Split Enz!

A year or so ago, Radio New Zealand produced an exhaustive 10 part audio documentary on the seminal Kiwi band Split Enz. Unfortunately, due to licensing issues, it was not available outside of the Antipodes. Until now.

The first installation of Enzology is now available. New episodes will be posted every Saturday.

Haven’t heard the Enz? Allow me to introduce you.

Split Enz were huge almost everywhere but America. They had a couple of minor hits here in the 80s, I Got You and One Step Ahead. After they broke up, songwriter/guitarist/singer Neil Finn and drummer Paul Hester (RIP :() were the nucleus of Crowded House, who again had some hits in America, but were the largest living things elsewhere at one time.

Split Enz’ earlier albums had a distinct prog flair, mixed with a strong English music hall influence. They were not dissimilar to Gabriel-era Genesis, though more Harold The Barrel and less Watcher Of The Skies (though not by much).

Their later albums, while retaining their essential quirkiness, partook of the 80s new wave sound and yielded many hits worldwide.

Intrigued? For the early years, I recommend Second Thoughts. It’s kind of tricky, though: this was a half-rerecording of their debut, Mental Notes, and was released under that title outside of the Antipodes. Long story short: whatever the title, if the first track is Late Last Night, that’s the one you want.

Later years: surely Time And Tide, which is in my opinion one of the great albums of the 80s.

For an overview, skip the Greatest Hits records and get the live album The Living Enz. They were great live!

Have fun!

Well, sweet! Me Dad and I were big Split Enz fans back in the day.

Thanks for the heads up, Hoops!

I’ll be on that like a rash. I just got to watch Crowded House live two weeks ago - awesome show.


I’m a long time Enz fan. I bought the American version of *Mental Notes * (which is Second Thoughts) at the mall in Ft. Smith, AR when I was 13 (with my lawn mowing money). This was significant bewcause I was in the KISS Army and if it wasn’t hard rock, I didn’t want to know about it. But something about them worked for me. Maybe because they were from New Zealand, a small place nobody from the big places expected anything from, like Arkansas, where I grew up.

I followed them through losing Judd (The Swingers’ *Counting the Beat * is one of my favorite albums), gaining Neil Finn at such a young age, then their transformation to new wave (Frenzy). Then, True Colors came out with its laser-etched vinyl…great album, the one that some people think is their first.

Not much to add, other than viva la Split Enz! Thanks for the link, Hoops!

Thanks for the link! I just emailed it to my husband as a little Christmas present…he’ll be really happy.

Love the Enz. My other guitarist is a Kiwi and we play I Got You…


I don’t think Split Enz got much radio play here in the states. Back when MTV was fairly new (and still played music videos 24/7), they had several videos out, and I think that is where most of their American exposure came from. I know that’s the only place I ever heard them. Did they ever tour the USA?

I always liked Split Enz and didn’t understand why they didn’t become more popular here. Considering all the various other bands that were popular on MTV at the time, they were better than most.

…Enz Fans! On the net, how cool!

As another treat to you guys, here is video of (the temporarily reformed for a concert Split Enz) on Campbell Live a few days ago…

Merry Christmas one and all!

Wow, that sounded really good!


Merry Christmas to all! (Egg Nog Time!)

What a neat little xmas pressie, to find the Enz lauded on the Dope!
I’ve got my almost nine year old thoroughly indoctrinated - her favourite album is Frenzy.

I love her.

I’ve been wanting to hear this docu, they’ve discussed it at length on the Frenz of the Enz fan website.

If the Enz were British or American - or even Aussie - they would have been massive. They would have tapped into that same vein of witty power pop like Squeeze. Crowded House got tons of airplay on MTV in the States (especially “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “Something So Strong”). A mate of mine was supposed to hook me up with a pass to see them at their Austin City Limits taping but he didn’t come through… nuts!

My favorite Enz album? One of least liked, I think - Conflicting Emotions. With “I Wake Up Every Night,” “Message to My Girl,” “Our Day,” “Straight Old Line,” “Working Up An Appetite…” it’s such a great album, and Neil was really honing his chops as a frontman/songwriter. I even like the weirder tracks like “Bullet Brain and Cactus Head.”

Wasn’t “History Never Repeats” a minor hit in America? I heard that song a few times in the 80s - not sure if it was when I was living in the UK, or over here.

Split Enz got quite a bit of airplay when I got switched onto MTV in 1982. I was eleven years old and just starting to develop a taste for rock/pop, and One Step Ahead was the first song of that kind that I ever declared to be my favorite. I don’t have a lot of Enz in my music library – just their History Never Repeats compilation. But I have a pretty complete collection of Crowded House, Neil Finn, and Finn Brothers CDs.

I can count on one hand the number of rock concerts I’ve been to, but one of them was Crowded House at Deep Ellum Live (Dallas) in 91.

I was about the same age when I became a fan - though it was That Was My Mistake - now I’d say my favourite is Give it a Whirl. My favourite album is Time and Tide, from which Six Months in a Leaky Boat and Dirty Creature were the big hits.

Six Months played on the radio one day in the Abattoir, eighty men stopped working to all whistle along to the penny whistle solo amid the carcases- surreal and fantastic.

Another time, another job,*Dirty Creature *played over the ship’s speakers while we were fog bound 5 days from land, one month into a fishing trip. Brilliantly apt, given that a weird kind of depression used to get to everyone about that stage of the voyage.