendship and put them on the road to reforming the band from a personal standpoint, but also the music they made together felt/sounded to them like Crowded House. Not that I'm saying you can't hear the music another way. I guess we're both disagreeing with Neil in different ways. (you really don't hear Nobody Wants To as being incredibly Crowded House-like?)

Every non-CH album Neil has put out contains at least a few tracks I really like. But for me only Try Whistling This comes anywhere close to being as successful -- as an album of music -- as the first four CH albums. I don't see it as a coincidence that it came right after their break-up. I believe he was still riding a wave of creativity from the band but focusing it in different directions.

Maybe it has less to do with the band, and more to do with the fact that Neil's peak as an artist (in my opinion) was 1986-1998 or so, and he just happened to be mostly recording with Crowded House during that time.

I thought that I ve seen everything here; but that 3 out of 4 members of original Crowded House incl. (most relevant thing) song writing force and singer of band, shouldnt called themselves Crowded House in new incarnation??? LOL

Its more and more obvious, what I stated in time of "Intriguer" that we have big differences between fans who followed CH in time of first incarnation and those who became fans later, like me. I saw CH two times: 2007. Wien, and 2008. Zurich. They were just great, cohessive, fresh, their ages (in 50s) didnt really seems to bother them. And they were showed excellent positive togetherness vibe! Ofcourse, I cant compare it with earlier incarnation (80,90s) but reading some Neils interviews seems like it wasnt always like that. Not only in time of Pauls leaving in 94., but Neil stated that in Woodface era was pretty much tensions between members. So, new incarnation brought some new more positive vibe, and in my opinion, Matt with his positive energy and warmness put much of that on the table.

As for real new CH record Intriguer (TOE was only partly) seems like that distinction between "old" and "new" fans also had big matter - "old" fans seems like had much bigger issues with that album. 6 years later, I have almost the same opinion that Intriguer is great record, to me one the best in Neils career. Only few thing went wrong seems to me: first of all which dont bother me as close as many fans - too much infuence of Wilco on some of songs, maybe through his producer Jim Scott, but even more because of Neils spending time with them in that era. Seems like many of you had problems with that and I respect that. I agree that Amsterdam should became better on record and record in the whole lack some energy. This how Amstardam is much more interesting in live than on Intriguer. Second thing, some of best and interesting songs from that time dropped out of album: Intriguer song with Neils singing was just too great and exotic to be missedout and given to competition. It should be on 10.th position where it was till last moment, just to break two slow song in the end. Second thing, song "Only way to go is forward" should not only be on album, but It should be first single and open song. Ofcourse, I am talking about live version from tour, dont even know if its recorded in studio.

If I am talking about best songs from Intriguer, seems to me they are not any worse than best from previous albums - I made some private best of CH, about 20 songs, including TIYL, ESOTW, FD and Intriguer, nobody who listened this compilation didnt notice any difference between these and old songs. They were equaly good, most of listeners pointed TIYL as one of the best of catologue.

In the end; I am hoping that CH isnt through. I still think that Neil gave his best with this band, and he is still capable to give his best with them. Plus, my only chance to see Neil live somewhere near Croatia is with CH. Pajama Club still didnt touch me and still think its with One Nil lowest point in his career. Also I think that (sory Neil for honesty) influence of his family (wife and son) in past few years didnt get him musical inspiration which would be recognizable or memorable or musicaly attractive. Dizzy Heights was very good, but something tells me it would be better with CH band.

Stay well, bliss and bless.

Mariola posted:

I thought that I ve seen everything here; but that 3 out of 4 members of original Crowded House incl. (most relevant thing) song writing force and singer of band, shouldnt called themselves Crowded House in new incarnation??? LOL 

This . Absolutely spot on . People also seem to forget that Crowded House have  had 3 drummers ?  One of the best gigs I've ever been to was their appearance at T in the park in 94 with Peter Jones on drums .Paul , as much as I loved him left , and the band got a new drummer . Nothing wrong with that . My bands been going since 2005 . we've had 2 bass players and 2 keys players .I'm not changing the name ! Why should I , and why should they ?! 

 

Also," Nobody wants to" is a song that completely encapsulates the sound of crowded house to me.TOE track 1....

 

2 thirds of the original line up play on the entire album , with four tracks by the current full line up . why shouldn't it be billed as Crowded House ?!

Mariola,

you bring up a very interesting point; what if Dizzy Heights would have been a CH album instead of Neil solo?

The more I think about that, the more tempted I am to wonder if that would have been the biggest and most succesful album of Neil's career.

I can imagine how the arrangements would have been slightly different and how with Nick, Mark and Matt as the band (and their vocals) this record probably would have been viewed by many as a Masterpiece.

