The Mutton Birds Profile

Kerry Doole
30 Nov 2013

Originally conceived as a band to flesh out the eloquent compositions of Don McGlashan, The Mutton Birds quickly developed a coherent and distinctive group sound. An oft-turbulent decade together brought them international acclaim and the abiding affection of a large and loyal local fan base.

When The Mutton Birds formed in Auckland in 1991, its members had already achieved varying degrees of recognition within the New Zealand music scene. Initially viewed as the group’s clear leader, singer-songwriter Don McGlashan was also the best-known member.

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Making Music with Don McGlashan
The Mutton Birds, from left: David Long, Ross Burge, Don McGlashan, Alan Gregg.
The Mutton Birds - Ross Burge, David Long, Don McGlashan, Alan Gregg
Photo credit: Publicity shot
Don McGlashan, Bar Bodega, 7 March 2012
Photo credit: Photo by Wendy Collings/Tymar Lighting
In My Room
The Heater (1994)
The Mutton Birds take out the Best Album award at the 1993 NZ Music Awards
Ngaire
Overlooking Auckland, The Mutton Birds in the early 1990s
Wayne Mason and The Mutton Birds perform Nature at the 2001 APRA Silver Scolls. Nature was named the Best New Zealand Composition of the previous 75 years.
A 1995 UK publicity shot
Photo credit: Photo by Derrick Santini
Anchor Me (1995)
Dominion Road (UK Version)
UK poster for the Rain, Steam & Speed album
The Heater (Shepherd's Bush Empire, 27 Oct 2012)
The Mutton Birds, 1996
A Virgin publicity shot from 1996. Ross Burge, Chris Sheehan, Don McGlashan, Alan Gregg
A Thing Well Made (Shepherd's Bush Empire, 27 Oct 2012)
Dominion Road (1992)
Wayne Mason and The Mutton Birds perform Nature at the 2001 APRA Silver Scolls
Ross Burge, Don McGlashan, Alan Gregg, David Long
Come Around
Your Window
The Mutton Birds, 2012
Virgin publicity shot
April
Pulled Along By Love
Giant Friend
The Mutton Birds with EMI NZ staff and gold discs for their self-titled debut album, 1992
Don McGlashan, Bar Bodega, 7 March 2012
Photo credit: Photo by Wendy Collings/Tymar Lighting
Nature (1992)
The Mutton Birds, 2012
The Mutton Birds in a 1996 UK publicity shot
Photo credit: Photo by Derrick Santini
She's Been Talking (NZ Version)
The Mutton Birds.
The Mutton Birds, Bar Bodega, 7 March 2012
Photo credit: Photo by Wendy Collings/Tymar Lighting
Trivia:

Mutton Birds fans include noted Scottish novelists Ian Rankin and Christopher Brookmyre. Rankin even named his best-seller The Falls after a Mutton Birds song. McGlashan calls Brookmyre “a friend. He has a character raving about one of our songs in his book Country of the Blind. I’m not sure why Scottish crime writers got interested in us, but I'm thrilled!"

Don McGlashan came up with the name in homage to bands like The Byrds and the Hawks. "There was that old idea of calling your band the name of an animal," he says. It was partly inspired by Don being exposed to mutton birding culture on Stewart Island via Harry Sinclair, whose family has land there.

The strong female vocals you hear on The Mutton Birds' 'Nature' are those of Jan Hellriegel

Labels:

EMI


Virgin

Members:

Don McGlashan - vocals, guitar, euphonium

Ross Burge - drums

David Long - guitar, vocals

Alan Gregg - bass, vocals

Steve Garden - drums

Chris Sheehan - guitar

Andrew Claridge - guitar

Tony Fisher - bass

Matthew Bannister - guitar