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July 9, 2008: "Blur Bassist Alex James To Be A New Father"
Blur bassist Alex James has revealed he is having a baby girl with his wife.
The 39-year-old rocker says he is "really excited" about having a daughter.
He said: "We're having a girl! We pretended not to be really excited about the news that we were having a girl but we secretly were!"
Alex also revealed he has already picked out some unusual names for the unborn baby, but might be tempted to go for a traditional name instead.
He added: "I think you've got to have a look at them before you decided what they will be called. We quite like Sophie, although I don't think we will get that past the board of censors - especially Geronimo! There's a shortlist now. I quite like Boudica."
Alex cleared up rumors he is quite partial to a breast milk cappuccino, insisting he only used Claire's naturally-produced milk on his breakfast cereal.
He added to Britain's OK! magazine: "When the twins were born it was very traumatic as we didn't know whether they were going got make it as they were so premature. So after we finally got them home, Claire had a night out with friends and got totally wasted."
"We had this particularly fearsome maternity nurse who told us Claire's milk was condemned. I thought, 'We can't throw that away!' so I tried it - I had some on my cornflakes as well!"
Music rock Blur band picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Blur are an English rock band formed in Colchester in 1989. The band are comprised of vocalist/keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist/vocalist Graham Coxon, bassist/backing vocalist Alex James and drummer/backing vocalist Dave Rowntree. The group became one of the biggest bands in the UK during the Britpop movement of the mid-1990s.
Blur's original influences on their debut album, Leisure, included contemporary British alternative rock trends such as Madchester and shoegazing. Following a stylistic change in the mid-1990s, influenced by English guitar groups such as The Kinks, The Beatles, and XTC, the band released Modern Life is Rubbish, Parklife and The Great Escape. As a result, the band helped to popularise the Britpop genre and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a famous chart battle with Britpop rivals Oasis.
By the late 1990s, with the release of their fifth album, Blur, the band underwent another reinvention, influenced by the indie rock and lo-fi style of American bands such as Pavement and R.E.M., in the process gaining an elusive American success with the single "Song 2". The final album featuring the band's original lineup, 13, found Blur experimenting with electronica and gospel music
In May 2002, founding member Graham Coxon left the band early in recording sessions for Think Tank, the band's seventh and latest album. Blur continued in his absence, seeing both the album and a tour through. Since the end of their 2003 tour, the band is inactive, as bandmembers are working on solo projects. In late September 2007, the band reunited with Coxon for the first time in 5 years and a few days later a message was posted on their website saying that, while relations are healthy between all four members, they are not currently planning to make any new music.
Formation and breakthrough: 1989-1992:
In spring 1989, vocalist Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon and drummer Dave Rowntree, classmates at London's Goldsmiths College, formed Seymour, a name taken from J.D. Salinger's Seymour: An Introduction, which Albarn was reading at the time. Known in the Colchester underground scene as an art rock band, the band quickly gained underground popularity with their live shows. In summer 1989, Seymour, with the new addition of bassist Alex James, sent a demo containing early versions of songs such as "She's So High" and "Dizzy" to indie label Food Records' A&R man Andy Ross. However, it wasn't until Ross attended Seymour's live performances that he was suitably impressed and decided to sign them. The only concern held by Ross and the record label was that they disliked the band's name. Food drew up a list of alternative names, from which the band decided on "Blur". Food Records finally signed the newly-christened Blur in March 1990.
From March to July 1990, Blur toured the UK, testing out new songs. After their tour was over, Blur released "She's So High" in October 1990, which reached #48 in the UK. However, producer Stephen Street, contacted the band to produce their debut album. The band agreed, beginning a successful partnership that would last nearly a decade. The follow-up to "She's So High", "There's No Other Way", became a hit, and both singles were included on Blur's debut album, Leisure, which was received positively because it fit into both the dying Madchester craze and the shoegazing-dominated London scene. The NME wrote in 1991, "They are [the] acceptable pretty face of a whole clump of bands that have emerged since the whole Manchester thing started to run out of steam." However, some journalists and music critics dismissed the band as manufactured teen idols, a title which Blur struggled to disprove throughout the next two years.
