After more than 50 years in music Hello Sailor co-founder Harry Lyon tells us why he has finally released his debut solo album.

1. Describe your sound in one sentence.

Guitar-driven South Pacific rock'n'roll.

2. What made you decide to release a solo album after so many years writing and playing music?

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After losing Dave [McArtney] and Graham [Brazier] I was left without the opportunity of being able to play in Hello Sailor and have the band as a musical vehicle. I had a pile of largely unrecorded songs and felt I needed to record them. I had real encouragement from my music publisher and then Delaney [Davidson] when he came on-board as producer. I love the recording process so it was fun and really satisfying to get these songs down, some of which were written over 30 years ago. I hope people like the results!

3. Does the title To The Sea have anything to do with the name Hello Sailor? What does it refer to?

I think it's more that Hello Sailor had something to do with the sea. I've always lived near the sea, I grew up in a navy house, I'd sailed around the world by the time I was 13, I love
watching the sea and swimming in it. In the song To the Sea I've use it as a metaphor for life, living and creativity.

4. What is your favourite back catalogue song to perform live and why?

I've just re-arranged [Coup D'Etat's] Dr I Like Your Medicine so that it fits into the sound of what I'm doing now. It's changed from Dr Pop to the Witch Doctor.

5. What can fans expect from your upcoming live shows?

I'm really lucky to have some great band with me for the tour, so musically the shows will be really strong. The set-list has plenty of well-known songs from Hello Sailor, Coup D'Etat and The Legionnaires, and of course songs from To the Sea.

6. What does success as a musician mean to you?

The fact I've been able to make a living doing something I love. I joined my first semi-professional band in 1966. That's 52 years – not a bad run.

7. What message would you give any young person wanting to be a successful musician?

Follow that dream, work hard and don't give up. We make some wonderful music in this country and now increasingly it has a global audience.


8. What's the best thing about the New Zealand music scene? And the worst?

The best thing about the NZ music scene is that the community is great and I feel privileged to feel part of it. Not sure about the worst. There can be insecurity in terms of knowing how to pay the bills and fluctuating income, but that's the case for a lot of self-employed people. Maybe it's the headache after too much fun. In Dave's song Please Tease Me he says; "..next day we all got a headache, sayin' let's do it again.."

9. You can only fit one album by another artist on your device — what is it?

A Billie Holiday anthology.

10. You're curating a music festival. Who's on the bill, alive or dead?
Friday Night: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Michael Jackson & Ardijah.

Saturday night: The Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks, The Who & Dragon.

Sunday afternoon: Frank Sinatra with the Quincy Jones Orchestra.

• To the Sea is out now.


Harry Lyon To The Sea New Zealand tour

SAT OCT 6 Russell, Russell Boating Club (Fundraiser)
THU OCT 11 Napier, Cabana
FRI OCT 12 Auckland, Galatos with The Bads (Duo)
SAT OCT 13 Wellington, Meow with Darren Watson
SUN OCT 14 Christchurch, Blue Smoke with Stomping Nick Jackman