Origin Chester, England
Genres Alternative rock, Britpop, indie rock, new prog
Years active 1995–2003
Labels Sci-Fi Hi-Fi Recordings
Past members
Paul Draper
Dominic Chad
Stove King
Andie Rathbone
Carlton Hibbert
Mark Swinnerton
Julian Fenton

Mansun were an English alternative rock band formed in Chester in 1995. The band comprised vocalist/rhythm guitarist Paul Draper, bassist Stove King, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Dominic Chad, and drummer Andie Rathbone. The band broke up in May 2003.



Mansun were formed in Chester, England in 1995 by Draper and King. The band's foundations were cemented with the addition of Chad, who worked behind the bar at the Fat Cat pub in Chester and they began rehearsing at Crash Rehearsal Studios in Liverpool, where the band would be discovered by a passing A&R man and offered a publishing contract.

The band were originally called "Grey Lantern" but changed their name to "Manson", after the cult leader Charles Manson but were forced to change it due to copyright issues. The band gave several false accounts of this at the time, one being that they were named after The Verve b-side "A Man Called Sun",[1] and that "Manson" was simply a spelling mistake which accidentally went through to production. It was reported that Charles Manson had started spelling his name with a "u", to which Draper joked that perhaps they should sue him.[2]

The band's self-financed debut release "Take It Easy Chicken" under the name Manson on their own "Sci-Fi Hi-Fi Recordings" label,[3] and the follow-up "Skin Up Pin Up" on EMI offshoot Regal, were followed upon their signing to Parlophone with a run of EPs including a re-issue of the bands self released debut single.

Paul Draper stated in the liner notes for Mansun's Kleptomania that "Take It Easy Chicken" was their first song, and that the band really did not know how to play their instruments (let alone play together as a band) when Steve Lamacq and John Peel started to play the song on BBC Radio 1.

The early EPs were followed by the critically acclaimed album Attack of the Grey Lantern which appeared to contain a conceptual storyline - heavily debated by fans - whilst ending with a hidden track (An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter, previously featured on Three EP) proclaiming sarcastically 'The lyrics aren't supposed to mean that much'. The band's debut LP knocked fellow Parlophone act Blur's 1997 self-titled album from the top spot of the British album chart. Radiohead are quoted as saying, at that year's Q Awards, that the album was "a real musical achievement". Draper stated that a lot of the lyrics from this era were written when he was a kid and influenced by The Goon Show and Monty Python.[4]

During the early years of their career, Mansun were noted for changing fashion styles as quickly as musical styles. Such styles ranged from punk, new romantic, baggy "Madchester" clothes, army fatigues, A Clockwork Orange style "droogs" and even women's clothing. When pressed as to why they did this, Draper responded "It's probably overenthusiasm, seeing people like Bowie's different guises and thinking, 'Great! Let's try that..."[5]

The second album Six was preceded by the single "Legacy", driven by lyrical references to the Marquis de Sade. The album included a guest monologue by Tom Baker.[6] Several more singles followed, including part 1 of "Being A Girl", "Negative" and a re-recording of the album's title track, "Six" produced by Arthur Baker. Draper later admitted to placing the two main singles at the end of the album to be awkward and described the album as being "commercial suicide".[7]

Mansun's third studio album, Little Kix (originally set be called "The Trouble With Relationships",[8]) recorded in Pink Floyd's old studio on a boat, Astoria, was plagued by the record company's desire to bring in an outside producer. Chad would later state that the album "just didn't sound like us because there was lot of keyboards".[9]

In January 2001, prior to the final single being released off "Little Kix", Draper informed the NME that the band were set to enter the studio in March or April of that year and that the band wanted to release new material as soon as possible.[10] In April, Draper informed fans through the official website that the band had recorded and mixed 8 new songs and would continue recording in May. The band were not sure what to do with the material - whether to release an EP or to hold the material back for a full album.[11] In August, Chad posted on the band's official website to inform fans that the band were halfway through recording their fourth album (therefore confirming that the idea of releasing an EP had been scrapped), which would be "harder" than "Little Kix" and that they planned to release a single in December.[12] The band's aim for the record was to make it as representative of Mansun as a live band as possible, that it sounded "like a live band playing in a room" but also that it had all the "creative sounds that 'Six' had".[9] In March 2002 and with no sign of new material, Draper stated that the delay in the new album was down to guitarist Dominic Chad injuring his hand after falling into a fire grate and therefore had been unable to play, but confirmed that the band had so far finished fifteen songs.[13]

