Infobox Musical artist
Name = Supergrass
Background = group_or_band
Img_capt = From left to right:
Gaz Coombes, Danny Goffeyand Mick Quinnat Roundhouse, London, 14 March 2008
Alternative rock Britpop
Years_active = 1993–present
Parlophone, Capitol, Supergrass Records
URL = [http://www.supergrass.com www.supergrass.com]
Gaz Coombes Danny Goffey Mick Quinn Rob Coombes
Supergrass are an English
alternative rockband from Oxford. The band consists of brothers Gaz ( guitarand lead vocals) and Rob Coombes(keyboards), Danny Goffey(drums and backing vocals), and Mick Quinn(bass and backing vocals).
The main trio formed in 1993 in Oxford with only Rob Coombes playing supporting role as keyboard player. The band released their first single "
Caught by the Fuzz" in October 1994 on the Parlophonelabel. The single reached number 43 in the UK Singles Chart, but failed to chart in the US. Supergrass followed up with their debut full-length album " I Should Coco" in May 1995. The album reached number one in the UK where it stayed for three weeks. [cite web|url=http://www.everyhit.com/numberalb5.html|title=Number 1 Albums - 1990s|publisher=Every Hit - Go to 1995 section|accessdate=2008-05-21] The album led the band to four newcomer awards in the same year the album was released. "Alright" was released from the album which reached number two in UK Singles Chart. [cite web|url=http://www.everyhit.com/|title=Search Results -- Singles|publisher=Every Hit - search for "Supergrass" as Name of artist, and "Alright" as Title of song|accessdate=2008-05-21] This is the highest chart position the band have attained - a feat they repeated with their single "Richard III" from the " In It for the Money" album. Both albums were included in the book " 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". [cite web |url=http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/steveparker/1001albums.htm |title=1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die |publisher=Rocklist Music |accessdate=2008-05-21 ] "In It for the Money" was the first album to be produced entirely by Supergrass. Their third self titled album "Supergrass", often referred to as "the X-ray" album due to the picture on the sleeve peaked at number three in the UK albums chart. Their fourth album, " Life On Other Planets" was the first to include Rob Coombesas an official member of the band, who until then was employed on session and touring basis. The album peaked at number nine in the UK album charts.
In 2004 the band released a singles compilation entitled "
Supergrass Is 10" to celebrate ten years since the band formed. This was available on CDand DVDformat. The DVD version featured a documentary filmin which the band members recall moments during their career in the group. This also shows behind the scenes footage of recording sessions and live performances. " Road to Rouen" is the fifth studio from the band and was difficult for the band due to personal reasons including Danny Goffey's tabloidordeal and the death of the Coombes' mother. This album also peaked at number nine in the UK album charts. " Diamond Hoo Ha" is the sixth album from the band and only peaking at number 19 in the UK album charts this release makes it their lowest charting album to date. The track " Diamond Hoo Ha Man", one of the songs debuted at Guilfest, was distributed as the first single on a limited vinyl release, restricted to 1500 copies.
Formation and The Jennifers: 1991–1993
Supergrass' origins lay in the band
The Jennifers, which featured a then 16-year-old Gaz Coombeson vocals and Danny Goffeyon drums, who was at the time 18 years old. The band played gigs at various venues around Oxfordshire, often pubs and clubs. One pub the band played at was the Jericho Tavernin Oxford. The band enjoyed enough success to release one single in 1992, " Just Got Back Today", on Nude Recordsbefore they disbanded. Gaz referred to this point in time as follows; "There was a feeling that something was going to happen. All the early gigs were packed and people were getting very excited. Our families and friends kept badgering us for autographs saying, we want them now because they'll be worth something when you're famous. There was a lot of interest from majors, a lot of big money offers flying around." [http://www.strangeones.co.uk/press/articles/mq951000.htm The Strange Ones Supergrass Site ] ]
When Coombes began working at the local Harvester he befriended aforementioned co-worker Mick Quinn, another
alumnusof Wheatley Park School(though significantly older than Goffey and Coombes) and local would-be musician who had been playing with small-time local bands and recording tapes at home but with little success. The two realised they had a common interest in music and Coombes invited Quinn to come and jam with himself and Goffey. In February 1993 Quinn officially joined the band on bass guitar, while Goffey continued on drums and Coombes took both vocals and lead guitar, thus forming Theodore Supergrass. "We had about five different names before that, but then we played this one show in Oxford and it got a write-up in the local magazine, a really good write-up, and we thought if we changed the name again people weren’t going to turn up because they wouldn’t know it was the same band so we ended up being stuck with Theodore Supergrass. And then we realized that Theodore was a bit rubbish so we took that off." Said Mick Quinn. [cite web
