Famous Bristol Musicians – Portishead

I would make a guess that there are very few people anywhere who haven’t heard of Portishead…even my poor, ignorant to all things music, Mum, has heard of them (I did test this theory and was right!). This is the first of the ‘famous’ profiles I’ve been given to write and to say I was excited at the prospect of getting Portishead would be an understatement.

Like many of my age Portishead helped write the soundtrack to our school years, with songs like Sour Times and Glory Box. Not a school disco passed without something Portishead being played, and even as a normally grunge ridden kid I saw what this great band had to offer and loved everything they gave us. As a teen with a dream I saw Portishead as an example of what was possible if you tried hard enough.

Thank you wikipedia for helping with some of the next bits! Geoff Barrow and Beth Gibbons joined forces in 1991 and they named themselves after Portishead, the part of Bristol Geoff Barrow came from.

Having worked with the likes of Massive Attack and Tricky they produced a short film and all accompanying music which led them to sign their record deal and releasing their debut album Dummy in 1994. Dummy did well in the States as well as here in the UK and it went on to win the 1995 Mercury Music Prize. They released their self-titled album two years later in 1997 and then a live album and DVD in 1998.

Not a whole lot was heard of from the band from there, or so we thought. They were busy working on soundtracks for big hit movies like Lord of War and home grown TV like Sugar Rush. And then there they were, performing here in Bristol at the Academy alongside Massive Attack for the Tsunami Benefit Gig in 2005. I remember the excited discussions about how great it was going to be to have them back…but since that day things have returned to being pretty quiet in the Portishead camp.

Rumours have been sparking for a few years that a third studio album is in the pipeline, but it’s only been recently that the band have admitted they are working on one…what’s it called, when will it be released? I’d love to be able to tell you but I just can’t…they don’t let anything away.

I tried to get an interview with the band to talk about their rise to fame but unfortunately it appears that the rumours about Portishead’s aversion to press coverage not only could be true but also extend to Bristol Rocks as I never got a response from them…unfortunately, that also means they must be awarded the “Head up own Arse” award.

Published: Bristol Rocks


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