Badly Drawn Boy Biography
Badly Drawn Boy (born Damon Gough, 2 October 1969, in Bolton, Lancashire, England) is an indie singer/songwriter.
Gough studied at Leeds College of Music. He chose his stage name from the title character in the show Sam and his Magic Ball, which he saw on TV at a party in Trafford, Manchester in 1995. Before he thought of using this name he made some business cards, each one unique, with a printed picture of a drawing by his nephew, and a small collage by Gough. This was then laminated and given out to friends and people at clubs in Blackburn and Manchester.
A chance meeting with Andy Votel at the Generation X bar in Manchester, where Gough's friends Scott Abraham and Damon Hayhurst were contributing to an exhibition by the Space Monkey Clothing Company and Votel was DJing, led to the foundation of Twisted Nerve Records. Badly Drawn Boy's first seven-inch single, EP1, was pressed the following year to critical acclaim, although only 500 copies were made.
In 2002, Q magazine named Badly Drawn Boy in their list of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die", although this was as part of a sub-list of "5 Bands That Could Go Either Way" on account of his tendency to talk and tell stories for extended periods rather than playing songs.
Gough's recording career began in September 1997 with the five track vinyl release "EP1". This was distributed among friends and family members. With only 500 being pressed, the record is now considered something of a holy grail for Badly Drawn Boy enthusiasts, with copies commanding up to £100 on eBay.
In April 1998, Gough released his second EP, "EP2". This was one track less than its predecessor but twice as many copies were pressed. The highlight track "I Love You All" was later transferred to a music box which was released alongside the EP. The box plays eleven seconds of the song and is considered much rarer than the record itself due to its limited production.
Gough’s third EP, "EP3", was released in November 1998 on both CD and vinyl formats, and was the first release in what would become a long-term partnership with XL Recordings. "Road Movies" was released as a live recording with Gough's fellow Mancunian band Doves. The B-side to the single was another track from the EP, "My Friend Cubilas". Videos were recorded for both tracks.
It Came from the Ground was the next EP, released in March 1999 on CD and vinyl. The style of this recording focused on woodland environments, an aspect displayed in both the cover art and the title track's video. Also released during this period was the single "Whirlpool". An instrumental was released on vinyl in April 1999.
Gough's last EP, Once Around the Block was released in August 1999 in two vinyl formats and one CD edition. The release is almost short enough to be considered a single.
Following the success of his early EPs, Gough's debut album, The Hour of Bewilderbeast, was released in June 2000, accompanied by four singles (including a re-release of Once Around the Block).
The album was critically acclaimed and Badly Drawn Boy was successful in winning the 2000 Mercury Music Prize, beating his contemporaries Doves to the £20,000 prize. The album sold well (300,000 copies) and is widely considered to be his defining work.
After a short break, Damon returned to score the Weitz brothers film adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy. Impressed by his past work, Hornby personally asked Gough to score the film, a task which he undertook alone. Three singles from the album were released over the course of 2002.
His third album, Have You Fed the Fish?, introduced more guitars and an increasingly mainstream pop sound which was not welcomed by all critics. The album is a play on Gough's minor celebrity status and namechecks fellow musicians such as Madonna and John Lennon. Another three singles and a long American tour accompanied the album.
After his long spell in America, Gough suffered from homesickness and decided to record his next album closer to home. Recorded in a studio in Stockport, Manchester, One Plus One Is One was a portrait of his personal life. Documenting a death of a close friend and the loss of a grandfather in the Battle of Normandy, the album was highly intimate at times. Released in 2004, it was not a great commercial success, and Gough decided to leave his contract with XL Recordings after only one single was released. He is currently signed to EMI.
Two years went by before news arrived of a new Badly Drawn Boy album, Born in the U.K., which aims to explain Gough’s experience of growing up in the United Kingdom. The album will be promoted with a small UK tour, profits from which will be donated to Oxfam, a charity which "offers the chance for thousands of people to use music to achieve something together, which is an idea that gets me excited," said Gough.