Friday 11th November provided Wellingtonians with a lunch break to remember as Unity Books was joined by New Zealand music royalty Mike Chunn of Split Enz and Citizen Band fame. Mike was joined by fellow living legend Barry Crump to talk about Mike’s new book A Sharp Left Turn: Notes on a Life in Music from Split Enz to Play it Strange.
Barry made sure the assembled crowd got a good look at the cover, brandishing his copy for all to see as he asked Mike about the cover images. Mike revealed that the lackadaisical pose struck by his younger self on the cover may have in fact been due to his being stuck in the chair. The internal cover image of Mike in stark face makeup at the peak of Split Enz success was revealed to be similarly deceptive as the musician-turned-author revealed that the photo shows him at the height of his struggles with agoraphobia. Mike’s experience with his mental health issues are at the heart of the memoir and this formed the basis of much of Mike and Barry’s discussion. Mike talked about his self-diagnosis moment when reading an article in Esquire magazine and the heart of his agoraphobia as a fear of not being able to return to a place of safety. Other topics on the table included the musical tradition at Mike’s high school Sacred Heart, his early ambitions as a rugby player and the audition process for the members of Split Enz.
An enthusiastic Q&A session included questions on what advantages can be found in the experience of an individual facing adversity, and what would have happened if Tim Finn hadn’t joined Split Enz?
Sharp Left Turn: Notes on a Life in Music, from Split Enz to Play It Strange is available in store and online now.