In April and May 2002 the band embarked on a short UK tour, which was initially promoted under the pseudonym The Masons on Mansun fansites. The band tested out tracks from their planned fourth album alongside a handful of old favourites. It is believed that the band split soon after this tour, but this was not announced until May 2003.[14]

With news of the split being confirmed and with the knowledge that most of the fourth album, which was set to be self titled, had already been recorded, an online petition was set up to try and persuade EMI to release the material. The tracks intended for the album were then released in 2004, along with the non-album singles and a selection of B-sides (chosen by Draper from a top 20 voted for by fans on the band's official website) and rarities, which summarized Mansun's career in a three-CD box set entitled Kleptomania.[15] In the official press release for the album, Draper claimed that when recording the new album, none of their hearts were in it, but in an interview in 2008 went on to blame Chad for the split, stating that the guitarist "wasn’t happy with the working method of writing and recording, but didn’t want to implement his own writing and recording method so we simply had to go home and end the band".[7]

Legacy - The Best Of Mansun, a greatest hits CD and DVD compilation, was released on 18 September 2006 in the UK. The CD from this package also provides access to download the previous unreleased "South Of The Painted Hall", which was originally set for release on Kleptomania, but the multitrack was missing the lead vocals. The free download version is sourced from a reference CD-R which featured an unfinished rough mix.[16]

Post split

Following the split, Draper worked with ex-Skunk Anansie singer Skin, appearing on her album Fake Chemical State,[17] and in 2009 worked with The Joy Formidable on their free download-only single "Greyhounds In The Slips".[18] Draper has reportedly been working on solo material since the band split, but despite repeated claims of sending out new material via his mailing list, nothing has yet been heard from this proposed project.

Rathbone formed "Seraphim" with Jonti Thackray with whom he had been in bands with prior to Mansun,[19] briefly joined Blondie tribute band "Into The Bleach",[20] and has gone on to become a drum teacher.

Neither Chad nor King have been involved in the music business since the split, though in 2004 in a press release for "Kleptomania", Draper announced that he had started writing with Chad again,[21] but later admitted that Chad had stopped turning up for sessions and that he doubted the partnership would continue.[22] King had reportedly begun a career in Speedway racing.[23]



  1. ^ "Album Reviews: Mansun: Legacy: The Best of Mansun". Pitchfork. 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  2. ^,92353,Interviews
  3. ^ "Manson* - Take It Easy Chicken (Vinyl) at Discogs". 1995-09-25. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  4. ^,60536,Interviews
  5. ^,44743,Interviews
  6. ^ "Six - Album Reviews". Nme.Com. 1998-08-03. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  7. ^ a b "Interview - Mansun". [sic] Magazine. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  8. ^ "Mansun: 'Trouble' At The Top! | News". Nme.Com. 2000-01-17. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  9. ^ a b,16633,Interviews
  10. ^ "Mansun Kix Start New Album | News". Nme.Com. 2001-01-12. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Mansun Open For Business Again | News". Nme.Com. 2001-08-21. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  13. ^ "Mansun Shine Again! | News". Nme.Com. 2002-03-27. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  14. ^ "Mansun To Split | News". Nme.Com. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  15. ^ "The Mansun cult". Chester Chronicle. 2004-09-24. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  16. ^ "Nineties indie stars to release Best Of | News". Nme.Com. 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  17. ^ [1][dead link]
  18. ^ October 3, 2009 (2009-10-03). "The Joy Formidable – Greyhounds in the Slips". Addict Music. Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  19. ^ "FoxyTunes Planet has moved to Yahoo! Music". Retrieved 2011-03-16. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Nunn, Adie (2003-05-02). "Special/Blown It - Mansun call it a day / Music News // Drowned In Sound". Retrieved 2011-03-16. 

External links

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