Those songs are brilliant and they would have benefited tremendously if they would have been recorded by CH. For obvious reasons, it probably would achieved greater commercial success as well.

slowpogo posted:
Paul H posted:

Interesting that we all hear the same things differently. Time on Earth was, of course, a solo album (albeit with Nick on bass) until it had been completed, at which point Neil decided to reform the band. At that point, it made no sense to have CH touring a solo album and so it was badged as the CH record it never was (by way of token gesture, they recorded four new tracks for it but even so, musically it remains a solo album). And, to me, it sounds much more like a Neil album than a CH one, in terms of songwriting and also in terms of sound.

I think the component you're leaving out, is why Neil decided to reform the band. It wasn't a coincidence that he was recording with Nick at the time. As I remember it from interviews back then, after recording an album with Nick, both of them, and Ethan Johns and others felt like the music they were making sounded an awful lot like Crowded House...I specifically recall a Neil quote to the effect of "I kind of gave in and admitted to what we were all feeling, that it felt like Crowded House"...and he took it as an indication the time was right to get the band back together.

At least that's how I've remembered it all these years, that making music with Nick not only rekindled their friendship and put them on the road to reforming the band from a personal standpoint, but also the music they made together felt/sounded to them like Crowded House. Not that I'm saying you can't hear the music another way. I guess we're both disagreeing with Neil in different ways. (you really don't hear Nobody Wants To as being incredibly Crowded House-like?)

Every non-CH album Neil has put out contains at least a few tracks I really like. But for me only Try Whistling This comes anywhere close to being as successful -- as an album of music -- as the first four CH albums. I don't see it as a coincidence that it came right after their break-up. I believe he was still riding a wave of creativity from the band but focusing it in different directions.

Maybe it has less to do with the band, and more to do with the fact that Neil's peak as an artist (in my opinion) was 1986-1998 or so, and he just happened to be mostly recording with Crowded House during that time.

Yes, I deliberately left out mention of Neil's perception of the Time on Earth material because I was talking about my perception of it . Do I hear Nobody Wants To as being like CH? No, I don't actually. It's a beautiful song - one of my favourites - but I don't hear anything like it in the first four albums. It's much more pedestrian, it doesn't have that groove that CH found. Again, don't get me wrong, I love the song to bits, but it sounds more like latter-day solo Neil than first gen CH to me.

(And I agree with your final paragraph: I think Neil hit his peak in that 86-98 period, and it just happened to coincide with CH. That said, the shoulders of his peak have been at least as good as most other artists have managed!)

stuartjb posted:

2 thirds of the original line up play on the entire album , with four tracks by the current full line up . why shouldn't it be billed as Crowded House ?!

Here's my personal perspective on the tricky subject of billing: I think it has more to do with intent than with who actually played on the performance. I know that sounds daft but let me explain:

Yesterday was recorded by Paul McCartney. No other Beatle plays on it. And yet it is a Beatles recording. Why? Because it was recorded by a man who was part of that band during sessions for that band's next album. It was intended to be a Beatles track; it just so happened that the arrangement only needed one man.

Beautiful Night was recorded by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Heck, I'm The Greatest was recorded by Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison. And yet they are considered Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr songs respectively. Why? Because they were recorded by men who weren't in the Beatles at the time of the recordings, so the songs were intended to be solo songs, not songs to be released by the Beatles.

Now, if either of those guys had decided, after completing the recordings, to issue them as Beatles singles there would have been an outcry.

Cut to 2007, and Neil does exactly that: whilst not a member of Crowded House he records what he intends to be his third solo album and then announces that he's going to bill it as a Crowded House record "because bits of it sound like CH". Which is partly why I struggle to think of Time on Earth as a CH album. The determinant of how an album is billed ought to be the intent behind it: Time on Earth was a solo album until Neil decided he wanted to put the CH name to it. More to the point, though, it just has that latter-period songwriting that makes it sound more like a solo album. But then, so too does Intriguer. 

(Full disclosure: I was distraught when Neil broke up CH. I remember him saying in interview at the time of Try Whistling This that he was well aware of the bond between band and fans and had decided - despite pressure from his record company - to honour the integrity of the name and not use it for his solo recordings. I respected that greatly. It meant a lot to me. His decision to bill Time on Earth as a CH album was, to me, reneging on his promise to maintain the integrity of the band name. So, I'll be honest: I hold a mild resentment towards Neil's decision to do that. I say "mild" because, in the end it barely matters and there was little else he could do having decided he wanted to reform the group (I just felt sorry for poor Mark!). I mean, it wasn't as if he was going to scrap the entire set of recordings and start again...)

Personally I think that Crowded House version 2 was doomed from the start due to the simple fact that the reunion album (Time on Earth) was more of a Neil Finn solo album. Their first "proper" album (Intriguer) could have been a lot better and I think that it was a missed opportunity.

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