Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Final OSI Interview: Peter Green

Peter Green's Wikipedia page says, in part: Peter Green is a PR person for several Australasian acts, most notably Skyhooks, Bic Runga, Split Enz and their alumni, including Crowded House, The Finn Brothers, Neil Finn, Tim Finn, etc. His office maintains the "Frenz of The Enz", encompassing all the Enz alumni, which has also been known as the Crowded House club, but which reverted to its original name following the break-up of the latter. He is held in very high regard by the fans, who greatly appreciate the personal touch he brings his work, and his remarkable commitment, not only to the musicians, but also to the Frenz, maintaining a consistent relationship with them, whether there is artist activity or not. The Frenz of the Enz are known for their long-standing loyalty and commitment to the bands and artists under the Frenz umbrella, and it could be argued that it is largely as a result of Peter Green's work, ensuring that the fans always feel connected to what is going on.

All of which fits nicely with my theory that Mr. Green may just be among the top 5 nicest men in the world (that is a guess; I don't know all the men in the world, so the top five seemed fairly reasonable). Over the last few years I've emailed him a few times with questions--Do I need to be in the fan club to enter the drawing for the signed CD? That sort of thing. And each time, he has responded to my banal correspondence a) quickly, and b) with a level of enthusiastic kindness that is not only rare in general, but altogether unheard of in PR. [Please don't send me hate mail, PR people. I worked in PR. I know what I'm talking about.] In addition to overseeing PR for all of the abovenamed acts and running the Frenz of the Enz site, Peter has a blog and publishes the occasional road diary. He's also quite witty. In a recent round of emails, he mentioned he was going to be boarding a plane in short order. And then he sent an immediate follow-up email with the subject line "what we are wearing on board to avoid swine flu XXXPG". There was no body text, just an attached image of someone in a yellow Hazmat suit.

1. In the context of your work, which bits of minutiae matter most?

On the road (touring) when you do those little things (buying a toaster for the tour bus) or just making someone's day more bearable when they are thousands of miles away from home. PR duties, when you are at your favourite coffee haunt (free plug to the Verandah View at Kalorama) and the person at the table picks up the newspaper and your band is on the front cover and you know it was something you did right the day before. Books--When you start working on the next book and suddenly the words flow, and they feel spot on and you get so vibed you just churn them out and you find it hard to stop. Concerts--recently being part of the Sound Relief show in Melbourne--where two of our acts played to 83,000 people and raised $5 million dollars for the bushfire relief benefit--that feels extra special--being a small cog in a large wheel that seemed to roll so well that day, and punters left feeling they witnessed a very special gig.

2. Which bits matter least?

When I get snappy, it's rare but the odd deadline seems to rush closer and suddenly someone will call wanting to have a chat. Probably because I prefer the chat to the deadline and know I can't do both. Rushing the 'Famous for 16 Minutes' Diary (that extra minute Warhol gave me years ago never seems enough) and sending it off to Deb in America to add to my net ramblings and feeling like I should have made more effort. When Neil Finn asks me someone's name who is heading towards us at an after show or media event and I know the face too but for the life of me can't remember their name. So I try discreetly to find out before their smiling face arrives. It's all small stuff so it doesn't really matter.

3. In the context of your life, what types of minutiae once seemed important, but have since fallen by the wayside? Why?

When friends let us down, even now I pretend it doesn't matter as much as it really does. When I mess up around one of our bands in some small way, and they just shrug it off but it seems to make it even worse. I hate making mistakes around work, but I deal with it now instead of just guilting. Deadlines, mostly around our Rocket Pocket Books--it always seems to take a lot longer to get them finished and printed and delivered. I am calmer at this. After months of work waiting on the new book TRIP to be delivered, I got myself way too excited on the arrival date--a truck arrives with numerous boxes of stock and...we open them--and it's NOT my book. I was cool--started laughing hysterically, a few years back I don't know if hysterical laughter would have been what I would have done.

4. What types of minutiae, if any, have you had to train yourself to pay closer attention to?

Like Kayte Terry I was thinking public image, but after volunteering to be the front half of a horse suit on the Finn Brothers tour I'd say my public image is well and truly shot to pieces. Listening more, talking less is probably the one.

5. Just for kicks -- what are your favorite bits of minutiae (personal, from a book, a piece of music, moment in a movie, etc.)?

Australia with all its golden the first smell of the surf after months away from the beach. Certain lines from movie or tv shows like 007 (though Austin Powers has destroyed many of the Bond movies forever...very hard to take them seriously)...any of Joss's great one-liners from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and when I come home from a month away on the road and I get cuddled by my boyfriend for the first time, that nice hair smell is good (yikes)!

Thanks so much, Peter!

And with that, the Old Soul Ink interview series comes to an end, as does the blog. Once I'm situated at the other site (details TBA), I'll post about it here, and then that will be it for new content. (Archives will remain.) Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who read, commented, participated in the interviews, linked. I've met some incredible people, have gotten to know others still better, and I look forward to continuing that in the near future.


Michael said...

Farewell Old Soul Ink. It was great to know you.

A Loner, Dottie. A Rebel. said...

It's a bittersweet moment. I really like what you've done with the blog, it'll be missed but I can't wait to see what's next :).

Emma said...

Michael, thank you. This blog introduced me to you!

S., Thank you as well. Onward and upward! xo

P. said...

An excellent finale - I look forward to seeing your new project! xoxox (P.S. news on my blog)

Clementina aka "La Traductora" said...

Emma mi querida amiga,
My heart almost fell when I read that your blog has come to an end. Fortunately, you are not leaving us completely. As always, it is a pleasure reading anything you write.

Anne-Marie said...

Hey Emma, thanks for the entertaining reading. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. Aroha-nui...

Emma said...

Thank you, Anne-Marie! xoxo