LIFE as a rolling stone musician has its ups and downs for Lindon Puffin.
The 15-year touring veteran says sometimes he yearns for 9-5 job security like his desk-bound friends crave the romantic ideal of a life on the road.
But Puffin, who plays Queenstown’s Zephyr bar tonight, says all the planning, travelling and financial insecurity are balanced by those heady gigs that transcend the musician audience dynamic.
“Those gigs in tight little rooms where everyone’s involved and it becomes a communal experience,” Puffin says. “They’re the ones I love, the ones where you make a connection.
“There are shit gigs of course and touring is a laborious way to make a living. But there are always the great gigs too.
“The Blue Door in Arrowtown was like that, a great place to play. I love that touring, that level of interaction. I just dig it and I’ve kept doing it over the years.
“I’ve played gigs to hard-core farmers and thought they’d eat me alive but by the end they all hugging and signing and I’ll think ‘my work here is done’.”
Puffin spends half his life on the road performing about 150 shows a year.
He’s travelled the country this year with award-winning artists Delaney Davidson and Marlon Williams, and performed with the likes of Billy Bragg and Dave Dobbyn in the past, along with extensive touring in Australia, Europe and the USA.
Puffin, 40, fronted Christchurch glam rock band The Puffins in the 90s, but now plays a blend of energetic folk, rock, pop and country.
“I wait and see what kind of place it is and what crowd turns up,” Puffin says.
“Some nights I’ll play all my own stuff, others it’s not appropriate and I play a lot of stuff like The Smiths, Cure and Billy Bragg.
“Maybe a few more well-known ones too – but I don’t know Wagon Wheel.
“More the Joy Division stuff, I can play that type of music in an upbeat rockabilly way.
“I’ve an acoustic guitar and harmonica but it’s not the emotive singer/songwriter in the corner, group therapy session. So not that kind of vibe.
“And I like hip hop so love putting hip hop songs on the acoustic guitar and harmonica and doing them in a folk way.”
Catch Lindon Puffin tonight at Zephyr from 11pm