Don McGlashan was born in Auckland in 1959. He is a musician and composer with a career that stretches back to the 1970s and covers early post-punk, top-ten pop, experimental percussion and classical performance and composition.
McGlashan studied English and Music at University of Auckland, and played French Horn and percussion in the Auckland Symphonia from 1979-82. From 1979-86 he was also a member of the percussion ensemble From Scratch.
He formed post-punk band Blam Blam Blam from the remnants of earlier bands The Plague and The Whizz Kids. The band released a number of singles, including the hits ‘There is no Depression in New Zealand’ and ‘Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us’, and one album before breaking up in 1982.
McGlashan spent in a year in New York as a drummer with avant-garde dance company Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians. Upon his return to New Zealand he formed the multimedia act The Front Lawn with Harry Sinclair. They performed theatre pieces at the Edinburgh Festival in 1988 and 1989. They also made three short films and released two album (one posthumously), disbanding in 1990.
In 1990, McGlashan and Sinclair were among the founders of Auckland's Watershed Theatre. In the same year, McGlashan worked on the film score to Jane Campion's ‘An Angel at My Table’.
From 1991 to 2002 McGlashan was singer and chief songwriter in The Mutton Birds. The group signed to Virgin Records UK in 1995, and were based in London for four years. An extremely popular band in New Zealand, with four top ten albums and a No. 1 single, they gained a cult following internationally.
Since returning to New Zealand in 1999, McGlashan has scored a number of films and TV series including Toa Fraser’s ‘No. 2’ (2005) and ‘Dean Spanley’ (2008), ‘Matariki’ (2010), and ‘This Is Not My Life’ (2010). He has also collaborated with a number of writer/directors on theatre productions, worked with various local and international musicians, released two solo albums, and in 2009 started the side-project The Bellbirds.
Throughout his career McGlashan has received various awards including the 1982 New Zealand Music Awards ‘Best Song’ for ‘Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us’. In the 1989 awards The Front Lawn won ‘Best Film Soundtrack/Compilation’, ‘Most Promising Group’ and ‘International Achievement’. In 1993 The Mutton Birds won ‘Album of the Year’, ‘Single of the Year’ (for Nature), and ‘Best Group’.
McGlashan won the 1994 APRA Silver Scroll, a prestigious award for song writing, for The Mutton Birds’ ‘Anchor Me’, winning it again in 2006 with ‘Bathe in the River’ from the soundtrack for ‘No. 2’.
In 2002, he won ‘Best Original Music For A Play’ at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, and was named an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate.
He lives in Auckland with his wife, Marianne Schultz (a dancer and writer), and their two children.