Steven Alex James was born on November 21, 1968. His family are his dad who sold forklifts, his mum who did voluntary work and his younger sister, Deborah who he named. “”My sister lives a quite life in Bournemouth. Like Damon’s sister she’s also an artist. Having a younger sister is like having kids of your own. I remember when my mum sat down and said, “You’re having a little sister - what do you want to call her?” and I immediately said ‘Deborah’. So Deborah it was. Good job I didn’t say Myra. Or Adrian. That would have been silly.” The family come from Bournemouth, South England.
Alex was very good at school. He managed to get 13 "O" levels and 3 "A" levels. I read somewhere that these were Physics, Chemistry and French. If anyone one knows if this is true or not let me know. “I was learning to speak French during the days in 1989, Graham was putting telephones in washing-up bowls and Dave was driving a brown Ford Escort estate around Colchester and working for the council.”
Despite all of this he wasn’t very good at music, and even got kicked out of his recorder class. “My music teacher has recently been sent to prison for being a buttock fondler, which may explain why I never took to music lessons.” When he was 11, he bought himself a piano for £100. When he was 16 he had wanted a keyboard but couldn’t afford one, so he got a Fender Precision bass copy for £50. He admitted that this was more as a fashion accessory. Alex was at one time in two other bands called ‘The Age of Consent and Mr Pang’s Big Bangs.
He went to Goldmiths college to study French. Here he met Graham. Their rooms where right underneath each other so they soon became friends. “Graham and I soon discovered that we had loads in common - including a love of booze and guitars.” At this time Graham was in a band whose line up included Damon and Dave. Alex didn’t exactly hit it off with Damon when they first met, “The first time I met Damon he completely pissed me off. His music sounded like Brother Beyond.” But after a while they also became friends. When the two other members of the band left, Alex was invited to join them. “That’s why I joined Blur, I thought that Damon was a bit of a wanker but he had the keys to a recording studio.” Graham and Alex both left school with unfinished degrees.
And so the band became ‘Seymour’ and then ‘Blur’ and then fame and fortune followed. “Everyone who’s in a band thinks they’re in the best band in the world. That’s only natural. But when other people start telling you you’re in the best band in the world as well, you just go...super nova confident!
In the summer of 1996, Alex branched out a bit and wrote a song for one of his pals Damien Hirst’s film. He was part of Me Me Me which was him, Justin Welch (the drummer from Elastica) and an old school friend Charlie Bloor. They recorded three songs called ‘Hanging Around’, ‘Hollywood Wives’ and ‘Tabatha’s Island’. Hanging Around reached no.19 in the UK charts.
Alex seems to be the only members of Blur who actually enjoys touring. “You can tell everything about a hotel from what sort of Corby trouser press it’s got. If it’s a wall-mounted Formica 2000 then forget it. But if it’s the free-standing 3000 with electric timer, then you’re there, you’ve made it.”Back to the main page"