The Good, the Bad and the Queen

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 | News
The Good, the Bad and the Queen

If you like cinematic violence and vengeance, then you may know that Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western “Dollars” trilogy featured Clint Eastwood as the man with no name. The today’s informational update deals with a band with no name, a project that has become known as “The Good, the Bad and the Queen”, which is the title of the album they created. Some in the music business have called it a super group, which is a convenient way to describe a collective of people who have all been in other bands.

Each member has had previous success as part of another group, or in the case of Drummer Tony Allen as a hugely influential solo artist in his own right. Just to let you know the team I will quote from pitchfork, who summed the band up in their usual droll but pretentious style, as “On bass, Clash veteran Paul Simonon. On guitar, Simon Tong, late of the Verve. On drums, the unimpeachable Afrobeat master Tony Allen. Behind the boards, somewhere, the ubiquitous, beloved Danger Mouse. And Albarn himself on top, his ego and voice the would-be X-factor that ties these disparate kindred souls together.” So yes I is a slightly odd mish-mash of talent, but their collective creativity has created a great sound.

To explain, the project began around the time of the demise of Damon Albarn’s previous band Blur, when he connected with Nigerian drummer Tony Allen. Guitarist Simon Tong got on board and they went to Mali, Africa to collaborate in 2004. The result was not completely productive and did not produce any released recordings, but after getting back to London Albarn got former Clash bassist Paul Simonon into the mix, and things went from there. By 2006 the group released the single “Herculean” and performed live for crowds around London. On April 4, 2007, The Good, The Bad & The Queen became the first EMI album to be made available for download in the new DRM-free, high quality MP3 format.

So what’s it all about? No stranger to side-projects and oddities, Albarn has worked with some legends (including Dan The Automator) since his time in blur, not only as one of the masterminds behind animated band The Gorillaz. It’s definitely an intriguing sound, which is a bit of a mixture of other styles, that can be quite haunting and paints an atmospheric picture of modern life in London, or any chaotic urban area. As with most culture it is based in it’s on time and space, but also looks at the broader picture of society, in a dirty, brooding post-911 “War on Terror” world. I enjoy dark, claustrophobic and cryptic lyrics like these from the song Herculean:

“And the medicine man is here 24/7
You can get it fast in Armageddon
Everyone is on the way to heaven

Each individual member brings their own skills to the mix, Albarn’s song writing and lyrical abilities are honed and at the forefront. The drumming and general beats are brilliant. Allen’s skills turn, what could otherwise be thought of as simplistic songs, into something to keep you guessing, so good you’d think he was a drum machine. While most tracks can stand on their own two feet, it is the sort of album created to be listen to, as one collective output, on your headphones while you wait for public transport whisk you away to another place.

-Video: Nature Springs-

By the way: If you are keen to hear about Damon Albarn’s next project with Tank girl creator Jamie Hewlett, look out for Monkey: Journey To The West!

To find out more about “The Good, the Bad and the Queen” album, check out these sites:

Official Site

Offical Fan Site

Myspace Site

“Drink all day coz the country’s at war
You’ll be falling on the palace walls
I can’t be any more than I say
In the flood you’ll get washed away
When the sunset world begins”

(The Kingdom of Doom -TG TB & TQ)

By the good/Bad…Yossarian

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