Graham Coxon


Education and Professional:

Graham Coxon is most well known as the quiet, lead guitarist of Blur, a British indie band and one of the forerunners of the '90s music genre, Britpop.

Graham Leslie Coxon was born on 12 March 1969 in a military hospital in Rinteln, Germany where his father was in an army band. His family returned to England when he was five.

After listening to ska and The Jam, he taught himself the saxophone (which he plays on the Blur hit "Parklife") and guitar (at age 12), as well as the drums.

He attended Stanway Comprehensive School where he met Damon Albarn (who would become the lead singer/songwriter for Blur) and they became friends. After graduation, both went to London where Graham pursued a Fine Arts degree at Goldsmith's College.

At Goldsmith's, Graham met Alex James (Blur's bassist) who was studying French and they formed an art group called Nichtkunst (not art). Damon also ended up attending Goldsmith's part time, maintaining the friendship. Graham would occasionally provide guitar and drum work for Damon's (at this point) solo career.

Graham eventually introduced Alex as a potential bassist and then Dave Rowntree (whom he'd played with in a college band called Idle Vice) for drums to Damon, forming the band Seymour (named for J. D. Salinger's character, Seymour Glass). When they signed with Food Records, one requirement was that they change their name. From the list provided, the band settled on the name 'Blur'.

From 1989 until 1996, Graham provided much of Blur's exceptional sound but little of its direction, leaving that to Damon. After The Great Escape, Blur went through its second painful transition period (the first being around the time of Modern Life is Rubbish when they transitioned from a 2nd tier Madchester & Shoegazing (My Bloody Valentine was one of Graham's favorite bands) group to a leader in Britpop) and Graham started to provide input as well.

For years, Graham had been a fan of American Indie Rock and bands like The Pixies, and Lo-Fi and set this as the style of their 1997, eponymous 5th album. He also recorded a gentle solo for the album ("You're So Great"). It should be noted that he had provided lyrics for various songs in the past including their first single, "She's So High".

In 1998, he formed his own label Transcopic which released his first solo album, The Sky Is Too High. Unfortunately, the work didn't receive significant notice since Blur had already started recording its next album, 13.

13 was a further, more experimental departure from the Britpop which had brought Blur its success. Graham, however, provided the lead vocals for one of its best (and more traditional) songs, "Coffee + TV" (I highly recommend seeing the video - go, umm, look online for it somewhere).

In 2000, he released his second solo album Golden D and a third in 2001 named Crow Sit on Blood Tree. According to AllMusic, they are Indie Rock/Lo-Fi, somewhat in the tradition of the album Blur.

Blur has been fairly quiet recently (due to Graham's solo career and Damon's virtual hip-hop musical collective, Gorillaz - just typing that phrase amuses me even though their stuff is pretty good) but is expected to release a new album by early 2002.

Update: It appears Graham may be leaving Blur. Only time will tell. :(


Personal:

  • Graham apparently tended to drink frequently and would often get into brawls while drunk. In 1996, he gave up alcohol for a while and ate M&Ms instead (Even as an American, I know Smarties are 10x better).
  • Fond of French singer Françoise Hardy who recorded a version of Blur's "To The End" called "La Comedie" (released in France).
  • His parents are Bob and Pauline while his sister, Hayley, is a nurse.

And some quotes:
  • "We can make good music together but God knows what might happen if we tried to make music individually, it'd be shit." (I assume before his solo albums)
  • "Graham fans seem to be really fucking mad…I just seem to attract complete nutters."
  • "Japanese audiences dye their hair blond, dress in Adidas zip-ups and Fred Perry tops and then they put on ties as well. It's very strange."
  • "I like hippos better than roses"

Many thanks to highcool.net, allmusic.com, and Veikko's Blur page for various bits of information.
/msg me if you have comments or updates.

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