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You know, there are many alter-egos and Gorillaz is a collective of alter-egos, really. I think anyone who gets involved in it has to sort of accept that nothing is really as it seems.
~ Damon Albarn


This article is a real-world history of the group Gorillaz. For the band's "fictional history" see Backstory. For their self-titled debut album, see Gorillaz (album).

Gorillaz is a virtual band created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett that consist of four fictional animated band members: 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Russel Hobbs and Noodle

Band Creation

Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn in the early days of Gorillaz.jpg

The band was created by Damon Albarn from the Britpop band Blur, and Jamie Hewlett, the co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl. Their style is known for its variety and genre blending, with influences from many different types of music, but most notably from hip-hop, dub-reggae, electro, and pop. More recently, they have also obtained influences from R&B, soul, and Chicago house music. Damon Albarn had first met Jamie Hewlett when Blur's guitarist, Graham Coxon, had asked Hewlett to give an interview with Blur, in the 1990s and the two originally formed a hatred for each other, (Albarn stated: "I was jealous of his personality".) but it wasn't too long until the two became roommates in Trellick Tower. Damon Albarn wanted to distance himself from Blur's Britpop days and was looking for a solo career so he could experiment with other genres, but wasn't sure where to start, meanwhile Jamie Hewlett was growing tired of his Tank Girl series after the movie became a critically panned box office bomb and had no interest in continuing. The two ended up throwing several celebrity parties in their flat at Trellick Tower (which were often packed), and it was here that Gorillaz would emerge.

Gorillaz, unlike other fictional bands, were not created as a parody of a particular genre (GWAR, Dethklok), marketed to young children (Alvin and The Chipmunks), depictions of the people behind the band (Prozzak), or created for television (The Archies, Josie and The Pussycats, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem). Instead, Gorillaz were originally created to be explored through the internet (a new medium at the time), and were intended for an older audience than the cartoon bands before them, while the quality of their actual musical output was usually more of an attraction to their fans than their existence as cartoon characters. The bands that influence their music range from Massive Attack and The Specials, to De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, to Daft Punk and Beck, while they are visually inspired by Hanna Barbera, Looney Tunes, Mad Magazine, Heavy Metal, 2000 AD, and many classic horror and cyberpunk movies. They have said that The Simpsons was a big influence on Gorillaz for “the way that they invade popular culture and comment on it in a pretty organic way”. Today, Albarn says that Gorillaz was developed out of “a very morbid obsession with the end of the world”.

Gorillaz started their career with their 2001 self titled album Gorillaz, where the singles Clint Eastwood, 19-2000, Rock the House, Tomorrow Comes Today, performed fairly well, with every single reaching the Top 35 in the UK. Their first single Clint Eastwood, released a few days before the albums release (05/03/01), spawned their first hit in the US reaching number 57 on their Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Gorillaz debut reached number 3 in the UK and 14 in the US, going 3x platinum in the UK and Platinum in the US, selling 7 million copies worldwide. Gorillaz debut brought them the title of "The Biggest Virtual Band" by The Guinness World Record. Gorillaz then returned with 2005s Demon Days, spawning the singles Feel Good Inc., DARE, Dirty Harry, Kids With Guns and El Mañana, which all charted in the top 30 in the UK, with the first three singles reaching the top ten in the UK. Demon Days first single Feel Good Inc., released a few days before the albums release (09/05/05), reached an all time best in the US, reaching number 14, out performing its predecessor Clint Eastwood. Demon Days reached number 1 in the UK and number 6 in the US, going 6x Platinum in the UK and 2x Platinum in the US, selling 8 million copies worldwide. Gorillaz then returned with the, slightly unsuccessful, albums Plastic Beach (2010), which reached number 2 in the UK and the US and going Platinum in the UK, selling 1.4 million copies, making it Gorillaz third best album. Plastic Beach was then followed up with The Fall (2010), which reached number 12 in the UK and 24 in the US, selling 180k copies. Gorillaz then took a hiatus, running from 2012 - 2017, which began after the release of DoYaThing. After their longest hiatus yet due to a falling out with Albarn and Hewlett in 2010, Gorillaz returned with Humanz (2017), reaching number 2 in the UK and US, selling 650k copies., and immediately followed it up the next year with The Now Now (2018), which reached number 5 in the UK and 4 in the US, selling 330k copies. Humanz marked the inclusion of Russel Hobbs’ voice actor Remi Kabaka Jr. as the third member of Gorillaz after becoming Gorillaz’ real life drummer and producer. Gorillaz have since started Song Machine, a music video web series releasing singles every month, with Song Machine: Season One reaching number 2 in the UK and number 12 in the US, selling 200k copies.

Current Members

Former Members

Discography

Gallery

External Links

References

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