Blurís new album is called 'Think Tank'. Recorded over
the duration of last year in London and Morocco, itís
their first album since guitarist Graham Coxon was controversially
ousted from the band, and the first since Damon Albarnís
mammoth solo success with his Gorillaz project.
The record, the band's seventh, is due to be released
on May 5 through Parlophone and features 13 brand new
tracks. The album's tracklisting runs: 'Ambulance' 'Out
Of Time' 'Crazy Beat' 'Good Song' 'On The Way To The
Club' 'Brothers And Sisters' 'Caravan' 'We've Got A
File On You' 'Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club'
'Sweet Song' 'Jets' 'Gene By Gene' 'Battery In Your
Leg' The album's first single will be 'Out Of Time',
due out April 14 (originally April 21 but was brought
forward one week), with b-sides and formats to be announced
very shortly. The album is already available to pre-order
from a number of online stores including CDWOW.
The majority of the album has been produced by Ben Hillier
(Elbow), with Norman Cook taking responsibility for
just two of the more upbeat tracks - including likely
second single, 'Crazy Beat'. Dotmusic report that a
secret track appears at the end of the new album, entitled
'My White Noise' but this doesn't appear on the official
Blur press release.
Vocals, Piano, Organ, Synthasizers
Albarn was born on 23 of March 1968. He was born in
the East End of London to Hazel and Keith. He has
one sister called Jessica. He first lived in Leyton-Stone,
East London and thenin 1987, after living six months
in Turkey, his family moved to Colchester. In 1979,
he attended Stanway Comprehensive School in Stanway
where he was called names and everyone called him
gay. Damon first met Graham here when Damon noticed
Graham wearing "crap brogues". He learnt
piano and the violin. Damon then enroled in Colchester
Sixth Form College in North Hill where he failed A-Level
music, got an E in History and a D in English. At
16, he went to East 15, a drama school but soon gave
up to persue a career in music so he moved to London
in 1987 where he performed as one half of a synth
duo called "Two's A Crowd" with new friend
Sam Vamplew. He then got a full time job in a studio
and attended Goldsmith's College on a part time course.
He recorded some demos at the Beat
Factory studio, owned by Graeme Holdaway. This partnership
didn't last too long and Damon went solo again. Damon
was employed as a tea-boy at this recording studio
but was also allowed free time in the studio. In 1988,
Damon played a solo gig at the Colchester Arts Centre,
Church Walk in Colchester. He played on acoustic guitar
in front of Graham, Dave and 13 others. He went for
a drink with Dave after the gig where Dave told him
to give him a ring if he needed a drummer. Circus
soon formed with Damon, Dave on drums and a guitarist,
but on the eve of their first recording session, the
guitarist left to become a full-time photographer.
Damon turned to Graham who he met earlier in Stanway
School. They were both at Goldsmiths by now, Graham
joined and they became inseperable friends. They both
worked on early solo songs by Damon such as "Beautiful
Seymour's first gig was at East
Anglia Railway Museum in Chappel, Colchester in 1988.
It was attended by 100 friends, family and college
art students from Goldsmiths. They then did gigs around
London in various pubs and other small venues., including
the Powerhaus in Islington, North London where Andy
Ross and David Balfe of Food Records first saw them
live. They also played in clubs like The Falcon and
Blow Up. The name "Seymour" refers to a
story by J.D. Salinger where a newly-wed called Seymour
Glass kills himself whilst on his honeymoon. This
name was suggested by Damon's friend Paul Hodgson.
When he was 19, he made a demo tape
with Graham Coxon on the Saxophone on some of the
songs after Food Records showed interest in the band,
the songs were "One Day", "Jane",and
"Elizabeth". They were known as Seymour
but had to change their name to Blur to be signed
by Food Records by Andy Ross and David Balfe in March
1990. They signed for to Food £3000. He was
going out with Justine Frishmann of Elastica after
first meeting in 1992, but have recently split up.
The split inspired Damon for the album "13"
where Damon opened up his heart in songs such as "No
Distance Left To Run" and "Tender".
Damon is a keen follower of football
and has even scored at Wembley in 1995 at a charity
game. His favourite football team is Chelsea and has
also played charity games at Chelsea's home ground,
Stamford Bridge. He also wrote music for Channel 5's
coverage of Chelsea in European football. Damon begun
filming for the British film "Face" on 20/11/96
starring Robert Carlisle from Trainspotting. Damon
starred as a getaway driver in the gang of bank robbers,
called Jason, in his first film appearance but ended
up dead by the end of the film.
