Alex James (born Steven Alexander James, 21.11.1968)
Alex James is a British musician and journalist. He is best known for playing bass in the band Blur.
Alex James: Childhood
Alex James attended Bournemouth School in Charminster. After leaving secondary school, he studied French at Goldsmiths College, which is where he met Graham Coxon. Coxon then introduced him to Damon Albarn and Dave Rowntree.
Alex James: Blur
Alex joined a band named Seymour in 1989. Rowntree, Coxon, Albarn and James then changed the name of the band to Blur, on the advice of Food records, who would later offer them a record deal.
The band's debut album, Leisure, was popular, as was its follow up, Modern Life Is Rubbish. However, it wasn't until the release of their breakthrough album, Parklife that they really hit the big time and became a household name. The actor Phil Daniels provided vocals of the hit single, also named 'Parklife'.
Graham Coxon left Blur in 2002 and the band disbanded not long after that. In 2009, however, Blur reformed and played shows in Hyde Park and at Glastonbury Festival, T in the Park and Oxegen festival.
Alex James: Other musical projects
Despite never having released any solo music, Alex James has been in a number of short-lived temporary bands. In 1998, whilst Blur were still active, Alex James formed a band called Fat Les. The other members of the band included the artist Damien Hirst, and the actor Keith Allen. They had a hit single, with an unofficial England football anthem for the 1998 FIFA world cup, entitled 'Vindaloo'. The song reached number two in the UK singles charts. The video for the song was a pastiche of the video for The Verve's 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'. Matt Lucas, David Walliams and Peter Kay all featured in the video.
Other tracks by fat Les featured vocalists such as Lily Allen (on 'Who Invented Fish and Chips') and Michael Barrymore (on 'Jerusalem').
Alex James was also in a band with Stephen 'Tin Tin' Duffy and Justin Welch, who was formerly in Elastica. They recorded a number of tracks to be played at Damien Hirst's Spellbound Exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. Some of the tracks received a low-key vinyl and cassette release. Stephen Street, who produced most of Blur's output, produced the majority of Me Me Me's tracks.
Alex has co-written tracks for Sophie Ellis-Bextor (daughter of Janet Ellis and formerly of the band The Audience) and Marianne Faithfull.
James also joined a band named WigWam, which featured the singer Betty Boo. They released one single, entitled 'WigWam' and the promo video for the single was directed by Dom Joly.
In 2009, Alex James formed a band named Bad Lieutenant, along with Bernard Sumner, Phil Cunningham and Stephen Morris of New Order.
Alex James: Journalist
Since Blur disbanded, Alex James has begun writing for a number of British newspapers, such as The Observer and The Independent. He has also written for Q Magazine. In 2005, James represented The Idler on University Challenge: The Professionals. Although they beat The Financial Times, they did not score highly enough to reach the higher rounds of the tournament.
Alex James: Other Projects
Alex James became one of the presenters of The Tube, the Channel 4 music programme. He also became a presenter on the BBC Radio 4 programmer On Your Farm, along with Elinor Goodman and Adam Henson. He also appeared on the reality TV show Maestro, but was voted out after the fourth episode. James then presented a documentary in September 2008, entitled Cocaine Diaries: Alex James in Columbia. On the program If Music Be The Food of Love, Alex James was filmed playing a bass guitar made entirely of cheese.
James published an autobiography of his time in Blur, entitled Bit of a Blur.
Alex James: Personal Life
Alex James married the video producer Claire Neate in April 2003. They have three sons, Geronimo, Artemis and Galileo as well as a daughter, Sable. They live on a farm in Kingham, Oxfordshire, where Alex makes his own cheese.