David McCormack

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A prolific and quirky icon of Australian indie pop, David McCormack is best known for fronting Brisbane band Custard throughout the '90s, a significant enough group to have its own dedicated fanzine called…
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A prolific and quirky icon of Australian indie pop, David McCormack is best known for fronting Brisbane band Custard throughout the '90s, a significant enough group to have its own dedicated fanzine called Cuszine International. As well as innumerable side projects with the lifespan of exotic butterflies, he spent the time following Custard's breakup performing as a member of the Titanics and later as a solo performer with a backing band called the Polaroids. His famous stage persona is self-deprecating, scruffily charming, and both boyish and world-weary. McCormack's first band, formed in 1985, was called Who's Gerald? Rumor has it they were named after Gerald Casale of Devo, an obvious influence on their discordant pop music and the shouted slogans of their choruses. The lineup of Who's Gerald? included Paul Medew, who would go on to join McCormack as a member of several of his other bands. In 1990, the year after Who's Gerald? dissolved, McCormack formed Custard -- called Custard Gun in their earliest appearances -- and they had a solid ten-year run lurking at the edges of the alternative rock explosion. McCormack claimed in interviews that they were a singles band, restricted by the need to fill a CD with songs. Despite that, they released five albums including their best-of, Goodbye Cruel World, and supported Frank Black, the Presidents of the United States of America, and Crowded House at their 1996 farewell concert.

During his time with Custard, McCormack maintained numerous side projects with various friends of his. These included Adults Today, whose song "Music Is Crap" was later recorded as a single by Custard; Computor, an electronic act; COW, which stood for Country or Western; Calf, an acoustic side project of COW that was therefore a side project of a side project; Frank 'n' Stein, which also featured his brother Dylan McCormack, who would join him again as a member of the Polaroids; and Miami, which also featured Paul Medew and survived long enough to release two albums. He was also a member of the backing band for Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens on his Warm Nights album. McCormack went straight from the end of Custard in 2000 to the beginnings of his next band, the Titanics, which included his wife, Emma Tom. They released two albums that same year before breaking up the next. In 2001 McCormack independently released his first solo album, Matterhorn, an electronic and partly instrumental affair. It was written and recorded during his tenure with the Titanics, but considered too experimental for them.

Continuing his solo stylings with the addition of a backing band in the Polaroids (consisting of Dylan McCormack on bass, Andrew Lancaster on guitar, Cameron Bruce on keyboards, and Shane Melder on drums), the album Candy was also independently released in 2001. It was a return to the guitar pop he was most famous for. In 2002 he composed a film score for Alex Proyas' Garage Days and in 2003 he scored bandmate Andrew Lancaster's short film Syntax Error. In 2004 The Truth About Love was released on Laughing Outlaw Records. It received overwhelmingly positive reviews for its extreme variation in styles and cynically humorous ballads like "If You Leave Me (I Will Hunt You Down and Kill You)." In 2006 McCormack composed his second feature-length film score for Daniel Krige's West and was chosen to helm a tribute concert dedicated to the late Grant McLennan of the Go-Betweens. The concert was so popular that in 2007 national radio station JJJ recorded a studio album of the tribute titled Write Your Adventures Down. Also in 2007, McCormack started another of his side projects. The Millionaires are a country band containing McCormack and members of Karma County and the Cruel Sea. In the years following the end of Custard he has also performed gigs minus a backing band, playing songs from across his long and varied career.