Molly said the tracks (obviously) needed more work so the recordings were taken to Madrigal studios in North Sydney and dubbed-up to a 16 track where additional vocals and instruments were added by Paul Dengate, Jim Marjoram and Ken Handley. That new improved version was then played to Molly during one of Samantha's interviews with him the next year and - he didn't really like it. So, of course this only inspired Jay to do more, so he chose the band name Social Comment and pressed 500 singles on vinyl and distributed them himself. It was played quite a lot on the original 2JJ by Pam Swain who loved it, but nothing came of it. You can explore the story of that single on the Social Comment Facebook Page.
In the early 80's, as an Australian studio artist, Jay wrote and recorded a collection of catchy, quirky Pop songs that, despite a lot of interest from industry people, was never signed and were never 'released', until now.
Jay played most of the instruments - kit drums and DMX drum machine programming, percussion, acoustic and some electric rhythm guitar, piano and synthesisers, lead vocal and backing vocals, engineering and production with help from Paul Dengate on Electric Guitar, occasional Bass and some backing vocals, and Ken Handley on fretless Bass. Ken was Paul's Bass player at the time.
The Crazoids was a Pop vehicle for all the social comment and vaudevillian songs written from 1980 to 1983 by Jay (Japetus) before he embarked on his 14 year ambient music journey. Songs written after his spiritual shift in 1983 tended to be more inspired and cosmic and those are currently being recorded for release. Some of these songs can be heard on Triple J Unearthed as demo tracks.
All of the songs on The Crazoids - Real World album run like a social commentary about living right in the middle of the millennial shift at the end of the twentieth century with humanity coming to a frenetic crescendo. They are snapshots of different aspects of modern 80's life looked at with a sense of fun, humour and irony. Obviously, now post-internet, many are a bit out of date with terms like "megabytes" instead of "terabytes", "floppy disks" instead of "hard drives", "10k watches" instead of "10 gig watches" and "laser discs" instead of "blue-ray discs", but when listened to from the perspective of 1980, before PCs and the internet, they are actually quite futuristic and visionary. Some still are - we're not living on the moon, yet!
Influences are many and various but the main impact came from Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues as far as message is concerned and the Pop influence came from Elton John, Bowie, Cat Stevens, Duran Duran, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Peter Gabriel. Aussie influences really came from Skyhooks with their ability to write Pop that was tongue-in-cheek as well as social comment, plus Mi-sex and The Angels. Of course The Beatles were part of growing up through the 60's and 70's. Other inspiration for the lyric content came while Jay worked as an audio technician and producer in a local audio/visual office while setting up the studio. Yes, that's the last time he wore a tie- 1982!
An important influence to mention, other than various mind-altering experiences, is the book Intelligence Agents by Timothy Leary. It was the first real opening-up for Jay as a young adult and it had a big impact on many of his lyrics and songs and the way he approached life at that time. Jay actually sent some songs to Tim Leary requesting (and receiving!) permission to reprint anything from the book Intelligence Agents and Tim wrote back "I wonder why you are fusing your sounds and ideas with others. Harmony with others, being in tune. Fusion is the only way to increase intelligence beyond the scope of your own neurology. Best of luck." (Click image to open bigger in a new window)
It should be briefly mentioned that Jay, Paul and Samantha all met at a vegetarian restaurant called And Now For Something Completely Different in Chatswood in 1977. This restaurant and venue had live music 6 nights a week and was a meeting place and melting pot for many of Sydney's (and Australia's!) leading up-and-coming musicians. Jay worked as a waiter, cook and then manager and Paul performed and did live mixing for other musicians. Jay actually played drums in Paul's band Elements for 6 weeks when his new drummer was delayed in Melbourne. Jay already knew all the songs and coloured his hair bright pine-lime green for the gigs.
Between 1980-1983, Jay wrote over 40 songs (some while at work) and recorded at least half of them and sent them to every single record label in the world. There was some interest from music Publishers here in Australia, including from Air Supply's backers and The Hoodoo Gurus management and a deal was nearly struck twice but there was hesitation that there was no band to perform live. Even in the early 80's, with Countdown having a huge following, the music industry itself (particularly in Australia) was still stuck in the old paradigm and had not made the switch over to the idea of a 'studio band'.
This lack of interest was strange, because Jay had signed a management deal with Samantha's boss, Anthony O'Grady (founding Editor of RAM), and Anthony actually went on Donnie Sutherland's 'Sound Unlimited' late-night TV music show and described Jay as "the best thing since David Bowie and sliced bread!" Anthony was a great help for unlocking doors to management, publishers and some record labels but none of them understood what to do with a studio band at that time.
Jay grew up mesmerised by bands like Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues and heard artists like Dylan too speaking about controversial social issues and he could not understand why Roger Waters could sell millions of albums doing that and he couldn't even get a record deal. Obviously, not playing live was a factor but at that time there were already studio bands like Tears For Fears and The Thompson Twins making big inroads overseas.
And so, with 3 years constantly approaching labels, eventually Jay's early songs were shelved and after a deep spiritual transformation in 1983, Jay moved on to pursue his new passion with inspired, lyric-less, ambient, new age music and turned the studio in Willoughby into more of an inter-dimensional temple where he spent 1983-1992 creating music for inner space, meditation and healing as Japetus. He used the new synthesisers and samplers he had acquired to make the Pop demo tracks over the previous 3 years, taking his skill at synthesis to whole new realms, literally.
But the songs did keep coming behind the ambient scene. They changed from angry, young social commentaries and matured into deeper, channelled, spiritual perspectives about transforming life and humanity and contacting the greater universe.
The whole idea these days of just giving away your music on Triple J Unearthed brings great creative satisfaction and, because these earlier demo tracks may never be re-recorded, that might just be their final public resting place, along with this site. In this new digital millennium, copyright is basically dying anyhow and files are shared easily and endlessly... so why not just give it away!?
The Crazoids do not and have not ever performed live, although if the songs were to develop a following and be played on Triple J then I'm sure something could be arrange. Maybe some videos could be arranged on YouTube of Jay playing them 'unplugged' - live and acoustically?
Please enjoy listening to this 66 minutes of glorious analogue Pop demo tracks from the early 80's that are presented here as much as an historical documentation - and who knows, maybe some astute modern-day record executive will hear them finally have a vision for them!
Michael McMartin - Manager of The Hoodoo Gurus who gave great encouragement and actually paid attention
Bob Aird - the only music Publisher who actually gave serious consideration and feedback about the songs
Harry and Mary RIP - older next door neighbours who put up with the noise (at all hours sometimes) and who are immortalised in the song Consumer)
The Crazoids is a Japetus project
© Copyright Japetus 1980 - 2016
All music, video, artwork and lyrics by Japetus on this site are copyright protected
and may not be reproduced in any way without the written permission of the artist.
To make arrangements to license these musical and written works contact Jay