Grinspoon are an Australian post-grunge band from Lismore, 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 the nu metal movement in their early career, including the bands Helmet and Prong, 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 album New Detention at which point they lost many original fans, while gaining fans in the mainstream pop music market. Lyrically, the band are very cryptic and disjointed, most lines from their songs not relating to the next, and songs rarely making sense as a whole. This is attributable to writer Phil Jamieson's tendency to pen short lyrics of only a few lines each, and then tying these together into a song, resulting in 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.
The band has had limited success in the United States, most notably for the songs "Champion", which featured in Gran Turismo 3, "Post Enebriated Anxiety", which was on the international version of Guide to Better Living, "Chemical Heart", via the internet, and a cover of the Prong song "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck", originally from their "Pushing Buttons" EP, which was included on ECW: Extreme Music.
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, Grinspoon also known as the Green Album, 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 Album, Guide to Better Living, the album that best represents the sound and variety of their early career. 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 including the addition of a hidden acoustic track 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 in 1999 featuring songs like "Ready 1" and "Rock Show" which went platinum.
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 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. Having said that, the band still performs a significant amount of older tracks in their live shows.
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.
The band has recently completed a new studio album, Alibis & Other Lies, their final album for Universal. The album was co-produced by the band and Ramesh Sathiah, who worked with the band on their earliest recordings. The first single from the album, "Black Tattoo", has been released as a digital download on 23 June, 2007 and on CD on 30 June, 2007. The album was released in Australia by Universal on the 21st of July. It debuted in the ARIA Charts at number two on 29 July 2007, their highest chart position since New Detention in 2002.
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.
Grinspoon released a 2-disc best-of compilation entitled Best in Show. The first disc featured all of their hits, and several of their older classic songs, like "Champion", which the success of, and popularity, landed the song on Gran Turismo 3. The second disc is a bonus which includes a collection of covers recorded over the years.
Grinspoon built a strong local following after their rise, they were regulars at Australian music festivals. On 26 March 2006, Grinspoon performed "Hard Act To Follow" and "Better Off Alone" at the 2006 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony in Melbourne. Grinspoon headlined the inaugural "Thank God It's Over" in Melbourne and then at "BOBFest '06" in South Australia in October. They also headlined the first ever Odyssey 2006 at Dreamworld for New Year's Eve.
In February 2007, Phil Jamieson admitted himself to rehab due to addiction to crystal methamphetamine. In an interview with Andrew Denton on Enough Rope in July 2007 Jamieson discussed how the drugs had led him to have an affair and steal money from his bandmates as well as his detox experience and rehabilitation. He said that he is still recovering emotionally and is not sure how others should now take him because he might seem more boring.
Jamieson on stage on
On 14 July 2007, Grinspoon's final Universal album, Alibis & Other Lies, was released, showing a change of style for the band. Their albums before this were pop-oriented rock, while Easy and Alibis & Other Lies were more rock. Recently, in the United States, all of the Grinspoon LPs have been released on iTunes other online music stores. The first ones were Guide To Better Living, Best In Show, Thrills, Kills, and Sunday Pills, and New Detention. Easy and Alibis & Other Lies didn't come until 31 October 2007.
On 5 February, 2008, Phil Jamieson announced via the band's official website that Grinspoon were on a hiatus following their appearance at the Big Day Out. It was unknown how long until the band planned on returning to the studio or if they would record again, until Phil changed his mind and booked more Grinspoon shows.
Grinspoon also headlined the gravity-fuelled festival Newton's Playground, held atop Bathurst's famous Mount Panorama in March 2008. Their song 'Lost Control' was also the song associated with the festival, as it was played in advertisements for the festival as well as the Newton's Playground Bebo page.
On 1 May 2008, Grinspoon announced that they would be completing a couple more shows before beginning to write a new album. On 18 August 2008 it was announced that Grinspoon will be headlining Macquarie University's Conception Day festival, alongside Butterfingers, on 19 September 2008. It has also been announced they will headline the University of Canberra's annual 'Stonefest' alongside The Dandy Warhols on the weekend of 31 October/1 November 2008 as well as headlining the inauguaral "Open Arms Festival" in Coffs Harbour on 29 November.
In September 2008 it was announced that Grinspoon would contribute a track to a tribute of the Australian band The Easybeats titled "Easy Fever". Grinspoon recorded the track "St. Louis" along with a video that was posted on the Easy Fever myspace site. The band is also set to contribute the track Blind Lead Blind, A B side from Minute by minute that was previously only available on iTunes, to a compilation CD for the Buttery rehabilitation clinic titled "Caution: Life Ahead" that will see other Australian bands such as Powderfinger, Midnight Oil and The Living End contribute as well.
Grinspoon have confirmed their spot at 2009's Splendour in the Grass Festival in Byron Bay.
Phil Jamieson will be touring with a super group comprised also of The Living End?s Chris Cheney, You Am I?s Tim Rogers and Josh Pyke with a 17-piece band in August 2009. The group are performing a tribute to one of the true milestones in rock & roll, The Beatles? ?White? album. The group will play almost every song from the album at shows along the East and West Coast.
Six to Midnight
Grinspoon's new album, titled Six to Midnight, was released on 11 September 2009 on the band's imprint Chk Chk Boom Records, distributed by Universal Records. Two tracks, "Dogs" (shown on the album as a preview) and the first single from the album, "Comeback", are confirmed to be on the record. For promotion of the album, the band decided to tour in a more intimate setting than most of their concerts.