In a recent article (diatribe?) I posted on here in January, I went off on one of my all-time favorite bands, Blur, and how they've done some damage (to whatever extent, I allow each individual fan to make up their mind) to their legacy with their endless reunion/Greatest Hits touring since their initially exciting reformation in 2009. I won't bore with the details of that original article...you can read it for yourself.
However, you'll recall from that piece that I referred to them cancelling their mini-tour of Australia and the mystery and misinformation that surrounded the ordeal. The festival organizers claimed Blur backed out of the gigs after being upset that they wouldn't be headlining the entire thing, and that the band did not return any of the money that had already been paid to them. I and many others online and in print criticized the band and their (increasingly inept) management for not responding to these allegations and telling their side of the story. This was was not only puzzling and ineffective from a PR standpoint, but made it look more and more that subsequent insinuations and allegations by the festival promoters, which continued to pour forth, were rooted in the truth. In short, it made the band look bad, even amongst their most hardcore and longtime fans; it was hard for any of us to defend them.
Well, finally a week ago, Damon Albarn, who is busy preparing for the release of his first true solo album, Everyday Robots, in April, spoke up about the matter to a New Zealand newspaper. HERE is the link to the article, but a couple of lines stand out (I will direct you to read the article at the link before proceeding with what I'm about to say).
(emphasis added by me)
"Okay, here it is - this is as frank as I'm prepared to be about what happened," he says.
"That was going to be the last Blur show - the end of playing together - and I didn't want it to finish on anything other than a very positive note, because Blur is incredibly precious to all of us.
"But I was genuinely concerned that the whole [Big Day Out] thing wouldn't be quite as spiritually conclusive as we hoped it would be, because we weren't sure if the organisation was quite right, or supportive of our ambitions," he continues, cryptically.
"They [the organisers] weren't being straight with me about things, which they needed to be, and at that point I became disillusioned because I didn't want what we'd done throughout the year, with Blur, to be undermined or tarnished in any way, by a show that wasn't going to be what we wanted to do.
"We'd been playing for six months solidly, around the world, so I knew that we would deliver a fantastic show, a great performance and a communal event, which everyone would have enjoyed," adds Albarn. "All I asked was that the organisation recognised that and I didn't feel they did. So, that's why, unfortunately, we couldn't come.
"I am truly, terribly sorry to everyone that we let down, but we just didn't want to be anything other than what I felt we deserved to be - our best. If we'd played - and not been that - it would have let people down even more," he says.
"Don't anyone forget that I had an absolutely brilliant time with Gorillaz only two years earlier in that part of the world - it was a fantastic experience - and I fully intend to come back and play there again, if I'm allowed. Until then, I understand I have to wait."
The first thing that is striking is when he says that "that was going to be the last Blur show...the end of playing together." Now, Damon and the rest of his bandmates are famous (infamous?) for making grand pronouncements on whether or not they'll continue, only to change their minds or contradict themselves right after. However, this seems pretty definitive and based on what a lot of fans (myself included) have thought about this past year's tour, short a brand new album and tour to support it, it seemed to be the only logical conclusion.
The other bit, though, irks me a bit. It basically comes off as Damon saying "we wanted to do it the way we wanted to do it, regardless of what we'd agreed to, but they didn't let us, so we backed out." Whether or not that's exactly what he meant, that's absolutely how it comes across and I think it again makes them look pretty bad in this situation. As a longtime and passionate fan of the band, this doesn't make me happy in the least.
However, if this is indeed the final word that the band is over, I'm glad because if we're not going to get any new music, I'd hate to see them continue to cheapen the incredible body of work they've already made by becoming even more of a nostalgia act than they've already become over the last few years.
What do you think? Agree/disagree with my analysis? Let's talk in the comments section below!