Don McGlashan is up with Dave Dobbyn and the Finn brothers as New Zealand’s best mainstream guitar-rock writers. He’s best-known for his work in 1990s rock band The Mutton Birds, but they were the third group he recorded with. His public career started as drummer for the punk band Blam Blam Blam, where he sang the famous lines “There is no depression in New Zealand/There are no sheep on our farms.” He then moved on to The Front Lawn, a musical and theatrical duo with Harry Sinclair.
During the 1990s, he made four albums with the four-piece band The Mutton Birds. Hits like ‘Dominion Road’, ‘Come Around’, and an electrifying remake of 1960s pop classic ‘Nature’ made them one of New Zealand’s most significant acts of the decade.
We’re entering election season in New Zealand and it’s becoming interesting. We don’t have the political extremes of some other countries; our two main parties are relatively centrist. But after nine years of the right-wing National party in government, the Labour party suddenly has a charismatic leader and any result is possible. Housing issues and inter-generational inequality are rampant, so a change is overdue.
In 2008 the National Party came into power, and the election coverage included a montage of celebratory video with The Mutton Birds’ ‘Anchor Me’ as the backing music. The network’s use of the song was licensed, but McGlashan was still incensed. He chastised the TV network, stating that he’d never voted National in his life, and that he:
Would rather have sex with a very ugly crayfish than let them use my music.Don McGlashan
For reference, here’s a picture of a crayfish:
‘Anchor Me’ is a New Zealand guitar pop classic. A lovely verse melody, some clever nautical metaphors (we’re a small country with a lot of coast-line), and a crashing, rousing chorus.