“Musically, Heazlewood leads on guitar, supported solidly by ‘The Awkwardstra’ on bass and drums, who further enhance the cool hipster vibe complete with slick backing vocals, awkward silences and hip costumes. Heazelwood is an incredibly clever writer and he has found a quality comedy niche.”
**** Rip It Up, February 2014.
“He’s uniquely entertaining. It’s a mid-life crisis with a folksy twist. It’s sex with the lights off but then you elbow them in the chest. It’s The Bedroom Philosopher! As he so self-deprecatingly stated, a lot of Heazlewood’s pieces are actually quite sad. This comes through in his song about his Mum’s sponge which has the same kind of melancholy as opening your lunchbox and finding the bananna escaped to the bottom of your bag. Another such beauty was ‘Worst Birthday Ever’, which had some of the most vivid and entertaining characterisation I’ve seen- “The stripper is half in her cake eating KFC”.
Voiceworks, September 2013.
“For as much as The Bedroom Philosopher & His Awkwardstra is about being both a live show and a comedy routine, It’s about YOU being beaten over the head by everything but the kitchen sink and loving every damn minute of it. To explain simply picture The Flight Of The Conchords, only done at ADHD speed: everything from semi acoustic, folk, hip-hop, reggae, punk, thrash, garage rock, fuck it.. an entire A-Z of genre clichés shat out of a blender like it’s a “Mr Bankrupt” ad gone horribly wrong as narrated by Jim Carrey suffering a full-blown nervous breakdown trapped inside the body of John Safran; only that’s just the first song “Musical Clearance Sale.”
Spoz’s Rant, October, 2010.
“His ability to embody characters is out of control they actually seem to be emerging from within him. Seeing him do Irish Girl and imitate his nan for In My Day is something else. He is so quick that you often don’t get it until later when you replay it in your head. It’s like there’s a whole history of comedy here on stage embodied in the one man. And he never falters, at one point calling out to the crowd for his next song. Someone yells out Golden Gaytime and less than a second later he is straight into his anti-ode to this bullying-inducing ice-cream. The man is insane.”
Inpress, December 2010.
“The Bedroom Philosopher turns in a cracking performance at the Bosco; sparklingly funny songs, stage banter that provoked audience responses from chuckles and belly-laughs to “deep growls”, and an increasingly sophisticated musical repertoire combined to form an excellent show. In another country Justin might be the driving force behind a Belle & Sebastian-style indie pop group, which combines humour, delicate pop melodies and sensitivity. Clearly in this country that would make you a bloke of questionable manliness and when one is so gifted with actual wit, fey and foppish abilities as BP, you’d better put yourself out there as a ‘funny guy’. Endearingly sweet, hilarious and occasionally heartbreakingly sad in a glitteringly beautiful way.”
DB Magazine, March 2007.
CAT SHOW (2017)
“Moments that make you howl with laughter arrive through Heazlewood’s half-crazed awkwardness and erratic brilliance. If you appreciate offbeat humour, Heazlewood’s eccentric, wildly unpredictable stage presence may be your catnip.”
*** The Age.
“A chaotic, yet charming return of one of the country’s best proponents of weird comedy.”
*** Time Out.
“Very funny, a little awkward and extremely cat-based.”
“An absurdist rollercoaster.”
**** The Australian Times.
THE BEDROOM PHILOSOPHER’S HIGH SCHOOL ASSEMBLY (2012)
“Some of the gags are so stupid they actually turn the corner back to adolescent awesomeness. It is hormonal, acne-ridden, and cheeky.”
**** The Age.
“It’s ingenuous tone could so easily shatter at the slightest hint of knowing smirk or halfhearted delivery, but throughout dance pieces and poetry readings the illusory assembly felt every bit as amateur and awkward as the real thing. Like Tim and Eric’s ability to harness the awfulness of 80’s TV editing, TBP and his troupe do bad so, so well.”
“Justin Heazlewood took a huge leap of faith in making this theatrical, pretend-amateur show work. The Croxton high class of 2011 final exam results are in, and its distinctions all round people; time to pull your socks up.”
“In what was supposed to be a tongue ‘n cheek jibe at the inconsequential nature of high school arts initiatives like the Rock-Eisteddfod, you are well and truly immersed in Heazelwood’s research into the West’s true role in Afghanistan.”
The Orange Press.
“Yet when he mimes being a cat in his litter tray, any resistance to the BP fades away in a moment of pure, wonderfully realised silliness. Likewise his commercially unviable six-piece backing band, the beautifully named Awkwardstra – open with a spot-on pastiche of every musical genre you can think of.”
