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Simon Finn

Psych-folk mystic Simon Finn was born March 4, 1951, relocating to London in 1967 and making his professional debut opening for Al Stewart at the Marquee Club's weekly "Wednesday Folk Night." Within months he was headlining at the London restaurant Borsch and Tears, and that winter recorded his first demo, "Butterfly," at producer Vic Keary's Old Kent Road studio. The session yielded no interest from labels, however, and Finn continued busking around London, earning a living by updating share prices on the blackboard of the city's Stock Exchange. In the spring of 1969 he and Keary again crossed paths, making plans to enter Keary's new Camden-area studio Chalk Farm; a few weeks later Finn befriended multi-instrumentalist (and fledgling writer) David Toop and percussionist Paul Burwell at the Camden café the Round House, extending an invitation to play on his upcoming recording date. The end result, the hypnotic, deeply beautiful Pass the Distance, followed on Keary's Mushroom Records in early 1970; a series of legal squabbles quickly forced Mushroom to withdraw the album from the market, however, and Finn effectively disappeared from performing, in 1974 relocating to Canada and teaching karate before turning to organic farming alongside wife Emily. In 1980 the Finns settled in Montreal. In the decades to follow Pass the Distance became both highly collectable and much talked about, but Finn remained oblivious to his growing cult stature until late 2003, when Current 93's David Tibet sent him a letter outlining plans to reissue the album on his Durtro label. The remastered and expanded Pass the Distance appeared in 2004 on the eve of Finn's first live dates in over three decades. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
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