BARB’D WIRED Liam Finn & Barb

The New Zealand popster assembles a funky/sexy
supergroup.

 

BY JUD COST

 

Liam Finn,
currently part of Barb, an all-star New Zealand combo featuring
Lawrence Arabia, Eliza-Jane Barnes, Connan Mockasin and Seamus Ebbs, still
laughs at the antics of his previous band, Betchadupa, during its scuffling
days Down Under 10 years ago.

 

“We’d
travel from beach town to beach town just to get 10 minutes ahead of the other
band on tour, then pull up and ambush them around a blind corner and pelt their
car with eggs,” he says. “That’s a rite of passage for New Zealand
bands, a tradition I learned from my father.”

 

His father
should know. Neil Finn was a founding member of revered Kiwi band Crowded
House, and Liam’s uncle Tim assembled zany theatrical outfit Split Enz. And
yet, Liam insists, he doesn’t feel any added pressure to keep up the family
name. “I don’t really think about it much. They’ve always taught me to
enjoy it while it lasts.” 

 

Same thing goes
for Barb, its self-titled debut album (on Yep Roc), cut in Auckland by an uber-talented crew of
self-motivators. Was it too much creativity under one roof? “There were a
lot of cooks in the kitchen,” says Finn, “but for some reason we made
really big sparks.”

 

The sessions
spontaneously took on the aura of “white boy soul,” something akin to
Brian Wilson’s 1967 Beach Boys creative cul de sac, Wild Honey. “We just gravitated toward these funky, sexy kind
of grooves and found our own thing amongst it,” says Finn.

 

The only failure
of the Barb sessions was the abortive attempts of Finn and Mockasin to score
girls during their down time. “We’d go out as a little team to get angst
into the recording by partying a bit and come back with these really good
failure stories. And somehow that was more inspiring than if we’d
succeeded.”

 

 

[Photo Credit:
Elroy]

 

 

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