Custard is an Australian group combining the intelligent pop of Pavement and the Pixies with the humor of Violent Femmes or Ween.
They were formed in Brisbane in 1989 as Custard Gun. David McCormack played guitar and sang, with Shane Bruun on drums, James Straker played the lead guitar for one or two gigs and Paul Medew played bass guitar. It was this lineup that recorded the group's first single, "Rockfish Anna." When Straker left at the start of 1990, Custard came into being. After winning The Australian Academy of Music's Encouragement Award in 1991, Custard expanded its lineup to include bank teller Matthew Strong on lead guitar. Strong enabled the release of "Rockfish Anna," on vinyl. He was prepared to pay a third of the single's manufacturing costs.
Custard used the Encouragement Award's prize of $500 recording time to put down about 13 songs in eight hours, most of which comprise Buttercup/Bedford, the band's first album. The dual title refers to the fact that some of the artwork calls the album "Buttercup" while the rest calls it "Bedford." The CD was held up eight months in manufacture, lost somewhere in Canada. In the meantime, after a handful of tours to Sydney and Melbourne, Custard secured a recording deal with new label RA, a subsidiary of rooArt, the ambitious label set up by Inxs manager Chris Murphy to showcase Australian music internationally. On the way, drummer Shane Bruun was replaced by Gavin Herrenburg.
RA wanted to release an EP. Custard insisted on "Bedford" being used from the "Buttercup" sessions, and, therefore, Gastanked, Custard 's debut RA EP, consists of one pre-record company track and five new tracks. Next, Custard recorded another EP and once again misplaced a drummer. Danny Plant replaced Herrenburg.
Custard 's debut album for RA, Wahooti Fandango, was recorded in Brisbane's Sunshine Studios where the Go-Betweens had recorded. Custard's David McCormack and Glenn Thompson had recently finished working an album with ex-Go-Between Robert Forster at Sunshine called Calling From a Country Phone.
When Frank Black toured Australia in 1994, Custard secured the support slot and made friends with Eric Drew Feldman who was playing bass and had produced the two Frank Black solo albums. Feldman liked the band and agreed to produce an album. Weisenheimer was produced in San Francisco and spawned the single "Apartment," one of the most popular Australian independent songs of 1995.
With yet another new drummer, Glenn Thompson, Custard toured America with Redd Kross and the Presidents of the United States of America, finding time at the end of the tour to record a new album, We Have the Technology, in Memphis and San Francisco, once again produced by Feldman. This became a turning point of the band. A gruelling touring schedule and homesickness killed Custard's desire to be a "huge" band and destroyed almost all the personal and business relationships within and around the band.
In October of 1988, Custard regrouped from all the different corners of Australia they had retired to and recorded Lovearama with Australian producer Magoo (Regurgitator). The album's 14 songs span just 42 minutes and added a tongue-in-cheek "disco" approach to the normal Custard hook-laden madness. Despite the band's refusal to tour for six months, the single from the album, "Girls Like That (Don't Go for Guys Like Us)," almost became the hit Custard had always threatened to have.
In mid-2000, facing a record contract renewal, Custard decided to call it a day instead and put together a compilation of their career on record, Goodbye Cruel World. Singer David McCormack, the man mainly responsible for Custard's songs and style, formed a new group, the Titanics, an extension of Custard and all the solo performances and side projects he indulged in throughout the Custard years. ~ Ed Nimmervoll