On the Couch with Eddie Rayner 

Eddie Rayner Arts Review On the CouchWho is Eddie Rayner?
Tim Finn’s description: “Eddie’s a true larrikin with a musical sensitivity second to none, and a gift for goonery that surpasses all…” My description: a collaborator, a labourer of love, an amiable redneck, a team player, a musical tinkerer… My wife’s most recent, and accurate, description: old age pensioner!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Get up early and exercise before volunteering at the City Mission. Wouldn’t drink, and consume less sugar and more salads… Learn how to read and write music, and practice yoga. Of course, most of this won’t happen.

Who inspires you and why?
I do get inspired by ordinary people who do awesome things. I have an old friend who’s a genius on one-string bass, which he made from native timbers and mother of pearl. He’s an expert in building and sailing Polynesian outrigger canoes, he paints like a great master, could design AND build you a house, and makes a living maintaining a provincial hospital. His curiosity, wisdom and knowledge are boundless and he tutors art at a polytech. All of this while suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease. Legend!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I try to create goodwill, (truly!) and am aware that every encounter is a chance to teach, and learn. I also believe in small actions (as opposed to grand gestures), such as recycling and refurbishing. It may sound sanctimonious, but I do try to make the smallest practicable negative impact on the world, and basically, to be good and kind.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
A different set of pictures can be refreshing, but holidays are more about who I’m with than where I go…so anywhere can be a destination. I don’t tolerate queues, airports, planes or heat well, which puts many holiday destinations out of the question. But I do love a good road trip to anywhere where it’s cool, clear, reasonably unspoiled and unpretentious.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
For a 360 degree view of Auckland I’d walk them up Mt Eden (an extinct volcano in a suburb where I live), possibly up Rangitoto (another island/volcano in the harbour), out west to Karekare Beach for a taste of the rugged, feral nature of the West Coast.

What are you currently reading?
In recent years I’ve developed some weird disorder which makes it physically hard for me to read text… hence reading books or spending much time in front of a screen is difficult these days. But still, I’m chipping away at a history of the Knight’s Templar, and delving into my family’s genealogy.

What are you currently listening to?
I spend most days in my studio, mucking around with my own compositions and my band’s improvisations, and producing/mixing material by other artists. Constant ear-battering in the studio leaves me disinclined to listen to music recreationally… but I’ll always jump on Spotify and have a quiet listen to stuff that is recommended to me. Bands and songwriters are always wanting me to critique their demos… but mostly, I hear music, all genres, randomly.

Happiness is?
An elusive and ephemeral state. Contentment is enough… I’m always a bit suspicious of people who say they’re happy.

What does the future hold for you?
My Mum and Dad and sister died very early, so every day’s a bonus and, touch wood, I’m keeping reasonably well. But I confess to have become increasingly aware of my mortality. We’re moving out to an east coast beach in December… recently I’ve finished mixing 70 unreleased ‘live’ Split Enz songs for release next year.

I’m hoping to do more ENZO shows next year… I’m working on a new album by Space Waltz, and have several other production jobs in the pipeline… my jamming band Dark Horse is going strong… and I’d still like to make an album of instrumentals to rival the best of Ennio Morricone and Henry Mancini. Wish me luck, I’ll need it!

The original Split Enz keyboardist, Eddie Rayner will star in ENZO: The Songs of Split Enz in a Melbourne exclusive at Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne on Friday 17 November 2017. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Eddie Rayner (supplied)