After ten years Supergroove kiss and make up

By Belinda McCammon

After a less than amicable split 10 years ago, Supergroove singer Karl Steven says the band has put the past behind them and are ready to tour again.

Steven says three upcoming concerts will showcase "the old Supergroove, trying to put the same sort of energy and intensity into its performances" but with one crucial difference".

"We will be balder and fatter," he quipped.

The passage of time has helped heal a lot of old wounds and allowed the members to grow up, so they are ready to celebrate their music, he says.

"We're all friends again and can play music together, be in the same room together.

"The music seems fresh again.

"We're all willing to get over the horrible stuff and set things right a bit."

Over the past year, Steven says a lot of apologies had been made but the "process wasn't complete".

"We're a bunch of sensitive characters. If it has to be a bonding lovefest so be it."

Those sensitive characters include successful solo artist Che Fu, Jo Lonie, Tim Stewart, Ben Sciascia, Ian Jones and Nick Atkinson, along with Steven.

No-one thought Supergroove would reform after their less than amicable split but they are now rehearsing to support Crowded House for three shows.

Despite being contacted by touring companies probing an idea of getting back together several times, this was the first time all the members thought it would be a good idea, Steven says.

"I've been living in England for the past few years and I decided it would be really nice to spend some time with those guys again.

"Some of the guys, we're quite close friends, others I drifted out of contact with and I realised I would only get any real sort of serious time if we played music with them.

"That's when I started thinking that I would be happy to play those songs and do the whole Supergroove thing, if it meant that we could hang out and spend that time."

The idea of reforming had never been seriously considered before because band members always assumed either he or Che would not consider it, he says.

That was how bad the split was, he says.

"The cause of it was kind of growing up and growing in separate directions but we certainly handled it pretty badly.

"It was absolutely to do with being young and foolish.

"But also part of it was Supergroove was a pretty big institution at the time in our lives and it took on a life of its own with lawyers and accountants."

Steven says the members "lost touch with what it was about and why we were doing it in the first place".

Combined with some bad advice, it led to a distorted perspective, he says.

Steven says the band is already mulling over extending the honeymoon a bit longer.

"We might drag it out for a few months and then maybe do the odd gig after that. It's not a full re-integration of the group."

Despite the success, Steven says his own highlight of Supergroove was before it was at its peak.

"I was quite jealous of bands which were still struggling a bit and just getting their first single released.

"That's quite a fun time to be in a band, it's quite exciting."

The rhythm of touring, recording, interviews, can get a bit boring, he says.

What is not boring is the idea of opening for Crowded House.

The possibility of getting back together came up before the Crowded House proposition but it sealed the deal for the band.

"There was still some hesitation about whether we should do this and when the Crowded House offer came up everyone went 'yes we should'."

For Steven life after Supergroove has involved studying Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy at Cambridge University.

In the longterm Steven, or Dr Karl Steven as he will be known now his PhD is completed, intends to keep an eclectic mix of career paths going.

Steven has been teaching at Auckland University, where he is keen to stay.

"Some students do know, some don't, some find out just when they are filling out the evaluation forms."

There are plans to continue with music as well, with Steven producing albums for bands and composing for television and film.

"I think people are a lot more complex than when we sometimes pretend.

"It would be nice to think people have a single calling in their life and that they just go straight into that and then they're happy forever.

"In my case I knew I wanted to be a musician from when I was 10, really worked very hard at that until I was 22 and then got very tired of it.

"Particularly the whole Supergroove thing because it was an unpleasant end -- music was sort of tainted by the way it ended."

Now with a newfound rejuvenation Steven says the band is focused on giving back to their fans.

"We went overseas for a year and then crapped out so now we can pay back the audience in some way and get some resolution happening."

The band's members have grown-up, thanks in no small part to many of the experiences in Supergroove.

Being in the band also led to an unlikely academic path for Steven.

"I bombed out of high school early on and always thought I would never go to university, thought they were freaks and hated intellectuals.

"Thought reading was anti-social, so I was quite aggressive in my rejection of that sort of thing.

"It was on tour that I stumbled into a book store.

"It was through that music lifestyle that gave me the time and space to explore ideas and stuff, which is what took me to university."

If it had not been for Supergroove Steven says he may never have gone to university, staying a sound engineer -- his job before Supergroove took over.

"I went and bought drugs too but they proved to be a lot more expensive and a lot less interesting than reading."

Supergroove will support Crowded House at three concerts:

* October 28 Vector Arena, Auckland
* October 31 TSB Arena, Wellington
* November 2 Westpac Arena, Christchurch

The Best of Supergroove is released this month.

- NZPA

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