lex is born and raised in Bournemouth, where he lived with
his father, mother and little sister.
He was actually given the name Steven Alexander James, but he's now
known as just Alex James. At junior school, Alex's mum begged him to
take violin lessons, but the instrument was too difficult for him. After the death of grandfather,
the family moved to a guest house which was at a retiring centre. There he got
so bored that he dedicated a lot of time to school and therefore got 13 "O" levels. He was also good at sports,
especially in football.
Music, though, was one of Alex's main interests. At the age of 13, his dad
bought a piano that got his attention straight away. A few years later, Alex's
first band called The
Age Of Consent was formed in his mate Jay Burt-Smale's bedroom.
Because the synthesizers were too expensive at the time, Alex decided to
play the bass instead and got a Fender
Precision bass copy on his 16th birthday. The another band, Mr. Pangs Bang
Bangs, was named after his landlord.
Soon Alex left Bournemouth to study French
at Goldsmiths College. He got to know Graham Coxon, who lived
above his apartment, and together they delved into art and artistic movements,
including their own group Nichtkunst. Graham brought Alex
to hear Circus, a band that included him, Damon Albarn and Dave
Rowntree. Damon's first impression of Alex
was very clear: "He completely pisses me off".
Alex replied by saying "that's shit" about the
Despite the beginning, Alex teamed up with
the lads and later on, when Circus had lost two members (Eddie
Deedigan and Dave Brolan), Graham asked Alex to join as a bass player.
However, in the beginning Alex wasn't
such a good bass player. "We were always waiting for
Alex to learn stuff," Dave Rowntree has said. Soon
they changed their name to Seymour and Alex left
Goldsmiths with unfinished studies to work on the band.
Alex split-up with his long-term girlfriend
Justine Andrew in 2002. Currently, he is married to Claire Neat
and together they have five children:
Geronimo (born February 16th, 2004)
Twin boys Artemis and Galileo (April 2006)
Sable (August 2008)
- Beatrix (December 2009)
Like Dave, Alex is interested in flying and acquired a pilot's licence
in the early 2000s
(soon afterwards he sold his plane to Dave and became an eco-friendly
farmer). Alex is also very keen on space and has been a Visiting Scientist at
the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Me Me Me (1996): Alex put
together a Britpop supergroup with Stephen Duffy, Justin Welch and
Charlie Bloor who released one single, "Hanging Around".
The Stone Cold Strollers
Guy Pratt and Ed Shearmur co-wrote "Hang It On Your
Marianne Faithfull as The Stone Cold Strollers. The group
also made two songs for the Mojo soundtrack.
Fat Les (1998-2002): A
comedian group consisting of Alex, actor Keith Allen and artist
Damien Hirst, among others. They recorded "Vindaloo", the
unofficial song of the British World Cup team in 1998. The single
reached #2 in the UK chart and sold almost one million copies. In
2000, Fat Les re-formed and recorded a cover of "Jerusalem" for the
England's Euro 2000 football team. The next song was released for the
World Cup 2002 team, but only got a little attention.
Alex collaborated with Alison Clarkson (a.k.a. Betty Boo) on
their short-lived band whose only single "WigWam" failed to
set the chart alight. There was also a finished WigWam album that was never
Since the early 2000s, Alex has appeared
on numerous TV and radio shows as a co-presenter or guest (list
of all appearances). He has
also written many columns to the UK newspapers
and magazines such as The Independent, The Spectator
and Q. Alex has also written two books; his own autobiography Bit Of
A Blur (2007) and the follow-up memoir All Cheeses Great & Small (2012).
Alex has designed a range of award winning
artisan cheeses on his Cotswolds farm:
Little Wallop was introduced in 2007, Farleigh Wallop and the world's
first ever square blue cheese Blue Monday followed the next year. His
first mainstream cheese range called Alex James Presents was launched in
2011 in partnership with Asda. The latest artisan cheese addition,
Goddess, was launched at Jamie Oliver and Alex James' annual food and
music festival The Big Feastival in 2012.
- In 2000, Alex collaborated with
the film composer Simon Boswell and Ian McCulloch for
the score to the Brit football flick There's Only One Jimmy
- Alex worked with Sophie
Ellis-Bextor on a
couple of tracks on her first two albums, Read My Lips and
Shoot From The Hip.
- He is playing bass on Stephen
Duffy's album I Love My Friends. More recently, Alex has
contributed bass to Bad Lieutenant's debut album Never Cry Another
For the full list and details of Alex's musical
appearances outside Blur, see
Alex James Discography.
Song List also lists appearances outside Blur.