Q&A with Adam McGrath (part 3)

Adam McGrath is well known for his work with the band The Eastern. He will be Live at the Library for New Zealand Music Month 2017.

Adam McGrath
Adam McGrath live at the Isaac Theatre Royal. Image supplied.

We asked him some questions:

What’s your favourite recent NZ release?

The Warratahs Runaway Days that came out last year. In a time where folks seem to care less and less about records, The Warratahs put a pole in the sand with a flag on the top flying high and strong with the words ‘Yeah, So what…’ stencilled on it. Any album with the song ‘Kupe’s Tears’ on it would be a classic out the block and that would be enough, but after 30 years of song for the Warratahs to still be punching in that division makes me feel unworthy and ready to give up. And also to keep swinging, get better and lift my reps of songwriting push ups.

Which other instrumental musician would you most like to share a stage with?

Well I would like to stand in the middle of the sound of Booker T and The MG’s. Al Jackson, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Booker T create the sound of God in both my ears and my heart.

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Who would be your ultimate singing duet partner?

I would happily be the Cisco Houston to Woody Guthrie, or the Marvin Gaye to Tami Terrell, or the Gram to Emmylou, or Sam with Dave or any of those perfect combos. But in reality I’m the most excited about singing with the random stranger after the gig around a table. They are the shining-est (I know that’s not a word, but it feels like it should be in this context) moments of singing I could think of and no matter the fame or wonder of any of those others, there is nothing more holy than a post gig sing-along.

If a song started every time you walked into a room, what would you like yours to be?

“Rock n Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” by AC/DC or “I just want to see his face part 1” by the Staple Singers or “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra.

If you could’ve written any song ever written, what would it be?

I would be proud to sing Anchorage by Michelle Shocked if it was me who’d come up with it.

Adam McGrath’s Top Ten albums of all time

  1. London Calling – The Clash
  2. Nebraska Bruce Springsteen
  3. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back Public Enemy
  4. The Asch Recordings Woody Guthrie
  5. Live at the Harlem Square Club – Sam Cooke
  6. Devil Got my Woman Skip James
  7. Strangeways Here We Come The Smiths
  8. Funhouse – The Stooges
  9. Sign of The times – Prince
  10. Horses Patti Smith tied with Master of Puppets – Metallica

That’s my list and I’m sticking to it.

 CoverTop five musical influences?

  • The Clash
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Chuck D
  • Barry Saunders

 And what album is on high-rotation for you right now?

Over the years I’ve become very frightened of flying and considering I fly every week, this is very troubling. Every take off and landing I listen to ‘Hats’ by The Blue Nile and it helps chill me out. Also every morning I listen to Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs as I sift the many confusions in my brain over coffee.

Read our first and second batch of questions for Adam.

Here are the dates and times for Adam’s performances;

Central Library Peterborough – The Showcase Concert 

Saturday 20 May, doors open at 7pm

Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

Friday 26 May, 3:30pm-4:30pm

New Brighton Library

Saturday 27 May, 2pm-3pm

South Library

Sunday 28 May, 2pm-3pm

Ukulele lowdown with Lynda

lynda.com logoIs there anything that Lynda can’t do? She is one talented lady. She already starting teaching me how to take better photographs, and do some computer coding.  So for New Zealand Music Month I thought I would find out what hidden musical talents Lynda.com had, and oh boy is there anything she can’t do! She can play and teach:

  • Guitar (Rock, blues, acoustic)
  • Electric Bass
  • Ukulele
  • Banjo
  • Mandolin
  • Drums
  • Piano

Although I have always fancied myself as playing electric bass (like Kim Gordon, or Kim Deal), I actually have a ukulele so I that is what I am learning today. I have convinced my darling daughters to learn with me but I think that is because they want to be like Grace VanderWaal.

So we get started and our teacher knows how to play, they refer to some notes which I quickly found right under the video. Then we were away strumming. Our rendition of When the saints go marching in wasn’t quite as musical sounding as the teacher, but with a bit of practice I think we could start our own ukulele trio.

For more help learning to play the ukulele:

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There are NZ Music Month performances with ukuleles, including a workshop for beginners.

Q&A with Adam McGrath (part 2)

Adam McGrath is well known for his work with the band The Eastern. He will be Live at the Library for New Zealand Music Month 2017.

Adam McGrath
Adam McGrath live at the Isaac Theatre Royal. Image supplied.

We asked him some questions:

Tell us about your first live (and paid) performance?

Singing Heartbreak Hotel at the 1980 A&P Show in Christchurch. I was four and I was paid an orange popsicle. I don’t remember singing so well as it was my dancing which won the day. Never underestimate the combination of candyfloss, roman sandals and a hot day to bring out your best performance.

As a grown up, it would’ve been playing a backyard party for Dig-A-Tattoo. I was paid the handsome fee of one black flag tattoo on my wrist.

Which venue in the world would you love to play?

I always had a dream of playing inside Sun Studios in Memphis, and I was lucky enough to get to do that nearly fifteen years ago. Now considering I make my living playing music I’m more than happy to say “The next one”.

Are there any old Christchurch music venues that you’d love to see revived?

There was a moment for about a year in 1998 (before it moved to the Southlander tavern) where the Jetset Lounge in the side bar of the Provincial Tavern, seemed like a perfect place to play. Otherwise I would like to go back in time to when I was 12 so I could re-sneak in to the Blenheim Road Motor Inn and see Hammerack and Shihad when they still played covers.

