Graham Coxon on reinventing the Classics with the Jaded Hearts Club...


What do you get when a bunch of A-list friends, including Matt Bellamy and Graham Coxon, get together and make an album of scuzzed up Motown classics? You get The Jaded Hearts Club’s fun debut album, that’s what.

By Michael Watts 6th November 2020

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It feels like it’s been a while since we had a proper rock ‘n’ roll super group, doesn’t it? There was a time when they seemed to be everywhere, but it feels like years since a bunch of proper rock stars got together and formed a band for the sheer fun of smashing out some tunes together and celebrating the music they love. And that’s exactly what The Jaded Hearts Club is all about.

Formed as an impromptu Beatles covers band for a friend’s birthday in 2017, the concept instantly attracted attention for its all-star line-up – including Muse megastar Matt Bellamy on bass and Blur legend Graham Coxon on guitar.

It was the sort of fun that you want to do more of, and so the Jaded Hearts Club did what came naturally to these rock ‘n’ roll veterans – they became a proper band, albeit one playing much smaller gigs than anyone in the line-up was used to. Joining Bellamy and Coxon in the line-up were Sean Payne (The Zutons) on drums, singers Nic Cester (Jet) and Miles Kane (The Last Shadow Puppets) and guitarist Jamie Davies, the man whose birthday spawned the band’s first assemblage. For the next few years the band played impromptu gigs in bars and clubs, plus the odd high-profile charity gig – even performing with Paul McCartney himself at an event in 2018 – before the idea formed last year that they should get into a studio and document all this…

The result is album of fuzzed out covers of classic songs and Motown gems featuring everything from I Put A Spell On You to Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again (no, really) – it’s like the world’s most A-list function band has turned up to your house and started scuzzing up the classics.

In an attempt to make sense of this brilliantly bonkers idea, we caught up, at a responsible distance, with the trifecta of Coxon, Kane and Cester in a tastefully appointed Hackney warehouse, to find out about the challenges of not only creating a full album during a global pandemic but doing so when your band members scattered around the world… The lead single for the record, I’ll Be There sound’s huge. How did you go about recording something like this amidst a global pandemic?

Nic Cester: “That was the only one that happened during full lockdown, right? Where were you Graham?” Graham Coxon: “I was in Los Angeles. We had a Zoom meeting about which kind of way we were going to do it. We thought we’d go after Morricone a bit on the intro. Miles Kane: “That one for me sounds the best I think – I absolutely love it. When Jamie sent it to me it blew my mind. I had that on repeat when I was strutting around. It’s great!” How did you approach it in terms of guitar? GC: “I think I was hinting at the brass part in this case. Jamie is thrashing through the rhythm and I’m just putting a few toppings on the old basic margarita I suppose. Some olives and stuff. Because I’m supposed to do that in the job that I’m used to doing – which is a bit of rhythm and some lead-y bits, fingers that can’t stay still… all the hammer-ons!

“You know it’s kind of weird, when you grow up with The Beatles and stuff like that, psychedelic music becomes the norm so I can’t get through a song unless it’s tickling my earhole with some nice bits and bobs. I get very bored unless there are some things coming out so I was really into how that song sounded because we managed to get in some really great little backing vocal moments I wasn’t expecting. “It’s great to see how seriously Matt gets in amongst it as a producer. For him these things have to sound frigging amazing – he’s not just doing this for a giggle, it’s serious stuff! The orchestration too, there’s woodwind in it, the backing vocals, so many textures. It’s great because we do the parts and it sounds good and then there’s a lot of magic sprinkled on it which is testament to Matt and Jamie really for getting all that in there. We’re basically amplifying what is already there in the originals.”