The Britpop years: 1993-1996:
During a tour of America to promote Leisure, the band became increasingly unhappy, often venting frustrations on each other, leading to several violent confrontations. The band began to formulate the idea of an album directed against American culture, which Albarn considered naming "England vs. America", on which they began work upon their return to the UK. Although Andy Partridge of the band XTC was originally slated to produce the follow-up to Leisure, his relationship with the band soon deteriorated and Street was finally brought in again to produce the album. Under his guidance, the band relinquished, to a degree, their original purpose of attacking American culture, changing the name of the album to Modern Life is Rubbish, reportedly taken from graffiti Albarn saw on London's Edgware Road. Finally, after nearly a year in the studio, the band delivered Modern Life Is Rubbish to Food.
Blur's 1992 single "Popscene" has in retrospect been cited as a turning point for the band musically, yet when it was originally released it only charted at #32. "We felt 'Popscene' was a big departure; a very, very English record," Albarn told the NME in 1993, "But that annoyed a lot of people [...] We put ourselves out on a limb to pursue this English ideal and no-one was interested." In 1993 the band were ready to release Modern Life is Rubbish when Food Records said the album required more potential hit singles and asked them to return to the studio for a second time. The band complied and Albarn wrote "For Tomorrow", which would become the album's lead single.
The record was finally released in May in Britain and later in 1993 in the U.S. Cited by some critics as the first Britpop album, Modern Life Is Rubbish was well received in Britain, peaking at number 15 on the British charts, yet it did not make much of an impression in the U.S.
Blur's 1994 follow-up, Parklife, finally became their commercial breakthrough. Influenced by East End culture and Martin Amis' London Fields, Parklife entered the British charts at number one, catapulting the band to fame in their home country. In Britain Parklife reaped Blur a string of hit singles, including the ballad "To the End", the dance-pop single "Girls & Boys", and the mod anthem "Parklife", which featured narration by Phil Daniels, the star of the film version of The Who's Quadrophenia. "Girls & Boys" entered the UK charts at number five, and managed to spend 15 weeks on the U.S. charts, peaking at number 52, but Parklife never reached the American Billboard 200.
By the beginning of 1995, Parklife had gone triple platinum in the UK. Blur spent the first half of 1995 recording their fourth album and playing occasional concerts, including a sold-out stadium show. In February, Blur received a record four awards at the BRIT Awards, for best album, best single and best video for the single "Parklife", and best British group.
On August 14, 1995, Blur released their new single, "Country House". Originally slated for release on August 21, Albarn had requested the single's release moved up to compete with the release of "Roll With It", the new single from Blur's rivals, Oasis - sparking the much hyped "Battle of Britpop". Blur's "Country House" ultimately outsold Oasis's "Roll With It" 274,000 copies to 216,000 during the week. On August 20, to radio BBC announced that Blur had won the battle, for cause that sold 58,000 the more than Oasis. In the albums of Britpop, didn't The Great Escape get the defined album to be Britpop, because of the few sales, and was the defined album exactly (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, by Oasis, that sold more than 19 million copies worldwide, and is 3rd best selling UK album of all time. In September, Noel Gallagher he says in the magazine "The Observer" that wanted that Damon and Alex, they diffused AIDS and they were died. In Brit Awards 1996, when the prize "Best British Group", they sing the chorus of Parklife.
Reinvention and evolution: 1997-2000:
Struggling under negative press attention and a loss of popularity, Blur nearly broke up in February 1996, following a violent scuffle between Coxon and Albarn. The band took a brief hiatus between the end of their tour in March and the beginning of new recording sessions, which would begin in summer 1996 and end in winter of the same year. By the end of recording sessions, relations in the band had improved to the point that by December, the album had been easily mixed and mastered.
