Paul Hester & Neil Finn

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One of my favorite musicians is Neil Finn, a New Zealander who is highly acclaimed for his songwriting; he has been compared to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.   Neil was in the band Split Enz and then he founded the group Crowded House in 1985.              

Crowded House’s drummer Paul Hester became one of Neil’s closest friends.  Paul was a fantastic drummer, and he was also known for being a hilarious performer.  He brought many audiences to tears from his witty jokes and audacious spirit.  Crowded House was very successful in its own right (I’m sure back in the 1980’s you heard “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, a U.S. Billboard top ten hit ) but the group broke up due to internal pressures within the band.  Despite the group’s disbandment, Neil and Paul’s unique bond did not dissolve and deepened over the years.

When I visited New Zealand on a solo trip in 1994, I was able to meet Paul after a Crowded House show.  Our “meet ‘n greet” took place just ninety minutes before I had to fly back home to California.  I was nervous meeting Paul along with his fellow band members Neil Finn and Paul Seymour, but I was also freaking out because I was scared to fly.  Out of the three musicians, Paul was the warmest to me.  I mentioned to the trio how afraid I was to get on the plane.  Paul comforted me as he signed the back of some Rotorua Hot Springs stamps I had hastily found in my purse for their autographs.   

On March 26, 2005, Paul Hester, gifted musician, father to two little girls, and a “salt-of-the-earth” man with bipolar disorder, ended his life by hanging himself on a tree in a park in Melbourne, Australia.  He was out walking his dogs, and used their leash to leave the world.

Neil Finn, who was far away at the time of Paul’s death, received a phone call telling him that Paul had committed suicide.  Neil was absolutely devastated.  However, being a songwriter, Neil felt compelled to write the following song about his encounters with people’s reactions to discussing suicide and about the stigma of having a mental illness.  It is a stunningly beautiful elegy called “Nobody Wants To”.   Crowded House re-formed after Paul’s death and they toured all over the world, singing this song among others from their album “Time On Earth”.

Here are the words to Neil’s song:

 

“Nobody Wants To”
Down on the ocean floor
That’s where I’m heading for
Hold on to a sinking stone
Until the worst is known.

Nobody wants to think about it
Nobody wants to talk about it
Nobody Protects you

They make it go away
Pretending that it’s all ok
Broken pieces on the ground
And everyones tip-toeing round

Nobody wants to think about it
Nobody wants to talk about it
No-one Protects you
Yeah

Are we losing something
We used to cry
We used to say why
For all I know
I might not get home
But I found out
If we open it up
We could work this out

Nobody wants to think about it
Nobody wants to talk about it
Now

What you suspected all along
Everything he told you was wrong
And you can see it if you want

But nobody wants to

(To listen to this song, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVZ_vxLB_SU)

 

Rest in Peace, Paul. I think of you often, and I hope you are somewhere keeping watch over your beautiful girls.

 

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5 thoughts on “Paul Hester & Neil Finn

  1. One of my all time favorite lines; “You’ll never see the end of the road while you’re traveling with me”.
    Crowded House is what got me going again after seeing them at the Whiskey in Los Angeles around 1990. They were tremendous live. Paul was having so much fun, he just looked happy and warm. Great little article you wrote here. Happy Sunday!

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I saw CH at a Whiskey concert around 1990, but maybe it was earlier than that…wouldn’t it be funny if we were both at the same show?

      I got there so early; it was before their soundcheck. I parked somewhere and I walked to the Whiskey across a Sunset Blvd. crosswalk. While crossing I passed three guys – they were two feet next to me when I passed right by them. I was so shy I didn’t look them in the eye until I realized it was CH, and I gasped REALLY loudly. They all turned their heads at me and laughed. It was such a great moment – I’ll never forget it. I didn’t go after them, either. I had my pride at that point! 😉 take care & thanks again for stopping by.

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