last = Reuter
first = Annie
title = Q&A with Mick Quinn of Supergrass
publisher = Blogger
date = 2008-07-20
url = http://yousingiwrite.blogspot.com/2008/07/q-with-mick-quinn-of-supergrass.html
accessdate = 2008-07-30]
Danny claims that the name was his idea and says; "Although the others will dispute it, it was me. We were Theodore Supergrass and the idea was the band would be a little black character, and we wouldn't ever have to do interviews. We'd get the questions in advance, script the answers and then animate Theodore Supergrass answering them. But it cost too much money." [ [http://www.strangeones.co.uk/press/articles/ms991001.htm The Strange Ones Supergrass Site ] ]
The brother of Gaz,
Rob Coombes, a keyboard player, expressed interest and also started working with the band and was featured on most of the band's first three albums. However, he wasn't introduced as a band member until almost a decade later. The band's early material is credited to "Supergrass and Rob Coombes". Their first gig was at the Jericho Tavern, Oxfordin front of record company A&Rpeople who attended, following publicity generated by recording an acclaimed demo at Sawmills Studioin Cornwall. [cite web |url=http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biography_story/1284:1499/1/Supergrass.htm |title=Supergrass
The Biography Channel]
Britpop years and height of fame: 1994–1998
title=Supergrass "Alright" (1995)
description=24 second sample from Supergrass' "Alright".
In mid-1994, Supergrass issued their debut single "
Caught by the Fuzz" on the small independent local label Backbeat Records. The song recounts lead singer and guitarist Gaz Coombes' experience of being arrested by police in possession of cannabis. [cite episode
title = Going Underground 476
series = Going Underground on Gouwestad Radio
airdate = 2008-07-11
number = 476] The limited release of vinyl copies sold out quickly, thanks in part to support from
John Peelon his Radio One show. [ [http://www.strangeones.co.uk/music/45_b1.htm The Strange Ones Supergrass Site ] ] [ [http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/festive50lists.htm John Peel's Festive 50's - 1977 - 2003 ] ] The Parlophonelabel signed the band and re-released the single in the autumn of the same year. It achieved the rare feat of both NMEand Melody Maker"Single Of The Week" status in the same week. Fact|date=May 2008
Mansize Rooster", released in February 1995, peaked at number 20 in the UK Single Chartsand "Lenny" just made it into the top 10. "Lenny" was followed soon afterwards by the band's debut album, " I Should Coco" (May 1995), which entered the UK Album Chartsat number one. It achieved a half-a-million sales in the UK and 990,000 worldwide. [ [http://www.strangeones.co.uk/press/articles/md970000.htm The Strange Ones Supergrass Site ] ] "NME" reviewer Steve Sutherland gave the album a nine out of ten rating, writing, "These freaks shall inherit the earth." [Sutherland, Steve. "I Should Coco" review. "NME". 13 May 1995.] The album's fourth single, the double A-side release "Alright"/"Time", stayed in British Top Three for a month, peaking at number two.
Supergrass followed "I Should Coco" with 18 months of heavy touring, appearing at festivals such as Scotland's "
T In The Park" and the " Glastonbury Festival". [cite web |url=http://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/titp/2000/stages.shtml |title=Line-ups - T in the Park 2000 |publisher= efestivals ] [cite web |url=http://archive.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/news/+supergrassreplac/index.html |title=Supergrass Replace Libertines |publisher=Glastonbury Festival |accessdate= |last= |first= ] After Performing in Rio's "Hollywood Rock Festival" in April 1996, Supergrass met the infamous train robber Ronnie Biggs, and apparently said to him, "I was frightened for my life when I heard there was a supergrass in the area." [ [http://www.strangeones.co.uk/press/articles/mq960400.htm The Strange Ones Supergrass Site ] ] A photograph of Ronnie Biggs and Gaz together was subsequently included in the music video for their single release of the same year, " Going Out". "Going Out" was a success peaking at number five in the UK charts and sold more than 100,000 units. Having taken a short break in 1996, Supergrass returned to Sawmills Studio to work on " In It For The Money" (released April 1997), produced by the band themselves with John Cornfield. The album was a critical and commercial success, it also has since gone platinum in the UK. But some were confused by the darker sound. [ [http://www.7digital.com/artists/supergrass/in-it-for-the-money Supergrass - In It For The Money MP3 Downloads - 7digital ] ] The single, "Richard III" reached number two. Subsequent releases, " Sun Hits the Sky" and " Late In The Day" reached numbers 10 and 18 respectively.
