Ex-Supergrass stars grow their own way

Herald Series: Supergrass at the Cropredy Festival in 2008 Supergrass at the Cropredy Festival in 2008

IN THE week Oxford's favourite pop rockers Supergrass were honoured for their part in music history, their former frontman announced he will return to the city on his first solo tour.

The band disbanded in 2010 – citing creative differences – after 17 years.

But from the ashes have risen green shoots.

Bassist Mick Quinn has released an EP with his new project the DB band, and singer Gaz Coombes, who released his debut album in May, will return to Oxford for a solo gig next month.

This week the band’s contribution to musical heritage has been honoured with a blue plaque, by the Performing Rights Society, at the Jericho Tavern – the pub where they were signed.

Lead singer Coombes said: “I am really happy to see this award come to Supergrass. The PRS has been great to us over the years and what better place to celebrate it than at The Jericho Tavern?”

Combes, Quinn and Danny Goffey performed as Theodore Supergrass at the Jericho Tavern in 1994, and straight after the gig the promoter burst in the door of their dressing room to tell them they had been offered a record deal.

Bassist Mick Quinn said all up and coming Oxford bands wanted to play the Jericho Tavern and his brother’s band This Way Up played there as early as 1983.

He added: “We received our first positive reviews as Theodore Supergrass at the Jericho in 1994, when the promoter Maccy burst into the dressing room after our gig telling us, “You’ve got it!”

“Soon after, the feeding frenzy of record company A&R men started.”

All the members of Supergrass grew up and went to school in Wheatley. They formed a band in 1993, and released their first single Caught By The Fuzz the next year on small independent label Backbeat records.

They signed to Parlophone in 1994, and their debut album I Should Coco was the fastest selling album for the label since The Beatles’ Please Please Me. They were joined later by Gaz’s brother Rob on keyboards, and together they released five top 10 albums and one greatest hits album, playing gigs around the world.

Owen McCole, manager of the Jericho Tavern, said: “This is fantastic for the venue to have a part in, and to be named by the band.

“We are very proud of our musical heritage.”

They are the 11th band to be honoured with a PRS music heritage plaque. Previous winners include the Essex venue where Blur played their first gigs, and the Greenwich dance hall where Squeeze cut their teeth. Olivia Chapman, from PRS, said: “They all had to start somewhere, and Supergrass talk in a very heartfelt way about the Jericho.

“They are all genuinely chuffed.”

She added: “This award is also a big celebration of the Oxford music scene, and there will be a lot of people from the scene there to help celebrate.”

Supergrass disbanded in 2010 to follow solo projects.

Mick Quinn plays regularly around Oxfordshire with Paul Wilson of Shake Appeal in The DB band, and Gaz Coombes released his solo album Gaz Coombes Presents... Here Come The Bombs in May this year and plays Oxford’s O2 in Cowley Road on Saturday, October 27.

Danny Goffey has been writing and recording material for his first solo album under the moniker Vangoffey, due for release next year. Rob Coombes, who lives in Oxford, is pursuing other interests.

WORTHY OF A PLAQUE?

Oxfordshire bands that could qualify for a PRS plaque:

Radiohead – The band members met at Abingdon School, and played their first gig, under their original name On A Friday, also at the Jericho Tavern, in 1986.

Ride – Band members Mark Gardener and Andy Bell attended Cheney School in Headington together, and the band played their first gig at the 1988 Christmas party of the North Oxfordshire College in Banbury (Now OCVC’s Banbury campus). Bassist Andy Bell later played bass for Oasis.

Foals – lead singer Yannis Philippakis and drummer Jack Bevan met at Abingdon School. Yannis started an English degree at Oxford University, and the band won a reputation for destroying student digs at raucous house parties. Their first official gig was at the then Zodiac in 2006.

The Candyskins – the band’s four members of The Candyskins met at Gosford Hill School in Kidlington, and formed a band in 1989. They played in and around Oxford and achieved  success with their four studio albums before disbanding in 1998. Band member Nick Cope now performs childern's music sessions in the city.

 

 

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