'It was like we'd gatecrashed someone else's party': how Britpop stars Menswear came apart at the seams

General Info on Blur

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Back in 1994, the sharp-suited quintet could do no wrong as record labels fought to sign them. But in-fighting, drug abuse – and knocking a Coke can over on Peter Gabriel’s mixing desk – led to a rapid demise

Menswear are regaling me with tales from when they were the hottest new band in Britain. It was autumn 1994. Blur and Oasis had gone supernova and the music industry wanted the next big Britpop thing. Dozens of record companies attended the sharp-suited quintet’s first gig at London’s Smashing club, the four-song performance starting a bidding war. One label even mounted what singer Johnny Dean describes as a “kidnap attempt” to prevent them signing to a rival.

“They were trying to bundle me and our manager into a black cab to get us out of London,” explains guitarist Chris Gentry, who was 17. “At the last second we thought: ‘No, let’s not do this.’”

At T in the Park, they printed “Have a drink on Menswear” on banknotes and threw them to the crowd to use to buy booze

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