samedi, avril 08, 2006

Blur news

Boo For Blur


by Paul Cashmere @ Undercover

April 7 2006

Damon Albarn isn’t the only Blur member with a side project. Bass player Alex James has teamed up with 90’s popette Betty Boo for a thing they call Wigwam.

Boo and James have been working on the project for the better part of the last year and have recorded the song ‘Checking Out My Wigwam’.

The notorious BOO is best known for her fast food fade dance hit ‘Doin’ The Do’ and even better known for dropping her mic during a live performance in Melbourne, Australia only for the audience to discover she was miming the song.

She “retired” from the music industry after the incident and probably hopes that all has been forgotten (no, it hasn’t Betty)

Betty Boo made somewhat of a comeback in 2000 when she wrote the song ‘Pure and Simple’ for reality TV show stars Hearsay.

Alex has had a life outside of Blur previously. He also moonlights in a comedy act called Fat Les. They had a number two UK chart hit in 1998 with the song ‘Vindaloo’.

As a writer, Marianne Faithful recorded his track ‘Hang It On Your Heart as well as various tracks on the first two Sophie Ellis-Bextor albums.

The single ‘Checking Out My Wigwam’ was released this week in the UK.


Future tents

Look inside legends-to-be WigWam and you find two proper pop stars, says Peter Robinson

The description “side project” is the “most annoying term in music”, declares Alex James. With ventures such as Fat Les and Me Me Me behind him, the Blur bassist has had his fair share of extracurricular pop escapades, but he sees his new project, WigWam, as something else. “This is not a bit on the side,” he declares. “It’s a full-blown bigamous marriage.”

His blushing bride is Alison Clarkson, known to connoisseurs of bobbed hair and Bacofoil as the platinum-selling Nineties spacewarbler Betty Boo. Clarkson quit pop stardom in 1995 at the precise point that Madonna was about to sign her to her label, Maverick.

As it happens the pair met directly below where we sit today. “I was playing snooker,” James says. “I didn’t know who she was. We had a right giggle.”

“We got on quite well, didn't we?” says Clarkson.

“Well, I did try to . . . er . . .” Pause. “But it was vetoed.” A pause, in which minds boggle.

WigWam’s debut single, Wigwam, sounds as if Clarkson and James have set out to create a piece of music that defies comparison — a celebratory, three-minute explosion of triumphantly daft bouncy guitar pop replete with cat noises, wibbly basslines and Clarkson intermittently trilling “Checkin’ out my wigwam, checkin’ out my boo”, which sounds absolutely filthy.

To imagine this record’s place in the pop cosmos, picture it as the exact opposite of James Blunt. “Right now it’s all sensitive males singing about their weaknesses,” sniffs Clarkson. “You’re Beautiful is the new Lady in Red, just not as good.”

At a point when pop-by-committee is the order of the day, WigWam arrive with an explosion of colour. “EMI did a focus group on Blur after the last album,” James chortles. “The verdict was that it was too slow. Also it turned out that Stereophonics are better- looking than Blur.

“Then again” — and he adds this in what might be termed a victorious tone — “we were better-looking than Oasis.”
He seems particularly taken with statistics. Being in a band is 90 per cent turning up, he says, while Wigwam, apparently, is 90 per cent sugar, 7 per cent cheese and 3 per cent explosives. Pop music itself is 99 per cent confidence and 1 per cent drums.

“I’m basically a scientist,” he decides, launching into a lengthy explanation of the fact that we are experiencing a golden age of space exploration, how there’s not enough spaceship content in records, and how the best pop music comes from outer space anyway.

Along with the single there are plans for WigWam podcasts, which Clarkson claims will feature “a cookery section! And a sheep section, and a bulldozers and diggers section. And a tennis section.”

“This is basically everything punk rock wanted, digitised and beamed into your iPod,” James says. “It’s a subversive notion, WigWam. It represents a counter-cultural ideal. It’s not saying ‘Wear Prada and look like an advert’, it’s going, er . . . WigWam. Go and live in a tent.”

While Clarkson is clearly ready once again for the whole Top of the Pops experience, I ask James whether he has accounted for WigWam showing up in the charts. With Blur due back in the studio this year, will there be time for it all? “Success always fits with a glove,” he splutters, then suddenly becomes quite serious. “Failure is the hard one to stomach. Although it’s really complicated being rich. It’s so high maintenance.”

With this in mind, might either of the WigWam duo care to predict where Wigwam will enter the hit parade? Clarkson, suddenly, is speechless. James rises to the challenge. “Ooh. Wow. I don’t know. But I can smell a hit. Or is it s***? It’s a fine line.”

Wigwam is released on Instant Karma.

The TimesApril 07, 2006


Yuya Joseph a dit…

Great blog, some of my fave bands plus some new ones I must check out! Find great Australian bands, Canadian singer/songwriters at the Blue Pie Artists weblog