Damon Albarn Has a Band-Forming Addiction


He’s the man behind Gorillaz and Blur, the one who writes about a billion songs a day, each with near-unwavering quality. He’s the man who has released more music than Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Beyoncé combined, and is still nearly unheard. He’s the man with more talent in one skin cell than most people have in their whole family.  He is Damon Albarn.

The man. The legend.  The object of my constant gushing.

The man. The legend. The object of my constant gushing.

Just in the last two years, he’s released the full-length albums “Plastic Beach” and “The Fall” by Gorillaz, along with the single “Doncamatic” and a few other B-Sides. He has also written the score for “Dr. Dee: An English Opera”, and collaborated with songwriters in the Congo to create “Kinshasa One Two”.  That’s more music than many artists release in their entire career.

The problem is, no one knows who Albarn is.  Of all his projects, his most famous is Gorillaz, and there are still masses who have never known the blessing of their glorious music.  Why is this?  Someone so hardworking, talented and brilliant deserves recognition, right?

Albarn doesn’t seem to think so.  Anyone who has followed his projects will tell you that he is not one for marketing.  Exposure, even for Gorillaz, is limited. While many artists and their record labels are willing to pay millions to post ads on websites, appear as guests on late-night shows, or sell boatloads of merchandise to promote an upcoming album, ads for Albarn projects are non-existent. In addition, his bands’ merchandise is produced at a relatively tame rate, and seeing Albarn as the guest on a show in the States is a special occasion.  Instead, Albarn relies on his loyal fanbase to make his living.  He knows that bandwagon fans do not equal success.

Albarn also networks through musical collaborations.  He’s had artists featured on his albums as unknown as the upcoming British Soul singer Daley, to acts as big as Snoop Dogg,  in every genre from hip hop to dance to punk.  Appealing to a variety of people will keep an artist above the underground line, without forcing their work becoming tainted by being overplayed by mainstream stations.

Speaking of overplayed, Albarn has admitted in interviews he never listens to the radio, which would account for why his music is in a vastly different direction than that of almost anybody else.  Even his super-group The Good, The Bad & The Queen, which consists of Albarn, Paul Simonon (bassist of The Clash), Simon Tong (guitarist of The Verve), and drummer Tony Allen, feature a sound rarely seen in music anywhere else.  This group could almost pass as a collaboration between Gorillaz and Coldplay with an eclectic twist.

Albarn has recently formed yet another super-group, featuring himself and Allen, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.  Their debut will be on October 29th at London’s Barbican.

Will this new band be as bursting with creativity as Gorillaz, Blur and The Good, The Bad & The Queen?  I have no doubt in my mind that they will.  Abarn excels in every musical setting he places himself in.  I have full confidence that he will continue to blow our minds, even at age 43.

My name is DJ Selenium and my show Party Rock Shock is at 4pm PST Wednesdays on KSSU!  Be sure to check it out!

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