a three-man Think Tank
January 2001 - Damon
Albarn says he intends to go back to the
songwriting aesthetic achieved on Parklife. "It's too
complicated being anything other than mainstream with Blur.
That's where it belongs," he claims.
February 2001 - The new
Blur Fan Club CD, B-Sides Gig
released. It countains four tracks performed live
at the Camden Electric Ballroom in 1999.
2001 - Blur plan to collaborate with Fatboy Slim.
The band are also to work with Marianne Faithfull later this
year. Although they have written about ten songs
for the new album, Damon Albarn says there is
no intention to release an album in 2001, only
one-off singles. Damon says the bands like A1 and
Westlife should be banned, while his
animated pop band Gorillaz' first single
"Clint Eastwood" is released. With the
help of the garage remix made by Ed Case, and a
catchy chorus, the single reaches Number 4 in the
UK charts and stays in Top 10 for incredible eight weeks. At the end of the month, the
self-titled Gorillaz debut album is released.
April 2001 - The former
Pavement singer Steven Malkmus critisises Blur by
saying they are frustrated Radiohead wannabes and
are suffering from an identity crisis. He also
claims Blur ripped off the Pavement sound on Blur
2001 - Graham
Coxon records his third solo album while Damon's soundtrack for the Icelandic movie 101 Reykjavik
gets its UK release.
2001 - Gorillaz'
next single "19-2000" is released and
reaches Number 6 in the UK charts.
2001 - Alex James
makes his TV show host debut on a programme 24 Hours
In Soho. He also works with Sophie
Ellis-Bextor on her debut solo album. Gorillaz has become a massive
worldwide success. Their debut album is released
in the USA and soon reaches sales of a
million copies there.
2001 - Blur are in
studio with Marianne Faithfull recording a track
for her upcoming album. "For the band, it wasn't one of
the best experiences. Partly for obvious reasons,
and partly for reasons that are private. It
wasn't a good time for the band. We didn't want
to be with each other," says Damon later about the sessions.
Graham Coxon's third solo album Crow Sit On
Blood Tree is released. Musically, it's the mixture between
his previous two albums.
2001 - Blur make
their first live appearance since last year's Meltdown Festival
at a special industry bash to honour their
manager Chris Morrison.
2001 - Blur
finally start to record their new album with
producer Ben Hillier in Damon's
own studio. However, Graham doesn't turn up to
these recording sessions which last a fortnight
and produces nine new tunes. Previously, the band
had tried to start recording with various people,
including Bill Laswell, but those sessions
didn't work out.
2001 - Damon's new album Mali
Music, based on the recordings he made
during the visit of the Mali, is rumoured to be
released next spring as well as the new Japanese
2002 - Blur digitise "Beagle
2" readying it for use on the probe of the
same name which will be send to Mars next year. The
band continue recording their new album. This
time, Graham is appearing in the studio now and
2002 - With 14 songs
already in the can, Damon says the new Blur album will be
finished in May. The Japanese releases, scheduled
to be out this month, are both cancelled. Damon
launches his own 'world music' record label called
Honest Jon's. Gorillaz re-release "Tomorrow
Comes Today" as a single and do their first
tour in the US. The band are nominated for six
awards at the Brit Awards, but oddly don't win
2002 - Damon says that one new
Blur song, "Don't Bomb When You Are The
Bomb", could be a single. He admits his work
with Gorillaz has caused tension between the
members of Blur, but says: "I think everyone sees that I
wasn't leaving the band in any way - I was just
filling my mind and my heart with things that
gave me a real reason to go and do justice to a
band that we've worked so hard on building
2002 - Damon releases his Mali
Music album through Honest Jon's and Blur Fan Club puts out
a new CD. Graham
Coxon records his fourth solo album.
2002 - After a few
months break, Blur continue recording
with Graham appearing in the studio for
the last time (eventually, his work could be heard on four
finished songs: "Battery In Your Leg", "Morricone", "The
Outsider" and "Some Glad Morning").
2002 - Blur have 25 songs recorded.
The band approach many producers, including The
Neptunes, the Dust Brothers and William Orbit, to work on the
album. Damon Albarn says the album will definitely be out in
2002 - The Mirror
newspaper claims Graham Coxon has left the group
because of a series of rows with Damon Albarn.
