Recently, Blur's Graham Coxon was voted by the public as the '15th greatest guitarist of the last 30 years' in a national BBC poll on 6Music. His positioning may have surprised many - he ended up ahead of J Mascis, Bernard Butler, Kevin Shields (MBV) and, shock horror, Kurt Cobain and just behind Josh Homme, The Edge and Thurston Moore.
All of which should give you an indication as to how revered Coxon is - the archetypal understated guitarist who 'just gets on with it'. While obvious choices like Matt Bellamy, Johnny Marr, Slash and the poll-winning John Frusciante grab the headlines, our Graham fills in the blanks on Blur records with consummate ease and memorable hooks. Who can forget the swaggery-baggy intro to 'There's No Other Way' or the lo-fi scratch-riff at the start of 'Song 2'? That's Coxon, that is.
Being a creative sort, however, means you need an outlet for your own sharp ideas, hence releasing seven albums in 12 years, starting with 'The Sky Is Too High' back in 1998. Although the next two albums failed to emulate the success of the Top 40 debut, he hit pay-dirt with arguably his two most consistent long-players to date, 'Happiness In Magazines' (with the single, 'Freakin' Out') and 'Love Travels at Illegal Speeds' (with 'Standing On My Own Again'). His last set, 'The Spinning Top', appeared in 2009 which garnered favourable reviews and a stint collaborating with a rarely sober Peter Doherty (on the album 'Grace/Wastelands').
While Damon Albarn continues to monkey around with Gorillaz and Alex James proceeds with creating artisan cheeses (mmmm) and resting Harvest for a year, Coxon is out and about with some shows and a new album.
'A+E' will hit record shops 2nd April, a couple of weeks prior to his tour, which starts in Oxford on 13th April. The tour takes place in April, taking in Gateshead, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Camden, Gloucester, Bristol, Exeter and finally Falmouth at the end of the month.
We will have tickets on sale from Friday morning at 9am, ranging from £17 to £18 (with London tickets coming in at £17.50).
You can catch Coxon and co in February at the O2 Arena when Blur pick up an 'Outstanding Contribution to Music' award at the Brits. There are still some tickets available, costing £70.