Gorillaz’s pre-history dates back to 1990, when Blur Graham Coxon’s guitarist asked favorite comic book writer Jimmy Hewlett to interview the band. It was then that the cartoonist first met the singer Damon Albarn. Nothing happened over the next few years, until finally, as a result of a series of different life events, Hewlett and Albarn lived in a communal apartment in London’s Westbourne Grove. It was there in 1998, bored of watching MTV, that they came up with the idea of forming a virtual band, which they named Gorilla at first, then added the letter “z” to the end of the name.
The musical minds behind the project have been Albarn from the start, although his name cannot be found in the group’s official line-up, whose members have presented themselves as: 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel Hobbs. They all had an elaborate image that was 100 percent woven into Hewlett’s imaginations and cartoons – just cartoon characters.
Technical side jump
In 2000, Damon Albarn was a huge star in the British music scene, and Bloor, under his leadership, had been fighting with the Oasis for a decade for the UK’s # 1 group title. By recording Gorillaz’s debut album, the singer was able not only to hide his face behind a moving ego, but also to boldly experiment with music and out of the Britpop box, which he found with his mother band. He eagerly seized this opportunity – there was relatively little rock in the new project, but there was a place for hip-hop, trip-hop, dubbing, electronics, and even Latin music.
The first single, and the most successful at the same time from “Gorillaz,” was “Clint Eastwood”. The song, named Hollywood tough guy in the title, is based on a lazy background music, with the occasional spaghetti western theme of “Good, Bad, and Ugly” by Ennio Moriconi.
Rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, whose voice we hear most of the song, admitted in an interview that he composed his part using the advice in “How to write a hit song,” which he bought with a coupon his mother gave him. The song was accompanied by an animated music video with apocalypse ambiance.
Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood, źródło: YouTube / Gorillaz
Ibrahim Ferrer was one of the guests Albarn invited to record the album. The legendary Cuban singer, known from the movie “Buena Vista Social Club”, sang in the longing voice of “Latin Simone (¿Qué Pasa Contigo?)”.
Gorillaz – “Latin Simone (What’s up with you?)”, Źródło: YouTube / Gorillaz
The album “Gorillaz” showed Damon Albarn a brave artist, looking for new tracks, uninterested in cutting coupons for his fame. His bold artistic move turned into a commercial success at the same time – the album reached number three on the UK’s bestseller list, sold worldwide with an impressive 7 million copies, and Gorillaz became one of the most interesting phenomena in pop culture at the beginning. Twenty first century.