Damon also starred in a drama originally
written for the Beatles by the controversial playwright,
Joe Orton, called "Up Against It". Damon
played one of the lead characters in the radio play
which featured plenty of swearing, sex and scandal.
It was broadcasted on Radio 3 in September 1997. In
the February 1998, Damon wrote a track to be England's
theme song for the World Cup 98 but the FA didn't
pick it and the song was never released. Also in Febraury,
Damon headed a delegation to Parliament in protest
at the introduction of tuition fees for students where
he teamed up with Labour Left-winger Ken Livingstone
and more than 30 student unions to challenge the Government
over its plans to abolish grants.
Apart from acting in a film, Damon
is recently getting interested in writing music for
movies. He's worked with Michael Nyman for "Ravenous"
and is also set to work with ex-Sugercube Einar on
the soundtrack for "Reykjavik 101". He may
also write the score for the film adaptation of Alex
Garlands "The Beach". While in Blur, Damon
has done many collaborations. He played on tracks
on Terry Hall's album, one track was called "Chasing
A Rainbow". He also collaborated with Tricky
but those sessions were never released. He's also
worked with Michael Nyman on the Noel Coward tribute
album on a track called "London Pride".
He also worked with Matt Sharp on a Gary Numan tribute
album where he played keyboards and sang on "We
Have A Technical". He has also released one solo
song called "Closet Romantic" on the "Trainspotting"
He was involved in some remixing
too. He mixed a Cornelius track called "Star
Fruit Surf Rider". Both Damon and Graham remixed
a Massive Attack song called "Angel" and
both worked on a song called "101%" using
1 minute of music from Thurston Moore. All the remixes
were released. Damon has recently achieved one of
his life-long ambitions - to be on US cult cartoon
The Simpsons, where abit of Song 2 was used for the
Superbowl episode entitled "Sunday Cruddy Sunday".
At present, Damon is with artist girlfriend Suzi Winstanley
and has fathered their first child, the baby is called
Missy, suggested by Damon.
Electric and Acoustic guitars, Backing vocals, Banjo,
Graham Coxon was born on 12 of March
1969 in Rinteln at a military hospital near Hanover,
Germany. After spending his first 5 years on the German
military base, he moved to Derby to live with his
grandfather and then to Colchester when he was 8 years
old. Here is where he met Damon Albarn at Stanway
school. Graham's Dad was also a saxophone player called
Bob who taught jazz to the soldiers in Germany and
his mother's name is Pauline. His father was a saxaphonist
in the Worchester & Sherwood Foresters too. He
also has one sister who is a nurse called Hayley.
His first instrument was the fife,
a small military flute. He began to learn the guitar
at 12 after a short period on the saxophone and the
drums. He played sax and passed musc exams up to Grade
5. He taught himself to play guitar on his sister's
acoustic guitar. He played guitar just so he could
play "Aunties & Uncles", "News
Of The World", and "Liza Radley" by
The Jam. Also at 12, he played drums for local bands
around Colchester. Graham was also a "protest
vegetarian" for a short time but gave it up after
becoming anaemic which forced him to spend a week
in Severalls Hospital, Highwoods in Colchester in
1986. Graham also went to Colchester Sixth Form College
with Damon but only lasted a year after becomming
the common-room clown. He then went to North Essex
School Of Art And Design, Sheepen Road in Colchester,
he was 17 at this time. He studied for a two year
General Art and Design Diploma. At the same time,
Graham worked part-time in Sainsburys and also played
in Dave Rowntree's band "Idle Vice".
Graham then went to study at Goldsmith's
College in London on a Fine Arts Degree where he met
Alex James who was studying French while Graham studied
art. He first saw Alex on the first day as he got
dropped off by his mum, they became good friends and
drinking partners. Through Graham, Alex got to know
Damon and soon he joined Dave, Graham and Damon in
Circus which soon evolved into Seymour. Graham seems
to be injury prone at times, he became anaemic while
a vegetarian, during the US Leisure tour, he was very
ill with a bleeding ulcer and in 1998 he was spectacularly
hit by a cab.
Graham was once a heavy drinker
but has eased up in recent years. He has tried unsuccessfully
to kick the booze on numerous occassions. Graham has
played sax on only one Blur album song, "Parklife".
