Three-piece thrash pop group Spiderbait are one of Australia's most distinctive and popular bands of the '90s and 2000s, a group that almost has to be seen live to appreciate their uniqueness. Drummer Mark Maher (or "Kram") is the group's main vocalist. His drums are never set up on a rise, but sit on an equal level with the other bandmembers, bass player Janet English, who shares some of the lead vocals, and guitarist Damien Whity ("Whit").
All three hail from Finley, a small town with a population of about 2,200 located in Southern New South Wales. Kram and Whit began jamming together at school before Kram enrolled in the Victorian College of the Arts School of Music in Melbourne, studying percussion and guitar. He also plays guitar, bass, and a bit of keyboard. Kram quit the course in his third year and returned to Finley to form Spiderbait. At that point he had the choice of either teaching Whit and Janet English what he knew about music, or forgetting everything to learn from scratch with the other two. He chose the latter course. As a result, their music follows no traditional line, shifting easily from jazzy instrumentals to frantic distortion based rock/pop.
Their early performances were rough and chaotic. Their first indie albums, 1992's P'tangYangPipperBangUh!! and 1993's Shashavaglava (Yugoslavian for dickhead), were roller-coaster listening. By the time they picked up a major deal in 1995, Spiderbait had found their way to a richly adventurous and confident style. Their first Polydor Australia release, The Unfinished Spanish Galleon of Finley Lake, was followed by two Top Ten albums, Ivy & the Big Apples and Grand Slam, as well as tours of Canada, America, and Japan. Janet English has formed a splinter group Happyland, with Quan Yeomans from Regurgitator. ~ Ed Nimmervoll