Steve Bennett, Chortle.
The Philosopher has a talent for self-deprecation and physical comedy, which left the audience wondering if his antics were part of the act, or just first-night bugs to be ironed out.
His clever lyrics and catchy tunes will keep your feet tapping for the entire hour.
**** Adelaide Advertiser.
At times it’s clever, cynical and bitter (the lyrics of one song are squarely aimed at other members of the comedy scene), at other times sweet and whimsical.
*** 1/2 The Age.
SONGS FROM THE 86 TRAM (2009-2010)
“I implore, nay insist, that you see this quintessentially Melbourne show as soon as you can: it’s as close to perfect a comedy production as I’ve ever seen.”
**** 1/2 Richard Watts, Triple R.
“We’ve previously called the quirkily tweedy Bedroom Philosopher ‘the Jarvis Cocker of stand-up’; and you can almost certainly add elements of The Kinks’ Ray Davies and, almost inevitably, Flight Of the Conchords to the mix.”
Steve Bennett, Chortle.
“Songs from the 86 Tram is drenched with a bring-spare-knickers level of hilarity. This is the most thoughtful, well-conceived show I’ve seen so far, replete with unique observation, heartfelt characters, and extremely skilful musicianship. This performance is ingenious, uproarious, a must-see. I give it my highest rating so far.”
**** 1/2 Rhum.
“As a performer he is so much more comfortable and a much stronger performer from behind the mask of a character….deftly observed, heart-felt and achingly funny. The show has beautiful wordplay, with a novelist’s ability to capture moments of truth through seemingly mundane comments. The show is an undeniable triumph and easily one of the highlights of this year’s festival.”
“There’s a fabulous blend of inspiring musical talent, adroit writing, and some of the best acting talent you’re likely to see at a show of this ilk. Heazlewood has masterful control over his voice and brings to startling life a vast array of characters that get under your skin rather more quickly than you would expect. This is a comedy show with heart. It’s well structured, brilliantly performed, and one of a kind.”
Australian Stage Online.
LIVING ON THE EDGE…OF MY BED (2006)
“A blend of musical comedy and measured theatrics presents a heartbreakingly funny, touchingly awkward and delicately offbeat retrospective of life, love and lego men. In the small and intimate space of the Lithuanian Club’s loft, you’re close enough to the stage to catch every inflection and nervous glance behind his thick coke-bottle bifocals and identify with his self-conscious imperfections as if he were singing your own. Yet the performance never gets bogged down in too much self-criticism, rather it’s kept light and fanciful with a hint of irony.”
“It’s a miracle that this odd juxtaposition of delicate songs and such over-the-top stage antics works at all, given that it demands the B.P. be both modest and a shameless show-off simultaneously. But that it’s such a delightful piece of whimsy is entirely down to his irresistible self-mocking charm. Wonderfully touching, quirkily individual and always unexpected. If you liked Flight of the Conchords then you’ll love this.”
Steve Bennett, Chortle.
“If Bob Dylan had spent his time growing up in Berwick he might have more in common with the Bedroom Philosopher…one of the few comedy festival shows making a genuine attempt to explore the oddness of our age.”
Helen Razor. The Age.
IN BED WITH MY DOONA (2004)
“A new musical comedian for a new generation, Heazlewood’s references are staunchly post-1992, including parodies of Something for Kate and Bjork that had the audience belly-laughing. More than anything, I loved the idea of an indie comedian, constantly brushing his Brit pop revivalist bangs out of his eyes and obviously uncomfortable with himself, although very comfortable with the audience.”
“It’s a predictably unpredictable show, running the knife edge between eccentric genius and total self-annihilation, with the quirky segues into each song at times perhaps a little too disconcerting. A bit like going to a Bjork concert as she pulls at her hair and talks about unicorns – you either love it, or you want to stab her in the eye with a blunt fork. Superbly crafted and fiercely clever songs…should be the envy of many a songwriter trying to get a laugh out of an acoustic guitar and their own skewed view of the world.”
“…the geeky, socially inept Bedroom Philosopher works on the capacity audience with tales of being a ‘C-grade’ celebrity in Tasmania, of afternoons spent at Centrelink and with songs devoted to his beloved ‘Nan and Pop.’ At close range, he is almost mesmerizing; falling over his own feet, tripping over guitar leads, asking the crowd to keep the noise down and having conversations with the metaphysical drummer, Kerry (who isn’t real).”
