But that’s just the tip of the iceberg with McGlashan, an artist whose 40 years in music – thus far – has seen the multi-disciplined musician swerve into many surprising configurations. Depending on their age and inclination, every fan has their own version of McGlashan: the drummer-singer from the legendary early 1980s new wave group Blam Blam Blam, sometime percussionist in experimental assemblage From Scratch, prolific film and television soundtrack composer, one half of the musical-theatre duo The Front Lawn, the writer of surprise hit ‘Bathe In The River’ ... but wait, there’s more!
The consistency of his latter-day songwriting seems to belie the experimentalism and eclecticism of what came before, while adding a deep glow to his current, more traditional approach to the craft. And the depth of exploration into that craft has resulted in a catalogue of songs for the ages; songs that place McGlashan alongside Tim and Neil Finn and Dave Dobbyn.
But where did it all start, and how did he get to now: a place where the famously introspective and restless individual seems at last comfortable?
What’s most surprising is that McGlashan started out as an instrumentalist and then a player and singer, and it was years before he wrote a note or a lyric or thought of himself as primarily a man of song.
Read: Don McGlashan – part one
Read: Don McGlashan – part two
In 2008 McGlashan stated that he "would rather have sex with a very ugly crayfish" than let the National Party use his music. He was upset that TVNZ used the song 'Anchor Me' by the Mutton Birds when the National Party won the New Zealand election. (The song was however used in accordance with APRA's blanket licence with TVNZ.)
“A bunch of fans in England got together and made a second Mutton Birds B-sides and rarities album, and we were appalled, because we felt that we’d been scraping the very bottom of the barrel and they came up with another whole album full of stuff by bribing second engineers in studios that we’d done demos in to get jams and outtakes. But it’s quite neat, and they called it Out Of The Prying Fans, which I thought was a masterstroke. We have some very cool fans in England.” - Don McGlashan