Blur were embroiled in a bitter tabloid feud with Oasis throughout the 1990s, and if you believed everything you read on the front pages, then you’d have thought Damon Albarn was baying for the blood of the Gallagher’s. Yet, according to some sources, it was another band from that era which the singer held a genuine disdain for.
When discussing that period of British music, the bands that immediately spring to mind are Blur, Oasis, Pulp, and Suede. Together, they were collectively named ‘The Big Four’ by the music press, and between them, the bands were the poster boys of British popular culture.
The groups sold magazine covers, and their faces were on constant rotation across the front of NME and Melody Maker. They leaned into the pantomime aspect of it all, throwing out childish insults at one another, whipping up a frenzy in the process. In truth, a lot of the dirty laundry that was aired in public was for entertainment, and there was no hatred underneath the surface.
Oasis and Blur famously used to drink together throughout the height of the so-called ‘Battle of Britpop’, despite the obscenities they propelled toward each other in the press. However, there was one other band that Damon Albarn wasn’t so cordial to when he frequently bumped into them at events — and it’s not a group you’d suspect.
Skunk Anansie were the antithesis of Britpop and led by the enigmatic singer Skin, and they provided something more visceral compared with the other bands of the day. As the decade went on and people’s tastes changed, they grew in status, with their career peaking in 1999 with a headline set on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
Reflecting on the period of time during an interview with NME, discussing that precious time and her relationship with her peers, Skin opened up about Albarn being cold with the band whenever they met. “We love the Gallaghers, you know? Damon (Albarn) always hated us,” she said.
She continued, “I wouldn’t say trouble but it’s not nice when you walk into an interview and the first thing you hear is that David Albarn doesn’t like you. I don’t know what his fucking problem was but it didn’t really matter in the end.”
Furthermore, speaking to The Independent last year, she said, “You can’t fault Oasis. I wasn’t the biggest Blur fan. They didn’t like us, we didn’t like them. Damon [Albarn] hates me. I don’t know why. The rest of the band I get on with. Whenever I met Damon he would always be like I was something he stepped in.”
Albarn’s frostiness with Skunk Anansie is incomprehensible and seems like a bizarre band to hold spite against. The Blur singer has restricted his opinion about them to behind closed doors, yet, his vicious tongue still found a way of getting back to Skin, and judging by her comments, the bad blood is reciprocal.