Despite the fact that Graham isn't in studio with
Blur, he denies the reports and claims he's still
in the band. Alex James reveals Blur's plans to
make a film accompanying the new album. The Dust
Brothers work on the new material with the band,
while The Chemical Brothers consider to work on
it. The band have decided to finish the album in
Morocco. Damon teams up with Massive Attack's Robert
'3-D' Del Naja to join CND-backed Stop
The War campaign aimed at opposing war in Iraq.
2002 - Fatboy Slim, who now works
with the band as producer along with Ben Hillier,
says that Graham has definitely left Blur.
However, Graham hits out at him saying he
"doesn't really know what he's talking
about". The band and producers fly to
Morocco to continue work on album, but Coxon
stays in London. Other band members are not keen
to give comments about the situation, but refuse
to refute rumours of Graham leaving Blur.
2002 - An interview with Q
magazine confirms that Graham Coxon has left
Blur. He claims that he was phoned by the band's
manager and asked to leave. "It was
something to do with my attitude," he told
the magazine. Blur return to the UK from Morocco and
move straight to Devon to finish mixing the
album. Graham releases his fourth solo album, The
Kiss Of Morning,
which is regarded as his best
solo album to date.
2002 - Blur release a new track
anonymously on very limited edition white label
vinyl (actually red as pictured right). Electronic "Don't
Bomb When You're The Bomb" is a shock for
fans and gets mostly bad opinions. However, Damon
calm down fans saying it's not an indication of
the sound of the new album. William Orbit quickly
visits in Devon to do some decorating on some
tracks. At the end of the month the new album is
2002 - Alex James works again with
Sophie Ellis-Bextor on her new solo album.
2003 - Damon Albarn joins the
protest against the Iraq war outside the London Parliament.
2003 - Blur reveal their new guitarist at a
surprise gig in London. The ex-Verve guitarist Simon
Tong will play with Blur in live concerts this year.
However, he won't be the official member of
always was and always will be the Blur guitarist
and one of my best friends," explains Dave
Rowntree. The band's new live lineup also
contains a percussionist, three backing singers
and Mike Smith on keyboards and
2003 - The seventh Blur album,
entitled Think Tank, leaks to the Internet two months
before the official release.
2003 - The new single "Out Of
Time" is released to good reviews and gets
Number 5 in the UK charts. Punkier "Song
2"-esque "Crazy Beat" is the first
taster in the US.
2003 - Think Tank hits the shops and goes
straight to Number 1 in the UK album chart. However, after eight
weeks it is gone from Top 75. The album gets mostly good reviews
from the press and fans, but new "guitarless" direction doesn't
satisfy everybody. The band plays five sold-out nights at
2003 - Blur's US tour starts.
Graham has begun recording his new album with
Stephen Street behind the producer's desk.
2003 - "Crazy Beat" is
released as the second single from Think Tank.
It fails to follow the footsteps of its
grandfather "Song 2" and only charts at
Number 18 in the UK. Many fans can't stand the
duck voice and "yeah yeah yeah" bits in
this Norman Cook produced single.
2003 - Blur play at the Reading and
Leeds festivals. At the end of month, Blur Fan
Club gives away the new single
"Colours" to its members. The track
was recorded during Think Tank sessions.
2003 - The Observer
releases a five track special Blur CD containing previously unreleased Think Tank
demos and live tracks. The band will spend the
next couple of months touring around Europe,
starting with two dates in Moscow.
2003 - Blur win the Best Album award
for Think Tank at the Q Awards. "Good
Song" is released as the third and final
single from the album.
2003 - Successful Think Tank
tour moves to the UK. Damon Albarn releases Democrazy,
a limited vinyl-only solo album which consist of
demos he recorded during Blur's
last US tour. only 5,000 copies are pressed and
sold through his own record label, Honest Jon's.
thought it would be interesting to let people
hear a side to the music-making process they
never get to hear. It's the lowest lo-fi record
ever," says Damon. According
to him, some of the demos will be used later on
the records by Blur and Gorillaz.
2003 - After the UK tour, Damon
settles down to showcase Democrazy in a
London club. Blur reveal their plans to make an
EP next year. Think Tank do well in many
magazine's "best of the year" polls. It is Number 1
in The Observer Music Monthly and Number
2 in Q. On a Boxing Day, the Mars lander
Beagle 2 is supposed to land on the red planet
and send a signal back to earth. Despite many
attempts, scientists fail to pick-up the
Blur-composed signal. The lander is most likely
crashed on the planet during the landing.