Musician Mike Chunn's favourite things

Along with his books and guitars, musician Mike Chunn treasures a chronologically stored CD collection that is a ‘window into the hearts and minds of Kiwi youth’.

Linx 'cans'; My father's books. Pictures / Babiche Martens.

A man of music's past and, it seems, its future, Mike Chunn was once a member of Split Enz, formed Citizen Band with his brother, and has gone on to found Play It Strange - a songwriting trust that makes up for gaps in the school curriculum. He encourages youngsters to put pen to paper and learn to craft their own songs; his past disciples include Kimbra, Georgia Nott of Broods, Annah Mac and Jesse Sheehan. The secret to his success? He knows those who are learning instruments make the greatest advances when playing songs they love.

The most obvious of Geminis, Chunn believes he lives each day twice. His home, a five-level, light-filled abode in Remuera, is designed to accommodate such quirks. There are rooms for silence and reflection, corner spots with tree views to flick through the latest issue of the New Yorker, and essentially, a whole top level devoted to Chunn's mighty sound system, where he recently unearthed Van Morrison's Avalon Sunset album. He likes to think Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Duval could enter his home, kick back and end up discussing the surfing scene inApocalypse Now.


Peter Madill bass guitar; New music; Marinucci guitar. Pictures / Babiche Martens.

1. My Linx 'cans'
Listening to recorded songs is a vital everyday occurrence. I recently had the luck to secure a pair of ReSound Linx hearing aids ("cans" in my language) and I now hear the detail and soundstage of recordings like I used to all those years ago, before rock 'n' roll beat my ears up. They have transformed my world.

2. My father's books
My father was a doctor but also a man of letters. A wordsmith. He read a large number of books - novels and poetry. He always signed the front leaf and wrote the year. And he wrote a lot of poems and a short but revealing autobiography. He lives on in those pages. I have many on my bookshelves.

3. My Peter Madill bass guitar
Peter Madill is a violin maker. A luthier. In the early Split Enz days he was in our vicinity but I'm not sure how that came to be. As someone who is into having something no one else has, I asked him to make me a bass guitar and he did. This was in 1975. I played it on the Split Enz album Second Thoughts and the first Citizen Band album.

4. New music
Young New Zealanders are writing songs of deep insight and revelation and I must have them at hand for the rest of my life. Each one of the Play It Strange CDs is stored in chronological order. They are a window into the hearts and minds of New Zealand youth.

5. My Marinucci guitar
For my 16th birthday my mother bought me a Marinucci guitar for $28. An inspirational choice. It still weaves its magic today - 46 years later.

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