Who Are The Gorillaz?
Celebrating 15 years Of virtual madness.
For over a decade, a little band known as the Gorillaz has been wreaking havoc on our eardrums with their alternative (insert genre) sounds. The band, in reality, is the product of the creative minds of Blur musician Damon Albarn and visual artist Jamie Hewlett, best known for his work on comic strip “Tank Girl,” when they merged in the late 1990s. Some say that’s how they began, but, if you’re asking Murdoc Niccals, he might tell you that the Gorillaz were birthed from the “seed of rejection.”
In reality, the Gorillaz is a sensation, adorned by millions across the planet, if said planet isn’t dead yet. Should you choose not to believe the hype, just browse through videos of their live performances for a glimpse at the band’s loving fan base. March 26th marks the fifteen-year anniversary of their self-titled debut, which included the popular songs “Clint Eastwood” and “Rock the House.”
The eclectic quartet is always amazing to watch, whether they are performing “live” or inside of a television set, and it’s for those reasons we are re-introducing Gorillaz, for those who aren’t in on the j̶o̶k̶e̶ crew.
Before he rose to fame as the frontman, Stuart Pot was your average Joe; he loved horror movies, and even cites George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” as his favorite. Somewhat of a hobbyist, Stu dabbled in electronics and touched on music production. At the age of eleven, he fell out of a tree and landed on his head. The fall, freakishly, caused Stu to lose all of his hair, and when it decided to grow back, it was completely blue.
In 1997, Stu found himself the victim of a bizarre vehicular accident. While working at Uncle Norm’s Organ Emporium, a car burst through the walls and struck Stu on the head, permanently damaging his left eye. The accident rendered Stu in a state of catatonia. The driver, Murdoc Niccals, was sentenced to 30,000 hours of community service, as well as taking care of the comatose Stu for an additional 10 hours per week. Stu’s life took another turn for the worse, when he was taken on a joyride by Murdoc( still comatose, mind you!). A showboating Murdoc opted to do donuts in a parking lot. As one event led to another, Stu was sent flying through the windshield, approximately 500 yards, landing face-first onto the pavement. The accident tore his face off and damaged his right eye. This awakened Stu from his state, though he was severely brain damaged and practically dead. It was then, “a blue-haired, black-eyed God” was born. Jokingly, Murdoc dubbed Stuart Pot “2D” for the two dents in his skull.
Code word: Ocean Bacon!
The oft quiet, and only female, member of the band, is Noodle… seriously, that’s her name. As recounted by 2D and Murdoc, the eight-year-old Japanese native made her way to the home of the band after an ad was placed in a publication, NME. To the surprise of her soon-to-be-bandmates, she arrived on their doorstep in a FedEx crate and only one word in her English vocabulary, hence her name being what it is.
During a hiatus following the release of their self-titled debut album, Noodle made her way back to Japan in hope of learning about her mysterious past, before arriving on the band’s doorstep, which she recalls in pieces. While in her homeland, she noticed that any clues to her previous life would vanish without a trace. One day, in a steamed fish shop, as she explained, the phrase “Ocean Bacon” stood out to her, and upon hearing it, her memory rushed back all at once. It was then, Noodle met a man named Mr. Kyuzo, her mentor and army officer. Kyuzo explained to his former protégé that she was once a part of a 23-children unit for the Japanese government. Her training included martial arts, understanding and using modern technology, the ability to speak all languages and a specialized skill. Noodle’s was that of a musician, with a focus on guitar. When the government decided to terminate the unit, Mr. Kyuzo smuggled Noodle to London in a crate, wiping her memory in the process.
Russel is the band’s drummer. A regular Brooklyn native, minus the regular, he’s also been called “a one-man rhythm king” by Murdoc. A former student at the Xavier School for Young Achievers, Russ was expelled from the establishment after he attacked his classmates. It’s not like he intentionally did so, he was possessed by a demon. This particular demon would later be exercised from Russ during a four-year coma. Russ is no stranger to tragedy. Several of his hometown buddies were shot and killed during a drive-by shooting by gangbangers in front of a 7-Eleven. The shooting took the life of his friend Del, but somehow Russ was left unscathed. After witnessing a physical incarnation of Death, Russ’ body then became the home for all of his dead friends, including Del. The possession is what caused his eyes to turn pure white, as well as acquiring his highly skilled set of musical genius.
Moving to Europe for his own safety, Russ began working in London’s Soho, at Big Rick Black’s Record Shack. On another fateful evening, Russ was kidnapped while assisting a customer. The customer/kidnapper was Murdoc, forcefully taking him to Kong Studios, the haunted home of the band. Russ has gone on record to say, “the music he played me was good enough to keep me there.” In addition, despite making a home inside of Russ, Del’s spirit frequents as an MC, and made his most notable appearance on “Clint Eastwood.”
The fellow with the green skin. His upbringing may explain his severely bad habits, but this isn’t a therapy session. As an infant, Murdoc was left on the doorstep of his father’s home and, as a child, was forced, by that same father, to perform at a local pub, known for their talent shows. After a rough performance of “I’ve Got No Strings” and dressed as Pinocchio, Murdoc vowed to never take the stage under someone else’s direction, and eventually set out to become a musician. On the strength of his “devilish” wit, charisma, and charm, Murdoc was on his way to becoming a rock star. To boost his chances, Murdoc decided to make a deal with Satan and even received El Diablo. What is that you ask? It’s Satan’s bass player. The icon-star-status dream didn’t work out for Murdoc, and it left the struggling musician in a very desperate place. Murdoc’s egomania and desire caused Murdoc to redirect his plans. He figured his best solution would be to recruit musicians that can match his level of craft and skill.
So, now, does that answer the question?