Blur, Now and Then

Blur has come a long way since 1989, with the band’s lead singer, Damon Albarn taking the group to legendary status. Amid their huge upcoming gig at Hyde Park on June 20th and the release of their 8th studio album, The Magic Whip, we at the Tshirtgrill want to celebrate all things, Blur.

The band formed back in 1989 when Childhood friends Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon met Alex James. Albarn was in a group named Circus, who were joined by drummer, Dave Rowntree that October. Circus requested the services of Coxon after the departure of their guitarist.

That December, Circus fired two members and James joined as the group’s bassist. They named themselves, Seymour. In November, a Food Records’ A&R representative attended a Seymour performance that convinced him to court the group for his label. The only concern held by Food was that they disliked the band’s name. After consideration, the group decided on “Blur” and Food Records finally signed the newly christened band in March 1990.

From March to July 1990, Blur toured Britain, opening for the Cramps and testing out new songs. In October 1990, after their tour was over, Blur released their first single, “She’s So High”.

Various - 1991

After the album, 13 and the subsequent tours in 1999–2000, band members pursued other projects. Graham Coxon recorded a string of solo albums, while Damon Albarn dedicated his time to Gorillaz. Alex James worked with Fat Les and co-wrote several songs with Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Marianne Faithfull.

In 2001, Blur started recording their next album, not long after, Coxon left the band. Coxon said “there were no rows” and “[the band] just recognised the feeling that we needed some time apart”.

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. The guitarist’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 and Middle Eastern music, and to his complete control over the group’s creative direction. Think Tank was yet another UK number one and managed Blur’s highest US position of number 56.

Twelve years since the bands last album, Blur are set to release their 8th studio album, The Magic Whip on the 27th April 2015. The album started life when the band had an unexpected break when touring in May 2013.

Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree spent 5 days jamming together and carried on with their live dates while the recordings were put aside and the group finished touring and returned to their respective lives. Then, in November last year, Graham revisited the tracks and, drafting in Blur’s early producer Stephen Street, he worked with the band on the material. Damon then added lyrics and the 12 tracks on The Magic Whip is the result.

Blur are set to return to London’s Hyde Park for a headline set on 20th June 2015.

To celebrate Blur’s 26 year career, we here at Tshirtgrill have a fantastic set of Blur and Damon Albarn tshirts to offer.

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  • 99p As Worn by Damon Albarn T-shirt – £8.99
  • California 86 As Worn by Damon of Blur – £14.99
  • British Rail T-shirt As Worn by Damon Albarn – £14.99
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