Blur say they ‘used to take it in turns to punch each other’

Alex James claims that Damon Albarn once broke his nose

Blur have revealed details of what they labelled the ‘Punching Game’, a game the band used to play whilst on tour that involved taking turns to hit each other.

The band – who released their first album in 12 years ‘The Magic Whip’ in April – recently spoke to The Guardian, when they recalled the game after Alex James was asked about Jeremy Clarkson’s recent departure from Top Gear for punching a producer who worked on the show.

“There was one tour in America that I had two black eyes,” James claimed. “One from Graham and one from Dave. And Damon broke my nose once. But you know… there was never any question we would split up. We were tighter than ever.”


“Dave used to play this game called the Punching Game,” James continued. “We all took it in turns to punch each other. I remember playing it with the bass player from Dinosaur Jr… he was fucking massive. Taller than me. He lumped the shit out of everyone.”

Drummer Dave Rowntree recalled: “It wasn’t playful, it really hurt. We’d sit on chairs in a big circle and everyone would punch the person to their left as hard as they liked in the head, and it would go on round.

“Generally it wasn’t too bad. You rarely fell off your chair from being punched in the head too hard, mainly because we were always too drunk.”

The band stated that the game emerged during a tour of the US during 1992.


Rowntree recently claimed that the Britpop band wouldn’t be booked to play festivals if they didn’t perform their biggest hit ‘Song 2’.

The group have had an eventful summer, appearing at both Isle Of Wight Festival and Benicassim in Spain, with a set at Electric Picnic upcoming. They also headlined a British Summer Time event at London’s Hyde Park in June.


Speaking to XFM recently, Rowntree argued that he and his bandmates almost feel obliged to play hits like ‘Song 2’ at festivals due to the fact that many in attendance won’t be familiar with their less-known material.

“It’s difficult. It’s an hour and a half set, and there’s about an hour’s worth of music that you absolutely have to play or we’d get bottled off,” he said.

“You know, if we didn’t play ‘Song 2’ we’d never get invited to a festival again.”

Rowntree also quipped that their setlists are compiled by their drum technician.

“These days we delegate the job to Stuart my drum tech. He comes up with the basic setlist and then we argue about it from there,” the drummer added.