Custard is an Australian indie rock band. The band formed in Brisbane in 1990 as Custard Gun with David McCormack (vocals, guitar), James Straker (guitar) Paul Medew (bass) and Shane Brunn (drums). Matthew Strong soon replaced Straker, while Brunn was replaced by Danny Plant, who was in turn replaced by Glenn Thompson. The band is known for its often humorous lyrics, which are sometimes cryptic and sometimes literal. Musically, their formative influences include Pavement, Jonathan Richman and The Go-Betweens. Along with Regurgitator and the massively successful Powderfinger, they formed the crux of the much-lauded Brisbane music scene of the mid to late 90s.
The band had a commercial breakthrough in 1995 with "Apartment", the first single from Wisenheimer, which became a radio hit on Australia's national broadcaster Triple J. The song ended up #7 on the station's annual Hottest 100; at the time, this was the best placing by an Australian artist, but the balance has shifted considerably in Australians' favor since. In 1997, Custard released We Have the Technology, which spawned three singles that were similarly popular on Triple J, but commercial success eluded the band until 1999's Loverama. The album's lead single "Girls Like That (Don't Go for Guys Like Us)" was a minor chart hit, placed #3 in the Hottest 100 and the video won an ARIA award.
The band broke up in 2000, after which three of its former members formed short-lived bands of their own. David McCormack formed The Titanics with Glenn Thompson and his (David's) then wife Emma Tom (now Emma Jane) and Tina Havelock-Stevens. The Titanics released two albums in 2000 and broke up in 2002. Matthew Strong formed The Boat Show with former Regurgitator drummer Martin Lee and released a single EP. The Titanics' sound was similar to that of Custard, while The Boat Show played a harder brand of alternative rock. McCormack went on to release five albums under his own name and as David McCormack & The Polaroids.
The band reunited for the occasional show between 2009 and 2012 before releasing its first album in 16 years, Come Back, All is Forgiven in 2015.
David McCormack currently voices Bandit in Bluey (2018).
- Buttercup/Bedford (1991)
- Gastanked EP (1992)
- Brisbane EP (1993)
- Wahooti Fandango (1994)
- Wisenheimer (1995)
- We Have the Technology (1997)
- Loverama (1999)
- Come Back, All is Forgiven (2015)
- The Common Touch (2017)
- The Band (Live in The Basement) (2018) note
- Respect All Lifeforms (2020)
Tropes present in the band's work include:
- Alliterative Title:
- "Bye Bye Birdie"
- "Sunset Strip"
- "Scared of Skill"
- "Memory Man".
- Bilingual Bonus: The first pressing of Loverama included a bonus disc called Custaro Musico with song titles and liner notes in Spanish, but the lyrics are in English.
- Cover Version:
- Just one album track in the initial phase of their career, a slow take on the Beck b-side "Totally Confused".
- 2020's ''Respect All Lifeforms" has a cover of Camper Van Beethoven's "Take the Skinheads Bowling".
- Did Not Get the Girl: "Girls Like That (Don't Go for Guys Like Us)".
- Epic Rocking: Buttercup/Bedford's six-and-a-half minute closer "I Live By the River" wasn't beaten for length until the nearly eight minute "Get In Your Car" from their 2015 comeback album. None of their other songs are even close.
- Eye Scream: A figurative one in "Ringo (I Feel Like)" (hopefully): "I feel like Ringo, and it's ripping my eyes out."
- Long Title: "The Synthesiser is Rapidly Overtaking the Guitar as the Most Popular Instrument in the World", "Eight Years of Rock and Roll Has Completely Destroyed My Memory".
- Miniscule Rocking: "The Golden Age of Nicotine" and "Cut Lunch" are around 40 seconds long, the aptly named "Short Pop Song" is 1:14 and "If You Would Like To" is exactly one minute.
- Non-Appearing Title: Most of Wahooti Fandango and about half of Wisenheimer as well as "Very Biased", "Sinatra Theory", "The Drum", "Eight Years of Rock and Roll Has Completely Destroyed My Memory", "Pluto (Pts 1 & 2)", and "Kinder Whore".
- Non-Indicative Name: It's unlikely that "Pluto (Pts 1 & 2)" was ever two songs, as it's under 3 minutes in length, has a standard verse-chorus structure and there's no obvious point at which one "part" ends and the other begins.
- "My Name is Paul Medew", a live improv track on the Brisbane EP, is actually sung by McCormack.
- Running Gag: Fans mistaking the "D" in the band's signature typeface for an "O", led the band to occasionally credit themselves as Custaro, such as on the Loverama bonus EP Custaro Musico and the surface of the We Have the Technology CD. Post-comeback, they chose "custar0" as their Instagram handle.
- Shout-Out: "Singlette" includes shout outs to Jim Henson and James Straker's post-Custard band The Melniks.
- "Girls Like That (Don't Go for Guys Like Us)" namechecks Julio Inglesias.
- "Ringo (I Feel Like)" is self-explanatory.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Glenn Thompson for "Piece of Shit", "Music is Crap", "The Truth About Drugs", "Genius", "Warren Rd" and "Contemporary Art" and Paul Medew for "The Drum".
- Take That!: This generally wasn't a feature of their earlier work, but their comeback album has a couple of examples:
- "Contemporary Art": "You want something you can hang on your wall? I only do things that are, like, ten feet tall".
- "Queensland University" takes a swipe at The Voice Australia's Ricki Lee Coulter, claiming she is "not an authority".