BLUEJUICE is a band you loved or hated. When they recently announced they were calling it quits at the end of the year, some fans cried.
Less musically-inclined folk asked: “Who the hell is Bluejuice?”
Since forming 13 years ago, the Sydney quintet have released a couple of EPS, three albums and created a succession of infectious pop rock singles including Broken Leg, Vitriol, Act Yr Age and Head Of The Hawk.
While their live performance was always-in-your-face with outrageous costumes that revealed too much and relentless energy, Bluejuice struggled to translate all those Hottest 100 votes into sales.
Bluejuice may in fact have been just a little ahead of their time.
As they call it a day, Australian pop rock is enjoying a renaissance with bands who trade in singalong melodies played on real instruments from Sheppard to 5 Seconds of Summer hitting the top of the charts.
“I think we fell into a funny period between dance and rock and it’s a shame for this band that as we do our last tour, it will be at the start of a burgeoning change in trends. This is the right time to be a pop rock band,” singer and songwriter Jake Stone says.
Despite disappointment they never became as big as Coldplay, Stone and fellow vocalist Stav Yiannoukas have plenty of good and less good memories to share of the life and times of Bluejuice.
The band accidentally discovered they had achieved that lofty goal of a platinum single with Broken Leg when bassist and keyboardist Jamie Cibej was searching the ARIA website when writing their farewell biography. They were very chuffed, even if their record label refused to buy them one of those commemorative platinum plaques.
“Apparently we are on our way to another gold single as well with Act Yr Age. I think it is because we are such a low selling band, (the label) just didn’t care,” Stone says.
“We are now trying to shame our label into giving us a plaque because I want a platinum plaque for Broken Leg. Which I heard in Coles yesterday.”
Yiannoukas added: “Our manager said we could buy one.”
The band engaged a Melbourne designer Lenko to make most of their skin-tight, lame or fluoro jumpsuits. But their personal favourite was the Yeti outfits which were designed for their performance at Splendour In the Grass in 2010.
“They were the most time-intensive and they looked good under the UV lights being white with fluoro tape. And they had shoulder pads,” Stone says.
“They have lasted but they are not very nice, they are a bit disgusting.”
Bluejuice were booked to open the infamous 2010 ARIA Awards at the Sydney Opera House by performing Broken Leg on the red carpet. It did not go well.
“We asked to soundcheck the song and they said no. We asked if we could check our gear to make sure it all worked and they said no. We asked if we could then use our own sound engineer and they said no,” Stone recalls.
“At that point, we were about to go on and I didn’t want to do it because I knew it was going to sound like s … It was exactly as bad, if not worse, than we had imagined.
“It had been so important to us and we wanted it to be great. I went home and stayed in bed for two days because I was miserable.”
His first arrest was on-stage as he performed at a tsunami benefit in 2005.
“I got arrested for wearing a real police shirt,” he says.
“The other arrest was for using foul language at the Caloundra Family Music Festival. I am always getting arrested for things.”
There have been a couple of near misses when he has chosen to confront fans who appear to be ambivalent about his efforts to entertain them.
“There was one Big Day Out where this girl was texting all through the show. And I chased someone into the crowd while I was wearing a G string for looking bored. Obviously I am a lunatic and an immature child when I am in performance mode.”
BEST TOUR PRANK
Speaking of being immature, Stone copped a punch in the face for a juvenile tour prank.
“Our original drummer Ned was sleeping on a couch and I balanced a container of milk by his ear,” the frontman explained.
“When he woke up, it poured into his ear. And he punched me in the mouth. There’s been lots of punches aimed at this band.”
They didn’t exactly hit the Gangnam Style level of virality but Bluejuice produced some of the funniest and cringe-worthy clips during their career. Act Yr Age, which featured Stone pashing a grandmother remains their most popular with more than 600,000 views.
“I still love Act Yr Age. It was one idea, one joke, that cut through. For me, it is a serious message wrapped up nicely in a joke and I really like that,” Stone says.
Another popular video was the Broken Leg clip which featured Stone and Yiannoukas competing in a skipping rope competition while the Vitriol video was the cheapest, costing them only $ 1200 to make.
Retrospectable is out now
Bluejuice play the Hi-Fi in Brisbane on October 2, Colloangatta Hotel on October 3 Hi-Fi, Melbourne, October 10 and 11 (under 18s only matinee from 12pm), Metro theatre, Sydney, October 24 and 26.