||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (November 2013)|
June 3, 1975 |
Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Genres||Alternative hip hop|
Russel Hobbs (born 3 June 1975) is a fictional musician, and member of the virtual band Gorillaz. He provides the drums for the band. He, like all other Gorillaz members, was created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett.
Born in New York, on 3 June 1975, Russel Hobbs was a well-spoken, considerate and respectful child. However, trouble seemed to linger around him. Originally, Russel attended The Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters, but was forcibly removed when he mauled several other students as a result of the claims made of demonic possession. After being expelled, the possession and the anxiety sent young Russel into a coma. He would not wake for another four years, at which time a man called Father Merrin exorcised the demon inhabiting Russel's body.
Unable to return to the Xavier School, Russel was sent to a school in Brooklyn, in which many students were practised in the numerous fields of hip hop. Much of his hip hop prowess comes from a bizarre but violent incident involving a drive-by shooting that killed all of his friends from the fictional Brooklyn High School in New York City. Following the shooting, the spirits of all of Russel's friends took residence in Russel's body and have possessed him at unpredictable moments ever since. The most prominent of these spirits was Russel's best friend, Del, who was based on and voiced by Del tha Funkee Homosapien. Del appears as a blue, rapping ghost in such videos as "Clint Eastwood" and "Rock the House." Russel believes the reason for his frequent spiritual inhabitations is because he "vibrates at that frequency."
Russel eventually went to work in a record shop in Soho, London, where he was spotted and later kidnapped by Murdoc, and forced to play drums. He wrote much of the debut album. During the band's early days, when 2-D's girlfriend Paula Cracker was the band's guitarist, he caught her cheating with Murdoc, and broke Murdoc's nose in five places (Murdoc's nose has been broken a total of eight times, explaining its odd shape).
During the tours after the release of Gorillaz' debut album, Russel was the first and only band member to notice that Noodle was acting strangely because she was having strange dreams involving her mysterious past.
During the band hiatus, Russel went through a terrible trauma in late 2003. Del's soul was ripped out of Russel by the Grim Reaper in late 2003 and Russel, a mere shell of his former self, took a year to recover. Shortly after the exorcism Russel took refuge in Ike Turner's basement where he began making an album called: "The Seventh Heaven Hip Hop and Harmony Album." It was cancelled due to paranormal activities around the songs themselves. He was the last to return to Kong Studios. When he did return, the band was startled at the fact that his already large proportions had doubled or even tripled.
After the El Mañana conspiracy, 2-D and Russel were frantic about their guitarist Noodle's supposed death. It was a hoax, however, and the band has once again gone separate ways. It would not last too long, as it was promised by Murdoc in the autobiography Rise of the Ogre that their biggest project to date is apparently being planned. Russel was, according to Murdoc, "all good, too. He's still stitching together his taxidermy army of undead animals and practising his drums, but I think he's getting into production. It's a great role for him because his knowledge of music's just too big for him to be stuck behind a drum kit."
On 31 October 2007, in an official mail-out, Murdoc said that, "Russel is exploring his inner demons somewhere in Brooklyn.”
Russel has not made many photo appearances since the initiation of Phase 3 and the announcement of Plastic Beach. However, what these photos do show is that Russel appears to have grown to giant proportions, and has lost the hats he usually wore during Phase 2, but has otherwise not changed very much. Jamie Hewlett explained in the Making of Plastic Beach DVD that his gigantic size was a result of eating massive amounts of polluted material while swimming to Plastic Beach, causing him to swell up into his giant state. A Phase 3 character identity was released before the release of Plastic Beach, depicting Russel stomping across a pier in rage and diving into the ocean, headed towards Plastic Beach . It appears, from his remarkable absence in videos and pictures, that Murdoc did not intend to invite Russel back to Gorillaz for Plastic Beach. It was later revealed in a scrawled note by Russel that he believes demons (whether they are real or in his head is unknown) convinced him to jump into the sea.
In the music video On Melancholy Hill, Russel has grown extremely large (to the size of a whale) because of the pollution in the water, that he reportedly ate along the way to Plastic Beach. And is shown lifting Noodle's lifeboat with her in it on his head. Also he is seen bringing Noodle to Plastic Beach in the storyboard for the music video of Rhinestone Eyes.
On 9 March 2010, he was voted the third most sexy cartoon musician of all-time by Nerve.com.
In the 2012 music video for the single "DoYaThing", it is revealed he and Noodle have successfully reunited with 2-D and Murdoc, and the rest of the band have taken up residence in a three-room apartment house on 212 Wobble Street. However, since he is still at a tremendous size, Russel has taken to sleeping on the roof, being used to tether the ruins of the floating windmill island.
Due to his long period of absence, and status as a secondary member of the band, Russel's personality largely remains unexplored in comparison to the rest of the band. The most central part of him during the Gorillaz time-line is his expansive knowledge of music, which is used as the foundation for many songs, as well as being the most adult, level-headed, ethical member of Gorillaz. He is also seen as the most practical of the group.
However, Russel is also depicted as having a darker side. Following the exorcism of his best-friend, Del, Murdoc mentioned him being severely depressed, and attempting to make a record of his own although plagued by demons he claimed to come from the stereo.
Russel is depicted as being the relatively ordinary African-American, overweight drummer for Gorillaz, however, his unique eyes set him apart from others. Although born with normal eyes, upon being possessed and exorcised, Russel's eyes glazed over, and became a solid milky white permanently. They, in the same vein as Murdoc's and 2D's eyes, went on to become a trademark for Russel as his major distinguishing feature.
Russel's attire for Phase One mainly consisted of oversized jerseys, baggy jeans, and baseball caps, most notably in the "Clint Eastwood" video, where Del, his friend whose spirit inhabits Russel, rises up wearing the cap. He's also seen with bandannas throughout the band's tenure. His Phase Two appearance changed considerably. For the Demon Days album, Russel was shown wearing a military-like jacket and cap with goggles placed over it on his forehead. The military clothing was seen for the rest of the phase, particularly in the "Dirty Harry" video. After his absence, Russel returned wearing clothes reminiscent of Phase One, but his size had become behemoth.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2013)|
- Russel's biography on Gorillaz official fan site
- Gorillaz official website.
- Gorillaz official Cribs episode