From Blur, Pulp and The Verve to Elastica, Sleeper and beyond - what happened next?
Andrew Trendell

11:28 7th April 2014

This week, the UK and beyond will be celebrating two decades since the seismic shift that came with the explosion of Britpop in 1994. Rather than just a handful of catchy singles, the floodgates were opened for a wave of bands that would shape not only the sound of the UK, but the culture, art, fashion and even politics for the years ahead. But what happened to the bands that ushered in Cool Britannia? Where are they now? 

Speaking of the 20th anniversary of Britpop this week, BBC DJ Steve Lamacq said: "For me, this is the week 20 years ago that the musical tectonic plates shifted. On the Tuesday, Oasis played live on Radio 1 for the first time and on the Friday morning we heard the news of Kurt Cobain's death."

It was the likes of Pulp, Suede, Oasis, Blur, Sleeper, Elastica, The Verve and many more that helped shift those plates - but where are they now? Come with us as we revisit the stars of Britpop, and see what happened next. 

  • Elastica - then: Queen to Damon Albarn's Britpop King, Justine Frischmann and fellow ex-Suede member Justin Welch formed Elastica in 1992 and released their insanely successful post-punk self-titled debut in 1995. 'Connection' and 'Waking Up' became staple anthems of the decade.

  • Elastica - now: Drugs and inner-band tensions took their held, and their second album The Menace was not released until the year 2000. It was not well-received and the band announced their amicable split a year later. Frischmann (pictured) emigrated to Colorado to study visual arts and psychology and is now an acclaimed artist, while an article in Mojo magazine in 2009 said that Donna Matthews is a pastor in Totnes, Annie Holland, Holland lives in Brighton, Justin Welch and Sharon Mew are married and live in Devon and Paul Jones is the A&R man at Rough Trade - signing the likes of Warpaint. (Photo credit: InTheMake.com)

  • Menswear - then: The mod-stylings of these London rockers led Graham Coxon to hail them as one of the best-dressed bands of the 90s. The NME described them as being like a "Tarantino film... totally derivative but totally brilliant". Their debut nuisance was critically-acclaimed as the band rode on the waves of Britpop at the peak of its popularity.

  • Menswear - now: Drummer Matt Everitt was sacked in 1996 and their country-tinged second album Hay Tiempo was released in 1998 in Japan, but nowhere else. The band split soon after. Stuart Black is now in the band Bella Echoes, but Menswear reformed with a new line-up in 2014 and are currently working on 2014. Matt Everitt is now a brilliant journalist for the news team at BBC 6 Music. Here he is cuddling up to host and tormentor Shaun Keaveny.

  • Supergrass - then: The brilliant Oxford pop-rock geniuses released Parlophone's biggest selling debut since The Beatles' Please Please Me when I Should Coco dropped in 1995. 'Alright' became an anthem of the era, and the band continued to win awards and shift platinum and gold records for over a decade.

  • Supergrass - now: The band split in 2010 prior to the completion of their seventh album, Release The Drones. Gaz Coombes (pictured) is currently enjoying his career as a solo star and producer, drummer Danny Goffey has appeared on Celebrity Masterchef and Mick Quinn has since formed DB Band.

  • Oasis - then: A bunch of scruffy lads from Manchester brought swagger and arrogance back to British music, becoming the biggest band on the planet.

  • Oasis - now: Take a long hard look at this photo of Noel and Liam smiling at each other, it isn't going to happen again any time soon. Oasis split in a suitably explosive fashion in 2009, before Liam formed the Neanderthal dross of Beady Eye and Noel Gallagher launched a successful solo career. Rumours of reunions remain a pipe-dream, but they are re-releasing their first three albums to mark the 20th anniversary of Definitely Maybe this year.

  • Ocean Colour Scene: Piss up anthem 'The Day We Caught The Train' may be what they're best known for, but OCS were a pretty big deal in the 90s - scoring a handful of top five albums including the No.1 Marchin' Already.

  • Ocean Colour Scene - now: They're still a thing. Their tenth album Painting came in 2013 - landing at No.49, their worst chart placing in their history. Catch them at Kendal Calling and Strawberry Fields festival this summer.

  • Suede - then: Their Mercury-winning self-titled debut was seen a landmark moment in the rise of Britpop, much to their displeasure. Their second album, Dog Man Star, saw them distance themselves from the genre while still remaining as sexy and proactive as ever, though the tag would plague them for years.

