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Supergrass were an English alternative rock band from Oxford. The band consisted of brothersGaz (guitar and lead vocals) and Rob Coombes (keyboards), Mick Quinn (bass and backing vocals) and Danny Goffey (drums and backing vocals).
Gaz Coombes, Quinn and Goffey formed Supergrass in 1993 in Oxford with Gaz's brother Rob Coombes officially joining the band in 2002. The band signed to Parlophone records in 1994 and produced I Should Coco (1995), the biggest selling début album for the label since the Beatles'Please Please Me. Their first album's fourth single Alright was a huge international hit that established the band's reputation. Since then the band have released five albums: In It for the Money (1997), Supergrass (1999), Life on Other Planets (2002), Road to Rouen (2005) andDiamond Hoo Ha (2008), as well as a decade-ending compilation called Supergrass is 10 (2004).
In August 2009 they signed to Cooking Vinyl and began work on 7th studio album Release the Drones. It remained unreleased and unfinished as, on 12 April 2010, the band announced that it was splitting up due to musical and creative differences.[1] The group disbanded after four farewell gigs, the final one at La CigaleParis on 11 June 2010.[2]

The Jennifers and formation (1990–1993)

At the age of 16 and 18 respectively Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey were members ofshoegaze band The Jennifers along with Nick Goffey and Andy Davis. The band played gigs at various venues around Oxfordshire, often public houses and clubs. One pub the band played at was the Jericho Tavern in Oxford. The band enjoyed enough success to release one single in 1992, "Just Got Back Today", on Nude Records before they disbanded.
When Coombes began working at the local Harvester he befriended co-worker Mick Quinn. The two realised they had common music interests and Coombes invited Quinn to come and jam with himself and Goffey. In February 1993 they formed Theodore Supergrass, "for about two months" Quinn explains, "then we realized that Theodore was a bit rubbish so we took that off."[3]
Goffey claims that the name was his idea and says; "Although the others will dispute it, it was me. We were Theodore Supergrass and the idea was the band would be a little black character, and we wouldn't ever have to do interviews. We'd get the questions in advance, script the answers and then animate Theodore Supergrass answering them. But it cost too much money." [4]
The brother of Gaz, Rob Coombes, played flute for the band's début gig at the Co-Op Hall, Oxford in 1993. In January 1995 he first performed as keyboardist with the band for a live Radio 1 John Peel session.[5] His role in the band progressed over the years, post I Should Cocomaterial is credited to "Supergrass and Rob Coombes", however, he wasn't introduced as a band member until almost a decade later.
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Britpop years and stardom (1994–1998)

In mid-1994, Supergrass issued their debut single "Caught by the Fuzz" on the small independent local label Backbeat Records. The song recounts lead singer and guitarist Gaz Coombes's experience of being arrested by the police for possession ofcannabis.[6][7] The limited release of vinyl copies sold out quickly, thanks in part to support from John Peel on his Radio One show.[8][9] The Parlophone label signed the band and re-released the single in the autumn of the same year. It achieved the rare feat of both NME and Melody Maker "Single Of The Week" status in the same week.[6]
"Mansize Rooster", released in February 1995, peaked at number 20 in the UK Single Charts and "Lenny", the bands first top 10 single. "Lenny" was followed soon afterwards by the band's debut album, I Should Coco (May 1995), which entered the UK Album Charts at number one. It achieved a half-a-million sales in the UK and over a million worldwide.[10] NME reviewer Steve Sutherland gave the album a nine out of ten rating, writing, "These freaks shall inherit the earth."[11] The album's fourth single, the double A-side release "Alright"/"Time", stayed in British Top Three for a month, peaking at number two.
Supergrass followed I Should Coco with 18 months of heavy touring, appearing at festivals such as Scotland's T In The Park and theGlastonbury Festival.[12][13] After Performing in Rio's Hollywood Rock Festival in April 1996, Supergrass met the infamous train robber Ronnie Biggs, and apparently said to him, "I was frightened for my life when I heard there was a supergrass in the area."[14] A photograph of Ronnie Biggs and Gaz together was subsequently included in the music video for their 1996 single "Going Out". Recorded at Great Linford Manor the single peaked at number five in the UK charts, but was the last song produced by Sam Williams. Supergrass returned to Sawmills studio to co-produce follow up album, In It For The Money (released April 1997), with John Cornfield. The album was a huge success, and went platinum in the UK, but confused some fans expecting I Should Coco part 2.[15] The single, "Richard III" reached number two. Subsequent releases, "Sun Hits the Sky" and "Late In The Day" reached numbers 10 and 18 respectively.
Around this time Supergrass also appeared on the front cover of The Big Issue, interviewed for the magazine at Heathrow Airport by infamous ex-drug smuggler Howard Marks.[16]

Further musical growth (1999–2004)

