Formed in 1991, the Grumpy Justins were an Australian
alternative rockgroup based in Sydney. They were an early Australian response to bands that made up the grunge musictrend in the USA. The early lineup of the band was primarily made up of former students of Bass High, a progressive high school in their home suburb. Most of the members met in music class and were generally dissatisfied with a lot of the hair metalbands such as Skid Row and Bon Jovithat were dominating the music charts in the late 1980s. This disillusionment was common amongst much of the youth in the working class suburbs of Australia and often led to violence as the fans of "Hair metal" often fought with the fans of skate punkbands such as the Dead Kennedys, which were experiencing a popular resurgence in the area.
The band spent their first couple of years finalising their lineup, purchasing decent instruments, recording demos in the primitive facilities of the local
Jacaranda77studios, and practicing for future tours.
The bands first break came when they were given a weeks residency at the
Suttos Club. For the first time the band was able to perform their songs to an audience that consisted of more than family and friends. This series of concerts also led to the band meeting a scout from the DKrecord label and talks began with the label about a possible future for the performers.
First recording contract
The Grumpy Justins were signed up by the DK label in December 1991 and released their first album, "Slurry" in February 1992. The DK label expressed no interest in releasing any singles from the album. It is also rumoured that the record label also tried to place creative pressure on the band, suggesting different directions for the music as well as the introduction of several female band members. Aware of their status as a "
Mans band", the Grumpy Justins tried to resist this influence, creating tension between themselves and the DK label.
Due to extremely poor sales they were dropped by the record label in May 1992 and continued on as an independent band from that point.
Internal friction in the band became a major problem after they were dropped by the DK label. Herr Frits was beginning to exhibit increasing signs of paranoia and malice (this paranoia was especially evident if he believed that anybody was trying to "touch his face"), and a new member, P-Boy Maccas was clearly starting to grapple with the issues of his own sexuality and sanity. Herr Frits also was creating tensions in the band by wanting to include more songs about
devil worship, cannibalismand human sacrificeas well as the general lack of Vestal Virginsresiding in the local area in future albums. Herr Frits was quickly dropped before his mental health issues became similar to those of Syd Barretof Pink Floyd. Herr Frits continued on with a brief solo career but soon left the music industry to pursue a " normal family life". P-Boy was put on a probation status in the band but was soon dropped as well as he demonstrated that he was not serious about the band by not turning up to concerts and recording sessions.
The Mushroom years
After touring in late 1992 and 1993, the streamlined version of the band made a second attempt to become part of a major record label. It was a time when the popularity of Australian rock acts such as John Williamson,
John Farnhamand Spiderbaitwas starting to make the Australian music scene much more competitive. Most local record labels were eager to sign new bands, in a process that was similar to that which had taken place in America as a result of the Seattle Sound. As a result of auditions with Mushroom Recordsin July 1993 there was a larger scale re-release of a newly recorded version of the Grumpy Justins albums title song, Slurry as a single. The newly recorded version included all of the original profanitiesthat the band had always wished to include in the song. Sales proved to be stronger this time but the single failed to make the ARIA charts. [ [http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-year-charts-top-50-singles-1993.htm ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 50 Singles 1993 ] ]
The band was given a final chance by Mushroom Records and were permitted to re-release their album on the label. It included some new songs and "lyrically pure" versions of their original tracks. Production on the album had begun when one of the labels executives became aware of the content of the album that the label was about to release and he had work halted.
Once again, the band was pressured by their record label to compromise their musical vision and band membership in the same way that many other acts had been pressured to with
Killing Heidibeing an excellent example. The pressure included censorship of the album's content and having session players recording parts of songs. The Grumpy Justins decided to remain pure to their original vision and refused to accept such changes.
The bands association with Mushroom Records then came to an end. Since 1993, the band has made regular tours on the Australian
pub rockcircuit and have achieved a modest fan following.
Life After Death & "Slap Happy Junkers"
In the late 1990s, the band members decided that Herr Frits had been on the right track with his proposed musical direction for the band. In 1999, the band disassociated itself with many of its past ideals (and fans) and decided to adopt
Satanas their lord and master. Devil worship became common with most of the band members and future recordings, it was decided, would help promote the Church of Satan.
The Grumpy Justins have also been recording, as of|2006, a new album, tentatively titled "Slap-Happy Junkers". Only a few samples of demo tracks have been released on the band's MySpace page and no release date or publisher has been announced for the album. The new tracks suggest that the band is going to adopt a more
industrial musicsound as opposed to the original Grunge that was the early influence of the band.
The Grumpy Justins often tour with the band
Inebriate, another Australian rock band to emerge from the same background.
Band members (Current lineup)
*Sticks Hutton - Lead guitar
*Drew Morro - Keyboards, vocals
*Richard Engineer - Bass, vocals, writer.
*Bob Morro - Drums, vocals
*Col Tyso - Manager
*Herr Frits - rhythm guitar
*P-boy Maccas - Turntable DJ
#"Intro" - 0.33
#"Slurry (Slut in a Hurry) - 2.39
#"Hey Bro!" - 2.04
#"Jacaranda Blues" - 2.35
#"Drive In" - 2.14
#"Down at the Lake" - 2.59
#"True to the Spirit of Bass" - 3.00
#"Outro" - 0.41
#"Reprise" - 0.32
#"The Good Acre" - 1.30
#"Maths Period" - 6.57
#"Lets go to the Plaza" - 1.15
#"Hangin' at Bogabilla"
#"Life Sucks *" - 0.15
"*" Hidden track
* [http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=212660619 Grumpy Justins on MySpace]
The MySpace page includes some demos of songs from the new Grumpy Justins album
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