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Gorillaz

London, United Kingdom (1998 – present)

Gorillaz are a british virtual band formed in 1998 by Damon Albarn of Blur, and Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl. They had the idea to create the band while watching MTV in their London flat and originally intended to call the project Gorilla.

The band consists of four fictional band members: 2-D (vocals, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar, vocals), and Russel Hobbs (drums). These characters only appear in animated form and are not alter-egos of real people, as is often mistakenly assumed. There is an extensive fictional back-story behind these band members, written by Albarn and Hewlett. Their albums, several of their music videos, and their autobiographical book Rise Of The Ogre all tell the saga. Damon Albarn is the only permanent musical contributor to the band, which is also a collaboration between various musicians. Their style is broad with a large number of alternative influences including rock, hip-hop, and electronica.

They have released four studio albums: Gorillaz (2001), Demon Days (2005), Plastic Beach (2010) and The Fall (Also in 2010). Additionally, they have put out two B-side collections, G-Sides (2001) and D-Sides (2007), and a reggae remix of the Gorillaz album entitled Laika Come Home (2002).


The band's 2001 debut album Gorillaz sold over seven million copies and earned them an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Most Successful Virtual Band. It was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2001, but the nomination was later withdrawn at the band's request. Their second studio album, Demon Days, released in 2005, went five times platinum in the UK, double platinum in the United States, earned five Grammy Award nominations for 2006 and won one of them in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category. The band has won numerous other awards, including two MTV Video Music Awards, an NME Award, three MTV Europe Music Awards, and have been nominated for nine Brit Awards. The combined sales of the Gorillaz and Demon Days albums had exceeded 15 million by 2007. The band's third studio album, Plastic Beach, was released in March 2010. Their latest album, The Fall, was released in December 2010 as a free download for fan club members, then in April 2011 as a physical release.

The future of the project was once under speculation due to the status of Albarn and Hewlett's friendship; however, Gorillaz plan to release new material in 2016.


Albarn is the frontman for the British rock group Blur. Hewlett draws comic books. He is most famous for Tank Girl, which was made into a movie starring rapper Ice-T and Stooges frontman Iggy Pop. Nakamura specializes in fantasy hip-hop, coming from the underground group Deltron 3030, which put its members into the year 3030, traveling the galaxy.
On its first album, Gorillaz featured the musicianship of Tom Tom Club/Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz, Deltron 3030 rappers Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Kid Koala, Buena Vista Social Club singer Ibrahim Ferrer, and Cibo Matto singer Miho Hatori.
The group is a mixture of Nakamura and Albarn's music and Hewlett's animation. They designed four cartoon characters to be members of the group a la Spinal Tap. Murdoc is the devil-worshipping bass player, 2-D is the melancholy lead singer, Noodle is the 10-year-old Asian female guitarist, and Russel is the drummer/rapper.
Albarn and Hewlett were roommates. They got the idea to create this group after each ended long-term relationships. After the appropriate grieving period, they decided to make good use of their time and began work on the look and sound of their pet band.
In 2002, they went on tour. The band played behind a video screen that displayed their cartoon images. Albarn was the only member who played every show.

 

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