A rare look behind the scenes as Neil Finn brings Johnny Marr, Wilco and other top musicians and their families to New Zealand to ambitiously record an album of 30 songs in three weeks to fundraise for Oxfam.
Seven years ago, Neil Finn called on a very special group of musical friends. They came from all around the world and converged on Auckland, New Zealand. Over a short few days in 2001, they formed a band and rehearsed a lengthy set, taking it to the stage of Auckland’s St James Theatre for a series of five incredible shows under the banner Seven Worlds Collide.
Some would call it a risky move, but the resulting shows were simply extraordinary. The band members included Radiohead’s guitarist and drummer Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway; legendary guitarist Johnny Marr, founder member of The Smiths and current member of US alternate rock innovators Modest Mouse; New York avant-garde group Soul Coughing’s bassist Sebastian Steinberg; and American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano; alongside Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder; and members of the musically gifted Finn family – Neil, his son Liam, and brother Tim.
This story isn’t a music documentary with recordings and concert footage, but a glimpse of families coming together and enabling such a unique creative collaboration to take place. It’s also a look at Oxfam, and the great people behind it, as well as these diverse, hugely talented musicians giving up their Christmases to record an album for them.
“Many of us have had previous connections with Oxfam,” says Neil, “We are working with them on this album not only to highlight the great work they do but to hopefully make some money for them as well.”
Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director Barry Coates says, “We are honoured to be working with Neil and so many other talented and committed artists on this project, many of whom have supported Oxfam over a number of years. At a time when the number of people living in extreme poverty is growing, funds generated from this project will be urgently directed to those in need, providing opportunities and hope for a better future.”
It may have taken seven years, but for Neil Finn, and his friends and fans, seven worlds are about to collide once more – tonight at 10.30pm on TV ONE.
Photo: Neil Finn.