Singer accused of 'childish rant'

By Anna Rushworth

A political storm featuring one of New Zealand's best-known songs and new Prime Minister John Key has intensified, with two of the music industry's biggest names at loggerheads.

Last week, Don McGlashan revealed his anger at TVNZ's use of his Mutton Birds' song, Anchor Me, to accompany an item on National's election victory.

In a letter to the broadcaster, McGlashan said he "would rather have sex with a very ugly crayfish than let them use my music".

Gray Bartlett, one of New Zealand's most successful guitarists, has accused McGlashan of having a "childish rant".

Bartlett, in a letter to the Herald on Sunday, labelled McGlashan an "insular leftie".

"McGlashan and his insular lefties show their hate for anything other than the crippling Soviet-style music politics of the Labour Party, and especially [former Prime Minister] Helen Clark, who are only interested in building as many leftie socialists as possible through their social welfarism music policies.

"I can tell, from experience, that McGlashan is no commercial dream when it comes to the public paying to see his shows... My promoter friends will vouch for a great lack of interest in him and his cohorts."

Bartlett, who has been in the music industry for more than 50 years, advised McGlashan to "get into the real world, that is not a sea of green or red, but full of all the colours of the rainbow, and try to grow up a little".

Bartlett, who said he was "fed up with precious Labour Party people who don't understand the reality that music is for all the world" didn't care if his music was used for the National or Labour parties.

But he criticised what he described as the "total disaster" of nine years of Labour Party policy concerning music. McGlashan was a "good guy" whom he thought "very warmly of", Bartlett said.

"They've got to learn music is not a political thing."

McGlashan refused to comment on the outburst. His agent Roger King said: "It would be a waste of space for Don to enter a punch-up with Bartlett."

- Herald on Sunday

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