The Brothers Grim And The Blue Murders

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The Brothers Grim And The Blue Murders


It’s been a busy 12 months for Brothers Grim And The Blue Murders after the release of the band’s debut album, Year To Forget. “Since the album came out we hit touring pretty solidly,” Grim says. “We were basically playing four days a week, then we hit the festival circuit, then we made the video clip, and then we had a lineup change.” The search for a new bass player took them all the way to Newcastle to find someone not only sufficiently talented to take on double bass duties, but able to commit to the Brothers Grim’s arduous schedule. “There’s plenty of great bass players in Melbourne, but they’re all in four or five bands,” Grim says. “We’d known this guy for a while, so we played him our hardest song and he came out with the best riff we could ever imagine. So we told him he had to move to Melbourne to be with the band.”

It was in the aftermath of the Brothers Grim’s gruelling touring schedule that James Grim says the band learned a valuable lesson. “We’ve learnt that we’ve got to look after ourselves,” Grim says. “We’ve got quite a reputation as a party band, so we’ll turn up somewhere and someone will put six bottles of whisky on the table and say, ‘We’ve heard about you guys’.”

Living off the fat of cult music success is one thing; self-preservation is another. “We got to the point where we probably could have killed ourselves with our party regime,” Grim says. “So we took three months off, and went back to just me and my brother on guitar and a drummer, just playing music. We now know we have to balance what we’re doing.”

During the band’s downtime from performing the Brothers Grim enlisted a film-maker friend to shoot a video for the Brothers Grim’s latest single, On The Meter. Shot in the back of a taxi driving around the streets of Fitzroy, the video centres on the efforts of debauched passengers to distract James Grim. What James describes as the ‘PG, ABC version’ has been uploaded onto YouTube; apparently, another more graphic and salacious version exists in the band’s personal vault. “The whole song is about having sex in the back of a cab, or trying not to have sex actually,” Grim says. “So the idea for the video was to put me in the back of the cab, and get all our friends really drunk and get them to try and distract me. The uncut version is even better, and has me getting my clothes all ripped off,” he laughs.

With the video out of the way, it was time for the Brothers Grim to focus on writing songs for the band’s next album. “We’re about half-way through that process – we just want to write and write and write, and not be thinking about it – that’s the head space we want to be in” Grim says. While the touring life has its moments of inspiration, as a general rule the Brothers Grim aren’t in a writing mood after an intense session on stage. “The thought of picking up a guitar the day after playing a gig and having had no sleep isn’t that attractive!” Grim laughs. 

James Grim’s own growling, prowling Delta-blues banshee performance style reflects his view of the significance of performance for any band. “I think I’d probably have to psych myself up if I didn’t want to perform – I really have to work at suppressing my ADHD on-stage personality!,” he laughs. “That 45 minutes to hour and a half that you spend on stage is the whole purpose you’re in a band – not the three hours you spend driving, or the two weeks in the studio.”

Apart from finishing the band’s next record, James Grim can’t identify any particular career aspirations for the Brothers Grim And The Blue Murders. In fact, Grim reckons they’ve hit subjective success already. “To be honest, I’m living my career aspiration right now,” Grim says. “I was in Newcastle recently, sitting on the beach with a friend, staring out into the ocean, and I thought, ‘This is exactly what I want to do’: touring the country, meeting beautiful people, playing music. To me, that’s success. We realised a long time ago that this is what we’re about – you basically give up your lives to play music, and to put everything into your art, and that’s a beautiful thing,” he says.  “Right now, we’re enjoying the wave, and we’re in a stronger place than we’ve ever been.”