THE BEDROOM PHILOSOPHER DIARIES (2012)
“It was what all the great rock and roll touring books would have been like, if the people who wrote them had been honest to the point of embarrassment, had a clear, self-deprecating sense of humour and had real problems with veggieburgers and plastic razors. And instead of nonstop saturnalia of groupies and rock songs, there were attempted gigs on trams and occasional unimpressed girls who won’t even kiss you.”
“Bedroom brings the pain. Full of contradictions. By turns too delicate for the world and then too harsh. Page 77 is worth the trip alone. A hipster in disguise. Calling out himself and the universe.”
“Heazlewood has always been an intelligent and talented man and his ability to articulate difficult emotions make this book a hugely entertaining read. Unsurprisingly given his gift for comedy it is hilarious, filled with witticisms (“He was curt, both in name and attitude”), amusing anecdotes of life on the road, and the kind of cunning wordplay for which he has become famous (“The 40 strong crowd clapped with the intensity of 50”). Heazlewood also uses the diary medium to be unflinching in his self flagellation, breaking up the humour with surprising bouts of frustration and anger, as well as ruminations on depression in comedy, the lonely rigours of the gigging circuit, gigs (and women) that fall flat and the pang of never feeling successful enough.”
Allan Sko, BMA.
“When he isn’t floundering in overwrought literary passages, Heazlewood can be quite funny.”
Australian Book Review.
SONGS FROM THE 86 TRAM (2010)
“Misconstrued as a “joke song” upon its release, The Bedroom Philosopher’s ‘Northcote (So Hungover)’ will one day be regarded as a landmark release in rock’s evolution, just like ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ by Pink Floyd or The Velvets’ ‘Sister Ray’. Until then, it’s OK to laugh at the hipster jokes safe in the knowledge they have nothing to do with you or your collection of Coogi jumpers and Casio Data Banks.”
Darren Levin, Mess+Noise – #7 Tracks of The Year, 2010.
“While painfully funny, Songs From The 86 Tram actually touches on some sensitive issues but deals with them in a humorous way.”
“The Bedroom Philosopher has proved that, although he is a smart ass, he has the musical prowess to back it up.”
“I was originally a bit skeptical about listening to music of this genre, but the facetious lyrics combined with the brilliance of musical composition makes Songs from the 86 Tram a success in every way.”
“The wonderful acoustic strumming is never just a backdrop and I’d happily listen to these songs even if they weren’t funny.”
“Needless to say, The Bedroom Philosopher absolutely nailed each impression.”
“As far as the greater population is concerned, I weep for musical comedy artists in this post-Flight Of The Conchords (*on HBO) age; Joe and Jo Blow tend to be able to stomach only one of each “thing” currently in the zeitgeist. However, their ignoring of other musically inclined funny people is their loss, because The Bedroom Philosopher’s hysterical skewering of meat-headed ticketing inspectors falls somewhere between a Fame-era Bowie slink and inspirational Hunners balladry. I like my musical comedy to, as the name suggests, be musically captivating first, funny second. Luckily, with Tram Inspector, both come equal first.”
Clem Bastow, Inpress. Tram Inspector – Single of the week 16/12/09.
BROWN & ORANGE (2009)
“…ample musical invention flavours his dreams of alien abduction, caged bears and Jesus on Big Brother, and unlike the accidentally funny troubadours out there, he knows a joke should have a point.”
Michael Dwyer, The Age
“There is a fine line between madness and genius, separated only by the thinnest of margins of subjective taste. From the opening lines of Strange Piece of Music, you are immediately introduced to the core elements of Brown & Orange. The shaky vocal delivery, self-referential lyrics and schizophrenic musical arrangements that move through folkish verses and flute solos only to end in a psychedelic sitar-driven outro. It’s a confronting introduction, and one that will deter as many listeners as it will entice to persevere further. But for the brave souls that weather the seven-minute introduction piece, there is a treasure trove of gems that unfold over the course of the album.
Brown & Orange is a dense, multi-layered affair documenting, at least for the moment, The Bedroom Philosopher’s unique perspective on the world around him. It’s a lavish production and a thrillingly entertaining and equally exhausting listening experience. And while comedy concept records are few and far between in today’s marketplace, The Bedroom Philosopher may just be the dapper dresser to start a whole new fashion.”
“The Bedroom Philosopher, aka Justin Heazlewood, revealed himself as an hallucinogenic hybrid of Tripod and Syd Barrett on his 2005 cult hit I’m So Postmodern, inevitably putting him in danger of becoming a one-novelty-hit wonder. The BP’s second album Brown & Orange is less explicitly bizarre than the tune that brought him (sort of) fame, placing his eccentric streams of consciousness and oddball stories amidst an apparently earnest style of folk-rock and gentle experimentation (such as placing a taped ‘70s monologue alongside hypnotic Phillip Glass-style repetition).”
