We can start with this one...
Neil and Sharon Finn unveil Pajama ClubRoss Purdie, National Entertainment Writer, AAP May 24, 2011, 12:02 pm Post Commenttweet0EmailPrint
It's a coming of age question for every couple with children. How to fill those empty evenings once the kids have packed up and left home?
For Neil and Sharon Finn they took gleeful advantage, cozying up in pyjamas each night to mess around making music together.
What started with Neil tapping away at drums and Sharon on bass guitar became Pajama Club, the new band fronted by the Crowded House singer and his wife of nearly 30 years.
"We had some free time after the boys left and instead of turning to bridge club or something we started playing music together over a few glasses of wine," Neil tells AAP from his home in Auckland.
"We're pretty well matched because I'm not great on drums and Sharon isn't a pro on the bass but we discovered we could lock onto these very simple but fun grooves."
Recorded on an old 16-track tape machine, their initial jams laid foundations for the couple to sing over and soon complete songs began to take shape.
They recruited Auckland songwriter Sean Donnelly and ex-Grates drummer Alana Skyring to transform the after-dinner sessions into a studio album, which is set for release in August.
The first song to emerge, From A Friend To A Friend, suggests a swampier, more experimental sound than your average Crowded House creation. But the album also has its fair share of upbeat moments with the funky polyrythmns of `70s outfit ESG a big influence, according to Neil.
"We haven't polished it at all so there's a psychedelic spooky feeling about it," he says.
"All the songs are really diverse because we were defining our parameters as we went along."
Before the album release, Pajama Club will play live dates in Australia and the US. Their debut American show will be warming up for Wilco at the Chicago band's own Solid Sound Festival.
Pajama Club is not the first time Neil has worked with his wife. Sharon sang on the track Isolation for the 2010 Crowded House album, Intriguer, and boasts various backing vocal credits.
Not only does his partner boast a "lovely voice", she's also a surprisingly accomplished bassist.
"Sharon has the best feel of any bassist I've ever played with. She may not play that many notes but she doesn't need to," says Neil.
The couple are determined to earn their stripes independent of Neil's legacy and the obvious shadow of Crowded House.
They realise touring side by side is likely to raise the odd marital strain but playing together has already proven a healthy development.
"The challenge is on when you're with somebody for a long time to keep redefining your relationship and not let it fall into ruts and Pajama Club has certainly done that," Neil says.
"We're in completely new territory and being on the road together will be challenging. The road is littered with couples who have come unstuck but I think we're prepared for it."
But can the same be said for their grown up sons, Liam and Elroy, who have also carved out careers as musicians? What do the kids think of mum and dad jamming in pyjamas as if they're John and Yoko?
"They're excited because they never expected this to happen either," Neil laughs.
"For them it's the romantic notion that their parents are behaving badly and staying up late making a big noise."
Pajama Club play the following Australian dates:
June 11 - The Northern, Byron Bay
June 12 - The Zoo, Brisbane
June 13 - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
June 15 - The Corner Hotel, Melbourne