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Australian punk/grunge/funk 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 1995 on jam night at the main hotel in Lismore, the major town in the area. They decided to form a band specifically to enter a national competition looking to unearth new music. The contest was the first of its kind being run by the government-funded national youth radio network, Triple J. 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. On the back of their Triple J success Grinspoon began touring and recorded a self financed five track CD "Licker Bottle Cozy" in July 1996. They were then signed to MCA 's Australian subsidiary Grunge, recording another EP before the September 97 release of the band's first album Guide To Better Living, named after a Sunbeam booklet of whitegoods from the 60's. They insisted on recording their album locally in Byron Bay rather than heading for a big city studio. The album reached #3, spent 26 weeks on the national charts, achieved double platinum status, and generating a number of hit singles. After extensively supporting the American release of Guide To Better Living with live performances, the band re-entered the studios in Sydney with expatriate American producer Jonathan Burnside (Nirvana, Melvins) to record the second album Easy, released in November 1999. The group's style is variously described as Helmet meets Bush, or going from Helter Skelter type Beatles and Radio Birdman, to Fugazi and Ween.
© Ed Nimmervoll /TiVo
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