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February 12, 2003 - dotmusic.com:

Through the Blur

The first footage of Blur rehearsing with their new guitarist Simon Tong has been unveiled on the band's official website, dotmusic can exclusively reveal.

The site has been following the reshaping of the band for months, ever since it was revealed that long-term guitarist Graham Coxon had left the group, after more than a decade with Blur.

Studio footage of the group had previously captured them recording the album and the three remaining members - Damon Albarn, Alex James and Dave Rowntree - rehearsing the band's long-awaited new album for imminent tour dates.

However, the site, which also carries a diary following the antics of bass player James and a Q&A with drummer Rowntree, now features the first visual evidence of Coxon's replacement in action. Go to blur.co.uk to see the footage, which spans the last three days of January.

Meanwhile, Blur fans have been giving their reaction to the news of Tong's appointment. Tong, formerly guitarist in The Shining, who made minor ripples in the rock world last year, and also second guitarist to Nick McCabe in The Verve, was unveiled at an industry showcase on Friday.

Speaking on Blurtalk, where opinion has been roundly against Damon Albarn and in support of Coxon, following the troubled guitarist's exit, one commented: "I'm already trying to see things positive.

"I don't know The Shining but I do know, of course, The Verve and they're great too yeah. But it's just the fact that someone else takes Graham's place now and that's such a pity because Blur made great music for over 10 years with Graham and now Graham's gone so it's not Blur anymore."

Another welcomed the news, saying: "Simon Tong is ace!! The Shining where one of the best bands of last year, and The Verve are class!"

However, one fan, reflecting the frequently odd-ball, sometimes obsessive, nature of comments exchanged between the members, commented: "Simon Tong, what a name. In Dutch 'tong' is a fish or a tongue. How great!"

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