11:10am PT by Jordan Zakarin
Damon Albarn Says Blur Is Ending After Hyde Park Concert, Talks Noel Gallagher Friendship
The future looked bright for Blur. They had a new song, a mega-concert planned for the Olympics, and kind words between the band's two driving forces, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon. Unfortunately for their dedicated fans, all those positive factors won't add up to a full-force reunion, a new album or, following the summer, future concerts.
In a long new interview with The Guardian, Albarn says that Blur will soon fade into the past.
Speaking of the success of their new song, "Under the West Way," which was recorded live, Albarn beamed at the effort, adding: "I don't really see any more recordings after this. So it's nice to have finally done one song where we did it properly."
The problem, it turns out, isn't with Coxon -- who initially left the band -- but the group's other two members, Alex James and Dave Rowntree.
"I find it very easy to record with Graham. He's a daily musician. With the other two, it's harder for them to reconnect," Albarn said. "You know what I mean? It's fine when we play live – it's really magical still – but actually recording new stuff, and swapping musical influences… it's quite difficult."
That declaration comes counter to what Coxon has said, so the two may have to discuss their differing visions of the future.
The (prospective) end of Blur draws a partial curtain on Britpop, that mid-90s movement that put England back on top of rock and stoked rivalries through the press and record release gamesmanship. While bands from the era such as Pulp (on tour in the United States right now) and the Happy Mondays have reunited, Blur's main rival, Oasis, has also recently split.
In a sign that the fire and antagonisms of the time truly have been put out, Albarn says that he is even now friendly with Noel Gallagher, the Oasis guitarist and songwriter who was his sworn enemy in the Battle of Britpop (the North of England's blue collar represented by Oasis; the more posh, artistic South repped by Blur). The battle peaked in 1995 with the simultaneous release of the two bands' new singles and wishes of AIDS upon one another. All forgotten antagonisms, Albarn declared.
"I met him in Mayfair, in a nightclub," Albarn said. "What normally happened in that situation was, we had a way of looking a certain way and walking past. It was like a code. But we broke the code that night, instantly. We looked at each other and said hello, and it made all the difference. A lovely man."
Meanwhile, Albarn remains busy with a host of other projects. After shepherding Gorillaz' evolving lineup of members through four albums, he recently revealed that he and artist Jamie Hewlett were having trouble coming to terms over new collaborations, and a breakup of the band was likely. Just weeks ago, he released the first album for a new group, Rocket Juice & the Moon, a collaboration with The Good, the Bad & The Queen drummer Tony Allen and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, among others. He also continues to work with many of the most acclaimed producers in the industry, including Dan the Automator and Danger Mouse.