Really no one could have known, least of all the perpetrators, that two decades after forming, the mostly unimaginable cartoon band Gorillaz would have sold more than 20 million records, and become a veritable cultural touchstone of their generation.
But when the unlikely pair of Blur’s Damon Albarn and cartoonist / Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett dreamt up their animated foursome in 1998, they were creating a fantastical world that allowed for a just as fantastical escape, even as they dealt with real world problems in their lyrics. And who could have possibly predicted that two middle class British blokes could exhibit such skills with a hip-hop beat?
Of course, with such legendary status eventually comes the documentary. And this December 16 – yes, one night only – Gorillaz: Reject False Icons will play in theaters across the globe to an audience eager to learn just how much of it will be about real people, and how much actually about Gorillaz animated members Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar), Russel Hobbs (drums) and 2D (vocals). Director Denholm Hewlett followed them around for the better part of three years, as fellow musical heroes – Vince Staples, Jean-Michel Jarre, Noel Gallagher, Jehnny Beth, Shaun Ryder – come in and out of their lives, and the band turns out two highly acclaimed albums, Humanz and The Now Now.
It promises to be “where the virtual meets the real,” which is fine for us, because that’s already where we spend most of our time.
Tickets for Gorillaz: Reject False Icons go on sale November 27.