Date published: 1st Sep 2010
Alex James says classical music saved him when Blur were "disintegrating".
The band's bassist says that after they originally parted ways with guitarist Graham Coxon in 2002 and the band was left in a state of limbo following their last full album `Think Tank', he turned to classical music to help soothe his state of mind.
Alex, 41, said: "It was moving into the farmhouse where I now live that got me into it, in 2003, at a time when Blur was disintegrating before my eyes.
"All my adult years had been driven by this purpose - being in a band that had become a global megalith. But, when Blur got put on hold, I found myself stuck in the middle of the countryside with nothing to do. No pubs, no gigs, no parties. It was like Rock Star Family Robinson.
"Eventually, I started wanting to dig deeper into musical history and I started thinking about Rossini's `William Tell Overture', which I hadn't heard since I was a 12-year old school kid. I bought a copy, sat in my studio, turned the speakers up loud and, my God, I just burst into tears."
From here Alex became more and more absorbed with the classical world, and became obsessive about the great composers.
He added: "To use a food analogy, it's the same thing with eating oysters. They are, to start with, so foreign, so unusual, it's hard to tell which bit of is supposed to be the part you enjoy. Once I'd had about six, though, I thought there just might be something in it and once I'd had 12 they were all I could think about."
As a result of his classical endeavours, Alex presented the radio show the 'The A-Z of Classic FM Music' on British radio station Classic FM, and has worked with the station to produce a collection of four music CDs and an illustrated book on classical music with a foreword from Alex, also titled `The A-Z of Classic FM Music', which will be available through Reader's Digest from Friday (03.09.10), priced at Â£39.99.