By the end of 1996, Albarn's musical interests had changed from British pop to American alternative rock and lo-fi, influences which dominated Blur's eponymous fifth album. Blur, released in February 1997, received the kind of acclaim that had not been seen by the band since Parklife. The album exemplified the band's incorporation of American lo-fi and indie rock into their Britpop sound, a musical evolution which came as a stark contrast to the much-criticized third album Be Here Now by rivals Oasis.
The band's reinvention earned them much praise in the UK; the album and its first single, "Beetlebum" debuting at number one. In the U.S. also, the record received strong reviews as the album and its second single "Song 2" became a large hit. The album reached #61 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and achieved gold status in December of that year, while "Song 2" peaked at #6 on the Modern Rock chart. After the success of Blur, the band embarked on a worldwide tour. However, at the conclusion of their tour, the band announced that they would take a different approach to their next album, and so parted ways with long-time producer and collaborator Stephen Street, who had helped establish the band as one of the biggest bands in the UK.
With Street gone, Blur was in need of a producer, a gap which they resolved by hiring William Orbit (Madonna, Seal). As a result, Blur's 1999 album 13 was musically dominated by Orbit's electronic production. 13 was preceded by the single "Tender", which marked a new era of sonic experimentation for Blur, with its mix of gospel music and electronica. The album spawned another hit single, Coffee & TV, which gained Blur cult status in America, largely thanks to its music video, which featured the protagonist "Milky". Graham Coxon had even bigger artistic input on 13, contributing vocals to some of the songs, including "Coffee & TV" and "Tender", and designing the album cover.
Hiatus, Coxon's departure and Think Tank: 2001-2003:
Exhausted by incessant recording and touring through the world, the band took a hiatus, pausing only to release a box set of singles in August 1999 to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Early in 2002, however, Blur temporarily broke their hiatus to record a song that would be played for the European Space Agency's Mars Lander, however, the plan fell through when the lander was lost.
Recording for Blur's next album, Think Tank, got under way in Marrakesh, Morocco in mid-2002. Tensions surfaced, however, when Coxon began to appear emotionally and creatively distant to his bandmates, reportedly failing to attend recording sessions. One of the main causes for this has been cited as the choice of dance DJ Fatboy Slim as the album's producer. After several weeks of uncertainty, Coxon confirmed that he had been asked to leave the band for reasons connected with his "attitude." His last contribution to the band was a guitar line on the final track of Think Tank, "Battery in Your Leg" which Albarn said was the only song he ever wrote about the band.
Before the album was released, Blur released a new single, Don't Bomb When You're The Bomb as a very limited white label release. A largely electronic song, sporting a chorus consisting of "Don't bomb when you're the bomb-ba-bomb-bomb-bomb" the single and the band's startling reinvention was a shock to Blur fans, who were expecting a return to the catchy pop tunes of the band's early career. Albarn, however, attempted to assuage fans' fears by explaining the impetus behind the song and providing reassurances that the band's new album would be a return to their roots.
Think Tank, released in May 2003, was filled with atmospheric, brooding electronic sounds, featuring simpler guitar lines played by Albarn, and largely relying on other instruments to replace Coxon. Coxon's absence also meant that Think Tank was almost entirely written by Albarn. Its sound was seen as a testament to Albarn's increasing interest in African music, Middle Eastern music and electronica, and to his control over the group's creative direction. For the following tour the band hired Simon Tong, former guitarist and keyboardist of The Verve, who also played with Albarn in his Gorillaz project.
While Think Tank was received well by critics and fans, a minority of critics didn't warm to it. However, Think Tank was yet another UK #1 and managed Blur's highest US position of #56. The album was also nominated for best album at the 2004 BRIT Awards. The band supported the album with a tour and three singles: "Out of Time, "Crazy Beat" and "Good Song".
Solo, reunion and hiatus: 2004-2007 (hiatus):
In 2004, the band already announced in news for the radio XFM, that Blur would really record a new album, and in the same time, there were rumors that Graham would go back to Blur. But in the news, they also felt for understanding that Damon would be busier, working in a second album of Gorillaz. Dave says on radio "We've done a week or so recording, and we'll do another couple of weeks, I think in September", but the recordings Graham was happened.
