TONG JOINS BLUR

He was a member of The Verve, but it's not Nick McCabe...

Former VERVE guitarist SIMON TONG is to join BLUR as live guitarist, NME.COM can reveal.

Tong has been in rehearsals in London with Damon Albarn, Alex James and Dave Rowntree preparing for live shows later in the year.

A source close to the band emphasised that he is not replacing departed guitarist Graham Coxon as a full-time band member, however.

“He’s not replacing Graham, because he can’t be replaced,” the source told NME.COM. “He will be playing live with them at shows later this year, and they have been rehearsing for the last few weeks together.”

Tong played with The Verve alongside fellow guitarist Nick McCabe during the peak of their success, in the ‘Urban Hymns’ era. Joining Richard Ashcroft‘s outfit after their first acrimonious split in 1995, following the release of ‘A Northern Soul’. A schoolfriend of Richard and The Verve’s ex-bassist Simon Jones from Wigan, he is credited with originally teaching the two to play guitar.

The band made their first live appearance at an industry event last Friday (February 7).