Grand Theft Audio – Biography March 2021
Jay Butler (Vocals/Guitar/Bass)
Ritch Battersby (Drums / programming /vocals)
In 2000 Grand Theft Audio released their debut album ‘Blame Everyone’. A commercial success, tracks from the album were featured on Dude Where’s My Car? American Pie 2, Gran Turismo 3 and FIFA 2001.
It’s a story that could have been written for the turn of the 21st century…
Two guys from completely disparate backgrounds find each other and start hammering out ideas in a North London studio.
Insulated from the world, the scene - and even more disinterested in the opinion of both - They have no idea where this may lead but are intent on creating an aural army with which to attack and conquer the millennium.
Next, they recruit a frontman, handpicked from their favourites amongst the slew of gritty London bands, one that can not only vocalise their ideas - one that can ram them down your throat if needs be with a smile - with Jay in place, then there were three.
Work picked up a frenetic pace, and at the exclusion of all else there was the urge to see this thing born like Frankenstein’s monster.
Leaking their work to a very select few, within months, the project obtains a major record deal – à la Hollywood, the trio recruit then guitar hero Chris McCormack to complete the live band line up and set about living the dream.
Supported by the big machine, they become part of the millennial soundtrack. Hollywood movies, video game synchs and tours with legends across the USA and Europe are propelled for three years by explosive momentum and endless possibility until… the record label gets dissolved.
Suddenly the band are left without a team, a deal …a safety net.
The ride just as spectacularly implodes, grinding to a halt amidst burnout and problems, leaving all bewildered, battered and bruised by the whole experience. Everyone scrabbles around in the dark looking for their lives like car keys the morning after the party, and slowly, reluctantly, everyone goes back to the day job with a great story and a ferocious headache.
In the aftermath, Ritch Battersby returned to his place on the drum stool for classic UK rock pioneers The Wildhearts. Ralph Jezzard continued his already established career in music production. Live guitarist Chris McCormack went on to run successful clubs and festivals and eventually joined Sex Pistol Paul Cook’s revamped post pistols project ‘The Professionals’.
Grand Theft Audio’s imposing frontman Jay Butler left the music industry completely. Relocating to a farm in France, he started a family, swapped drugs and debauchery for tractors and nappies and began a process of re-assimilation - Butler’s process of observation, writing and internal musical dialogue however continued, unabated and without an outlet.
For the time being anyway …
The years passed, and with their debut album approaching its platinum anniversary, nostalgia began to rear its ugly head and talk of the band became increasingly frequent. Ralph, Jay & Ritch got back in touch and found they still shared the same sardonic sense of humour and common disdain for the lack of authentic bite in contemporary music. There was still the desire create songs that were equal parts unabashed rabble rousing and pointed sonic assault - by any means necessary.
They began working on initial tracks, ping-ponging ideas across locational barriers - reaffirming their vision for the project - culminating in the release of their first single ‘Ruin Your Youth’ - a roots reintroduction to GTA - a call to arms, a line in the sand of the musical landscape daring you to step back into their bombastic world - with arms open and smiles fixed.
Outside the music scene and free to work with the great, the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the music world, the project has grown, encompassing every facet of inspiration and love for music - GTA has truly returned to the root source of its excitement.
At the end of 2020 Ralph left the project for personal reasons, and the project again returned to a duo as at its very inception. Jay and Ritch are now putting finishing touches to the new album which, slated for release later this year, represents more than just nostalgia... it is musical freedom.
The willingness to explore any and all avenues in search of complete aural gratification.
To make alliances and wring every beat, riff, break and hook out of the situation.
To love you until you can’t stand it.
Loaded with the same original punk DIY ethic, electronic punch, rock dynamism and ‘anything goes as long as it kicks ass!’ ethos - it is a state of the union address for 2021. A call to arms, a vote against banality, an ode to the debauched nights you always regretted… but secretly still yearn for. It’s a reflection, a contemplation of identity and affirmation of life after a global death sentence - a reassertion of why you fell in love with music in the first place.
Pucker up and close your eyes - we got something for you.