10 Things You Never Knew About Damon Albarn

From ‘Parklife’ meddling to animated band head honcho

From ‘Parklife’ meddling to animated band head honcho; we peek into the weird and wonderful life of the Britpop innovator.

1.Blur were originally known as Seymour, but their record company refused to sign them up until they changed their name to something else. Blur was one of the names on a long list of choices that they finally decided on. Tough love.

2. In the Gorillaz jam ‘Clint Eastwood’, the lyrics “I got sunshine in a bag” are in fact a reference to marijuana or a similarly illegal import. The line was plucked from The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, where Eastwood refers to a saddlebag full of gold as sunshine in a bag.

3. Albarn’s regular alias, Dan Abnormal, is actually an anagram of his name, used most famously in the title of a song on ‘The Great Escape’. Other anagrams include Abandon Marl, Banal Random, Anal Mad Born and Ban Damn Oral. Just in case he ever got bored of his current one.

4. ‘Song 2’ is not only two minutes and two seconds long. It’s also the second song on Blur’s self-titled album, the second single from that album to be released, and the second song on their greatest hits collection, ‘Blur: The Best Of’.

5. Damon’s radically beset anti-war stance stems from the strong relationship he shared with his grandfather. Grandpa Albarn was one of the many soldiers imprisoned as a conscientious objector during World War II. He’s previously worked with CND and the Stop The War coalition, organising campaigns to raise awareness of the potential dangers of the UK’s involvement in a war.

6. Before Blur, he attempted to make ends meet by attempting a career as a mime and also working as a tea boy at the Beat Factory studio. He also performed briefly with a host of other groups including Two’s A Crowd, The Aftermath and Real Lives.

7. Here’s a bit of dimensional trivia for you. Damon did backing vocals for Massive Attack’s ‘100th Window’ album under his Gorillaz pseudonym 2D, the spiky-haired front man of the group. Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja is nicknamed 3D.

8. Damon Albarn and Dan Nakamura sampled the theme for Gorillaz’ ‘Rock The House’ from the 1966 film Modesty Blaise. In the spy film, a secret agent with the ability to change her hair instantly gets used by the British government as a decoy in an effort to thwart a diamond heist.

9. The album ‘The Fall’ was composed predominantly on an Apple iPad. The entire thing was recorded and produced in just thirty-two days, and was written while Gorillaz were touring the States for their previous hit album ‘Plastic Beach’. Many of the tracks make references to where they were made.

10. Blur were nominated twice for the Mercury Prize: for ‘13’ and ‘Parklife’. Damon Albarn is the only artist to ever withdraw a nomination for the Gorillaz back in 2001. Since then, none of his albums have been nominated.

Words by Errol Anderson

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