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Grinspoon are an Australian post-grunge band from Lismore, Australia, fronted by Phil Jamieson with Pat Davern on guitar, Joe Hansen on bass and Kristian Hopes on drums. Founded in 1995, they came to fame when they were Unearthed by national, commercial-free radio station Triple J thanks to their track Sickfest. This won them the competition for the Lismore area. The band was heavily influenced by “grunge” music in their early career, including the band Helmet, and developed a strong following among mosh pit crowds. Their sound changed in their later career to a more mainstream rock sound with their 2002 release “New Detention” and at this point they lost many of their earlier fans and gained a lot of fans in the mainstream. Lyrically, the band are very disjointed, most lines from their songs are not related to the next line and the songs rarely make sense. This has been attributed to the writer Phil Jamieson and his tendency to pen short lyrics of only a few lines each, and then tying many of these together into a song, creating a lack of consistent themes.
The band name was taken from marijuana supporter Dr Lester Grinspoon. The band has at times promoted recreational drugs during concerts and in their song lyrics. Jamieson has also gained a reputation throughout the industry as a heavy drinker.
As a result of winning the national Unearthed competition the band gained considerable airplay, and they used this to secure gigs for themselves. As a result the band generated a strong following among the Australian “alternative” and “mosh pit crowd.” Their debut EP, known as the “Green EP,” was released through the independent record company Oracle. It contained the tracks “Sickfest” and “More Than You Are” that became popular and were rerecorded for later releases.
Grinspoon’s second EP, Licker Bottle Cozy, was recorded by the band and released by Grudge records in December 1996. It had a slightly heavier sound compared to their first EP, with the songs “Champion” and “Pig Pen,” and there was little variety in the sound throughout the six track CD.
1997 saw their release of their first LP, the album that best represents the sound and variety of their early career, “Guide To Better Living.” Heavier songs like “Pressure Tested 1984” open the album, whilst in the middle are more classic rock songs like “Repeat” and “Don’t Go Away”, and then towards the end the ballad “Bad Funk Stripe.” The album also features five live songs illustrating the bands sense of humour and ability to play live, and a hidden acoustic song called “Protest.”
Whilst in America touring in 1998, Grinspoon released the EP “Pushing Buttons,” which featured the popular heavy song “Black Friday,” and the lighter songs “Busy” and “Explain.”
After heavy touring Grinspoon recorded the “Easy” LP with little studio time in 1999. The album had less variety than their debut LP and received a disappointing reaction from fans and critics, despite having some very solid and likeable songs like “Ready 1” and “Rock Show.” The album was once described by Pinky from Machine Gun Fellatio as the album that should’ve been famous but wasn’t.
After a long break to reconsider their direction and sound the band released the much more commercial 2002 album New Detention, which debuted and peaked at #2 on the Australian ARIAnet albums chart. The first single from the album, “Chemical Heart,” caused a stir when it was released among long term fans and the media because it was so different from their usual post-grunge sound, and signalled a change in style for the band. The band insisted the change was a natural one and was made in the interests of improving their sound.
They also released an EP in 2003 titled Panic Attack (containing a cover of INXS’s song “Don’t Change”), which debuted and peaked at #13 on the ARIAnet singles chart.
In 2004, they released a new single, “Hard Act To Follow”, which reached the top 30 in the singles chart. It was from the album Thrills, Kills & Sunday Pills, which debuted at #4 in the charts. A second single, “Better Off Alone”, was later issued, also reaching the top 30. The third single was “Hold On Me”. This time around, the band agreed that they were deliberately seeking a new audience, claiming they wrote a number of songs for the release and rejected the songs that sounded like their earlier work.
Grinspoon have built a strong local following since their rise, and are regulars at Australian music festivals.
In 2005, Grinspoon won their first ARIA award, winning the category for “Rock Album of the Year” with Thrills, Kills & Sunday Pills. They had previously been nominated 9 times.
Most recently Grinspoon released a 2 Disc Best Of compilation entitled Best In Show. The first disc featured all their hits, although several of their older classic songs were included. The second disc is a bonus which includes a collection of covers recorded over the years.
On 26th March 2006, Grinspoon performed “Hard Act To Follow” and “Better Off Alone” at the 2006 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony in Melbourne.
Grinspoon are currently locked away writing for the new record which will be getting out early in 2007. The band members have mentioned that the band will be going back towards their roots and start playing radio friendly dude rock again. They have gone back to the same producer that was with them for 1999’s “Easy” album.
* “Green Album”, 1995 EP| * “Licker Bottle Cozy”, 1995 (limited edition 7” vinyl) /1996 EP| * “Pushing Buttons”, 1996 EP - #13 Australia (singles chart - 1998 release)| * Guide To Better Living, 1997 album| o “Just Ace”, 1997 single - #25 Australia (1998 release)| o “Pedestrian”, 1997 single| o “Dead Cat” (also known as “DC x 3” - limited edition), 1997 single - #50 Australia| o “Repeat”, 1997 single| o “Don’t Go Away”, 1998 single| * Easy, 1999 album| o “Ready1”, 1999 single - #36 Australia| o “Rock Show”, 1999 single| o “Secrets”, 2000 single| o “Violent and Lazy”, 2000 single| * New Detention, 2002 album - #2 Australia| o “Chemical Heart”, 2002 single - #25 Australia| o “Lost Control”, 2002 single - #29 Australia| o “No Reason”, 2002 single| o “1000 Miles”, 2003 single| * “Panic Attack”, 2003 EP - #13 Australia (singles chart)| * Thrills, Kills & Sunday Pills, 2004 album - #4 Australia| o “Hard Act To Follow”, 2004 single - #24 Australia| o “Better Off Alone”, 2004 single - #30 Australia| o “Hold On Me”, 2005 single - #44 Australia| o “Bleed You Dry”, 2005 single (different from album version, with more guitar and slightly distorted vocals, called “rosen” version - #67 Australia| * Best In Show, 2005 album - #12 Australia| o “Sweet As Sugar 2005 single| * “Alibis & Other Lies”, 2007 album|
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