Grok began as a Hamilton "super-group" of sorts, being largely a collaboration between brothers Scott Brodie (bass, vocals) from Inchworm (and later Girlinky) and Grant Brodie (keyboards) from (amongst other bands) Dribbly Cat Attraction. Other members were Chris Fish (guitar, Korg, 4 track) from Love and Violence, Department of Corrections, mOoFiSh and others, and Max Ward (drums), ex-Three Men Missing and the Sandbabies.
Formed in 1991, the band took out the top prize at the Contact 89FM Battle of the Bands competition in 1996. They took their name by reversing "Korg", the brand of Fish's keyboard; this was a Korg MS10, played by Fish with one foot, while using the other to tweak a four track to record and play back audience and stage noise during shows.
Grok reformed in 2006 with a substantially different lineup, with only Scott Brodie remaining from the original. The new Grok were based in London and include three members from Girlinky, who stopped playing in 2005; Scott Brodie (bass and vocals), Rob Talsma (drums) and Chris Ayles (guitar). Two keyboard players from the initially reformed Grok were ex-Hamiltonians Dan Nicholls and Jayne Hartstone, who were replaced by three new keyboard players; ex-Hamiltonian, Paul Fitness, Peter Ocsenas and Pep Sanchez. In 2010 Grok played as a 4-piece; Brodie, Talsma, Ayles and Ocsenas.
Songs played during Grok's live performances are now improvised (i.e., they are made up on the spot), with subject matter commonly provided by the audience and by using of the "Wheel of Chordal Destiny" to guide the music. In 2010 they improvised a live soundtrack to the 1922 silent movie Nosferatu.
During 2007 Grok spent time in a recording studio, which resulted in the release of a single titled Song for Europe in May 2008, and an album titled Ruined Music for Everyone in June 2008. These songs were also one-off improvisations in the studio. Original Grok member Grant Brodie contributed to the single via the internet from New Zealand. Despite their long absence from Hamilton, Pink Shirt off their Ruined Music for Everyone album took the top place on Contact 88.1FMs Top 8 in mid-July 2008. In 2011 they released Create a Diversion, an album recorded live of improvised songs in response to visual artworks submitted to the group.
Scott Brodie returned to Hamilton in 2013, and in 2014 reformed Grok, initially with original members Grant Brodie and Max Ward, along with Justin Harris (ex-Inchworm) and Matt Gould. This lineup recorded a number of, as yet, unreleased songs. In 2015, the band played a live performance with the original lineup, at Nivara Lounge on 16 October. Initially intended to be the first of many performances, Chris Fish injured his hand, and then Scott Brodie returned to the UK in 2016.
The reformed UK Grok, comprising Brodie, Ayles and Talsma, played their first gig there in three years in September 2016, a live improvised soundtrack to the 1927 silent film 'The Unknown'. Since this time, the band have played regularly at Genesis Cinema in London, providing live soundtracks for silent films.
- Bubbles and Noises from the Aquarium CD, 1996
- Song for Europe Single, 2008
- Ruined Music for Everyone CD, 2008
- Create a Diversion CD, 2011
- 8:30 18/02/97 was released on the 1997 compilation Green Eggs and Hamilton (under the name "Salad")
- Old Grok Two appears on the 1997 promo CD NZ on Air Indie Hit Disc 3
- 10:15 17/2/97 appears on the 1998 promo CD NZ on Air Indie Hit Disc 7
- The Thrill of the Caucasus appears on the 2016 compilation Life Beneath a Gravel Streak
- Winning Contest a Surprise for Grok, City Weekend, 30 August 1996, P9