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Graham Coxon at El Club, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff

Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018

» See more SOUND CHECK

Being part of a band like Blur would be enough for many musicians. But guitarist Graham Coxon has a lot more going on than that.

Coxon, 49, has been releasing solo albums for 20 years and has eight to his credit so far. He's been a guest on songs for Sleeper Ed Harcourt, Sham 69 and more and has remixed tracks by the Beastie Boys and others. He's also entered the soundtrack world via Netflix's recent series "The End of the F***ing World."

Coxon's latest venture is a solo -- truly solo -- tour of North America, surveying his career alone on stage, with just an acoustic guitar and, we expect, a bit of British cheek...

* Coxon says by phone from London that the solo show "is a different experience. I've done it before and it's always the most nerve wracking thing ever to sit there with an acoustic guitar and play mostly finger-style, because every mistake is as loud and lovely as all the non-mistakes. It's pretty tricky."

* But, he adds, the show is not necessarily a mellow affair. "I'm doing my best to make as much noise as possible. I want to use technology in a way that makes the sound a little bigger and better and more fun for myself. I don't find it particularly fun singing and playing the acoustic guitar, so I'm trying to make it fun for myself with some new toys."

* Fans are shouting for plenty of requests during the shows, but Coxon doesn't guarantee he'll play them. "I can't do anything other than what I practiced. I'm doing as many songs as I can from as many different eras of my career, including from the Netflix show. I'm trying to get a lot in, and I think people will be happy. If they shout something out and I know how to play it, I might, but if not I don't want to bumble through making mistakes and look like an idiot -- 'cause I look like an idiot most of the time, anyway!" (laughs)

* Reflecting on 20 years as a solo artist, Coxon says his perspective of himself is "mostly that I've just been a real pain in the ass. Mostly I've been a real contrary sort of kid, really immature, emotionally. I was really whiny throughout Blur the first time, and throughout most of my solo career. I'm only just start to settle down now to see that a lot of my music really came out of a lot of frustration and feelings of alienation and actually just feeling angry at the world that the world wasn't how I wanted it to be. My state of mind is there, recorded for all to listen to and proof of my immaturity. I'm a little more accepting these days."

* Blur, meanwhile, remains a semi-active concern, having reunited during 2008 and released a new album, "The Magic Whip," in 2015. "The Blur individuals are doing all their own things. Damon (Albarn) is busy with Gorillaz and all the things he does. There's no plans for Blur to come together to make anything or do any touring or anything right now, but it's not like we've said 'no.' It's just cyclical. It seems to come around every now and then when all the other projects get done and there's space in everyone's calendar and just, 'Oh, right, it's that time.' I don't know when that is or how long that takes to come 'round, but I don't see a reason why it shouldn't come 'round again."

Graham Coxon and Devon Welsh perform at 8 p.m. Thursday Sept. 20 at El Club, 4114 W. Vernor Highway, Detroit. Tickets are $30. Visit elclubdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.elclubdetroit.com

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