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From the Vaults: Melody Maker Russell Crowe

Song man Russell Crowe from 30 Odd Foot of Grunts to 'Les Misérables'

By Marjorie Baumgarten, 2:10PM, Fri. Dec. 28, 2012

From the Vaults: Melody Maker Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe's leading role as Inspector Javert in the new film rendition of the musical Les Misérables may surprise some who think of him as an actor rather than a singer. We here in Austin, however, are fully aware of Crowe's musical proclivities.

Crowe and his band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, took up residency in the "live music capital" to record an album and play a series of packed dates at Stubb's during the summer of 2000. Their presence grabbed a lot of headlines at the time, and Crowe's female fans flocked from around the country to attend the sold-out shows.

Marc Savlov interviewed Crowe for the Chronicle in "Grunt Work" in the August 11, 2000 issue. Presaging his Les Misérables performance 12 years later, Crowe says in that interview: "I don't do it for anything other than the fact that I love doing it. I've been writing songs since I was a little kid, and it's really just a part of me. And that goes for all the sort of performance/art things that I do. They're all lifelong commitments."

Yet in reviewing Les Miserables, Kimberley Jones categorically states: "When Les Misérables is good, it is very, very good, and when it is bad, it’s usually because Russell Crowe has opened his mouth." Ouch!

Various reviews of 30 Odd Foot of Grunts have accumulated in the Chronicle over the years. Here are a couple of the standouts: Mindy LaBernz reviewing the band's performance in "30 Odd Foot of Grunts, Stubb's, August 11" and Kate X Messer's review of Texas, the documentary about the band, which premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2002. Neither are anything to Crow(e) about.

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