Badly Drawn Boy - Biography
Badly Drawn Boy was born Damon Gough on October 2, 1969 in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England. The aspiring musician took his stage name, Badly Drawn Boy, from the poorly and simply drawn character of Sam in the British cartoon Sam and the Magic Ball. Along with Manchester based DJ and producer Andy Votel, Gough formed the independent label Twisted Nerve and began issuing singles under the Badly Drawn Boy moniker in 1997. The 500 copies of his first 7” single, EP1 (1997 Twisted Nerve) sold out quickly and is currently a highly sought after collector’s item. The following spring Gough released a second 7” single, EP2 (1998 Twisted Nerve) with an accompanying limited edition music box that played 11 seconds of the track, “I Love You All”. Although he had yet to release a full-length album and was ostensibly unknown, Badly Drawn Boy was chosen to take part in UNKLE's star-studded album, Psyence Fiction (1998 Mo’ Wax). The third installment of his EP series, EP3 (1998 Twisted Nerve/XL Records) was released in conjunction with XL Recordings.
Gough’s one-off singles grew more and more eclectic with It Came from the Ground (1999 Twisted Nerve/XL Recordings), Whirlpool (1999 Twisted Nerve/XL Recordings), and Once Around the Block (1999 Twisted Nerve/XL Recordings), building up to his debut full-length. The critically lauded landmark album, The Hour of Bewilderbeast (2000 Twisted Nerve/XL Recordings) synthesized all the potential genius Gough had been hinting at with his previous singles. At times lo-fi, yet filled with kinetic ambition, screwy song structures, and sonic trickery, the album won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 2000. Audiophile author, Nick Hornby, took notice of Badly Drawn Boy’s eclectic soundscapes and asked Gough to score the theatrical adaption of his bestselling novel, About A Boy. Working with Elliott Smith and Beck producer Tom Rothrock, Gough wrote and played most of the instrumentation for the soundtrack to About A Boy (2002 Artist Direct), which in turn became a moderate hit and spawned the single “Silent Sigh.” Gough made his first Amoeba in-store performance at our Hollywood location on May 31, 2002 to a packed house in support of the soundtrack’s release.
Later that same year Gough returned with his sophomore release, Have You Fed The Fish? (2002 Artist Direct). Largely recorded in the United States and featuring a slew of indie stars like French vocalist/actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, drummer Joey Waronker, and again produced by Tom Rothrock, the album highlighted Gough’s infectious pop sensibilities, yet was criticized for its heavy-handed mainstream production and lack of Badly Drawn Boy’s trademark experimentation. After a lengthy world tour, Gough returned to England to begin work on his third full-length. Based on the death of a close personal friend as well as the death of Gough’s grandfather at the Battle of Normandy, One Plus One Is One (2004 Astralwerks) showcased Gough’s dichotomous creativity by oscillating between epic grandeur and intimate folk songs. Commercially however, the album was not successful and Gough terminated his UK contract with XL Recordings shortly after its release.
The fifth Badly Drawn Boy release would be two years in the making, mostly due to a battle with writer’s block that resulted in the shelving of the album’s initial sessions. As the title suggests, Born In The UK (2006 Astralwerks) is loosely based on Gough’s childhood growing up in the Britain with the title paying homage to Bruce Springsteen’s iconic album Born In The USA (1984 Columbia). Returning to the epic pop sounds of Have You Fed The Fish? while also dabbling in country, folk, and Motown, Born in the UK received mixed reviews in comparison to Gough’s earlier work. Gough has allegedly been working on a follow-up album, but has only released the song, “The End Of Times,” for the soundtrack to the romantic comedy Definitely Maybe in 2008. Badly Drawn Boy recently announced plans to release an EP by the end of 2008 with his sixth full-length tentatively slated for a 2009 release.