SINGER/SONGWRITER Don McGlashan is spreading his wings throughout the country.
McGlashan has just started a nationwide tour, Free Flight, and will be taking the scenic route, performing at centres including Rangiora, Akaroa, Oamaru, Golden Bay, Queenstown and Invercargill.
McGlashan is one of New Zealand’s best known musicians, in bands including Blam Blam Blam and The Mutton Birds. He also won a second Silver Scroll award in 2006 for one of the country’s biggest singles, Bathe In The River, performed by Hollie Smith.
This was followed by his first solo album which reached Gold status in New Zealand.
McGlashan said the idea behind the name of the tour, Free Flight, was having nobody telling you where to go and being able to chart your own path with nobody towing you or pushing you.
This freedom had come in handy, as McGlashan said demand for tickets had meant additional dates had to be added to the tour.
“Don’t miss out, tickets are selling really well everywhere.”
McGlashan said he liked being able to travel around the country, and bringing music along the way meant he wasn’t coming empty handed.
He said he would be drawing inspiration from throughout his career for the tour, along with some new music.
“I’m working on a new album which will hopefully be released next year. The show will contain a few things from that, but also I’ll be going back through Mutton Birds songs, The Front Lawn songs, even some Blam Blam Blam songs, plus songs from the three solo albums.”
McGlashan said, in preparation for the tour, he was looking at his catalogue and thinking about what he hadn’t played a lot lately, while also refinding and rediscovering some songs.
He said he also looked at new ways of performing some of the songs he really loved playing and performed a lot.
“I’m changing the instrumentation a bit on this tour and doing more stuff with keyboards.”
McGlashan said he hadn’t toured and played the piano in front of people, with the exception of a winery tour with Dave Dobbyn.
“That was my baptism of fire really.”
However, the instrument did help him get started playing music. He said his parents had a piano in their living room which was rarely used.
“I was pretty much the only person in the family who would use that room. I would go in and sit there and write songs from the age of about 6 or 7.”
McGlashan said he was the keyboard player in his first band when he was 15.
Since then he’s more widely known as a drummer and guitarist.
“Every band I’ve been in there’s been a better pianist, keyboard player than I am, so it’s always been better to leave it to other people.
“But it’s really nice to breathe new life into songs and try different ways of singing them.”
Since he started performing so young, McGlashan pretty much just followed the path straight into music. However, his parents had some other ideas about a possible career.
“I think my dad wanted me to be a civil engineer like him and my mum sort of held out for a while, she wanted me to either be a doctor or something in the caring profession.”
However, McGlashan said his mother had a conversation with their family doctor which was encouraging.
“He said ‘look, he might be able to fix a bunch of people’s illnesses if he became a doctor, but if he went into music his music might make people happy’.
“I remember my mother telling me that when I wasn’t very old and I was really impressed. She sort of changed her tune on it.”
McGlashan said he was very lucky he was able to do something he loved and the beauty of playing live for people was that it was never going to happen again in exactly the same way.
“You’re never going to be in that space with exactly those people, breathing that air and with the memory of that particular weather outside – if it was a good day or a blustery day or a rainy day or something like that and everybody’s bringing their stories.
“And I’m bringing my stories and sharing them with people. It’s a great way to get around the country actually.”
Don McGlashan, Free Flight tour, Southland Musicians Club, 33 Preston St, Invercargill, Saturday, September 29. For tickets, go to www.eventfinda.co.nz