Don McGlashan Profile

Gary Steel
21 Aug 2019

For many listeners Don McGlashan is the consummate singer-songwriter of three solo albums this century, while for others he’s forever helming The Mutton Birds, one of the few New Zealand groups to bring a taste of New Zealand to the international stage with any degree of success.

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!

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The Front Lawn.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds.
Photo credit: Publicity photo
Blam Blam Blam: Don McGlashan, Tim Mahon, Mark Bell.
Photo credit: John Reynolds
Don McGlashan in Scotland, 1989.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan
Photo credit: Photo by Jenny Pullar
Don McGlashan, The Mutton Birds.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds - A Thing Well Made (Shepherd's Bush Empire, 27 Oct 2012)
The Front Lawn, Edinburgh 1989. From left: Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Don McGlashan, Harry Sinclair.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds - In My Room
Don McGlashan.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan - Lucky Stars (2015)
Don McGlashan and Harry Sinclair, The Front Lawn.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan - I Will Not Let You Down (2006)
Making Music - Don McGlashan, 2005
Don McGlashan - Miracle Sun (2006)
The Mutton Birds - Your Window
The Mutton Birds - Dominion Road (1992)
The Mutton Birds - Dominion Road (UK Version)
The Mutton Birds.
Photo credit: Publicity shot
Watch: Don McGlashan's speech at the 2011 APRA Silver Scroll Awards, Auckland Town Hall, 13 September 2011.
Front Lawn promotional sticker.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds.
Photo credit: Publicity photo
The Mutton Birds - Come Around
The Adrenal Glandy Memorial Big Band live album from 1986 included performances by Don McGlashan, Rex Reason, Lindsay Marks and Derek Ward, all under pseudonyms 
The Front Lawn - Linda's Body (1990)
Don McGlashan, The Mutton Birds.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan - Hold On To Your Loneliness (2015)
The Front Lawn: Harry Sinclair, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Don McGlashan.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Bellbirds: Sandy Mill, Sean Donnelly, Don McGlashan, Victoria Kelly
Photo credit: Stephen G Perry
Don McGlashan, 2005.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds - Pulled Along By Love
Right, Left, and Centre - Don't Go (1984)
Harry Sinclair and Don McGlashan goofing off in Dunedin.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Blam Blam Blam late 1981, back: Mark Bell, Tim Mahon, Don McGlashan. Seated: Dick Driver
Photo credit: Photo by Jenny Pullar
The Mutton Birds - The Heater (Shepherd's Bush Empire, 27 Oct 2012)
Don McGlashan - Song For Sue (RNZ, 7 September 2018)
Blam Blam Blam - Luxury Length
Don McGlashan, Bar Bodega, 7 March 2012
Photo credit: Photo by Wendy Collings/Tymar Lighting
The Mutton Birds - April
Don McGlashan - Harbour Bridge (2006)
Don McGlashan, 1981
Photo credit: Photo by Jenny Pullar
Don McGlashan
Don McGlashan - Lucky Stars (live on RNZ, 2015)
Watch: Don McGlashan's Writer Director speech at the APRA Silver Scroll Awards, TSB Arena, Wellington 2014.
The Front Lawn "Lawnmobile" checking in to a Dunedin motel, with Jennifer Ward-Lealand at left.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Songs From The Front Lawn (1989)
Mt Raskil Preservation Society - Bathe In The River (2006)
Don McGlashan, Paul Rose, The Newmatic's Sid Pasley, The Screaming Meemees' Tony Drumm, Sid's partner Angela, Simon Grigg and unknown, 1981. Taken at the NZ Music Awards, Logan Park, 1982, the year Grigg was given a special award for Outstanding Contribution to the New Music Industry.
The Front Lawn's promotional touring vehicle.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan and Ivan Zagni - Standards
The Front Lawn - The Lounge Bar (1988)
Don McGlashan interview and performance on Talk Talk with Finlay MacDonald, 2009
Mark Bell and Don McGlashan
Blam Blam Blam: Don McGlashan, Mark Bell, Tim Mahon.
Photo credit: Publicity photo
Blam Blam Blam - There Is No Depression In New Zealand
The Mutton Birds - Nature (1992)
Don McGlashan with the 2006 APRA Silver Scroll for 'Bathe In the River'
The Mutton Birds - Anchor Me (1995)
The Mutton Birds: Alan Gregg, Ross Burge, David Long, Don McGlashan.
Photo credit: Publicity photo
The Mutton Birds - Giant Friend
Don McGlashan in Edinburgh, 1989.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds - She's Been Talking (NZ Version)
Don McGlashan and Friends, 2010.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan, 2005.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds - Ngaire
Don McGlashan, The Mutton Birds.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan and Hollie Smith, Womad.
Photo credit: Michael Flynn
Don McGlashan in the back of the "Milk Wagon", somewhere South of Auckland
Photo credit: Photo by Jenny Pullar
Don McGlashan
Photo credit: Jenny Pullar
The Front Lawn - Walkshort (1987)
Don McGlashan discusses From Scratch (Philip Dadson: Sonics from Scratch, 2015)
Don McGlashan, New York, 1990.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan - Lucky Stars (2015)
Blam Blam Blam Live at Mainstreet, 1984
Don McGlashan on Sunday, 2003.
Harry Sinclair and Don McGlashan, The Front Lawn.
Photo credit: Publicity photo
Don McGlashan in Antarctica, 2012.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan, The Mutton Birds.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds.
Photo credit: Publicity shot
First page of a press release for 'Don't Go' by Right, Left and Centre - a 1984 single released to protest against a proposed rugby tour of South Africa that year.
Don McGlashan in From Scratch.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan - on composing for film and television, 2009 (NZ On Screen)
Don McGlashan in New York, 1990.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
The Mutton Birds - The Heater (1994)
Blam Blam Blam - Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us
Don McGlashan, Blam Blam Blam.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan, 1981.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Blam Blam Blam: Tim Mahon, Mark Bell, Don McGlashan.
Photo credit: Don McGlashan collection
Don McGlashan - Bad Blood (2009)
Labels:

Propeller


Festival


Arch Hill Recordings


Virgin


Shhhh!

Trivia:

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