Graham is a shy character but in recent years, his
confidence has grown. Two solo songs have appeared
on the past two albums, "You're So Great"
and "Coffee & TV" appeared on "Blur"
and "13" respectively. He also released
a solo album called "The Sky Is Too High"
in August 1998 through his newly set up record label,
Transcopic. The album featured 11 songs, all written
and performed by Graham, he even plays some piano
on one track. The artwork is also Graham's own drawings.
The sleeves for "Tender", "13",
and "Coffee & TV" are all by Graham
too. He has had some of his private collection on
show in art galleries in New York, Warsaw and Paris.
He also did some art for Idlewild's first single "Film
For The Future" where he did some artwork for
the super-imposed images.
On January 21 1997, Warchild launched
a new campaign to help children in Bosnia where musicians
were asked to create works of art and then they would
be exhibited and to help Graham made an eight foot
high lightning bolt in humour of Pink Floyd's Syd
Barrett. Graham is also a lover of jazz, and especially
likes listening to Ornette Coleman and Roland Kirk
while also played sax himself in his spare time. He
also has a Swedish girlfriend called Anna. Like Damon,
Graham has also fathered his first child called Pepper.
Graham's favourite guitar is his 1952 Tele Reissue
and is also a fan of Les Pauls and American acoustic
Alex James was born on 21 of November
1968 in Bournemouth, England. He was christened Stephan
Alex James. Alex's mother is a volunteer worker and
his father was a salesman, he also has one sister
called Deborah. When he was 11, he bought his first
piano. He has 13 "O" Levels and 3 "A"
Levels. He was in a band called "Age Of Consent"
and "Mr. Pang's Bang Bangs", which he named
after his landlord. He met Graham at Goldsmith's College
in London while he was studying French. He joined
up with Damon, Graham and Dave in Circus just before
they changed their name to Seymour. He didn't get
on too well with Damon at first, he thought his songs
were shit and he "was a wanker" but he put
up with Damon as he had the keys to the recording
studio called The Beat Factory in Euston.
At the height of the Britpop was
in 1995, Alex was fond of wearing his "Quoasis"
T-shirt down to Groucho's (where he is a member) or
any other trendy bars he frequented.
In the summer of 1996, Alex released his first solo
project with some friends, they were known as "Me
Me Me" and released a single called "Hanging
Around". He also played bass on Marianne Faithfull's
album in early 1997. In 1998, he joined up with more
friends like Keith Allen and Damien Hirst to form
"Fat Les" and their debut single was the
alternative theme for England's World Cup 98 campaign,
called "Vindaloo", it made number 2 in the
charts. They follow this up with a Christmas tune
called "Naughty Christmas" (Goblin In The
Office), but this failed to make an impact. Alex is
also interested in flying and like Dave, he has a
helicopter's and commercial licences.
Alex is also now engaged to fiancée Justine.
Drums and Samples
Dave Rowntree is the oldest member
in Blur. He was born on 8 of May 1963 in Colchester
in Essex, England. He is also the only member in the
band who is married. He's married to Paola. His mother
is a pianist with the London Ochestra and his Dad
was a sound engineer for the Beatles at the BBC, and
he has one sister called Sarah. He attended Gilberd
School in Colchester. When he was young, he died his
hair an even stronger colour of ginger as he wanted
to stand out. His first instrument was the bagpipes,
but then he concentrated on playing the drums. Dave
also has a Higher National Degree in Computer Science
from Woolwich. He was also a computer programmer for
Colchester Council before joining Seymour. Dave even
once received jazz lessons from Graham's dad.
In 1988, Dave first saw Damon play
a solo gig at Colchester Arts Centre where he offered
his services to Damon after the gig. Before he joined
Blur, he was in a band, which was a jazz-punk trio
called Idle Vice with Graham. He was also in "The
Curious Band", "Hazel Dean" and "Carpets
Eaters From Hell". Dave was also a protest vegetarian
for a while but suffered the same fate as Graham.
While playing in Seymour, he always wore pyjama bottoms.
After signing up with Food Records, as well as changing
their name to Blur, Dave also had to agree never to
wear his pyjama bottoms at gigs. Dave loves flying,
he has licences for helicopters and commercial 737's
and has his own plane. He is also very interested
in computer animation and has done some small things
for MTV and other TV channels.
Dave and Alex are also organising
publicity for Beagle 2. The European Space Agency
is launching Mars Express in 2003 and the lander is
called Beagle 2. Because of the pair's interest in
science and the universe, they both got interested
in the project. They could be writting theme music
for the project.