In 1972, Judd and Tim Finn founded the arty folk band Split Enz. In its early days the band was known for its eccentric behaviour, wacky clothes, makeup and crazy hairstyles. In the early days the band members all adopted their middle names, with the exception of Phil Judd, the only member from that era to use his first name.
While the other members of the Enz had hairstyles that were out of the ordinary, Judd chose to shave his head after the release of the first album Mental Notes. After the second album Second Thoughts was released, tension arose between Judd and Tim Finn. Judd left the band in 1977 shortly after the release of the single Another Great Divide, to be replaced by Finn's younger brother Neil Finn.
After leaving the Enz, Judd wrote songs and recorded demos until later that year he was approached by Tim Finn to rejoin the band. The Enz toured in 1978 with two lead guitarists in Judd and Neil Finn, who got along rather well. During this time the band played some new songs by Judd that won favour with the audience, including a self-confessed favourite of keyboardist Eddie Rayner, "Play It Strange".
Later that year, Judd once again left the group. It was after this time that Split Enz went on to their greatest international success.
After leaving Split Enz, Judd became involved with Auckland punk band The Suburban Reptiles. He produced their second single, "Saturday Night Stay at Home", and performed live with them. He was also briefly a member of Chris Knox's band The Enemy. Out of the remnants of The Suburban Reptiles he formed The Swingers with future Midnight Oil band member Bones Hillman and Buster Stiggs. The band went through a couple of lineup changes, but managed to release a #1 song in New Zealand and Australia, "Counting The Beat". The song was used in the 1990s on commercials for DEKA chain of general merchandise stores, and was also used for the New Zealand TV3 Slogan "There aint no place I'd rather be" in 2011. The Swingers also wrote lyrics and composed music for Gillian Armstrong's 1982 New Wave musical Starstruck.
After The Swingers broke up in 1982, Judd recorded the Private Lives solo album, released by Mushroom Records in 1983. It would be 24 years before he released his next solo album. In the US, selections from Private Lives were released as a five-track EP called The Swinger.
In 1986 Tim Finn contacted Judd to write some songs for his new album Big Canoe. It would have been the first time they were to write together since Split Enz. According to Finn, instead of writing, the two spent most of the time drinking and catching up on old times and wrote no material. Instead, Judd played guitar on the album.
In the late 1980s, Judd went on to be part of Schnell Fenster and was involved in recording movie soundtracks, most notably The Big Steal, winning the AFI award for his first score Death in Brunswick. Schnell Fenster was composed of former Split Enz members Nigel Griggs, Noel Crombie and Eddie Rayner, along with guitarist Michael den Elzen. Rayner left the project soon after its birth.
The debut album The Sound of Trees was a moderate success, but due to Noel Crombie developing tinnitus, the band was unable to tour extensively to support the album. The second album, OK Alright A Huh Oh Yeah, was released in Australia and New Zealand in 1991. The band then broke up.
Judd has worked in movies, including Rikky and Pete, Amy, and Mr Reliable, and on television programs such as Good Guys Bad Guys, Stingers and Sky Trackers.
Judd has been reported as feeling bitter about not being invited to join Split Enz on their 2006 reunion tour. In an interview on community radio program Living In The Land Of Oz, Judd said that Neil Finn wanted him to "get up and do two or three songs or at least be involved somehow" but this did not happen at either of the Melbourne concerts. On stage with the Enz in 2006, Tim Finn claimed that his relationship with Judd is "complicated".
Around the time of the Enz tour, Judd and Tim Finn had decided to get together with former Enz violinist Miles Golding for a few recording sessions dubbed 3 Of A Kind. With the success of the Finn Brothers' latest album and the resurgence of interest in Split Enz, Tim Finn was offered a chance to release another solo album through EMI and took it. This left no time for any side projects and the project has not come to fruition.
Judd sells copies of Mr Phudd and His Novelty Act through his website. Some fans have likened it to his work from his days with Split Enz. Judd is also a visual artist and his surrealistic portrayal of Split Enz for the band's 1975 Mental Notes album won a music industry award for best cover design. He has continued to paint over the years and has work in the National Gallery of Victoria.
In 2006, Phil worked with Australian band Pinky Tuscadero, producing their EP Look Your Best.
His album Love is a Moron was released in December 2008.
In 1992 Judd was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He suffered a stroke in 2004 and it caused his spleen to be wiped out.
Judd was convicted in March 2009 of stalking three sisters in his Melbourne neighbourhood. He received a 12-month suspended sentence and a $2,500 fine. Judd was initially reported as saying he had "a crush" on one of the girls, although he later clarified that he "didn't have any perverted thing for her". The family made statements to the police that Judd had spied on the sisters as they travelled to and from school, including taking photographs of them. Documents submitted in court revealed that in 2008, Judd had added one of the sisters as a friend on a fabricated Facebook account posing as a 17-year-old boy from a local school. After being warned by police to cease all contact with the sister, he again contacted her shortly thereafter and was subsequently served with an intervention order.
On 1 January 2010, Judd was jailed for two weeks for violating a restraining order brought against him by his ex-wife during a dispute over custody of their 10-year-old son.Bergen Aan Zee
Play It Strange – Released in 2014 on Judd's album also titled "Play It Strange".
Incognito In California – Released in 2001 by Tim Finn on his album Feeding the Gods
"For You/Split Ends" – Single 1973
"The Sweet Talkin' Spoon Song/One Two Nine" – Single 1973
"No Bother To Me/Home Sweet Home" – Single 1975
Mental Notes (1975) – Singles: "Maybe"
Second Thoughts (1976) – Singles: "Late Last Night", "Matinee Idyll (129)"
"Another Great Divide" – Single (1977)
The Beginning of the Enz (1979) – Singles: "For You/Split Ends"
"Oddz And Enz" – (1992)
Rootin Tootin Luton Tapes (2007) – Phil Judd songs on limited edition 2-disc version only: "So This Is Love", "I'm So Up", both recorded live for the BBC.
Practical Jokers (1981) – Singles: "Counting the Beat", "It Ain't What You Dance It's The Way You Dance It"
Counting the Beat (1997) – Re-release of Practical Jokers with extra tracks
Private Lives (1983) – Singles: "Dictionary of Love"
The Swinger (1983) – the US release of Private Lives
Mr Phudd and His Novelty Act (2006)
Love Is A Moron (2008)
Play It Strange (2014)
"Burlesque" [Split single with Nathan Beehag] (2015)
Untitled (2008) – a collaboration with Roger Grierson of the Thought Criminals
The Sound of Trees (1990) – Singles: "Love-Hate Relationship", "Whisper"
Ok Alright A Huh Oh Yeah (1991) – Singles: "Ok Alright Uh Huh Oh Yeah", "Heroes Let You Down"
Amy (1998) – music
The Big Steal (1990) – music
Death In Brunswick (1991) – music
Eight Ball (1992) – music
"Environmental" (1994) (short) – music
Hercules Returns (1992) – music
Mr. Reliable (1996) – music
Rikky and Pete (1988) – songs, actor
Starstruck (1982) – music, actor (one of the Swingers)
Good Guys Bad Guys (1997) – music, including theme
Sky Trackers (1994) – music (with others)
Stingers (1998) – music, including theme
Music for several Melbourne Theatre Company plays 1989–1993 including Miss Bosnia, Cosi and Summer of the Aliens, directed by Nadia Tass.
Lyricist for The Lion The Witch & The wardrobe songs, A touring musical production 2001–2003.