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"Stranger than Fiction"
"It's the Story of my Life!"
—Stranger Than Fiction, Split Enz
Stranger Than Fiction: The Life And Times Of Split Enz (no relation to the Will Ferell movie) is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Mike Chunn ('semi' as Chunn left the band before their third album) detailing the life and times of the New Zealand premier New Wave band Split Enz, headed by Tim and Neil Finn. The group was best known for their wildly original music and, erm, wildly original appearances (that they only actually wore for the Seventies).
Chronicling their beginnings from an Auckland flat (and even further back in the case of the Finn and Chunn brothers) to their final (non-reunion) concert and even beyond, the original book is now long out of print but with the author's permission can now be read online here.
- Mental Notes (1976)
- Dizzrhythmia (1977)
- Frenzy (1978)
- True Colours (1980)
- Waiata/Corroborree (1981)
- Time and Tide (1982)
- Conflicting Emotions (1983)
- See Ya Round (1984)
Tropes applying to this band:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys - Gender Inverted with Liz Malam in regards to Tim. Didn't end well though.
- Ascended Fanboy - Tim Finn actually meeting up with Paul McCartney and arguably ever getting to London itself. The former though was a partial example of Broken Pedestal learning about how musical idols aren't gods, just people.
- Promoted Fanboy - Neil for Split Enz, even though he surprisingly didn't appear all that enthusiastic about it upon being offered (on the surface anyway).
- Badass Mustache / Badass Beard - Noel Crombie for Waiata and Time and Tide.
- The Band Minus the Face - Subverted, as Neil was just as equally known (if not more) as Tim by the time the latter left, though this feeling definitely permeated the band themselves.
- Banned in China - Six Months In A Leaky Boat in England, due to Unfortunate Implications with the Falklands War.
- Biography - Apart from the obvious example, there was also Tim Finn's Haul Away.
- Bishonen - Pretty much the entire band underneath all that makeup (or not), but especially Neil, Eddie Rayner and Noel Crombie.
- Boarding School - Sacred Heart College in Auckland, though occasionally delving straight into Boarding School of Horrors (especially in Neil's case).
- Breakup Breakout - Tim Finn with Escapade, odd example as it technically happened while he was still in the band (if not for much longer). Also Neil Finn and Paul Hester with a little thing called Crowded House.
- Broken Pedestal - Phill Judd to Tim Finn, and the later Tim Finn to Neil to a certain extent. Also Tim and Paul McCartney above, leading Tim to write the song Famous People.
- Butt Monkey - The whole band could be subject to this at times, at least until the True Colours album.
- Mike Chunn himself in regards to coastal holidays.
- Cool Teacher
- Country Mouse - Tim Finn (technically Neil as well, though it's brought up more often with Tim). Notably lampshaded in the song Maybe, from early in their career:
"I'm just a country boy/Can you see that I'm still green?"
- Creator Breakdown - Tim Finn is no stranger to this: Time and Tide owed a lot to his depression.
- Cultural Cringe - Played straight, then later inverted. Split Enz had to travel overseas in the 1970s and 1980s to make it big. Today, they're fondly remembered as one of NZ's first bands to take on the world.
- Decoy Protagonist - Mike Chunn (who was only ever a Supporting Protagonist to begin with really) 'splits the enz' early on in chapter nine out of sixteen.
- Eagle Land - Type 2 occasionally appears.
- Everyone Went to School Together - Either that or university.
- Executive Meddling - Most notably with producer David Tickle, during the production of Waiata.
- Girls Have Cooties - A few of the band members' reactions in the case of Liz, along with arguably John Hopkins' reaction to Rayner.
- The Glasses Gotta Go - Neil Finn, though he only ever wore them as part of his on-stage persona.
- God - Even He shows up in one scene.
- Grand Finale - The Enz With A Bang! tour.
- Large Ham - Tim Finn on occasion, most of the band in their early videos.
- The Long List - Mike trying to guess the name of the Enz's fifth album.
- Lovable Rogue - Neil attempted to adopt this persona for an interview. YMMV on whether it worked, but the results were definitely... odd, to say the least.
- Magical Realism - Every now and then, mostly courtesy of Mike Chunn's narration (Hence the thing about God).
- Magnum Opus Dissonance - Neil Finn never originally thought much of I Got You. arguably the Enz's Signature Song.
- Meaningful Rename - The Enz all adopting their middle names as their stage names, except Phil, which Chunn suggests may have been a sign of his discomfort within the band. Also changing the band's name from 'Ends' to 'Enz' for patriotic reasons.
- New Wave - The band steered in this direction with Frenzy, and consolidated it with True Colours.
- Non Fiction Literature
- Only Sane Man - Nigel Griggs' (Mike Chunn's replacement) first reaction upon meeting the band (due to not being completely informed), though he adjusted.
- The Pete Best - ...It'd be easier to list the band members that weren't.
- Precision F-Strike - Didn't pop up in their music, but not unknown to the band members themselves.
- Reality Is Unrealistic - The winner of the (otherwise a total failure) look-alike contest, in Chunn's own words "He looked more like me than me".
- Sadist Teacher
- The Smurfette Principle - Raewyn Turner (resident lighting expert) to the rest of the band. Later joined by Liz and Sharon, though none of them were technically members of the core band.
- Stalker with a Crush
- Starving Artist - The Enz quickly fell into this after first coming to Australia.
- Teens Are Monsters - How the Enz felt after their first two performances up against teenagers (their third performance thankfully went over much better). Arguably the Finn brothers themselves back in the day.
- That's All Folks: See Ya Round was clearly intended as a send-off for the band, after Tim Finn's departure.
- Titled After the Song
- Troubled Production - Waiata, the follow-up to their breakout album True Colours, was dogged by conflicts with their producer after he developed an inflated ego. Tim Finn left during the production of 1983's Conflicting Emotions, feeling that he couldn't diversify his songwriting any further if he remained with the group.
- True Companions - The Enz themselves... a few firings aside.
- Wacky College - The university which housed Room 129, even though Tim was there for only about a year. Practically the Chaotic to Sacred Heart's Lawful.
- Wacky Fratboy Hijinks - Even after their fratboy years.
- What Could Have Been - Neil leaving proto-band After Hours after only two performances.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue
- Where It All Began - Their final concert in Auckland.
Writing letters to my friends, tell them all about Split Ends...