Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Pumping On Your Stereo... The Story of Supergrass...Show 298

Supergrass formed in 1993 following the end of the band The Jennifers in Oxford, England. The band only ever released one single Just Got Back Today in 1992.  They started out very young at the ages of 16. Supergrass consists of Gaz Coombes (guitar/vocals), Rob Coombes (keyboards), Mick Quinn (bass), and Danny Goffey on drums. Taking their influences from bands such as Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Who, Small Faces, The Kinks, and other Britpop acts, Supergrass released their first single Caught By The Fuzz in October of 1994. Released on Parlophone Records, Caught By The Fuzz is lyrically based on a true life incident involving lead singer Gaz Coombes. Musically the song reflects a Buzzcockian ethic and teenage angst, the single reached number 43 on the UK singles charts. In August 1994, the very same song was released on a different label called Backbeat Records, a limited number of copies were pressed. "Mansize Rooster" and "Lenny" were released next as singles and charted on the UK album charts as well. The bands debut album followed in May of 1995, it was titled I Should Coco.  The album was recorded quickly in order to capture the energy and excitement of the songs according to the booklet to Supergrass is 10. I Should Coco was recorded and produced in Cornwall by Sam Williams. The album reflects musical influences such as The Kinks, Buzzcocks, The Jam, and The Madness. Mixing in elements of Britpop and other 60s influences, I Should Coco reached number one on the UK album charts and remained there for three weeks. Other stand out tracks on the album included the keyboard Britpop driven song "Alright", and "Time". The title of I Should Coco is based on Cockney rhyming slang. The album was released in the US three months later.

After touring heavily and playing many festivals, Supergrass released the single Going Out in 1996. The song would be taken from their forth coming album which would be titled In It For The Money. Recorded in 1996 at Sawmill Studio, the album was produced by Supergrass and John Cornfield. Prior to the recording of this album, only two songs were completed. The songs on this album reflected a darker sound and included songs such as "Richard III", "Sun Hits The Sky", and "Late In The Day" all of which did well on the UK single charts.

After a break, the band returned in 1999 with the song "Pumping On Your Stereo". The song, which came about during a rehearsal is a simple three chord song that is extremely catchy. Apparently handclaps were added to the recording of the song because the drummer was not hitting the snare drum loud enough, it came out with a David Bowie feel as a result. In addition to this, the music video for the song shows the band as Muppet like characters. The song generated much publicity for the band, it was followed by their third full length album titled Supergrass. Recorded at Sawmill and Ridge Farm Studios, Supergrass went to number 3 on the UK album charts and produced several charting singles ("Moving" and "Mary"). The band then took a hiatus until 2002 when they returned with the album Life On Other Planets. For this album the band brought in producer Tony Hoffer, it was also said to be inspired by a variety of topics such as Carl Sagan documentaries on the cosmos, and by a telescope that was brought into the studio by Rob Coombes to see other planets during the recording process. It should also be noted that this was the first album to list Rob Coombes (keyboards) as an official member of Supergrass. The album came off with a different sound than the bands previous releases, but contained a lot of energy. This is apparent on songs such as "Rush Hour Soul", and "Never Done Nothing Like That Before". The album peaked at number 9 on the UK album charts, this was followed by a hiatus of three years.

In 2004, Supergrass is 10 was released. This was a greatest hits compilation celebrating the bands ten year anniversary, featuring two new compositions. Early editions of the album featured two DVD's containing music videos of the bands singles and a documentary about the band. It went to number 4 on the UK album charts. In 2005, Supergrass returned with Road To Rouen. It was recorded in a barn that was converted into a recording studio in Rouen, Normandy. The music was mellower and reflected a more orchestral dimensionality. It has been said to have been a difficult album for the band due to personal issues involving Danny Goffey and the tabloids and the passing of the Coombes brother’s mother. Despite this fact, the album was well received by fans and cracked the top ten in the UK. It was followed by and extensive international tour from August 2005 to September 2006.

In 2007 the band began working on their seventh studio album Diamond Hoo Ha. It was recorded in Berlin at Hansa Tonstudio, the very same place where David Bowie recorded many albums. The band also worked with producer Nick Launay who has worked with bands such as Gang of Four, Public Image Limited, and Nick Cave. The songs on this album reflected a more Rock based ethic from Supergrass and three singles were released from the album ("Diamond Ho Ha Man", "Bad Blood", and "The Rebel in You"). During the bands 2007 Summer tour, Charly Coombes was added as an additional guitarist, percussionist, and to supply backing vocals. In 2008 following a US tour, the bands contract ended and as a result the song "The Rebel In You" was released independently through a new label the band formed called Supergrass Records.

In 2009, the band signed to Cooking Vinyl and announced that they had begun work a new album that was to be released in January 2011 titled Release The Drones. The music on the album is said to have been influenced by Drone music and bands such as Can and other Krautrock bands.  Apparently the band members switched instruments for several of the tracks that were recorded for the album.  Although the album was said to have been nearly completed, in April 2010 Supergrass announced that following a series of concerts that are to end with a show in Paris on June 11th, 2010 that they would be breaking up.  It is not known if Release The Drones will be released.  The members of Supergrass have been involved in numerous side projects Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey are currently involved in a project titled The Hotrats. The band recorded an album of cover songs with producer Nigel Godrich titled Turn Ons, it was released in January 2010.

Play List:

1. Standells - Mr.Nobody
2. Scott Morgan - Fallin' For Ya
3. Quadron - Pressure
4. Jury - Please Forget Her
5. Great Scots - The Light Hurts My Eyes
6. Prehistoric Cavestrokers - Hatfield's Corner
7. Ugly Ducklings - Just In Case You Wonder
8. Whitsundays - Oh Madeline
9. The Blue Violets - You Said
10. The Robots - Tiny Paws
11. Neil Young - World On A String
12. Blue Peter - Same Old Place
13. Modern Mothers - Allison
14. Two Door Cinema Club - This is the Life
15. The Carnivores - Heart of Copper
16. Radiohead - Electioneering
17. Motorhead - I'll Be Your Sister
18. Luger Boa - Please Please
19. Roxy Music - Street Life
20. David Bowie - Rosalyn
21. Lou Reed - I'm So Free
22. The Clash - City of the Dead
23. The Hives - Die, All Right!
24. Supergrass - Seen the Light
25. Supergrass - Alright

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for May 4. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Supergrass Videos:

Caught By The Fuzz
Pumping On Your Stereo
Going Out
Rush Hour Soul
Diamond Hoo Ha Man
Bad Blood

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