Britt Daniel

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Britt Daniel
Daniel performing with Spoon in 2017
Daniel performing with Spoon in 2017
Background information
Birth nameJohn Britt Daniel
Born (1971-04-14) April 14, 1971 (age 49)
Galveston, Texas, U.S.
GenresIndie rock
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1991–present
Associated acts

John Britt Daniel (born April 14, 1971) is the co-founder, lead singer and guitarist of the American rock band Spoon and the co-founder, guitarist, bassist, and singer of the band Divine Fits. Daniel is responsible for founding numerous bands in the early 1990s.[1]

Early life[edit]

Britt Daniel was born in Galveston, Texas and grew up in Temple, Texas, a town of 73,000 people about an hour north of Austin. Daniel is the oldest of three children from his parents' marriage.[2] He also has two younger half-siblings. His father, a neurologist, was a fan of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and a collector of guitars;[3] Daniel himself reportedly picked up the guitar in high school after his college-bound girlfriend ended their relationship.[4][5]


In 1988 Britt Daniel formed his first band The Zygotes while in high school. In 1990, while a student at the University of Texas at Austin, Daniel formed his second band, Skellington, with Travis Hartnett, Mac Stringfellow, Paul Cannon and Mike Hurewitz.[3] Skellington recorded and self-released This Town's Gone Dry in 1991, and the Skellington EP was released a year later in 1992. Before breaking up, the band released Skellington Rex, which contained songs that were re-recorded on Spoon's debut album Telephono.[3]

The following year, Daniel joined a three-piece rockabilly band named The Alien Beats with Brad Shenfeld.[3] During a 1993 Alien Beats recording session, computer-chip designer and percussionist Jim Eno was brought in as a substitute drummer, but he was later added as the permanent drummer.[3] The Alien Beats released a 7" single in May 1993, disbanding soon after.[3]

On 5 May 2018, Daniel appeared on NPR's news quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! for the regular celebrity question segment "Not My Job".


In 1993, Daniel and ex-Alien Beats drummer Eno, along with guitarist Greg Wilson and bassist Andy McGuire, formed Spoon. Spoon has served as Daniel's primary musical focus.

Drake Tungsten[edit]

Drake Tungsten
(aka Britt Daniel)

Drake Tungsten was the pseudonym which Daniel performed under from 1994 to 1996 as a solo artist.[6] When The Alien Beats disbanded in 1993, he decided to focus his music career on solo material that he had written over the previous years - songs that were more experimental and unfit for the styles of bands that he had previously played. Rather than releasing them under his proper name, Daniel decided to release them under the pseudonym Drake Tungsten. His first such album, Clocking Out Is For Suckers, was released in 1994 on cassette, and was distributed around his home town of Austin, Texas. Two years later, Tungsten released the five-song EP Six Pence for the Sauces on local label Peek-A-Boo Records. Also in 1996, Daniel began working again with drummer Jim Eno (previously from The Alien Beats) and began writing music under the moniker Spoon.[7] Five tracks that were released by Tungsten were later re-recorded and re-release by Spoon: "I Could Be Underground" on the 30 Gallon Tank EP; "Chicago At Night" on the Girls Can Tell LP; and "All the Negatives Have Been Destroyed", "Dismember", and "I Wanted To Be Your Friend" on Telephono.

Britt Daniel stopped using this pseudonym in 1996, and has not recorded a solo album since self-releasing of Six Pence for the Sauces. However, he has begun setting aside songs for a possible solo album, including "New York Kiss" and "Telephone My Heart,"[8] which he has been performing at solo shows since at least early 2006 (see [1]).

The pseudonym "Drake Tungsten" appears to be an homage to Episode 410 (first airing in 1992) of the comic television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. "Drake Tungsten" was one of several "tough guy names" proposed by the characters to fit the model of a monosyllabic first name followed by a metal or hard surface as a last name. Others included "Nick Pigiron" and "Russ Tilefloor."

Solo work Britt Daniel[edit]

Britt Daniel at SXSW in 2006

Daniel has reportedly begun setting aside songs for a possible solo album, including "New York Kiss" and "Telephone My Heart,"[8] which he has been performing at solo shows since at least early 2006.[9]

Divine Fits[edit]

From 2011 to 2013, Daniel was involved in a new band called Divine Fits, consisting of members from Spoon, Wolf Parade and New Bomb Turks. The group's debut, A Thing Called Divine Fits, was released on August 28, 2012 through Merge Records. The first single from the album, "My Love Is Real", was released on July 10, 2012.




  • The Town's Gone Dry (1991) Self-Released
  • Skellington EP (1992) Self-Released
  • Skellington Rex (1992) Self-Released

The Alien Beats[edit]

  • Cavin' In (1993) Syncretic Records

Drake Tungsten[edit]

Golden Millennium[edit]


Divine Fits[edit]

Solo recordings[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mike DaRonco, "Drake Tungsten Biography", Allmusic, retrieved March 11, 2008.
  2. ^ Maron, Marc (16 April 2015). "Episode 594 - Britt Daniel / Jon Ronson" (Audio podcast interview). WTF with Marc Maron. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Raoul Hernandez, "Drake Tungsten and his Boy Skellington", Austin Chronicle, January 25, 1999
  4. ^ 'Sup Magazine, "The Biography of Britt Daniel of Spoon As Told Through Music" Archived October 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, December 2005. Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  5. ^ Laura Hightower, "Spoon Biography". Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  6. ^ Peek-A-Boo Records Drake Tungsten Bio Page, Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  7. ^ Raoul Hernandez, "Drake Tungsten and His Boy Skellington." The Austin Chronicle, January 25, 1999.
  8. ^ a b Sean O'Neal, "Britt Daniel of Spoon," Archived March 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine July 19, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
  9. ^ "Britt Daniel Live at Swedish American Hall on 2006-03-29". Internet Archive.
  10. ^ Peek-A-Boo Records Golden Millennium Bio Page, Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  11. ^ Origin Systems Inc. Developer Bio, Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  12. ^ Columbia Records, Stranger Than Fiction Soundtrack Archived October 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  13. ^ "Sweet Spirit & Britt Daniel – "Paper Tiger" (Spoon Cover)". Stereogum.
  14. ^ Artist Bio: "Drake Tungsten", Peek-A-Boo Records, retrieved March 7, 2008.

External links[edit]