NME - Blur Star
ALEX JAMES is to make his debut as a radio
The bassist will
be sitting in for Tom Robinson on the DJ's
regular BBC 6 Music show, 'Tom
Robinson's Evening Sequence'.
will be filling the slot for two weeks, kicking off on May 31,
Mondays to Thursdays 7-10pm.
NME - Blur head
back to the studio
BLUR are heading
back into the studio next week to record a new EP.
The news will come
as a blow to the sceptics who predicted 'Think Tank'
would be the band's last record.
Damon Albarn has
revealed that he is currently juggling three different projects:
Blur EP, an album he's set
to record in Nigeria with the surviving members
of Fela Kuti's band and a new
He also said he
would like Graham Coxon to rejoin the band.
like a family with one brother no-one talks to," he told
6 Music, adding: "It is a realistic prospect - the only
reason he's not in the band is because he didn't feel he was
getting enough say. We're totally capable of making music
together. I can forget about all the other things."
A number of
songs from 'Democrazy' - the album of
half-finished tracks he recorded on the road in America
- will find their way into these projects.
actually called 'Democrazy' has evolved into a
fantastic song with Tony [Allen] (producer). A
couple of them have gone to nearly-polished
pop gems now, and I'm doing an EP with
and a couple will go there," he said.
EP is likely to be the first of these to be completed. The band
are due to go into the studio with 'Think Tank'
producer Ben Hillier next week to record them.
Albarn revealed that he is planning to use
The Bees as the house band for the new set of
songs, and he also has another high-profile collaboration lined
revealed: "I've been working with Dangermouse.
It's gonna be great.
is just pure unadulterated pop fun for me," he added.
Nigerian collaboration will see him fly out to
Africa later this month to work in Fela Kuti's
studio with Tony Allen and other members of the
pioneering Afro-beat band.
"They're all my
songs and I'm singing, so there will be focus on me, but we'll
have a name that isn't my name. I don't believe in the idea of a
solo record. I'm looking for a country guitarist at the moment.
There's gonna be a lot of slide guitar - sort of Afro-country,"
Albarn's ambitions do not stop there. "After I've done
these records I'm going to take a long time out, possibly to
work in theatre for a few years," he divulged.
NME - Blur hit out
over court threat
BLUR have hit
back at the BRITISH PHONOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY's (BPI)
warnings to online song swappers that they may face court action
if they continue to download music.
reported on NME.COM, the BPI
yesterday (March 25) said that a new instant messaging campaign
on the Internet will warn users when they are obtaining music
illegally, as well as telling serial downloaders to disable
their file-sharing software or face court action.
from the BPI said: "The message we want to put
out today is that file-sharers are on notice that if they
continue with their activities they risk court action."
drummer Dave Rowntree contacted NME.COM
to comment on the new threats of court action against
He said: "It's
so difficult for artists to speak out without pointing fingers
because artists make money from the sale of records and it's
seen as if we want the best of both worlds."
certainly not saying 'File sharing is great but I also want to
make a living out of selling records', Rowntree
explained. "What I'm saying is if the BPI
wanted to take a stand, then the time to take that stand was a
number of years ago and do it in a kind of inclusive and
grown-up way rather than now posturing and spitting like a bunch
of schoolyard bullies. This will only lead to a bunch of 12
year-olds being taken to court as happened in the States which
will serve nobody and nobody will make a penny."
downloading, Rowntree said: "It's something
that you can't un-invent. The time to have taken action would
have been around the Napster time when
Napster were holding out the olive branch - we should
have taken it and started working with them to get models
whereby people who downloaded music from the Internet paid for
it so that it became commonplace from early on."
"Since some bad decisions were taken then - now the whole
industry is on the back foot."
warning from the BPI suggests the organisation
is moving closer to the legal download crackdown already being
implemented in the US.
the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
has sued hundreds of music fans sharing their songs over the
Rowntree said: "It's the musicians who generate the
money - the record companies may think it's them but actually
it's the musicians - so the will of the fans and the will of the
musicians will out eventually, I have no doubt.
"But if the
BPI want the bloody nose along the way fair
enough, but as long as everybody's aware that it's not the
performers who are doing this - it's the BPI."
NME - Blur wait to
hear if there's life on Mars
As the rest of the country settles down with the turkey today
(December 25), members of
BLUR will be holed up
inside CHESHIRE�s JODRELL BANK
OBSERVATORY � waiting on word back from life on Mars.
the climax of the band-backed Beagle 2 project,
the British effort to land on Mars. If things
go to plan, the probe will land on the planet�s surface on
Christmas Day and the first signal we Earthlings will hear back
will be a Blur
waiting for the signal, which wasn't heard when the probe was
supposed to land in the early hours of this morning. However,
there is still a chance the signal will be heard later today.
Dave Rowntree explained that the
band became involved with the project back in 1999, at the
height of the campaign for their album �13�. He
told NME.COM: "Alex [James]
and I have always been fascinated by space exploration. They�d
been going round banging their heads against a brick wall trying
to get the funding. That�s where we came in. Because we had
access to the media we were able to help out."
soon became more involved with the project, masterminded by Open
University Professor Colin Pillinger. He
continued: "They came up with such an ingenious scheme. When the
probe lands it has to send a signal back to say that it�s
landed, and that signal could be anything. And we said why not
write a piece of music?"
Damon Albarn composed
�Beagle 2�, a song which first appeared as a B-side to
their 1999 single �No Distance Left To Run�.
Today the team will be holed up in Jodrell Bank
awaiting news of whether the Beagle has landed.
If does, it will be the best Christmas present Dave
has ever been given.
great telescopes and great engineers, but we�ve never
traditionally had a space programme to match that," Dave
told NME.COM. "Yet this might actually answer
the question, is there life on Mars?"
Beagle is able to burrow into the
surface of Mars. By probing, the team believe
they can identify whether there has ever been water on the
planet. Water would be the biggest breakthrough in discovering
whether the planet has ever been capable of sustaining life.
The probe was
named after the HMS Beagle, the vessel on which
Charles Darwin began the epic voyage that led
to the writing �On The Origin Of Species�.
- Blur plan new EP for 2004
BLUR are planning
to record and release a new EP next year, following the success
of their recent eight month-long 'THINK TANK'
Damon Albarn also said that one of the early demo
tracks featured on his limited edition solo album 'Democrazy'
could possibly be developed further for at least one of the
songs on the proposed EP.
are in discussion with our separate lawyers about recording an
EP next year," Albarn told Xfm.
"I definitely think we�re gonna put out some new material, but
we�re not going to be touring like this, not for a while."
"There is this one song on �Democrazy� called
�Sub Species Of An American Day� that I think
would make a fine
single," Albarn explained, "There�s always a
lot of material about, it�s just a case of finding the
appropriate time to record it."
the band's 'Think Tank' tour, the singer said:
"Well, we�ve been on tour for eight months and it�s been a real
celebration, as we�ve been doing a lot of old stuff. Quite
emotional really. It's been really good for the soul seeing the
audiences this year."
extremely hard work, but it�s been extremely rewarding. I mean,
we�re still talking to each other. At the end of the last tour
we did we certainly weren�t� then one of us (guitarist
Graham Coxon) left!" he said.
reported on NME.COM, Albarn
will play a one off gig in London at the end of
He will play at
west London club Neighbourhood
on December 22.
showcase material from �Democrazy� and
Terry Hall - ex-Specials
vocalist - will also DJ at the gig.
tickets are available for the show, and are priced at �10. They
will be available from Honest Jon's
Record Store on Portobello Road in
west London, and selected other outlets.