By GUY WILLIAMS
Nick Seymour feels like he’s just come out of rehab.
Although he’s never actually been in rehab, that’s how Crowded House’s bass guitarist feels about his fortnight’s spell in quarantine last month.
Fresh off the plane from Ireland, where he’s spent the best part of the last year ‘‘cosily ensconced in my West Coast hideaway’’ with his partner and two kids, it occurred to him that for the first time in his life, he’d be deprived of human contact and some of the luxuries a successful musician can afford to surround himself with.
‘‘I suddenly thought ‘I’m a proper rock star, I’m going into rehab’.’’
The time stuck in an Auckland hotel room means he’s particularly looking forward to the band’s gig in the wide open spaces of the Gibbston valley this coming Saturday, and the vineyards surrounding it.
When he started quarantine, he decided not to drink for the two weeks.
‘‘Now I’m on my third week of not having a drink, and I feel as sharp as a tack.
‘‘But as soon as we hit the road, I’m going to relax after a gig with a lovely pinot.’’
The Gibbston show is now set to be the fourth of the band’s ‘To The Island’ New Zealand tour — after Nelson, Christchurch and a sold-out Dunedin Town Hall — following the postponement of the first three dates in the North Island because of pandemic restrictions.
The band is now in its third iteration, with two of the original trio in Seymour and Neil Finn — drummer Paul Hester took his own life in 2005 — joined by the producer of its first three albums, Mitchell Froom, who’s playing keyboards in the new line-up beside Finn’s sons Liam and Elroy.
Although they’re having to rejig the tour schedule, Seymour says the band can only benefit from having time for more rehearsals at Finn’s Roundhead Studios in Auckland.
‘‘We’re probably going to be learning a few more songs to be able to throw into the mix.’’
About a year ago, the band was in Los Angeles recording its first album in a decade, Dreamers Are Waiting — set for release this June — just as news of the pandemic began to filter through.
The playlist for the tour includes the two already-released singles off the album, but the band will be careful not to play too much new stuff ‘‘lest the momentum we have at a gig falters because people are actually looking at each other saying ‘what’s this? What are they doing now?’’’
Seymour says when Froom was approached about joining the band, he was adamant they render its early songs in the same way they had more than 30 years ago.
‘‘He remembers the emotions as the songs formed their character in the studio.
‘‘He’s been a fantastic guide for us to refamiliarise ourselves with that mood and that temperature, and everything down to the detail of all of the overdubs he did and all of the harmonies that we sang.
‘‘So a song like Something So Strong sounds exactly like it did on the record, and it’s really exciting to play it that way.’’
Seymour says he’s missed playing live, but is feeling even more nervous than usual.
He casts his mind back to the last time Crowded House performed, in Sydney in late 2016.
‘‘I think we did six shows in a row on the steps at the Opera House.
‘‘They were absolutely just like falling off a couch — so easy and fantastic to do — so I just reassure myself that it was a little over four years ago that we did that and I don’t feel so anxious.
‘‘I always get very nervous before any of our shows, except when we’re on the road and we’ve got momentum and I just think back to the show we did last night and it provides a security blanket.’’
Crowded House, supported by singer-songwriter Reb Fountain and Auckland indie pop band The Beths, Gibbston Valley Winery, Saturday, March 13, 2.30pm. Tickets, from $109.90, via ticketmaster