Drummer, lawyer, composer, politician… Blur’s busiest member on the troubled childhood that influenced his new solo album, Radio Songs, and the band’s summer time reunion gigs
A few weeks before Christmas, and the planning conferences have just finished for 2 of 2023’s most anticipated gigs, by a British band who first rehearsed together 35 years in the past. In July, Blur are as a result of play two nights on the 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium (only one concert was originally scheduled, however it bought out in two minutes). Their mix of concepts from British pop culture’s past, combined with the peculiar optimism at the end of the final century, made them one of many largest bands of the 1990s; they’ve only made two albums since, both of them tentative, tender but pretty: 2003’s Think Tank and 2015’s The Magic Whip.
The day earlier than I meet the band’s drummer, Dave Rowntree, he was with singer Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon and bassist Alex James in an undisclosed location in London, plotting the rough shape of the Wembley gigs, with devices on their laps. “It was good! This is the enjoyable bit before we’re enjoying the set over and again and again, staring sullenly at our telephones between songs,” Rowntree tells me. On this vibrant winter morning he's at Tate Trendy in London’s Bankside sporting a hoodie and carrying luggage of the clothes he has simply worn for the Observer’s photoshoot. He had his portrait taken in the gallery subsequent to Cildo Meireles’s Babel, a murmuring, ominous tower of a sculpture that he’s all the time beloved, made up of tons of of analogue radios. Oblivious ageing hipsters and midlifers, who will definitely have danced to his drumbeats, cross him by.Continue reading...