It was with heavy hearts, and a little bit of vitriol, that one of Australia’s best musical acts announced that they would be breaking up just last month. Sadly, Bluejuice have called it quits, after publishing a hilarious ‘eulogy’ on Facebook, farewelling a “band of misfits who played music the same way they walked their dogs: angrily screaming, naked, and smelling very obviously of Jameson’s.”  This powerhouse ensemble won’t be leaving quietly though, and long term fans wouldn’t expect anything less. GEORGIA HEIGHWAY speaks to charismatic frontman Stavros Yiannoukas about their upcoming tour, and greatest hits album, both which are aptly named “Retrospectable.”

 

“Just quit, quit and all will go well,” jokes Stav as he ponders the fact that shows for the Retrospectable tour had sold out within a day. “I mean, I would be lying if I thought they wouldn’t sell well, but 24 hours is just mental.” It will be a bittersweet moment when long term fans attend the final tour, as they lament the loss of the skittish ensemble who bring a certain sense of grandeur to their obscenity-filled performances. Bluejuice are a band that left their catchy and often acerbic lyrics swirling around our heads for weeks at a time, and continue to remain a completely unique entity in Australia’s music scene.

Avid fans of Bluejuice will remember when the act first secured a place in Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2007, after releasing hit single ‘Vitriol’. “Probably my fondest memory is getting into Triple J’s Hottest 100 for the first time,” says Stav. “Even though ‘Broken Leg’ ranked higher at number 5, losing one’s Hottest 100 virginity was an amazing feeling.” In the same year it was released, ‘Vitriol’ also won ‘best clip’ at the Sunscreen Video Awards. The film portrayed the outfit dressed uniformly in white robes as they took to Sydney’s Pitt Street to recruit innocent bystanders into ‘The Cult of the Big Fish’. Bluejuice brought this kind of wild fervour to all of their performances, and were rewarded with a steady fan base who came in droves to witness such frivolity up-close and personal.

It was later on in 2009 that Bluejuice’s hit tune ‘Broken Leg’ exploded onto the radio, and was voted number one in Rage’s ‘FIFTY’ film clips of the year. This was a video that involved Jake and Stav taking on the roles of “Spiradon ‘Mr Invisible’ Savvas”, and “Arthur ‘Venom’ Penington”, to take on Shimmer Extreme in the World Champion Skipping competition. Spiradon Savvas “was a rich character indeed”, laughs Stav. A catchy drumbeat, strong vocals and funky keyboard made ‘Broken Leg’ an instant hit as the band progressed to become an unstoppable live force. A string of memorable singles like ‘S.O.S’, ‘Act Yr Age’ and ‘Work’ also proved that they were no one-hit-wonders. This makes us question, how could they ever have decided to hang up the skipping ropes once and for all?

“If I can’t get away, I’ll Go Crazy,” is the catchy chorus that kicks off this band’s latest single, and will be the first track on the upcoming album, Retrospectable. ‘I’ll Go Crazy’ hints of a band that is reaching the end of its tether, and the lyrics of which were written in a minuscule time frame. “Jake and Alex from Sparkadia wrote the song in 15 minutes – it was pushed like some sort of desperate diuretic shit that needed to come out,” says Stav. This is surprising, because it’s actually pretty great. The tune was produced by Dan Hume of Sticky Fingers/Alpine, and the film-clip contains some of the greatest bits of the Bluejuice’s career, including Stav’s favourite clip to make, the sky-dive scene from ‘The Reductionist.’

The album will consist of the “songs that are most noteworthy,” as well as three new singles. “We’ve [also] added some songs that didn’t really get the attention that maybe they should have the first time around,” says Stav. In the spirit of retrospect, I had to ask how a band like Bluejuice could ever have come about: it was 2001 where Stav witnessed the birth of an instrumental band that was playing shows at “a horrible pub known as the Three Wise Monkeys.” Jake and Stav were to become the lead singers in this project, but it was all in good fun and wasn’t taken very seriously at first. “It didn’t intend to become an actual band [but they] had us there for 4 months until we decided to ask for money.” After that, the ensemble played for 5 more weeks until they were kicked out. “Our throne was usurped by a Neil Diamond cover band!”

From the humble origins of The Three Wise Monkeys, to Australia’s biggest festivals, the hard work of this excellent band has certainly paid off. “There definitely have been super high-highs and super low-lows…and it was a fun ride,” says Stav, “not all shits and gigs but.” The gig that Bluejuice are most looking forward to is their final one – set for Sydney’s Metro Theatre on the October 26. “We are Sydney boys [and] Broken Leg was filmed there … the vibe is always incredible.”

Bluejuice have been cult leaders, skipping champions, Douche Busters, participants of a shotgun wedding and so much more. Fans will simply remember them as an eccentric bunch of dudes who laughed in the face of mediocrity, and never did things in half measures.

 

Retrospectable is due for release on September 19. Limited tickets are available for Bluejuice’s second show at the Metro Theatre on Sunday, October 26. More info and tix, here.