“It is (like the man himself) entirely enjoyable, entirely likeable, and entirely odd. Only The Bedroom Philosopher would try and make brown and orange chic, only he would write the lyrics “I want a Missy Higgins film clip (for Christmas)/I want a long term relationship with an Irish optometrist”, and only Heazlewood would tell us all that “La, La, La, can only take you so far.”
BMA (Album of the week).
WOW WOW’S SONG – single (2008)
“Complete genius or utterly terrifying… I’m leaning towards the former.”
Clem Bastow, Inpress,
“Hmmm. I guess I’ll just start by saying I’m a little confuddled and a tad bamboozled by the latest release from the wantonly odd folkster …It appears things have gone from bizarre to still bizzare…The Bedroom Philosopher has dealt up a deliciously enjoyable slice of childlike eccentricity.”
THE HAPPIEST BOY – single (2007)
“Dropping ref’s to Richie Benaud and Iced Vo Vos is always going to win points in my book. It’s no surprise that this endearing slice of both astral and naval gazing indie-pop comes from the esteemed Justin Heazlewood. With all the dry wit and lolz you’d expect from him, plus an extended flute backing, you can’t go wrong here.
IN BED WITH MY DOONA (2005)
“‘The Seargent Pepper’s of Indie-Folk comedy.’ The Bedroom Philosopher seems to possess’ the musical innovativeness and lyrical smarts of early Beck, creating a uniquely amusing sound. In Bed With My Doona is an unabashedly original, landmark debut. It has enough moments of earnest, playful genius, to deem it an important entity in both Australia’s comedy and musical landscapes.”
Beat. (Published as Liam Pieper, actually written by BP.)
“The Bedroom Philosopher is definitely the sherbet-filled, marshmallow-topped mini-icecream cone dipped in sprinkles — extremely silly! I’ve had to listen to “Folkstar” about three times to actually hear it properly. Every time I play it I end up giggling so much I can’t hear the words. I first heard it on the long drive back to Sydney from Splendour in the Grass. It wasn’t until I checked out his MySpace page that I realized he is also the evil genius behind “Megan the Vegan.” If you have a soft spot for bands like King Missile, They Might Be Giants, and Tenacious D, you may well dig this funny fellow.”
LIVING ON THE EDGE…OF MY BED (2003)
“Heazlewood’s ability to find the wit in almost any situation seems to be one of his talents. And sure he doesn’t have the best voice in the world, but this is hardly the opera. “Living On The Edge Of My Bed” is a worthy chronicle of the turf that The Bedroom Philosopher has trend on over the last couple of years. There are lots of gems here, and whilst the level of consistency isn’t straight across every song, it’s surely worthy of your time.”
Oz Music Project
What have you been doing in between?
“Oh just chilling out, having a breakdown, writing a childhood memoir, which is just the classic thing in your mid-30s. As a guy who goes as hard as I do, mid-30s are a great time to go “you know what, fuck off everyone, I’m just going to sit on a beanbag in a dark room and piece myself together, maybe do some intense personal writing” – sort of an emotional audit of the last 20 years.”
Broadsheet – April 2017.
“I’m the ghost of 4am silence inside a bearded Cate Blanchett.”
Pop Culture-y – April 2017.
“I think comedy is arguably the most anxiety-inducing of all the art forms.”
Time Out – March 2017.
Earliest Melbourne memory? “I was lurking in Docklands when Sam Newman made a derogatory comment in my general direction.”
What’s On Melbourne Blog – March 2017.
“Once a place gets fancy gelato, you sort of go, ‘is this the Canberra I remember?’”
BMA – March 2017.
“Poetry audiences are the best audiences in the world. They are so appreciative of humour and hang on every word. They are also always the most smart and the most mentally ill.”
Queensland Poetry Festival – August 2014.
“I just wanted to blow up the facade,” says Heazlewood. “I wanted to be a literary terrorist dropping a truth bomb on what’s supposed to be a glamorous industry. I was hanging around in my Thornbury apartment, wondering what I was doing with my life. And I realised the best thing I could do was turn a disaster into art.”
Broadsheet – May 2014.
“Social media is all about hype, politeness and a manic state of unrealistic positivity. Fuck that. Life’s a fucking epic struggle so why not talk about that like responsible adults? Australians have an awful time talking about mental weirdness — I happen to identify with it. It’s the corduroy fabric of my being. Most artists are socially awkward weirdos — let’s embrace it.”