Around this time Supergrass also appeared on the front cover of "
The Big Issue", interviewed for the magazine at Heathrow Airportby infamous ex- drug smuggler Howard Marks. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/rage/guest/2002/supergrass.htm Supergrass - guest program ] ]
Later albums and musical growth: 1999–2004
title=Supergrass "Mary" (1999)
description=30 second sample from Supergrass's top 40 "Mary".
The band again took a short break before returning in 1999 with the single "
Pumping on Your Stereo". The promo video, produced in conjunction with the Jim Henson's Creature Shop, featured the band with comical " muppet" bodies. The single generated welcome publicity following their time out of the limelight, as did a small sold-out tour scheduled around the single release, the final night of which was at Shepherds Bush Empireas part of MTV's "Five Night Stand" festival. The single and the tour were followed by their third LP "Supergrass" (1999). The following spring the record was released in the U.SOnce more, the album was recorded at Sawmills Studio with longtime associate Cornfield producing. "Supergrass" was well received critically and commercially and it has since gone platinum in the UK, but did not reap the same level of success as its predecessors. Critics claimed the album was "hit and miss" which showed up particularly as the "also-rans are surrounded by songs that are as great as anything Supergrass has ever recorded" [ [http://www.starpulse.com/Music/Supergrass/Discography/album/P142415/R443374/ Supergrass Supergrass ] ] . Their next single, "Moving", proved popular and reached the Top Ten in the UK. And their third single, "Mary" entered the Top 40. There followed a long hiatus.
After three years out of the limelight, the band returned with "
Life on Other Planets" (September 2002). Though the record was not as commercially successful as Supergrass' first three albums - failing to make the Top Three in the UK album chart - given their extended absence, the album's highest placing at number nine was respectable. However, the critical response to the album was generally very positive, with Stephen Thomas Erlewinefrom allmusicclaiming "The world is a better place for having Supergrass in it." [ [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:u1uw6j737180 allmusic ((( Life on Other Planets > Overview ))) ] ] . It has since gone gold in the UK. "Life on Other Planets" was also notable as it was the first Supergrass album to recognise Rob Coombes as an official member. For the band's first three albums, Supergrass officially consisted of Gaz Coombes, Goffey and Quinn although Rob Coombes contributed to many of the band's songs and videos, and toured with them. Tracks recorded before this were often credited to "Supergrass and Rob Coombes". The band followed "Life on Other Planets" with another extended three-year hiatus, devoting to touring and personal engagements. In June 2004 they issued the "greatest hits" compilation " Supergrass Is 10" to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the band's formation. The record entered the UK album chart at number four and has since gone gold in the UK.
Recent years and continuing development: 2005–present
The band couldn't celebrate the decade with a new album, as the recording of their fifth studio album was subject to much turbulence. Deciding to depart from Sawmills Studio, they built a new studio for the sessions in the French countryside. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/southampton/music/supergrass.shtml BBC - Southampton Music - Supergrass ] ] Setbacks continued when the Coombes brothers lost their mother. As a result, the band's fifth album, "
Road to Rouen", was delayed and was not released in Europe until August 2005, and the following month in North America. It reached #9 on the UK charts and has since gone silver in the UK. "St. Petersburg", the first single supporting the album, made a disappointing debut at #22 in the UK singles chart. The second single, "Low C", also underperformed, entering outside the top 40, and third single, "Fin" failed to make the top 75 altogether (charting at number 111), though it was only released as a 7" vinyl and digital download. The band toured the world in an extensive schedule for about a year from August 2005 to September 2006, visiting Japan, South America, USAand Europe.
title=Supergrass "Bad Blood" (2008)
description=30 second sample from Supergrass's 2008 single "Bad Blood".
The band recorded their sixth studio album "
Diamond Hoo Ha" between January and November 2007 in Berlinand New York, released in March 2008, although it leaked around late February. In September 2007, bassist Mick Quinn suffered two broken vertebrae and a broken heel while sleepwalking out of a first floor window in September in France. The band toured in the summer and autumn 2007, headlining Guilfestamong others and debuting new material, with the youngest sibling of the Coombes brothers Charly, replacing Quinn on keyboard basson the later dates. Since Quinn's return, Charly has remained with Supergrass, playing second guitar, percussion & singing backup vocals for them on the Diamond Hoo Ha tour. They released their first single " Diamond Hoo Ha Man" - first as a free live song on the band's website - on 14 January 2008on strictly limited edition 7" vinyl. In February 2008, the video of their second single "Bad Blood" was released on the band's official web-sites and the single followed on 17 March. The band embarked on a world tour, covering Europe, USA and Australia, that is expected to continue until early next year.
