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Tragedy as Lismore's Lush music legend dies at parade

The Lismore App

Liina Flynn

27 June 2022, 6:21 AM

Tragedy as Lismore's Lush music legend dies at paradeThe tragic death of local music legend John Lush (43) at the Lismore Lantern Parade has rocked the local community.

The tragic death of local music legend John Lush (43) at the Lismore Lantern Parade has rocked the local community.

John (known to his friends as Grunt), suffered a heart attack and was treated by paramedics in the Lismore CBD on Saturday evening, as the parade made its way through town.

He was taken by ambulance to Lismore Base Hospital, but was pronounced dead.

John’s best friend and fellow muso, Isaac Vincent said John leaves behind two children, John Junior and Bettina May.

He also leaves behind his pregnant partner, Viv – who is due to give birth to John’s baby any day.

A Gofundme page has been set up to help Viv pay for funeral costs and look after their child.

Wake up call

Isaac said John’s death has been a wake up call to many who knew him.

“It’s good to be aware of the signs of heart attack,” Isaac said.

“The day before, Viv said he ran out of breath when he was on a walk and said said his heart felt weird.

“But he brushed it off and focused on his pregnant partner instead.”

Music Legend – The Humans of Lismore

Born and bred in Lismore, John Lush also leaves behind a long musical legacy, including being lead singer in T.H.O.L. (formerly known as The Humans of Lismore).

“In 2014 John and I stated jamming and making up songs about funny things we see in Lismore – like too many hairdressing salons, bakeries and mechanics," Isaac said.

Isaac said T.H.O.L. started after Issac’s photo was featured on Denise Alison’s Humans of Lismore Facebook site.

“John gave me shit about it at first and would say ‘we ARE the humans of Lismore’. Then we started a band with the same same – sorry Denise,” he said.

“John had a punk rock ethos – then we got to know Denise and we changed the name to T.H.O.L. because we didn’t want to annoy her.

“The Humans of Lismore was like a variety show band. We wanted a David Letterman show feel and would play venues like the Star Court Theatre.

“John would interview people and we would play songs in-between.

“I was the violin player and also did the slide shows in the performances.”

First band

Isaac said John’s first band in Lismore was P.I.S.S.

“The band broke up, but would meet up every five years and do another show,” Isaac said.

“They almost had record for the most times a band can break up and reform.

“They were weird – people would walk into a venue and say ‘what is this band?’.

“They only had one real instrument and Grunt would sing in outrageous costume. The drummer played a desk with ashtrays and pot plants attached to it.

“But the music was tidy.”

More recently, John was the lead singer in The Munted – and he loved doing it.

Family and history

John was born, bred and schooled in Lismore.

“People called John more Lismore than human.

“His mum Marlene is the lady you see walking around town in a sequined beanie collecting cans.

“Once he was playing a guitar that he said his mum found in a bin."

Isaac said John was John Lush the 3rd.

“He actually comes from a long line of John Lush’s,” he said.

“His son is called John Lush the 4th.


John got the nickname Grunt (or Gruntus) from his older sister.

“His middle name is Grantley and she use to tease him and called him Gruntus,” Isaac said.

“At first he hated it, but it caught on. When he started liking it, she started calling him John.

“The name suits him - the first time I met him, I saw him when I was busking.

"He was walking in a leather trenchcoat on a 40 degree day in Lismore and looked like an angry punk dude.

“But I found out he was a happy, nerdy, quirky person - not as mean as he looked. The name like grunt went with it.

Wit and humour

“’Grunt had wit and a sense of humour. He was dangerously smart and could take anybody down, but he was the nicest person – he gave so much more to community than he took.

“He was into local theatre and comedy – and was the mainstay at gaming stores. He loved board games, Magic the gathering and Dungeons and Dragons.

“He was a massive wrestling enthusiast and he’d go to any indie Aussie show – he loved the theatre of the ring."

The Flood and Tribute

Isaac said John and Viv lost everything in the February flood and the couple came to live with Issac for a few months until they fortunately found another home.

“It was good to spend time with him - I didn’t realise it was such a special time until now.”

Isaac said a tribute to John is being planned in the coming weeks.

“We want to put on a big show called Gruntfest and we’ll need people to help us make it happen,’ he said.

John also leaves behind his siblings Naja Lush, Dale Mallet, Anneke and Guy, as well as his mum Marlene and two children John Lush 4th and Bettina May.


“The Gofundme page will raise money to pay for John’s funeral and also help Viv with paying the rent and buying food and not having to worry about that for now,” Isaac said.

“She’s being induced today and will have the baby soon. She is focused on the baby now – but grief comes in waves and she will be dealing with it.

“Any donations no matter the size are welcomed. Rest in peace Gruntus, and thank you for all the good times."

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