Neil Finn – From Crowded House To Pajama Club

Neil Finn, frontman for the group Crowded House, has a new project, The Pajama Club, this time with wife Sharon. With the album set for a September 13th release, we caught up with him before a sneak peek at Chicago’s Double Door.  

The Double Door is very intimate.

We have a whole new band. We really want to get good as quickly as we can by doing shows. The idea of doing little rooms in various places is very exciting.

Do you happen to wear pajamas for this show?

We haven’t felt compelled to no. It is a name that came about from the original jams that sparked these songs. Sharon, my wife and I played at night in our music room having a bit of a lark with a glass of wine or two in our pajamas playing bass and drums. We didn’t think anything would really come of it, but I have a sixteen -track tape recorder and when we played it back it just sounded really good. It got us inspired to become a band and do a recording. This is from left field.

How did Sharon get involved in the band? I read she used to make chandeliers.

She has made chandelier,s but that is taking a back seat at the moment. She has always had a lovely voice and sang on a few records. She is a great dancer and there is an affinity to the bass guitar there but until we found this little combination with her on drums and me on bass it probably was not likely that we would have done anything. We just found something that we clicked on together. She is not an accomplished musician in terms of anything and only plays two or three strings in four or five nights and that is enough. Her feel is fantastic and relentless. She plays the bass as if she is dancing.

is it relaxing to work with your wife?

It is, but has its own difficulties at times too. In my normal rehearsal mode I have to draw songs to get them right. (laughs) I have to be a little careful and she answers back.

for those familiar with your previous work, this album doesn’t sound like Crowded House or your solo work. It is very different.

I think so. That was one of the nicest things about the whole thing. We started from the ground up. The songs ended up sounding quite fresh. We had a great collaborator in Sean Donnelly who challenged me to sing in a few new ways. I tried some new approaches to the vocals. It is a delightful thing after thirty years to find some new angles in there. It does sound different.

I like the song “Daylight” particularly.

Thank you. I think this is an album that takes repeated listens. The great thing with us is that as a live experience this is an up record. The twelve grooves are solid and rocking. We have only done four shows so we are relatively new. It already feels like it will really be fun to play live.

The last time I saw you play House of Blues during the Intriguer tour. It wasn’t too long ago and I interviewed Nick Seymour from the band.

He’s a good man. He is not short of a word or two either.

(laughs) I noticed. Are you doing any more solo albums?

Yeah, I have a bit of a fire under my belly to do as much writing and recording in the next few years that I can. Not to say that I won’t tour but I am very excited about touring with this thing because it feels like a new band and that is a rare and beautiful feeling. In the next few years I would like to hone in on the recording process. I have a studio here [in Aukland] and I am starting to feel like if I were to focus on a few things in a row I will get better at them. There is a solo album coming and another Crowded House record. At some point my brother and I will be doing something again. Now that we have opened this little door with the Pajama Club I would like to keep that angle going as well. I will try to get four albums out in the next three years.

That would be amazing.

Well, I haven’t done it yet but it is an aspiration.

How is Tim Finn doing?

Tim is doing great. He has a new record that he has finished. It is coming out sometime later in the year. He is doing really well. He has great family out here. I was going to give him a call this afternoon and talk a little while. He’s in good shape.

Are your sons involved in any of this? I know they perform as well.

No, not specifically on this record. Liam, my older son has a new record out this week called FOMO. He is touring also. Our younger son is playing drums with him [appearing at the Wilco Solid Sound Festival].

Did you ever dream that you would be working with your family to this degree?

Not really. This thing with Sharon and I came out of the blue. It demanded its own attention. We didn’t see it coming really. I have had opportunities to play with both of my sons. Maybe that will be the fifth record. We could make a family album! We are all totally mad for it.

Photo credit:  Jason Dempsey/Chris Stapp

Check out for information about Neil and the family Finn.

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