The Good, The Bad & The Queen
The Good, The Bad & The Queen began life in the Aphrodisia Studios in Nigeria in 2004. Damon Albarn and guitarist Simon Tong had travelled to Lagos to record with veteran drummer and Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen. Working with local musicians, the trio recorded an album's worth of material. Back in England, Damon was finishing off Gorillaz' 'Demon Days' album and the project went on the back burner.
By the time they came back to it – and when Damon gave the recordings to producer Brian 'Danger Mouse' Burton – feelings about the record had changed. Damon Albarn: "I just felt that record didn't really need me on it. I'll still use the songs but I'm not going to sing them. When Brian came on board it really started to become, The Good, The Bad and The Queen; I started writing about this area – West London – and coming to define here and why I think it's such a special place to live."
The final collaborator to come in to the studio was Clash bassist – and West London native – Paul Simonon. When the call went out to see if Paul would be interested in working on the project, it turned out that he lived only a few streets away from Damon. After The Clash, Paul's main focus had been not music but painting, although he had no trouble getting back into the rhythm of writing and rehearsing: "I came down to listen to two tracks, and I could hear a bassline for it immediately. So we thought 'give it a go' and started from scratch ... we made a whole new record."