The Good, The Bad & The Queen began life in the Aphrodisia Studios in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2004. Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and guitarist Simon Tong (The Verve) had travelled to Lagos to record with veteran drummer and Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen (Africa 70, Fela Kuti). Working with local musicians, the trio recorded an album’s worth of material. Back in England, Damon was finishing off Gorillaz’ Demon Days album and the project went on the back burner.
By the time they came back to itâˆ’and when Damon gave the recordings to producer Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burtonâˆ’feelings about the record had changed. “When Brian came on board it really started to become, The Good, The Bad & The Queen. I started writing about this areaâˆ’West Londonâˆ’and coming to define here and why I think it’s such a special place to live,” said Albarn.
The final collaborator to come in to the studio was Clash bassistâˆ’and West London nativeâˆ’Paul Simonon, and the album was finished by early summer 2006.
The result is a record specific to a place and a time but with a background that is geographically wide-ranging and stretches far back into a glittering musical past. The Good, The Bad & The Queen traces a journey from the English music hall tradition, over to West Africa for Afrobeat, zigzagging through the West Indies and its reggae and dub, back to England and London’s punk scene, all the while taking in a strand of British beat music from the ’50s right through to Britpop.
Preview and download their self-titled album, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, on Zune Marketplace today.