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.”
“Is there anything more thrilling and simultaneously degrading than being a touring musician? Ask the Bedroom Philsopher: he knows all about it. With pigeon-toed humour and bruising honesty, this is a tour diary filled with pith and pain, whose observations that will break your heart at some points, and have you grinning like a fool for the rest.”
“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.”
“Another stylish and funny outburst from the prolific Beddy Phil. Don’t be thrown by the glasses – the man has moves, on the stage and on the page.”
“That dude is funny.”
Megan Washington, via Twitter.
“When he isn’t floundering in overwrought literary passages, Heazlewood can be quite funny.”
Milly Main, Australian Book Review.
“The world, it seems, is his oyster to shuck. Although he wouldn’t have you believe it with this deeply funny and brutally self-deprecating piece. 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. It is these moments that give the book its real heart and Heazlewood’s frank honesty allows the reader to form an instant bond.”
Allan Sko, BMA.
SONGS FROM THE 86 TRAM (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.”
“….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.”
Tram Inspector, Inpress Single of the Week 16/12/09.
BROWN & ORANGE (2009)
“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.
From the rollickingly jaunty Party In My Head and What Am I supposed To Be Doing? To the introspective For The Love I Have For You, Brown & Orange traverses a broad palette of styles, melting them down into a fine soup of entertaining and predominantly poppy moments. And sure enough, there are some fantastic lyrical moments, as evidenced from Jesus On Big Brother and the melancholy Circus Bear. But the highlight of the album comes with the penultimate track, YouTube “hit” Wow Wow’s Song. Over a verse progression that sounds eerily similar to Coldplay’s God Put A Smile On Your Face, The Philosopher adopts a Cookie Monster voice, only for it all to break down in the most ridiculously catchy chorus this century has produced. Six minutes chock full of sublime gimmick pop.
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).
The swelling orchestral ballad For The Love I Have For You sounds like a straight, serious song, but closer investigation reveals Heazlewood cramming lots of syllables into tiny song spaces, at one point blurting out “Okay, granted, that’s not a very romantic lyric”. Tongue still wedged in cheek, then. The spoken-word short story Jesus On Big Brother is fun as well (“More people watched Jesus than The Simpsons and the news and the CSIs combined”). The record is less successful when he goes deliberately ‘wacky’, such as the “comedy” Muppet vocals in Wow Wow’s Song (La La La). But the record’s charm is revealed in the almost Dylan-esque rant Party In My Head and the laid-back country-rock strum of What Am I Supposed To Be Doing?”
“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” (there are a lot more great lines, probably better than the ones here – just go and get the album to find your own favourites). Henceforth he proves that he is a master at word-smithing and clearly can’t get enough of being different. The surprise, highlight and almost religious experiences on the album are the tracks (Brown and (Orange), where The Bedroom Philosopher has sampled a recorded letter and joke, respectively, over simple music, and by doing so, the one and only, the wonder kid, The Bedroom Philosopher, has made Brown and Orange chic.”
WOW WOW’S SONG SINGLE (2008)
“Complete genius or utterly terrifying… I’m leaning towards the former.”
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 himself).
“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.
“Compared to Justin Heazlewood’s last show in Canberra, the sound was much clearer and his musicianship no longer took second place to his on-stage banter. Instead, he and the band equalled his on point remarks and, at times, well and truly surpassed them…Of course, such things are to be expected at a Bedroom Philosopher gig. Laughs are brought forth from bluntly honest storytelling, deep insight – where appropriate, and an unrestrained silliness that will draw a grin without fail. The Bedroom Philosopher and his Awkwardstra come to life when they perform, and their set was a reminder of the spontaneity and creativity many other musicians seem to have lost.”
Tone Deaf, September 2012.
“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.
“Heazlewood immediately established an endearing stage presence, a warmth that could only come from a man with a concurrent background in comedy. The latest additions to his repertoir were executed brilliantly as the Bedroom Philosopher’s ability to tickle the funny bone shone time and time again. It definitely helps that Heazlewood is a complete package: a genuine, charismatic character as well as an accomplished musician. Not only that, his Awkwardstra worked to provide a welcome dose of theatre to the evening that aided his routine to great effect. Highly Recommended.”
Beat, October 2010.
“I was struck repeatedly through this gig just how fantastic the band were. Drawing on a range of percussive instruments, towering horns and even a sitar, they deftly elevated Justin Heazlewood’s love letters to Melbourne into epic beauties. Heazlewood is a great performer with an intelligent and hilarious insight into our great city. All are encouraged to check out his shows.”
Inpress, October 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.
“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 artists making a genuine attempt to explore the oddness of our age.”
The Age, April 2005.
“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.”
Chortle, June 2005.
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.
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 RRR.
“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.”
“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.
“…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.”
“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.
“Everyone’s feeling really sorry for themselves, when in fact we’re all in a very similar situation – we’re all, apart from the top one per cent, just sort of battling our way from one week to the next.”
ArtsHub – June 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
Favourite place to get a meal? “North Ryde AMF Bowling’s Café have nuggets to diet for.”
My Melbourne, The Age – August 2011.
“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
“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
“I’m like JT, only I’m bringing depression back.”
FasterLouder – March 2009
Speaker TV – September 2011
ABC’S Collectors – “Online Shopping” – July 2011
ABC’S Collectors – “Salvos” – July 2011
ABC’s Collectors – “70’s Ties” – November 2010
Studio A (Channel 31) – August 2010
774 Melbourne w/ Shaun Micallef – February 2012
ABC’s Conversation Hour – September 2011
The Friday Sessions, Radio Adelaide – September 2011
Syn FM’s Shameless Self Promotion – July 2011
ABC’s Conversation Hour – June 2011