2 Sep 2022

NZ Live - Bret McKenzie

From NZ Live, 3:00 pm on 2 September 2022

Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame is about to tour his new album - Songs Without Jokes - and gives a taste of what audiences can expect.

Watch Bret and band perform 'Tomorrow Night' live for RNZ Music:

McKenzie says he's excited and nervous to be able to play to audiences again after Covid lockdowns.

"The audience is allowed to laugh, I'm not going to be too strict, and I'm going to play a few old songs as well."

McKenzie was joined on Afternoons by his band; Justin Clarke on guitar, Kaito Walley on trombone, Louisa Williamson on saxophone, Leo Coghini on keys, Jacqui Nyman on bass, Ben Lemi on drums, Katelin Little and Moana Leota on backing vocals.

He will tour through Nelson, Christchurch, Wellington, Whanganui, Hastings and Auckland.

A life in movies

Talking to Jessie about writing songs for films, McKenzie said he had a thought it would be fun to write songs that don't have to tell a story for a character.


"It was a hugely fun adventure for me and everyone involved, and it's been really cool, and now it's out in the world after about four years of working on it. I thought it was going to take two months, and it took four years.

"It was funny when I was working on those songs ... My kids were so funny, I'd play them [the songs on] the piano and they'd say 'so is it on Spotify, can we listen to it on Spotify?'

"So I'm thrilled the album is out because now my kids are like oh yeah, okay, it's real, dad's got a real job."

In Flight Of Conchords' songs, characters are involved too, so this was a sideway step, he says.

"I mean it's not that big of a difference but there's something in my brain that has to shift [when singing this album]. Trying to find a way to sing them and be sincere was quite new to me."

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Photo: RNZ

Guitarist Dean Parks, who is known as the 'most recorded guitarist in the world' and created masterpieces with the likes of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, pitched into the project too.

"He's about in his late 60s now and you would never believe he's this unbelievable rocking legend because he just looks like someone's granddad," McKenzie says. "But he rolls in the studio, plugs in his guitar - when I say his guitar, he shows up to the studio with a truck with 100 guitars in it and brings them all in and picks the guitar he wants for the song."

Actors Madeleine Sami, Emma Bernard, Peter McKenzie also feature in the music video for one of his singles from the album, 'A Little Tune'.

"Madeleine Sami is so brilliant, she's so funny, it's like it's so effortless for her, she's so talented, it's ridiculous. She was so funny, she had us all laughing the whole day."


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