Albarn and self-discovery

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Posted 07 Apr 2012 in Music

Ever the contrarian; there’s a nice little interview with Damon Albarn in the Guardian today. The paper’s John Harris is, along with Stuart Maconie and Steve Lamacq, perhaps the music journalist with the most long term insight into Blur, so he normally manages to extract the most sense out of an interviewee who is notoriously difficult to pin down, and as changeable as Easter weather.

Oddly, he chooses to focus, again, on Damon’s flirtation with hard drugs in the late 1990s, which is neither newsworthy nor terribly interesting, but perhaps instructive when viewed not as a historical detail but rather as the starting point from which Damon embarked on a long period of un-selfconscious musical discovery. Rightly, Harris notes that Albarn, who was raised in a hippy household – always a bead-wearer despite the Essex branding – follows in a tradition of sorts which is “common to a lot of musicians from bohemian backgrounds”. Harris writes.

For all its grave dangers, that drug – perhaps in moderation, if such a thing is possible – sometimes opens up a side of them that they didn’t know existed.

Albarn certainly has little interest in talking up the mind-altering effects of drugs (he prefers the rigours of the 9-5, albeit with the help of an “early morning joint”), so the interview doesn’t dwell. I’m even less interested (in fact, utterly uninterested) in drugs – but I’d gladly hear more about either John Harris or Damon Albarn’s thoughts of un-selfconscious music-making, because it strikes me that that’s exactly what Damon has spent the last 13 years doing – making free, largely unedited rock music with a meandering but always curious emotional and spiritual urgency.

Full interview is here.


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