Graham Coxon talks to Uncut about the gigs, Pete Doherty and his new LP
Blur guitarist Graham Coxon has spoken to Uncut about his new solo album, his falling out with his old record company, his work with Peter Doherty, and, of course – the Blur reunion.
“I haven’t seen the boys for a couple of weeks, but everyone seems in pretty fine fettle,” Graham told us. “It’s ever such a laugh when we’re rehearsing. Some of the songs are just like they were – other ones are like a revelation, realising just how contrary and weird we were.”
Asked how intensive the preparations were for the band’s dates at Hyde Park and Glastonbury this summer, Graham was equally cheerful.
“We’ve just been getting together casually and running through albums,” the guitarist said. “Just getting together with that sound again. I’ve been tweaking my amplifiers, and Damon’s been tweaking keyboards…getting little samples, and just playing again.”
Speaking in advance of the arrival of his new solo album The Spinning Top, Graham also told us that he’d had a big falling out with his previous record label, EMI, about his album artwork, and was now issuing his music on Transgressive, an indie.
“For the control freak in me…for me it goes without saying that how you present your music how you want to present it. It was a painful shock to me when I found out I couldn’t.”
Graham also said that he’d been enjoying his recent work with Peter Doherty. As well as playing with him on tour as part of Doherty’s band, Graham also worked on arrangements for Doherty’s recent album Grace/Wastelands.
“It’s lovely playing with Peter,” says Graham. “He’s amazing to watch. He’s a cheeky chipmunk, and very funny, and a lovely bloke. It’s been excellent really. Streety (Producer Stephen Street) just called me up and brought some demos round – some of them were more difficult to make sense of than others but mostly they were pretty instant for me.”
Coxon’s work with Doherty ended up reminding him of how he would formerly work with Damon Albarn.
“I feel very at home for being a sounding board for someone’s lyrics and chord progressions and ideas like I was for years – and still am, possibly, with Damon Albarn,” said Graham. “I dig being a mirror – helping to communicate what a songwriter is trying to communicate, with my guitar.”
Asked what it was like to be playing Blur’s music again, Graham was very positive, but said that in rehearsals there was still a lot of room for things to become quite experimental.
“Me and Damon are the loosest,” said Graham. “Dave and Alex seem pretty much on the case. They’ve proved themselves to be a long-lasting, solid rhythm section, while me and Damon are flighty freakoids.”
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