In the middle of 2005, Blur records some songs, (revealed in 2007), without Graham. In an interviews of NME, Damon Albarn say that if Graham doesn't return, Damon won't accept to record with Blur, without him.
In March 2006, Alex James, announced in the radio XFM, that Blur was already at studio, that the name of the new album will be "Nasty, Dirty, Filthy", but that ended up not happening, because of the occupation of the members in other bands, However, Damon still worked in Gorillaz, Alex had made a duet with Betty Boo, that foramara WigWam, and Dave had formed a new band, The Ailerons, occupying the battery place.
In November 2006, Alex James it comments in the radio BBC, that Blur, can have Graham Coxon of turn, after a chat that the two had. But it was not anything confirmed that Graham would go back to the band. One day later, Graham considers meeting of Blur, he comments on returning in the band, he was just thinking which it would be your choice.
In April 2007, Alex James said that the band will emerge from their hiatus: "We're all heading into the studio together [this August] - Graham's coming too," he told Dotmusic. "We're gonna see if we've still got it. If not, I think we'll just call it a day." The band formally announced that a new album was in the works with Graham Coxon saying that he is "raring to record with Blur". HMV has also listed the as-yet untitled new studio album on its website. Alex James recently announced that the band will likely be beginning a new album in October.
However, on Thursday 4th October 2007 blur.co.uk revealed that although the band all met for "an enjoyable lunch", they had no intentions of future Blur work in the near future and that the media drew out the reunion talks far too much.
In the last decade, bandmembers are mostly engaged in a variety of side-projects, instead of working as a full band.
* Damon Albarn In 1998, Damon with Jamie Hewlett formed a band called Gorillaz. Damon, with other unknown members, began to record the album in the end of the year. Damon used many instruments in the album. Later the band officially changed its name to Gorillaz. The band toured in 2001 and 2002.
In 2000, he traveled for Africa, in the country of Mali. He worked with African musicians, the album was accomplished Mali Music in 2002. After finishing the recordings that happened in Mali, he also worked already in a project soil, thrown in double vinyl Democrazy, the recordings happened in USA, in several hotels.
After coming to Think Tank, he returns to work with Gorillaz, for a second album. The recordings begin in January 2004, and it concludes in the end of the year. In the same year, the band The Good, The Bad and The Queen, was almost formed.
In 2005, he begins to record with The Good, The Bad and The Queen, and the recordings conclude in 2006. And the following year he joins the again with Jamie Hewlett, and director of opera theater Chen Shi-zheng, that begins the theaters of Monkey: Journey To The West in Europe.
* Graham Coxon has released 3 solo albums while still a member of the band. His first, released on his own Transcopic label was The Sky is Too High in 1998, a ramshackle mixture of English folk music and 1960s-style garage rock, under the influence of Billy Childish. This was followed by the more extreme The Golden D (2000) and the thoughtful Dylan-Drakesque Crow Sit on Blood Tree (2001). After going solo full-time, The Kiss of Morning (2002) proved to be his most accessible to date. Graham Coxon rekindled his relationship with former Blur producer Stephen Street in 2003, to craft his most successful solo albums to date Happiness in Magazines (2004) and Love Travels at Illegal Speeds (2006).
* Alex James joined actor Keith Allen and artist Damien Hirst to form Fat Les. He began working with pop singer Betty Boo in the band WigWam in 2005. They released the single "WigWam" in April 2006 and are currently working on their debut album.
* Dave Rowntree set up the animation company Nanomation, which produced the South Park-esque Empire Square, shown on Channel 4 in early 2005. He is also the drummer and backup vocalist for The Ailerons.
-Damon Albarn (Vocals, Guitar, Piano).
-Graham Coxon (Guitar, Vocals).
-Alex James (Bass Guitar, Backing vocals).
-Dave Rowntree (Drums, Backing vocals).