Yet on their brand new album Think Tank, this is precisely what the remaining trio of Damon, Alex and Dave have done. Ranging from downbeat, yet curiously uplifting ballads to sassy electro-skewered garage rock guitar shakers, the mood veers from innovative - but still well crafted - pop introspection to retro-punk rock and jazzy jams. We asked the Blur boys about the pressures of being Brit-pop pioneers.M-WEB: What's the mood like since the departure of Graham Coxon?DAMON: The mood in the camp?DAVE: Two hangovers and a grin (laughs)DAMON: What? Two hangovers and a grin, yeah. I feel pretty much as it's always been. You know - it's just minus Graham these days. I think as far as communication goes it's obviously easier with three than it is with four. There's no rocket science to that. It's just easier to talk to two other people. It'd be even easier with two. And just imagine how easy it would be with just one! (chuckles devilishly).M-WEB: For the record why did Graham split?DAMON: Well, what threw us was on the first day Alex, Dave and Damon turned up but Graham didn't turn up. Later that day we were informed that Graham wouldn't be around for a couple of months anyway. And it was a very difficult decision. It was like do we just go home now or do we do something in the studio? And being quite sort of optimistic, positive souls we thought, "oh let's just have a go". We just started recording and... it just sounded great immediately. When Graham actually returned it just didn't work as a four piece anymore. It was as simple as that. No one was sacked. There was nothing like that. The spirit of Blur was more important than the individuals. It could have happened to anyone of us, you know?
M-WEB: Is it difficult constantly dealing with your celebrity status?DAMON: When I make music it's because of the love of working with people. Not about being the centre of attention. All the people that made that possible for you to even go on the stage... It's an enormous collection of individual talents and neuroses and everything that creates anything in this world. Unfortunately we're at a point in our society where it's gonna burst soon, the idea of celebrity. It's becoming almost impossible to be a celebrity. It's a sickness. We invest unreasonable demands on people who are just the same as everybody else.
M-WEB: Why the title "Think Tank"DAMON: I think you first suggested that didn't you Alex?ALEX: It seemed to sum everything up. I don't think you should say why things are called things. I think they should sort of evoke something. It's whatever it means to you, isn't it - always with titles.DAMON: But it's definitely two words. It's "Think" and "Tank", it's not one word.DAVE: it just seemed to draw together a bunch of themes that the album was talking about. It was one of those suggestions that immediately kind of clicked in every one's heads. That's your subconscious telling you that's the one you should go with.DAMON: we played with the idea of "Dark Life", but actually we were off the mark, it should've been difficult life. No one's gonna call their record "difficult life" are they?M-WEB: Any message for your fans?DAMON: I've never been able to f**king practice properly. I'll probably die not being able to play all the beautiful music that I could play if I'd practised. So that's what I'm saying to anyone who cares to listen: don't ever, ever lose heart in practice 'cos it'll take you to a wonderful place in the world if you can. But at the same time don't lose sight of creativity in your own being and individual. You know? It's that balance that's all we're talking about, isn't it? Bloody balance!
- Miles Keylock
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