What was your local library when you were growing up and which one do you use most nowadays?

Bishopdale! And it is still my Bone Marrow fave!

 Do you have a favourite book/author/style?

My favourite book is The Fools Progress by Edward Abbey. My favourite author is just maybe Kurt Vonnegut or Ernest Hemingway. And my favourite style is anything that aches with some sadness but has an essential good heart running like a thread or a beam holding the whole thing up.

Where do you go in NZ when you need a holiday?

Generally I just go home. Waking up in my own bed feels like a holiday as I spend so much time away. However Arthur’s Pass is my favourite bolthole.

Read our first batch of questions for Adam.

Here are the dates and times for Adam’s performances;

Central Library Peterborough – The Showcase Concert 

Saturday 20 May, doors open at 7pm

Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

Friday 26 May, 3:30pm-4:30pm

New Brighton Library

Saturday 27 May, 2pm-3pm

South Library

Sunday 28 May, 2pm-3pm

Stay tuned for the next installment of our Q&A with Adam McGrath!

New Zealand Music Month 2016

May is New Zealand Music Month! Celebrate New Zealand music throughout May with Christchurch City Libraries – there’s a lovely batch of NZ Music Month events at your libraries. Subscribe to our NZ Music Month Facebook event for regular updates.

NZ Music Month

NZ Music Month launch – Sunday 1 May, 7.30pm

Kane Strang at the Christchurch Art Gallery
Sunday 1 May, 7.30pm All ages (ID required)
Tickets $15 ($20 door sales if not sold out)
Follow the Facebook event

Start NZ Music Month the right way! Dunedite Kane Strang brings the tousled charm of his off-kilter indie-rock songs to the Gallery for the evening. Support from Candice Milner and Jack Montgomery.

Photo: Loulou Callister-Baker
Photo: Loulou Callister-Baker

Free gigs at your local library

There are gigs of all sorts, including:

Here’s the full list of performances at libraries.

John Chrisstoffels: The Novel and the Theremin
John Chrisstoffels performing at WORD Christchurch. Flickr 2014-08-31-IMG_1811

Gig guide flyer
Download the NZ Music Month gig guide [1.36 MB PDF]

Alternative radio: RDU98.5FM since 1976

Celebrate 40 years of iconic Christchurch radio station, RDU98.5FM in a new exhibition at Canterbury Museum. 18 March – 14 August 2016. Find out more.

The following RDU gigs take place in NZ Music Month:

RDU Live to air
A performance by a local Christchurch musician. Special Exhibitions Hall, Canterbury Museum
Sunday 1 May, 12pm

RDU Live to air
A performance by a local Christchurch musician. Special Exhibitions Hall, Canterbury Museum
Saturday 14 May, 12pm

RDU Live to air
A performance by a local Christchurch musician. Special Exhibitions Hall, Canterbury Museum
Saturday 21 May, 12pm

RDU LIVE GIG! Kill your television
Featuring Scythes, Transistors, Salad Boys and The Bats. Canterbury Museum, Saturday 28 May from 7pm. Tickets available via dashtickets.co.nz from 2 May.

NZ music resources

NZ Music Month on Twitter

See #nzmm tweets

NZ Music Month 2015

Celebrate New Zealand music throughout May with Christchurch City Libraries, CHART, RDU and live gigs. NZMM launches in Christchurch on Friday 1 May 7pm at Central Library Peterborough. The gig features the legendary Martin Phillipps from The Chills performing a short solo set, along with smooth sounds from The Bats offshoot – Minisnap – featuring Kaye Woodward’s songs plus Amiria Grenell and Amy Grace as The Swan Sisters.

Sound Garden (across the road from Central Library Peterborough) will be hosting Beat in the Street before the launch gig (6 to 7pm on 1 May). Come along, bring the kids and get creative.

Explore more NZ Music Month events including jazz, sax, violin, folk, choirs, and ukulele pirates.

NZMMbrochure2015

Rockin’ at Central Library Tuam

Adam McGrath is really doing his bit for New Zealand Music Month at our libraries. He’s appearing at Aranui Library tomorrow (Friday 2pm)  and last night The Eastern opened Music Month at Central Library Tuam.

They were supported by two young singer-songwriters, Katie Thompson and Ivy Rossiter aka Luckless, both with strong and unique voices.

The Eastern has just returned from a tour of Australia – the last leg of 13 months of touring – and Adam’s voice was starting to show the strain. Not that it mattered in the least. Their high energy, foot tapping, let’s-get-up-and-dance music, combined with McGrath’s innate talent for engaging an audience, completely negated any vocal shortcomings.
The Eastern
None of this group stays still for more than about a second. As a result my photos were all either blurry or very blurry. The crowd of around 150 was equally energised and we all had a great night.

The Aotea Ladies’ Dish-Can Band: Picturing Canterbury

The Aotea Ladies' Dish-Can Band

The Aotea Ladies’ Dish-Can Band, 1919.

Adam Willetts performing at Shirley Library: Picturing Canterbury

Adam Willetts live at Shirley Library
Adam Willetts live at Shirley Library.

Jack Hooker by the Pier: Picturing Canterbury

Jack Hooker

Jack Hooker performs at New Brighton Library for NZ Music Month 2011.

Lindon Puffin, 2010: Picturing Canterbury

Lindon Puffin performs in the Central Library

Lindon Puffin performs in the Central Library for NZ Music Month 2010.