Home' The Wellingtonian : January 12th 2012 Contents 10 THE WELLINGTONIAN, JANUARY 12, 2012
79 Willis Street
(04) 471 1001
Shop 1B Lambton Quay House
150-170 Lambton Quay
(04) 473 1035
Offer ends 31st January 2012 and while stocks last. If you have any pre-
existing medical condition, diabetes, are pregnant or lactating, consult a
health professional prior to use. Always read the label and take as directed.
If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.
When you purchase
aloe vera juice 1.25L
to maintain bowel health
Free Horticulture Training
Distance Delivery - Study from home
Over 8 months
Contact: Misael Diputado
Enrolments open for Feb 2012
(Apply now, places are limited)
SUMMER FABRIC SALE
• TAKE 50% OFF
LOWEST MARKED PRICE
PRINTS, LINENS, KNITS,
CRAFT COTTONS, SHEERS,
ALL PATTERNS, ZIPS,
• ENDS TUES JAN 31ST
• WELLINGTON NOW MOVED
REAR GROUND FLOOR
16 WILLIS ST
Ph: 474 0147
Sailing the musical seas
Joseph Romanos talks
to Slow Boat Records
owner Dennis O'Brien
about the comeback of
vinyl, being a musician
in England and the old
Dennis O'Brien: ''I didn't have the starch for a rock'n'roll lifestyle.''
Photo: REBECCA THOMSON
How did Slow Boat Records
get its name?
The name was devised 40 years
ago. Three of us travelled to Eng-
land by boat. We planned to have
a crack at the music scene there.
We needed a label and decided to
go with a nautical theme. We
liked the Slow boat to China con-
cept. Hence Slow Boat. When I
came back to Wellington and
started this store, I kept with
How long has Slow Boat
Records been going?
This is the 27th year. It began
in a market, then was at Plimmer
Steps for a year. Then I bought
Records Preservation further up
Cuba St. We were there 13 years
before moving here, further down
Cuba St, 13 years ago.
A lot of music shops seem to
be closing. Is it tough times for
It is. The internet has had a
major impact. It helps by enabling
us to make online sales, but it
hurts more because so many
people download their music,
bypassing the shops.
Real Groovy, just over the
road, closed last year. Did that
have an impact on your busi-
Yes. It's a small industry, so
we're happier without that compe-
tition. However, I felt sorry for the
owner. He was a good bloke and
tried hard to make a go of the
You push the fact that you
sell vinyl records, as well as
DVDs, posters, T-shirts etc. Is
vinyl making a comeback?
You could say that, but it's rela-
tive. In Britain last year vinyl
sales rose by 40 per cent, to
400,000. CD sales dropped from
81 million to 74 million. About 20
per cent of our sales are vinyl.
Do people still have record
Apparently. You can buy them
in quite a few places.
What's the attraction
For people of a certain gener-
ation, vinyl grows old with you.
People like the covers, and feel
comfortable with vinyl. I've
noticed a rise in the number of
young women buying vinyl. It was
once almost exclusively the
domain of males, but now now.
Where do you get your
We import, mainly from the
United States, every couple of
weeks. We used to sell almost
exclusively second-hand records,
but now it's 50-50 second-hand
I notice you advertise The
Essential 50, ranging from The
Beach Boys, The Beatles, The
Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan
to Nirvana, The Sex Pistols,
Guns N' Roses and Michael
Jackson. It's a varied list.
We draw up the list here. The
staff are all musicians or music
lovers. The list is there partly to
draw attention to music that
might have been neglected, such
as John Mayall's Blues Breakers.
It also depends on what we can
get hold of.
What sells well?
The Beatles always sell, The
Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Led
Zeppelin, some of The Rolling
Stones, not Elvis any more, but
Simon and Garfunkel, Jethro
Tull, King Crimson, Genesis, Jimi
Hendrix. A lot of younger people
buy them. They've grown up in
homes where that music was
played by their parents so they're
familiar with it.
Let's talk about your music
career. You tried hard to
break through in England,
I did. I went there in 1971 want-
ing to be the first New Zealander
had two shots because I went back
in 1973 and lived there for five
years. I did get a deal, but for a
start I couldn't record under the
name O'Brien. The IRA was at its
height and it was felt putting out
work under an Irish name wasn't
a good idea.
Did you eventually record
Yes, I did three -- one in Eng-
land, two back in New Zealand.
I'm hoping to put out a best of''
compilation this year.
Were you close to really
I had good contacts and felt
pretty well accepted in the London
music scene. I got to play with
some wonderful musicians. But
timing is everything. About the
time I was getting a foothold,
punk rock came in and changed
everything. Also, looking back, I
didn't have the starch for a rock
'n'roll lifestyle. You have to give
up a lot and really commit your-
self and I wasn't ready for that.
Your father, Brian O'Brien,
edited Sports Digest for more
than 30 years. Sport must have
played a big role in your
It did. My father was like a one-
man band with the magazine.
He'd work all day on it, then bring
the proofs home to read. He
couldn't come on holiday with us
in January because he had to get
the next issue out. I loved going
along to the rugby with him, sit-
ting in the press box with
reporters like Gabe David and
Alex Veysey. Dad was very
involved in boxing and I'd be at
the Town Hall holding up the card
indicating what round was coming
up. Sometimes I read his writing
observations that are still very
Links Archive December 22nd 2011 January 19th 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page