band Grinspoon hail from the North Coast of the State of New South
Wales, an area noted for attracting an alternate lifestyle community
to its rural seaside setting. Guitarist Pat Davern and bassist Joe
Hansen met vocalist Phil Jamieson and drummer Kris Hopes in July
1995 on jam night at The Gollan,
the main hotel in Lismore, the major town in the area. They decided
to form a band specifically to enter Triple J's inaugral 'Unearthed'
a competition to help get regional bands air time and the possibility
of a record deal. They won the competition with "Sickfest", the
first song the band had ever written. The name Grinspoon comes from
pro- marijuana activist Dr. Lester Grinspoon. Dr. Grinspoon supports
the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and has shown an interest
in the progress of the band.
On the back
of their Triple J success - 'Sickfest' became Triple J's number
one requested song for 7 weeks - Grinspoon began touring and recorded
a self financed five track CD in July 1996. They were then signed
to Universal subsidiary Grunge and recorded another six tracks with
producer Phil McKellar from JJJ, the basis for the EP "Licker Bottle
Cozy" which was released in December 1996. During this busy period
the band kept close to their Lismore/Byron Bay North Coast roots
by organizing jam nights back at the Gollan, where it all started.
This support of the development of other local bands who were getting
started has left an indelible mark on North Coast music scene. Grinspoon
also insisted on recording their debut album locally in Byron Bay
rather than heading for a big city studio. Work was commenced on
the album during February 1997, again with Phil McKellar at Byron
Bay's Rocking Horse Studios.
At one point
they considered calling their debut album 'Sell Your Parents' but
eventually opted for 'Guide For Better Living', after a Sunbeam
booklet of whitegoods from the 60's..The album reached #3, spent
26 weeks on the national charts, achieved double platinum status,
and generating a number of hit singles. During 1998 the band made
their first foray into the overseas market when Universal Records
in New York picked up the 'Guide To Better Living'. It meant that
band spent ten of the next twelve months touring America with bands
such as Creed, Lit, Godsmack and Anthrax. To compensate fans at
home, between live commitments in the US, Grinspoon recorded two
new tracks as the basis for the gold-selling EP 'Pushing Buttons'
. It features 'Black Friday', produced by Ulrich Wild.
Work on the
band's second album 'Easy' commenced in August '99 with ex-pat American
producer Jonathan Burnside (Nirvana, Melvins, Depeche Mode, Meat
Beat Manifesto). Recorded in Sydney and mixed in Melbourne, 'Easy'
gave the band its second national Top 5 album. In September '01
they started work on the follow-up at Festival Studios in Sydney
but were forced to move out, with the album unfinished when the
historic studios were closed and the equipment sold. Grinspoon ended
up recording the vocals and guitars for the 'New Detention' album
in various little studios. Sessions were further interrupted when
drummer Kristen Hopes accidentally put his hand through one studio's
windows trying to open it. 'New Detention' again landed Grinspoon
into the Top 3.
'Thrills Kills and Sunday Pills' saw a change in direction. The
band worked in L.A. with producer Howard Benson (Motorhead, Sepultura)
and deliberately put aside any song that sounded typical Grinspoon,
Benson encouraged the band to keep things simple and concentrate
on the songs in their own right. The result was the 'Poppy-est"
album of Grinspoon's career. They knew that some of their hardcore
fans would initially find the album difficult to accept. The band
was rewarded with another platinum album, and after nine previous
unsuccessful nominations their fist ARIA award, for 'Rock Album
Of The Year'.
Phil Jamieson formed his own record label, Magic Castle and released
an album with his side project The Lost Gospel.
Grinspoon's fifth studio album 'Alibis & Lies' were delayed while
Phil Jamieson was in rehabilitation due to addiction to crystal
methamphetamines. In the end the record took 15 months and 5 studios
to complete. After trying hard to please their record company at
home and internationally with more recent albums, while it was the
final album under their existing contract, this is the album Grinspoon
made for themselves. In the process there was some relationship-mending
as well as music to be made. Phil's personal problems hung over
its creation and then its promotion.
2008, after filling Bill Day Out commitments Phil Jamieson announced
the band was going into hiatus. In August 2008 Grinspoon reassembled
to begin work towards a new album with songs written by band members
in the interim. Through their collective journey the band's personal
lives have spread themselves over four cities in two states: Sydney,
Wauchope, Coffs Harbour and Brisbane. Meetings and discussions are
often conducted over the net, via email. They believe this has ultimately
helped ensure their longevity.