You Should See Me Do My Day Job
Rock and roll people who do other stuff too.
Our section celebrating some of the weird and wonderful second careers of rock stars turns its attention to the Brit Pop head boys and their subsequent endeavours…
DAMON ALBARN has worked as solo artist, record producer, opera composer and arranger. Check out his solo effort ‘Closet Romantic’ on the Trainspotting soundtrack: a deliciously weird little number. He had bona fide chart success in his Gorillaz incarnation, adopting the guise of rapper 2G. If you haven’t hear the cartoon band, it’s miles better than it sounds, if you know what we mean. That ‘Clint Eastwood’ song was a blinder. Gorillaz, as we mentioned elsewhere this month, are one of the few white acts to play the Harlem Apollo.
Albarn also scored ‘Monkey: Journey To The West’, the modern opera re-imagining of the Chinese legend about a mischievous monkey king. If you get a chance to see this: take it, it’s absolutely wicked, a brilliant night out.
He’s been a prominent critic of the Iraq war, taking out a full-page advert in the NME to decry it. He has not been afraid to confront the rock establishment, criticising Live 8 for not featuring enough black artists. Oh, and he owns a pub in Reykjavik. As you do.
ALEX JAMES, meanwhile, has swapped a life of legendary Groucho-based loucheness and hard partying to live in a house, a very big house, in the country and spend his days making cheese. This bucolic idyll does not deter him from a variety of other pastimes including newspaper columnist (he writes well) and radio presenter. He has also presented a documentary, ‘Cocaine Diaries: Alex James In Colombia’, looking at the evils of the drug trade. Ahem. He’s obsessed with space travel and contributed a musical ident for the European Space Agency’s promo campaign to construct a landing craft, Beagle 2.
GRAHAM COXON has designed album art – he did Fine Art at Goldsmith’s – and has run his own record label, Transcopic, for which he did all the art and art design. He has collaborated with the artist Julie Verhoeven to produce soundscapes and has exhibited at the ICA. He played on almost all of Pete Doherty’s surprisingly excellent Grace/Wastelands record earlier this year.
Even more challenging than a few months in a studio with Pete, the final member of Blur, DAVE ROWNTREE, plans to stand as an MP. He will contest the Cities of London and Westminster for the Labour party at the next election. He’s also a computer animator and something of a boffin on computer graphics and has written research papers on graphical rendering . He is a committed opponent of the death penalty and a patron of Amicus, the organisation that provides legal representation for people on Death Row. He’s taken a diploma in law and will begin a training contract in 2010 for a criminal law firm. He is a pilot, a bridge player and computer programmer. Oh, and a drummer!