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26 January 2022

Blur Invited To Reunite For Memorial Show For Food Records’ Andy Ross

Photo: London Red Carpet/Alamy Stock Photo
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Blur‘s Food Records labelmates Jesus Jones have invited the Britpop heroes to reunite in tribute to the late label head Andy Ross.

Ross, known for signing Blur as well as Idlewild, Dubstar and more, died on 25 January at the age of 66. His passing was confirmed to NME by a close friend and collaborator.

“We’re heartbroken at the loss of Andy Ross, one half of the mighty Food Records,” Jesus Jones wrote on Twitter. “Without him, we’d have never been able to do what we did. We’ll always be grateful, and we’ll always miss him. Goodbye boss xxx.”

Blur drummer Dave Rowntree added: “Really sad to learn of the passing of my friend and mentor Andy Ross. He was one of the good ones – generous, warm, and kind.”

Following the news, Jesus Jones reached out to Blur on Twitter, suggesting a reunion gig in tribute to Ross. They wrote: “Hey [Blur], what do you say we get Food back together, and do something for Andy? Just a thought x.”

In a later tweet, they also extended the invite to all Food Records bands, including Idlewild.

Born in South London in 1956, Ross’s first brush with the music industry came as frontman of the band Disco Zombies, who released a handful of singles in the late 1970s. Later he became a writer for UK music weekly magazine Sounds (where he used the pen name ‘Andy Hurt’) and is credited with giving the ‘shoegaze’ genre its slightly derogatory name.

In 1986, Ross took a job heading up Food Records, the Camden-based independent label founded by The Teardrop Explodes keyboard player David Balfe two years earlier. There Ross signed bands including Blur, Jesus Jones, Dubstar and Idlewild.

When Balfe sold Food to EMI in 1994, Ross remained its head. Having been at the centre of the Britpop scene in the mid-90s, as the music industry changed the label was eventually folded into the then EMI-owned Parlophone label in 2000. Blur’s final album associated with Food Records was their sixth, 13, which was released in March 1999.

Last year, Blur’s Damon Albarn claimed to NME that Blur had been in talks and “had an idea” of how to make their return. “I’ve just been a bit busy at the moment obviously,” he said. “When it happens, I’ll be made up.”

In a separate interview with NME, Graham Coxon confirmed he “was privy to that discussion” that Albarn spoke of, but that “It started as a discussion, but didn’t really end as one.”

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