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Wednesday, 25 April, 2001, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Neil Finn, reluctant hero
Neil Finn
Neil Finn: Looking for new horizons
Former Crowded House vocalist Neil Finn will be touring the UK in May following the release of his new solo album One Nil.

He spoke to the BBC's Brendan Cole about the new album and his upcoming tour.

When Neil Finn split up Crowded House on the cusp of stadium-rock success, many thought he had temporarily taken leave of his senses.

Fellow band member Paul Hester said when the band had ended, they were only two albums away from becoming the biggest in the world.


In the end good songwriting wins out and that is what I try to do

Neil Finn

Indeed their finale in Sydney in 1996 was attended by 120,000 people, the world's biggest gig that year.

But Finn has always been non-plussed about that kind of status and more interested in getting back to what he loves doing - writing songs.

Proud

His view is that the time was right for the band to part ways.

Neil Finn
Finn's career blossomed with Crowded House

"We released four really strong albums with Crowded House and we can be proud of that.

"But I am always looking for the next valley and the next hill.

"I have always tried to move in different directions with each album because it is more interesting to expand your horizons."

And despite going solo, it's not as if he can't rock with a band now and again.

Amazing

Earlier this month in Auckland, New Zealand, he played a three-hour set and was joined on stage by a Premiership line-up of talent which included Johnny Marr of the Smiths, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and Ed O'Brien of Radiohead.

"It was an amazing experience, we had a joyous time and had a lot of fun rehearsing for 13 days.

"We all admire each other and I wanted to put on an event people could remember.

"It was just rollicking good fun, " he said.

Privacy

The feel on One Nil, a pun on the way his fellow Kiwis pronounce Neil, is tender and astoundingly personal, with one song almost a direct ode to his wife.

It is a bit of a surprise coming from a man who guarded his privacy so much so that very few fans even knew he was married.

"It's always been challenging trying to continue having a family life and working in this industry because they are different worlds.

"But I'm lucky in that I have always been able to have my family tour with me.

"It's important to get the right balance."

Finn is an unlikely star, more comfortable hanging out in his beach house in Kare Kare, Auckland (where the film The Piano was shot) than schmoozing with celebrities.

He has websites dedicated to following his every move including one which even details his hair style changes over the years.

Feted

"I like the fact the people listen to my music everywhere in the world.

"But I don't want to be feted and lauded everywhere I go, I lead a pretty normal life, I just want to blend in.

"Songwriting never gets any easier no matter how long you have been doing it.

"You never really perfect a song, but I know it works when you feel something inside you.

"And I find if I take a break, it's always easy to come back to it."

Finn's doesn't mind having to compete with the gloss of "manufactured" bands.

"I think that is the state of the charts everywhere.

Good songwriting

"People have learned to manipulate a package.

"But in the end good songwriting wins out and that is what I try to do."

His UK audiences in May will have plenty of past and present material to look forward to.

"I think people will get something old and something new.

"They will have a good time and we may throw in a few suprise songs as well.

"I am really looking forward to touring the new album.

"I feel very blessed to be doing what I'm doing and to have people enjoying my music."

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