In 2008, on returning from their tour of the USA to promote "
Diamond Hoo Ha", Supergrass ended their contract with EMI. This was due to the lack of funding from the label for their single "Rebel In You", with the band instead resorting to releasing it through their newly formed independent label 'Supergrass Records'. Gaz Coombes claimed EMI had begun to turn into "a kind of annoying middle man", saying "But it's good for us. It's a liberating feeling. It makes the next record probably more exciting than it would have been, because the prospect before would have been ‘Another record with EMI, shit, are they gonna do the business?'". [cite web|url=http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24440906-5006024,00.html|title=Supergrass on new album Diamond Hoo Ha, and freedom from EMI|publisher= Herald Sun|last=Johnson|first=Neala|date=2008-10-03|accessdate=2008-10-11]
During 1998, Coombes and Quinn were invited to play on
Dr John's "Anutha Zone" album (they appear on the track "Voices In My Head") [ [http://www.strangeones.co.uk/press/articles/mm980725.htm The Strange Ones Supergrass Site ] ] , whilst Goffey contributed to the debut album by Lodger (which also featured his partner Pearl Loweand members of the band Delicatessen).
Danny Goffey has also embarked on a solo project between Supergrass engagements, called "Van Goffey" which saw tracks being released via "MySpace" in August 2006, the first three being "Crack House Blues", "I Feel so Gaye" and "Natalie Loves the F". He also is drummer on the charity football song Born In England by a collective of musicians called Twisted X, which charted at number 8 in the UK Charts in 2004. Danny Goffey was also a drummer in the 2004 charity single "
Band Aid 20", along with members of Radioheadand The Darkness. [cite web |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3403991 |title=Band Aid 20 |publisher=BBC]
In July, 2008, Coombes joined
Foo Fighterson stage during a show that saluted The Who's musical career, VH1 Rock Honors. Coombes performed vocals on The Who's classic song "Bargain".
In 2007 and 2008, while Mick Quinn was still recuperating from his injury, Danny Goffey and Gaz Coombes were performing as a duo
Diamond Hoo Ha Men, the name taken from the forthcoming Supergrass single (see ). [cite web |url=http://www.nme.com/news/supergrass/32967 |title=Supergrass announce tour under alias |publisher= NME] They have been appearing in character as Duke Diamondand Randy Hoo Hato play gigs at small venues. Gigs to date included an appearance at the Apple Store on London's Regent Street, which featured Mick Quinn's first appearance in the band since his injury. He appeared on stage introduced by Gaz as Biff Hymen. [cite web |url=http://www.childrenofthemonkeybasket.com/diary_2008/01_Apple_Instore/ |title=Apple Instore - Regents Street, London 15th January 2008 |publisher=Children of the Monkey Basket] A rockumentarycalled Glange Feverdirected by Charly Coombes(under the name of Chas Harrison) was released on August 4th 2008. The film follows the Diamond Hoo Ha Men band members Duke Diamond and Randy Hoo Ha as they go on a small tour of the country.
I Should Coco" (1995)
In It for the Money" (1997)
* "Supergrass (X-Ray Album)" (1999)
Life on Other Planets" (2002)
Road to Rouen" (2005)
Diamond Hoo Ha" (2008)
*True, Everett. "Supergrass: The Illustrated Story". 1996. ISBN 0-600-589-773.
*Holorny, Linda. "Supergrass". 1996. ISBN 0-7119-5497-6
*Allum, Greg. "The Night Shines Like Fireflies: A Portrait of Supergrass in Berlin". 2007. ISBN 0-954-670-922
* [http://www.supergrass.com Official website] - Run by
* [http://www.supergrassrecords.com/ Supergrass Records] Supergrass' independent record label.
* [http://www.childrenofthemonkeybasket.com/ Children of the Monkey Basket] - Run by the members of Supergrass.
* [http://www.strangeones.com/ The Strange Ones] - Supergrass information archive.
* [http://youtube.com/user/supergrassofficial YouTube] - Official Supergrass channel on
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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