Graham Coxon: I tried to jump out of a sixth-storey window

The Blur guitarist reveals he considered suicide at the height of the band's popularity in 1995, but Damon Albarn stopped him

All is well with Graham Coxon these days, with a new solo album and Blur's forthcoming reunion gigs. But the spotlight has not always been kind, the guitarist confessed this week, saying that he contemplated suicide at the peak of the Britpop era.

"Looking back, I should have enjoyed myself a lot more than I did during the Blur days," Coxon told the Daily Mail. He described the media frenzy surrounding the Blur v Oasis chart battle in 1995, the so-called Battle of Britpop, ending when Blur's Country House pipped Oasis' Roll With It to No 1. "Our record company threw a big champagne party at Soho House in London," Coxon said. "I felt I was being forced into enjoying the moment and I just wanted to be alone really ... It felt like a hollow, pointless victory."

"I couldn't handle being part of that crowd so I tried to jump out of a sixth-storey window. It was Damon [Albarn] who talked me out of it."

Though Coxon continued with Blur for two more albums, the demands of the band eventually proved too much. "We were so desperate to keep things going and we had this pressure ... to maintain the sort of success we had, that it drove us all mental I think," he recently told BBC 6 Music. "There were no rows, no throwing of distortion pedals at people. It became apparent really ... we needed some time apart."

Coxon reached another low point in the late 90s, wrestling with alcohol use and bitterness toward his bandmates. He describes stealing sausages from a shop in Camden. "The butcher saw me and gave chase. He finally caught up with me outside Woolworths and gave me a very firm punch in the jaw. I suppose I was asking for it but I didn't care at the time. I wouldn't have cared if he had hacked my arm off with a chicken's beak. Also, I happened to be wearing a denim skirt and there was a bus-load of people watching. It wasn't my proudest moment."

But a decade later, Blur are in a much better place. "Damon's still a maniac, making us laugh," Coxon said. "It's nice to look over at Alex and he's still doing the same sort of hip-swinging and hair-swinging and being a groovy, groovy person."

And at 40 years old, Coxon still sees great things ahead. "So long as we all know when to have a rest, I think we'll be all right ... there could be another [Blur] album. There could be more to come."

Coxon releases his seventh solo album, The Spinning Top, on Monday 11 May.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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