Jazz musician plays in a different Key on album
When you hear the name John Key, music doesn’t usually spring to mind.
Unless you’re thinking of Mt Roskill musician John Key, who has just released a new album with his band Strange Fruit.
With the election tomorrow, he’s making good use of sharing a name with the National Party leader.
The tag-line on posters for his album Whole is “John Key says vote with your ears”.
The third album from Strange Fruit has been 10 years in the making.
Inspiration struck while Mr Key was swimming on Waiheke Island.
“I thought, it isn’t going to happen on its own.”
The band members don’t work together very often because they are busy teaching and playing music with other people, he says.
“When we do work together, we have a thoroughly good time.”
Mr Key teaches jazz piano, and has been playing for 25 years.
His musical career goes back four decades, which he points out is much longer than his counterpart’s political career.
He won’t be voting National in the upcoming election, but hasn’t decided who will win his party vote.
“I must admit I’m fond of Phil Goff. He’s very hardworking and should be the next prime minister. He speaks well and never gets in any trouble. “He’s a good local MP.” So far he hasn’t seen any party’s arts policies, which will show how they intend to look after the “spiritual health” of the country.
If it were up to him, he would see more Kiwi art exported.
“Exporting art means export dollars. A country is remembered and recognised by its culture, not by politics in the long term.”
Musician Mr Key says he has no political aspirations and never dreamed of leading the country.
And politician Mr Key says he doesn’t share his namesake’s talent for music.
“I’m one of the least musical people you’ll find. I can’t sing to save myself.”
The two crossed paths briefly about 20 years ago when Mr Key was playing music as part of the John Key Trio at a Wellington hotel.
The future politician had seen the band advertised and went along to listen and exchange business cards.
“He was a really nice guy and an accomplished musician,” he says.
The National leader says the party’s policy would maintain the level of support for the arts and support Kiwi music.
But Mt Roskill’s Mr Key hopes people will focus on his music. “I’m the John Key they should be listening to.”
Double trouble: Musician John Key is launching a new album while politician John Key is hoping to lead the country.