  • Suede - now: They split in 2003, reformed in 2010 and released their first new album in over a decade in 2013. Bloodsports found the band re-energised, and they're currently touring and working on new material.

  • Kenickie - then: Described by Courtney Love as "a big, raw-boned bunch of fucking sex", these seemingly unassuming four-piece from Sunderland made waves with their riot-grrrl debut At The Club cracking the top 10. Their second album Get In fared much less well and they split soon after, with frontwoman Lauren Laverne telling the crowd at their final Astoria gig: "We were Kenickie...a bunch of fuckwits"

  • Kenickie - now: After flirting with a solo career with several years, Lauren Laverne (pictured) went on to become a celebrated author and TV presenter, as well as a bloody brilliant DJ on BBC 6 Music. As for the rest of the band drummer Johnny X went on to record under the name J Xaverre, lead guitarist Marie du Santiago is now a member of The Cornshed Sisters and the Chief Executive Officer at the University of Sunderland Students' Union, and bass guitarist Emmy-Kate Montrose completed a PhD in sociology in 2010 at Goldsmiths University and is now a post-doctoral fellow at King's College London. They're all doing alright for themselves, eh?

  • Shed Seven - then: The 'Going For Gold' stars may have always been on the periphery of making it truly big, but at the height of their popularity between 1994 and 1999 they scored 15 Top 40 singles and four Top 20 albums in the UK, which ain't bad at all.

  • Shed Seven - now: They split in 2003, but reformed in 2007 - and continue to tour this day. That aside, guitarist Banks is a celebrated film-maker and Joe Johnson is a guitar teacher.

  • Ash - then: Starting as a bright young three-piece before Charlotte Hatherley later joined, these fierce rockers found success at a very young age - playing Glastonbury for the first time just days after receiving their A Level results. Their second album, 1977, contained the massive 'Girl From Mars', 'Kung Fu' and 'Goldfinger'. It topped the charts, became a classic of the age and would cement them as festival regulars for decades to come.

  • Ash - now: They're still going. They released their ambitious A-Z 'singles' album in 2010 and are currently working on their next LP in New York.

  • Sleeper - then: With three top 10 albums and eight top 40 singles to their name, the 'Inbetweener' and 'Sale Of The Century' stars were built for Britpop success. They even covered Blondie's 'Atomic' for the Trainspotting soundtrack, which is so Britpop it hurts.

  • Sleeper - now: After splitting in 1998, frontwoman Louise Wener became an acclaimed author, while guitarist Jon Stewart became a session musician for people like Mel C but is now a lecturer in music business and music history at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music - and bassist Diid Osman joined Dubstar before going on to manage the likes of My Vitriol, Hell Is For Heroes and Casino Trap.

  • The Verve - then: Insanely influential, the Wigan shoegaze heroes did quite well to help soundtrack the decade, not in the least for the seminal Urban Hymns.

  • The Verve - now: After passionately denying any hope of a reunion for years, they eventually did to record the chart-topping Fourth in 2008. They headlined Glasto and delighted fans around the world, before Ashcroft said that they were 'over for good' in 2010.

  • Pulp - then: Despite being active for over a decade before Britpop 'broke', they inadvertently became one of the flagship bands for the genre, not to mention one if its most successful, due to their incredible knack of penning kitchen sink melodrama with classics like 'Common People', 'Babies', and 'Help The Aged'.

  • Pulp - now: After launching his solo career and his excellent Sunday show on BBC 6 Music, Jarvis Cocker reunited the classic Different Class line-up in 2010, touring festivals internationally to great acclaim for a couple of years (seriously, it was wonderful). On Christmas Day 2012 they released brilliant single 'After You', and are currently back on hiatus and unlikely to return soon. They do have a documentary about their 2012 gig in Sheffield coming out though. It's just called 'Pulp', and is said to be ace.

  • Blur - then: You don't need to be told about what Blur achieved in the 90s, they were seminal - with Albarn's very English vision for second album Modern Life Is Rubbish often credited as setting the template for Britpop. They became one of the most successful bands of the decade.

  • Blur - now: The band announced their reunion in 2008, before touring for several years including already legendary performances at Glastonbury, Hyde Park, etc. They have released a string of singles, but mystery surrounds the potential of a new album after conflicting reports of scrapped and completed sessions. Either way, Albarn has a solo album coming out, Graham Coxon is said to be penning new material, Dave Rowntree has a weekly XFM show and Alex James is making cheese and said to be releasing a drink called 'Britpop'.


Photo: WENN.com/Press