The Good, the Bad & the Queen
The Good, the Bad & the Queen
The Good, the Bad & the Queen were a supergroup composed of singer Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz, bassist Paul Simonon of the Clash, guitarist Simon Tong of the Verve, and Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen. They released their self-titled debut album in 2007. Their second album, Merrie Land, coproduced with Tony Visconti, was released in 2018. In 2019, Albarn announced that the group was disbanding, and Allen died in 2020.
Formation and debut album
The Good, the Bad & the Queen began as a solo project by Damon Albarn with production by Danger Mouse. However, by July 2006, the project had become a band, with bassist Paul Simonon of the Clash, guitarist Simon Tong of the Verve, and Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen. Albarn met Simonon at the wedding of Clash singer Joe Strummer in 1997, and Tong had worked with Albarn on Blur's 2002 Think Tank tour, filling in as guitarist following the departure of Graham Coxon. Allen contacted Albarn after hearing the 2000 Blur single "Music Is My Radar", which references him.
The Good, the Bad & the Queen played their debut gig in a village pub in Devon on 20 October, followed by a performance at the London Roundhouse on 26 October as part of the BBC Electric Proms. They released their first single, "Herculean", on 30 October. On 12 December, the band performed a secret launch gig exclusive to 300 chosen fans for Myspace's new feature The List in Wilton’s Music Hall, East London.
On 12 January 2007, the band released the second single, "Kingdom of Doom", which became their first Top 20 single. On 2 April 2007, the third single "Green Fields", which was at No. 51 in the first week after its debut.
The band released their self-titled debut album on 22 January 2007. It was voted by the Observer Music Magazine as the Best Album of 2007. At this point, Albarn said that The Good The Band And The Queen was the album title and not the band name, saying that the band was "nameless". Simonon said "we didn't properly name the band, because a name is for a marriage".
Albarn said the group had "permanently finished" in 2007; however, they reunited to perform at the 2008 Love Music Hate Racism carnival. Tong and Simonon appeared on Albarn's next project, the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach (2010), and participated in the Plastic Beach tour. In November 2011, the Good, the Bad & the Queen played a show at London's Coronet Theatre for the 40th anniversary of Greenpeace, the first time they had played together in almost three years. Allen and Tong appeared on Albarn's soundtrack for the opera Dr Dee (2012) and Allen collaborated with Albarn again on the 2012 album Rocket Juice & the Moon.
Reunion and Merrie Land
In October 2014, Albarn announced that a new album had been written and was waiting to be recorded. In April 2017, in a new interview with Q, it was reported that a new album was still in the making but that recent events had caused the group to start afresh. Albarn told Q that Brexit had "given us a wonderful starting point".
After a seven-year interval since the last time the band members performed together in 2011, the band released the title track "Merrie Land" of their second album Merrie Land on 23 October 2018 with releasing its music video on YouTube. Later, they made their first public appearance in seven years with the title track on Later…With Jools Holland on 30 October 2018. On 5 November 2018, they performed the second single, "Gun to the Head", on the same show.
On 17 October 2018, the band announced their second album, Merrie Land, produced by Tony Visconti. It was released on 16 November, as “the right circumstances came about”, under the new label Studio 13 created by Albarn. This album was described by Albarn as “a reluctant goodbye letter” responding to the occurrent Brexit process and “a series of observations and reflections on Britishness in 2018.”
The band performed the first gig for this album in Tynemouth on November 26th 2018, which was the start of an eight-date warm-up tour in UK. The band then started their Europe tour from March to August in 2019. On 16 August 2019, on the last performance of the tour in support of the album at Lowland Festival, Albarn told the crowd: "This is our last gig. After this, poof. Done." Allen died in April 2020.
- "The Good, The Bad & The Queen @ EartH, London | Live Music Reviews". Musicomh.com. 6 December 2018.
- "Albarn's The Good, The Bad, and The Queen". Npr.org. 16 February 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- Neil McCormick (5 December 2018). "The Good, The Bad & The Queen, EartH, review: Damon Albarn's Brexit-inspired blast of psychedelia". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
- "Damon Albarn forms new band". NME. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2006.
- Williams, Murphy (20 January 2007). "Songs of experience". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
- NME (21 October 2006). "Damon Albarn launches new band with tiny pub gig". NME. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- Uncut (Nov. 2006, pp. 86–88)
- "Damon Albarn's new band announce new single". NME. 28 November 2006.
- nme. "The Good, The Bad & The Queen: The Good, The Bad & The Queen". NME. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- "2007: The best 50 albums". The Observer. 9 December 2007. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
- NME (24 April 2008). "The Good, The Bad And The Queen reforming after secret split". NME. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- BlurBalls. "Damon Albarn to revive The Good, The Bad and The Queen for Greenpeace charity gig". BlurBalls - Latest Blur, Gorillaz, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon news. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- Minsker, Evan. "Damon Albarn Prepping New Gorillaz and the Good, the Bad & the Queen Albums". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Young, Alex. "Damon Albarn is working on The Good the Bad & the Queen's long-awaited new album". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- Young, Alex. "The Good The Bad & The Queen to release new album, Merrie Land, in November". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
- Webber, Darryl (8 November 2018). "Damon Albarn talks about how Brexit inspired his new album". essexlive. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
- "Damon Albarn's band The Good, The Bad & the Queen announce new Brexit-inspired album and Glasgow date". Scotsman.com. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
- Daly, Rhian (16 August 2019). "Damon Albarn says The Good, The Bad & The Queen have played their "last gig" at Lowlands Festival". NME. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
- Snapes, Laura; France-Presse, Agence (1 May 2020). "Tony Allen, legendary drummer and Afrobeat co-founder, dies aged 79". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 May 2020.