OffStreet Press – August 2012.
“Amanda and Brian are emotionally generous, spirited people. I was basking in their American confidence and self-belief. They were on stage getting fans to text in their email addresses – I am lucky to mention that I have merch for fear of being a corporate hack.”
Milk Bar – April 2012.
“I was house-sitting for Guy Pearce and his dogs were running over to lick up the cocoa and I was yelling at them as I’m terrified of life. After ingesting too much cocoa two of them suffered heart attacks and had to be put down.”
Tone Deaf – March 2012.
“I went to a rough-as-guts school in Burnie in Tasmania … you’d pretty much get a certificate just for buttoning up your shirt correctly.”
The Age – June 2011.
“I was having a Hottest 100 party with my band mates to celebrate an almost shoo-in top-50 placement but because it came in not as high as I thought, no one had even turned up at the time it played, it was the ultimate non-event. I was turning sausages by myself and swearing.”
Melbourne Leader – April 2011.
“I think tram travel as like a detention for adults.” He muses. “For ten minutes you have to sit in this room with other people you don’t know and think about what you’ve done that day. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing really, I mean they’re pretty safe places to be when you think about it. It’s not as if someone’s gonna go nuts and hi-jack the tram and go for a joyride to Canberra.” He adds in a mock aggressors tone; “We taking over this tram – we’re going to Bundoora and then to docklands and then back to Bundoora again… And we’re gonna keep going back and forth until our demands are met!”
Beat Magazine – September 2010.
“I think the old man at the end is a tribute to my Pop who passed away in 2006. While he didn’t speak that “Australian”, I do think of him every time I hear it. That concept of lying there, an 84 year-old paper mill worker who escaped from a POW camp in World War Two, looking up at your family as they sing an awkward but earnest version of “Yellow Submarine”, paralysed and unable to speak as a solitary tear runs down your cheek. The magnificence and the madness of it all.”
Music Vice – August 2010.
“There’s a bunch of cameos in the clip including DC Root, Kram and Angie Hart. I really wanted Angry Anderson to be the mixer for Pose Tattoo but I think he’s in France beating up Phoenix.”
Radar Radio Blog – August 2010.
“I’m fairly annoyed that national radio didn’t touch this. Too Melbourne-y? Not funny enough? C’mon – the chimney’s smoking and I got an armful of logs!”
Mess & Noise Track by Track – May 2010.
“People want me to go down the Sufjan Stevens road and write an album per tram line for the next 50 years”.
The Vine – April 2010.
Finally, let’s do some future-gazing. What’s the next technological step in listening to music going to be?
“The satellite hat: a surround sound, 24-bit stereo speaker hat that has access to every song in history that is bounced back from a series of satellites cruising the globe. Guaranteed at least six months continuous play until you die from cancer of the attitude.”
Kill Your Darlings – April 2010.
“The Bedroom Philosopher has proved impossible to pin down for this article. Initially, his publicist gave me the run-around, posting me a phone book sized list of questions I wasn’t allowed to ask including ‘Who are you again?’ I then had to deal with his manager who insisted we do the interview by text message because The Bedroom Philosopher was having a ‘bad sideburn day’. After busting him in a record store putting his albums next to Sarah Blasko’s and making them kiss, the ‘manager’ turned out to be The Bedroom Philosopher himself with an American accent.”
The Big Issue – July 2009.
Why Brown and Orange and not maroon and grey?
“I wanted to do for brown and orange what The White Stripes did for red and black and Jack Johnson did for beige. I briefly considered Red and Black and Blue and Green; a tribute to the four colour pen.”
BMA – June 2009.
“This album isn’t filed in the comedy section in record shops,” he says proudly. “It’s under ‘alternative’.”
The Age – March 2009.
“I’m like JT, only I’m bringing depression back.”
FasterLouder – March 2009.
Catcam (Channel 31) – March 2017
On The List – August 2014
Noise 11 – December 2011
Spicks & Specks – October 2011
Speaker TV – September 2011
ABC’S Collectors – “Online Shopping” – July 2011
ABC’s Collectors – “70’s Ties” – November 2010
Studio A (Channel 31) – August 2010
FBi w/ Jack Shit – April 2017
Triple R w/ Dave Graney – March 2017
ABC w/ Clare Bowditch – March 2017
RTRFM – January 2017
Triple J Breakfast – May 2014
ABC Melbourne w/ Shaun Micallef – February 2012
ABC’s Conversations w/ Richard Fidler – September 2011
ABC Melbourne w/ John Safran & Lawrence Leung – June 2011
979fm – Living in the Land of Oz – September 2010