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February 19, 2003 - NME.com:

Coxon surprised by Blur's Verve!

GRAHAM COXON has spoken of his surprise at over BLUR drafting in ex-VERVE man SIMON TONG as his replacement and declared that "you don't need to be a great guitar player" to be in the band.

Coxon, who acrimoniously left Blur in September, told NME.COM he didn't expect them to choose a guitarist from a name band.

"I don't know what the obvious choice would have been really," he said. "The obvious choice wouldn't have been a musician, it'd have been someone who had a guitar and knew how to play it. Just a loony person.

"It's kind of not too difficult a job. You don't have to be a great player to be in Blur. Or to be in any band, really. I'm sure he'll behave," he added.

Coxon said he's "dying for some fun" and can't wait to play live under his own steam. He said he was "really psyched up" for his recent guest slot on stage in London with Arthur Lee from Love. "That was lovely. Americans are great to play with, he was going: 'Go on Graham, have a solo.' I don’t think I've ever improvised a solo on stage before. It was kind of unreal."

Coxon said he's been writing a lot of songs, but added: "Whether it's fit for human consumption is questionable!" But he said he's not ready to form a full-time band again yet. "Going on tour would be lovely, to get to do it on my own with a few like-minded people. I'm trying to get people who are floating around at the moment. I've texted a few people."

The guitarist also said he will be getting a rehearsal room soon, and will "see what happens." He also added that he would like to work again with Toby McFarland, bassist with the band Thirteen, who has previously played in Coxon's solo live line-up. "He understands what I'm on about. I've been talking to him and he's kind of into it. He's a lovely guy."

Coxon admitted that he had been worried about other people's reactions when he turned up to the NME Carling Awards at PNN Hammersmith Palais in London last Thursday (February 13). "I was a bit nervous coming in," he told NME.COM. "I wasn't sure how other people would react to an old unemployed guitarist."

He has previously spoken of his hurt at being told by the band's management that he wasn't wanted in the studio for recording of their new album due out in May, and said that "honesty and communication" were gone from the band for a long time before his departure.

However, NME.COM can reveal that his friendship with Alex James is now repaired. "We chat, have coffee and talk about the mundane and the cosmic. We go down Bond Street. And that's it, really. We don't talk about what's going on [with Blur]. We're just back on track with that friendship as was."

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