The band again took a short break before returning in 1999 with the single "Pumping on Your Stereo". The promo video, produced in conjunction with the Jim Henson's Creature Shop, featured the band with comical "muppet" bodies. The single generated welcome publicity following their time out of the limelight, as did a small sold-out tour scheduled around the single release, the final night of which was at Shepherds Bush Empire as part of MTV's "Five Night Stand" festival. The single and the tour were followed by their third LP Supergrass (1999). The following spring the record was released in the U.S Once more, the album was recorded at Sawmills Studio with longtime associate Cornfield producing. Supergrass was well received critically and commercially and it has since gone platinum in the UK, but did not reap the same level of success as its predecessors. Critics claimed the album was "hit and miss" which showed up particularly as the "also-rans are surrounded by songs that are as great as anything Supergrass has ever recorded".[17] Their next single, "Moving", proved popular and reached the Top Ten in the UK. And their third single, "Mary" entered the Top 40. There followed a long hiatus.
After three years out of the limelight, the band returned with Life on Other Planets (September 2002). Recorded at HeliocentricRockfield andMayfair Studios and produced by Beck collaborator Tony Hoffer. The album was released in the UK on Parlophone but in US, on the Island Def Jam imprint. Though the record was not as commercially successful as Supergrass' first three albums - failing to make the Top Three in the UK album chart - given their extended absence, the album's highest placing at number nine was respectable. However, the critical response to the album was generally very positive, with Stephen Thomas Erlewine from allmusic claiming "The world is a better place for having Supergrass in it.".[18] It has since gone gold in the UK. Life on Other Planets was also notable as it was the first Supergrass album to recognise Rob Coombes as an official member. For the band's first three albums, Supergrass officially consisted of Gaz Coombes, Goffey and Quinn although Rob Coombes contributed to many of the band's songs and videos, and toured with them. Tracks recorded before this were often credited to "Supergrass and Rob Coombes". The band followed Life on Other Planets with another extended three-year hiatus, devoting to touring and personal engagements.
In June 2004 the bands record company suggested the band release a singles compilation Supergrass is 10, spawning two new self-produced tracks: 'Kiss of Life and Bullit. The companion DVD contained 'Home Movie', a humorous documentary charting the bands first 10 years achievements, made in collaboration with Seen the Light director Simon Hilton. The record entered the UK album chart at number four and has since gone gold in the UK.

Development in recent years (2005–2008)

Recording of fifth studio album, Road to Rouen began in France in a studio built by the band in Normandy.[19] Working with French engineer Pierre-Olivier Margerand it represented a significant change in direction and was perceived as a more mature body of work.
St. Petersburg, the string laden first single, was released on 8 August 2005. The album followed a week later ( released 27 September in North America ) and reached #9 on the UK charts, going on to achieve silver status in the UK. Opinion at the time was divided, but the album garnered the band many new fans and a measure of creative respect, some even embraced it as "the sound of a band at last hitting their stride".[20]
Second single, "Low C", featured a video by acclaimed Pumping On Your Stereo director Garth Jennings, shot in Weeki Wachee SpringsFlorida. Third single "Fin" interpreted as a missive to the Coombes brothers recently deceased mother, received much critical praise; TheGuardian[21] referring to it as "so gorgeously light and airy that listening to it is like sleepwalking in space".
The band toured the songs in both acoustic and electric formats with percussionist Satin Singh joining the live band throughout. From August 2005 to September 2006 they performed in Japan, South America, USA, and Europe, finishing with a memorable gig at the Beijing Pop Festival.
The follow up album, Diamond Hoo Ha was recorded at Hansa Tonstudio, Berlin, with producer Nick Launey and mixed at Seedy Underbelly Studios in Los Angeles. The band toured in the summer 2007, headlining Guilfest among others and debuting new material, with the youngest sibling of the Coombes brothers ex-22-20s keyboardistCharly on second guitar, percussion and backing vocals.
On 27 September 2007 bassist Mick Quinn sustained a broken heel bone and two spinal fractures in a sleepwalking accident whilst on holiday in France. During his recuperation, Gaz and Danny promoted first single "Diamond Hoo Ha Man" as the Diamond Hoo Ha Men, with a run of small club shows in December/January. To celebrate the single release, Mick Quinn appeared as Diamond Ho Ha Man Biff Hymenn at the Apple Store, Regent Street, London, marking his return to touring duties on 15 January". Charly directed Glange Fever (under pseudonym Chas Harrison) a rockumentary which followed their exploites. The single was released as a limited edition, chocolate vinyl 7".
In February 2008, the video of their second single "Bad Blood" was released on the band's official web-site, winning Best Rock Video at theUK Music Video Awards and the single followed on 17 March.
In 2008, Parlophone was taken over by venture capitalist group, Terra Firma and Supergrass ended their contract with the label. Rebel In You, final single from the Diamond Hoo Ha album, was released, under licence from Parlophone, on the band's own imprint, 'Supergrass Records'.[22]

Independent careers and breakup (2009-2010)

The band headlined Wychwood Festival on 30 May and also Sellindge Music Festival (6 June), Provinssirock Festival (13 June) and a short European trek in July at BBK Live (10 July) at Bilbao, Bikini Festival (11 July) in Toulouse, Festival Les Ardentes (12 July [23]) in Liège (Belgium) and Paredes de Coura Festival (30 July) in Portugal. Also a co-headlining date at 2009's Truck Festival along with Ash, on 25 July and 26 at Hill Farm in Steventon, Oxfordshire.
On 12 April 2010, the band announced they would split after a series of four farewell shows, with their final gig in Paris on 11 June 2010.
At the time of the split, Supergrass were working on their seventh studio album, tentatively titled Release the Drones. In early 2010, the band revealed that the album had been influenced by krautrock bands such as Can, and drone music, and that the members had swapped instruments on several tracks during its recording.[24] Coombes said of the approach to the album: "This record's actually been very collaborative. It's been cool to try something different and chaotic."[25] Coombes stated that the album was "nearly finished", and it was scheduled for release in May.[26] The album remains unfinished and unreleased.[27]

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