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Alex James (born Steven Alexander James on 21 November 1968 in Boscombemarker, Bournemouthmarker, Englandmarker) is an English musician, songwriter and journalist best known as the bass player and occasional vocalist of band Blur. He has also played with temporary bands, Fat Les, Me Me Me, WigWam and Bad Lieutenant.


He attended the state grammar school, Bournemouth Schoolmarker on East Way in Charminster. James met future band mate Graham Coxon at Goldsmiths College, where James studied French, and was introduced to Damon Albarn and Dave Rowntree, who at the time were part of a band called Circus. He eventually joined the three's new band, Seymour, in 1989, which would later be renamed Blur. While he has been in the band ever since, he now describes the experience as "a past-life".Alex James stated recently that he would like to reform with the group, including Graham Coxon who left in September 2002. Blur re-united to perform at Glastonbury Festivalmarker, Hyde Parkmarker, Oxegen and T in the Park during summer 2009. They also played shows at Goldsmiths, Essex museum and other places around the UK and Europe.

Solo projects

Unlike his band mates Albarn and Coxon, James has not released any solo material, although he has been involved in other side projects. In 1998 James formed Fat Les with Keith Allen, Damien Hirst and others, and released (amongst others) the World Cup single "Vindaloo", which reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart. He also worked on a side project called Me Me Me with Stephen Duffy, and has co-written songs for Marianne Faithfull and Sophie Ellis Bextor. James worked with Bextor on a couple of tracks on her solo debut album Read My Lips. He co-wrote and co-produced "Move This Mountain", and co-produced "I Believe" along with Bextor and Ben Hillier. He also played the bass on both tracks. Ellis Bextor's 2003 album, Shoot From The Hip also features James on it. He co-wrote "Love Is It Love" and again plays bass guitar. He also joined his friend and singer-songwriter Betty Boo, in a band called WigWam. James also appeared in drag playing a double bass in the music video for Marianne Faithfull's single Sex With Strangers

James writes for the British newspapers The Independent and The Observer, as well as Q magazine, The Spectator and The Idler. He represented The Idler on BBC2's University Challenge: the Professionals in summer 2005 in a team that also featured John Moore of Black Box Recorder. They had a heavy win over the Financial Times in their heat, but did not score highly enough to return for the tournament's later stages. He also presented the Evening Sequence on BBC 6 Music as a stand-in for Tom Robinson between 8-26 August 2005, when he quipped that it was he who had invented Justin Timberlake's catchphrase "I am going to have you naked by the end of this song." James has subsequently mentioned this, most likely erroneous claim, in a number of later articles in The Idler.
Alex James in 2009

In October 2006, he became one of the presenters of The Tube which ran until March 2007 and was broadcast on Channel 4 Radio. In 2007, Alex was featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme On Your Farm and became one of its regular presenters alongside Elinor Goodman and Adam Henson. In 2007 Alex was a judge on the Channel 4 show Mobile Acts Unsigned. In November 2007, James was featured as a panellist on popular BBC One satirical news quiz Have I Got News for You. An autobiography of James's experience with Blur, Bit of a Blur, was released in June 2007.After successfully hosting the short series When Classic Meets Pop in June 2007 on Classic FM, James signed up to present a new 100-part series The A to Z of Classic FM Music in March 2008. The show was named Commercial Radio Programme of the Year at the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards on 5 June 2009. He is one of the judges on Channel 4s T4 show Orange mobile acts unsigned.

In August 2008 James appeared in the reality tv talent show-themed television series, Maestro on BBC Two. He was voted out in the 4th episode of the series, after receiving the least points out of the remaining contestants for his performance, and being selected for elimination by the orchestra. In September 2008, a documentary television series called Cocaine Diaries: Alex James in Colombia premiered on BBC America, part of the BBC America Reveals program. In it, James, who admits to having used cocaine extensively in his hard-partying lifestyle in Britain, learns about Colombiamarker's violent drug export trade.

Bad Lieutenant

In 2009 Alex James joined Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris and Phil Cunningham (members of the recently disbanded New Order) to form the band Bad Lieutenant.[89215]

In October 2009 he presented an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Personal life


James's father, Jason James, was sales director of a company selling waste compactors and baling machines. James married Claire Neate, a video producer, in April 2003 in Cheltenhammarker. They have three sons: Geronimo (born 16 February 2004), and premature twin boys (born 28 April 2006), Artemis and Galileo. They have a daughter called Sable (born 28 August 2008). They live in Kinghammarker in Oxfordshire on a cheese farm.

Space obsession

He has a serious interest in space and space travel, which led him to involve Blur in helping the ill-fated Beagle 2 project, producing the Mars probe's signature tune, he was also part of the campaign to get the Beagle 2 project funded. His interest with space is further documented by the track "Far Out" on the Blur album Parklife, on which James sings a list of moon and stars. On 25 January 2007 James became the "Artist in Residence" in the Astrophysics department at the University of Oxfordmarker. Alex also joined the British Astronomical Association while Blur were still touring.



  1. Cocaine - Alex James in Colombia on the BBC
  2. Sex With Strangers music video on YouTube
  3. Bit of a Blur.
  4. The MD's Blog - Saturday 6 June, Classic FM
  5. From Parklife to a Cotswold Life Interview dated 19 September 2008 with the Gloucestershire Echo
  6. "Blur guitarist on a space mission"

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