Crowded House: Farewell to The WorldMark Hart


THE INDIVIDUAL PROBABLY WALKING AWAY FROM Crowded House with the heaviest heart is Mark Hart. The original quiet American, Hart, 43, from Kansas, joined as a hired hand during the Woodface tour, supplying at first keyboards and subsequently 12 -string guitar, lap steel, melodica, electronic percussion and most of the other instruments which comprise the band's post Together Alone palette. The day after the show he will take his two guitars and fly back to his home in LA where he will rejoin Supertramp, the group he played with before Crowded House. It's perfectly possible that he will never see the other three again.

How would you describe your state of mind going into this show?

I'm looking forward to it. But because I know it'll be a superhigh and then there's nothing after that, I don't want to get too attached to it. Then I'm going to be in this other band, Supertramp, which is the exact opposite, very structured, which is great but very different. It's a bit of a shock going from one to the other. I know Supertramp, I've worked with them before, they're really nice people and they called up just after this happened. I needed a job.

Was it a surprise when you got the call from Neil?

I called him to talk about my plans and he didn't seem his usual enthusiastic self. Halfway through the call, he just said, "'I might as well tell you, I've decided to finish the group."

I saw it coming. Neil didn't feel like it was the same band once Paul had left, even though Pete was doing a great job. It just felt like the wind had been taken out of the sails. You'd have had to really, really want to continue the band to keep that going.

There seems to be something pivotal about drummers.

I think so. They're the pulse. They're different. I've been playing in bands since I was 12 and it seems like a sweeping generalisation but I've always found that they're the funny guys, they're irreverent, the pranksters. There aren't too many serious drummers and Paul took it to extremes.

The thing with Paul was that he had a real affinity with Neil's playing. It come from playing a whole lot together. He really listens. He would listen to Neil's rhythm and really lock in, and I think Neil found anything less than that didn't feel right to him.

When we were recording the three extra songs for Recurring Dream, that was the first time I'd worked with Mitchell Froom and he took me aside and said, "I've always thought of them as a trio and we keyboard players should just keep out of the way.'

Do you think Neil's wrong to break the group up?

No, but also Nick's right. We have another good record in us.

How would you feel if Neil turned round and formed another group?

That's fine and that's up to him. But I don't think he'll find a band as sensitive to his songs as Crowded House was.

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