Craig was born in 1974 so he remembers seeing Star Wars in the cinema, but has no real memory of disco. He left high school halfway through year 10, and spent the next two years reading comic books, taping songs off the radio and going to the library before resuming his education proper in 1992 and graduating from The National Art School in 1997. During this time, Schuftan began volunteering at 2SER FM, which lead to work at triple j, first as a contributor to The Morning Show and later as a producer. In his time at the Jays he has worked with Richard Kingsmill (The J-Files) Chris Taylor and Craig Ruecastle from the Chaser (Today Today and The Race Race) Roy & HG (This Sporting Life), Myf Warhurst, Jay Walley and Lindsay McDougall (Myf, Jay & The Dr) and Sam Simmons (Sam Simmons’ Precise History of Things).
In 2002, Craig began presenting The Culture Club on triple j – a fun, surprising and 100% jargon-free introduction the great artistic, literary and philosophical ideas of the 20th century. On any given Monday morning, Schuftan could be heard explaining Jean Paul Sartre, James Joyce, John Cage, Yoko Ono, Marshall McLuhan, Yves Klein or Luigi Russolo. He found Existentialism in The Chemical Brothers, Dada in Beck, Artaud in The Hives and Autodestructive Art in The Vines. This has been the project of The Culture Club ever since – to uncover the secret history of modern music in the shadowy corners of the Avant-Garde and the rarefied air of the philosophers.
In 2007, Craig’s first book, The Culture Club: Modern Art, Rock and Roll and other stuff your parents warned you about was published by ABC Books. It is a free-associating journey through modernism and rock and roll, taking in Marcel Duchamp, Walter Benjamin, The Bauhaus, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, The Who, The B-52’s, Saturday Night Fever, Twin Peaks, The Flaming Lips and Gnarls Barkley. The Culture Club was well reviewed, and quickly sold out its first two print runs.
In 2007, Schuftan spent three months travelling in Europe with a Eurail pass in one hand and a copy of E.H. Gombrich’s The Story of Art in the other. Over the next six months, Schuftan began writing what would become his second book. Inspired by his time in Germany and an obsessive love for My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade, Schuftan set out to discover the extent of the Romantic movement’s influence on rock and roll since the late sixties. The result was Hey! Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone, a book which explains – among other things – why Goths love graveyards, why metal bands put dots over their vowels, and why so many rock singers make that ‘Jesus’ shape onstage.
Hey! Nietzsche! was published April 2009 to great interest from both emos and poets, rockers and nans. It sold out its first print run and is still inspiring conversations and arguments about music around the world.
In late 2009 Craig worked as a guest curator on the Powerhouse Museum’s The 80s Are Back exhibition, which in turn inspired a new radio series and podcast for triple j, Acceptable in the 80s. Craig launched his first zine ‘From A Mess To The Masses’ in March 2010 and won his first ARIA (for best comedy release) in November 2010.
Craig now lives and works in Berlin and has just released his 3rd book Entertain Us – A cultural history of rock in the 90’s. After spending the last two years digging Indiana Jones-style through the ruined remains of the 90's - poring over Courtney Love's old shopping lists, scouring back issues of NME, Melody Maker, Rolling Stone and Raygun, listening to hours of interviews with goateed Grunge guys and sarky Mancunian rock stars and learning the Riot Grrrl Manifesto by heart. He's delved deep into the music, the culture and the collective unconscious of the times and come up with a book unlike an other. A book that ties the stories of Britpop, Madchester, neo-punk, nu-metal, riot grrrl, Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine together. That tells the tale of alternative music on both sides of the Atlantic from 1990 to 2000, from Sonic Youth's major label debut, through the rise and fall of Grunge and Britpop, right up to Radiohead's Kid A. 'Entertain Us!' is a tale of two cities, a book about rock music, culture and society in England and America written from a uniquely Australian perspective where thanks to the influence of triple J the Stone Temple Pilots, Happy Mondays, Denis Leary, Nirvana, Suede, the Breeders, Blur and Body Count all inhabit the same world.
Published by Harper Collins and released on June 1st Australia wide 'Entertain Us!' is available online and in all good book stores.