Jump to content
  • Guest

    Ape Crusaders

    WITH two ground-breaking and multi-million selling albums, Gorillaz' creative controllers Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett have unequivocally established they are cultural messiahs.


    They are also very naughty boys.

    One would expect they would have exhausted their own supply of irreverence and braggadocio, having bestowed huge quantities of both on the Gorillaz virtual bandmates, Murdoc, 2D, Noodle and Russel.


    In the middle of the only two days of publicity they claim they are doing for their second album Demon Days, the Gorillaz puppet masters are making it fun for themselves by not only touting their own genius but slagging off superstar labelmates, including The Rolling Stones and Coldplay.Albarn, of course, is well aware of the profile-boosting points of a public slagfest - remember Oasis versus Blur, circa 1995.


    His former flatmate and Tank Girl creator Hewlett proves to be equally adept at dishing it out during a 20-minute conference call.


    Although it's a bit hard to tell who's who sometimes over the speaker phone.

    "Every generation is going to love Gorillaz," Albarn states emphatically. "You just have to look at cartoons like Scooby Doo which are still hugely popular."


    Hewlett adds: "But you won't have 2D on stage when he's 62 with his catheter swinging between his legs. He'll always be a charming little cherub.


    "We'll be in wheelchairs but it won't matter because the Gorillaz will exist as long as we're still into doing it."


    With more than six million copies sold of the debut album and Demon Days already clocking up two million since it was released a few months ago, the Gorillaz virtual band concept has transcended novelty to become a phenomenally successful reality. New collaborators were sought for Demon Days, with Danger Mouse - who created the controversial Grey album from mashing The Beatles' White Album with Jay-Z's Black album - brought on as producer.


    Other guests include Neneh Cherry, Martina Topley-Bird, De La Soul, Ike Turner, Roots Manuva, the Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder and Dennis Hopper giving it his best spoken word freakiness on Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey's Head.


    Propelled by the irresistible Feel Good Inc, the album is sitting pretty in the top 10 in the US and Australia.


    But it's not just about the music. The multimedia behemoth which accompanies the album and singles has inspired plenty of aural and visual trainspotting from fans.


    "Obviously there's a lot of stuff in the album, videos and website, lots of little, discreet references and it amazes us how many of them are getting picked up," Hewlett says.


    "Fans on the forum seem to know where everything comes from and we're happy they are getting it.


    "There have been 32 million rooms on the website visited.


    "That's amazing feedback because this is not like being in a band, playing in front of 10,000 people who are going, 'I love you, I love you'."


    One senses Albarn, in particular, is enjoying the anonymity of the Gorillaz project, enjoying creative success without having to traipse around the world's stages to validate his existence. They love the fact Keith Richards allegedly said, "who the f... is Gorillaz?" when they sought his permission to use his name in an advert.


    No doubt many artists will benefit from the trails the Gorillaz are blazing in terms of changing the way record companies release and promote music.


    Their label can only release a single every three months or so because that is how long it takes Hewlett to create the animated videos. As far as interviews with the "band" go, 2D, Murdoc, Russel and Noodles only correspond via email.


    And while they are planning a five-night stand in Manchester featuring all of the human contributors to Demon Days, a conventional world tour is not on the cards. They are however in the early stages of planning an animated show which could play in venues around the globe without Albarn, Hewlett or the others on stage.


    Hewett says: "The record company knows they have to think differently about this band. We have broken the formulas they use to market a band and I think the people who work with us find it refreshing."


    Albarn adds mischievously: "Anyone who had a hard day working on this project can go home and listen to Coldplay. Sorry, but they are such an easy target. Coldplay really is unacceptable."


    His problem with his labelmates is their huge fanbase snap up a new album the second it is released, thus turning the charts into the film box office.


    "We could sell as many albums as Coldplay in the long run - Feel Good Inc is a single that just won't go away," Albarn says. "But albums are like movies now. When it doesn't sell massively in the first week, it is considered a flop, which has created massive insecurity. Most great albums find their audience over time. It will take a lot more acts than us for it to change."


    Source: http://entertainment.news.com.au

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    This is now closed for further comments

  • Create New...