Tim Finn's history speaks for itself. Almost 40 years of penning some of the most iconic music that this, or any other country has heard, in all manner of different guises. From his legendary tenure in Split Enz, to his brief but meaningful phase in Crowded House with his brother Neil to his consistently well received solo work. The man is quite close to turning 60, and is ageing and mellowing gracefully like a fine wine. This can be clearly heard in his new solo album The View is Worth the Climb, and the man himself agrees.
I think that's a great compliment, if it's perceived that way," he concurs, "that's one of the hardest things to do, especially in rock n roll. If I'm managing to do a half decent job of ageing gracefully then I'm really happy!"
The album's title is a twist on a common saying, and grew from an idea in his mind, to a song title to one of the full blown themes that the entire album is based around. "I woke up one morning and I had an idea in my head," he recalls, "it was the chorus of a song buzzing around in my head, so I did some work on that and just thought of it as a great song title and a great idea. But then it became bigger than that, when I was making the album and I realised it applied to this entire period of my life. I've reached a point where I can just pause and contemplate and be grateful and glad and from where I am my life is good. It wasn't always going that way, but I'm very glad to be here, it's that kind of feeling."
It's a collection of tunes, but there's also a few different themes," he continues, "I was talking to somebody about it in terms of friendship, disappointment and encouragement and love. I think those are some of the themes that I was circling around. We all disappoint our friends and they can sometimes disappoint us, and we can also seek and give a lot of encouragement and love. And then in the family life, one way of looking at it is that it's very banal and dull and day to day, even a bit boring. And then there's another way of looking at it where you can find the most intense inspiration in a moment, so I'm trying to walk that fine line … it's all coming from my life and my relationships with my family and my loved ones and sometimes old friends."
The album was actually an unexpected surprise, both in terms of the producer that was used and of the fact that it was even written and recorded, as Tim explains, "I wasn't actually expecting to make a solo album," he states, "I'd just put out an anthology a year and a half or two years ago, covering the whole 36 years of writing, and from the earliest days of Split Enz. So I thought that's a good time to pause, I've made eight solo albums and I did eight albums with Split Enz, so I kinda liked the symmetry of that. So I thought I'd look around for some collaborative work, some projects that I can do, maybe a soundtrack, or another album with my brother or whatever, sort of not in a rush to do anything."
Then I just started to find some songs started coming through and I made contact with the producer Jacquire King, who had the Kings of Leon album, which had that huge hit Use Somebody, I kept hearing that song and I really loved it. So I thought I'd send this guy an email, and see if he wants to come out to New Zealand and make a record. I really didn't expect him to even respond. But I got an email back saying 'yeah, sure, send me some songs.' Suddenly I had all this momentum."
Tim heads off on a tour across both countries to support the album in the next few weeks, including appearances at the Falls Festivals in Victoria and Tassie, the Southbound Festival in WA and plenty of his own dates. And with such a long, varied and prolific career, it must be difficult to put a setlist together?
Yeah, it's a good question," he agrees, "sometimes I'm limited by the musicians I'm working with, if we've got to fit somebody new in if somebody isn't available that I usually use. Which is happening this time, we've got a keyboard player who's slotting in for us, because my usual guy is overseas. So then you can't cast the net too wide. But generally the guys I normally play with, I think we know about 40 songs now, and there's many more than that, but there's ones that I'm just drawn to, like even album tracks like Charlie, from the Split Enz album Dizrhythmia, which I've re-visited in recent years. Dirty Creature has become this real epic onstage. So I just love it!"