Justine Frischmann

Justine Frischmann... Marmite-winning painter (Img: FLibra)

Britpop: Who are they now?

Published on March 1st, 2013 | Mark Nicholls

Britpop was one of the biggest changes to the music scene in the UK since The Beatles and The Rolling Stones reworked the musical landscape back in the ’60s. Emulating the sounds and styles of those original pioneers, the Britpop scene peaked in summer of 1995 with the much-hyped race to reach the number 1 slot between Blur and Oasis making front page news as “The Battle of Britpop”.

Nowadays everyone knows what Blur are doing: solo careers, Gorillaz, writing operas, cheesemaking, writing for newspapers and becoming MPs – but what of the other, less successful bands? Here’s a few surprising things former Britpop band members are doing (other than endless reunion tours and providing musical backing for our wonderful financial services industries TV ads) to weather these recession-hit times:

As well as having helped co-write M.I.A.’s stunning debut album Arular, being a judge for the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture in 2003 and presenting The South Bank Show, Justine Frischmann of Suede and Elastica has also gone on to become a widely acclaimed painter, being shortlisted for the 2012 Marmite Prize for Painting.

Louise Wener of Sleeper has written four well-received novels and an autobiography, and now teaches poker to aspiring players.

Tim Brown, the bassist with The Boo Radleys, is an IT teacher at a school in Northern Ireland.

Alan Leach, the drummer with Shed Seven, has developed a successful mobile pub quiz app called SpeedQuizzing which has received critical acclaim and quickly become the number one choice for pub quizmasters around the country. You can see a demonstration of it, and more information besides, at www.speedquizzing.com

Echobelly guitarist Debbie Smith has kept herself in the music industry, working in a record shop in London and DJing at gay club nights.

Mat Osman, bassist with Suede, now writes the email magazine Le Cool and is an occasional writer for The Guardian, The Observer and The Independent.

Singer Johnny Dean from Menswear has been reported to work in a mobile phone shop, though he claims this was just a rumour -there has been no news from him or otherwise of what he is doing nowadays, and he does say that Menswear will not reunite. Phew.

BBC Radio 6 Music seems to have taken on quite a number of Britpop’s old artists, with Pulp front man Jarvis Cocker hosting his own weekly Sunday afternoon show, Kenickie lyricist and guitarist Lauren Laverne doing the weekday morning slot, Menswear drummer Matt Everitt writing and co-presenting the week day breakfast show, and Cerys Matthews presenting a regular Sunday morning show. Britpop seems to have got Radio 6 all wrapped up.

The most common ‘out of office’ stories though are parenthood. The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan took time out to raise a family on the royalties from “Linger” and “Zombie”. They are back now though and working on new material, living up to their debut album title, which sums up this reunion craze: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

Do you know about the current activities of any other erstwhile Britpop stars? Have your say in the comments section below…

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