Brett Lewis Anderson (born September 29, 1967) is an English singer-songwriter, and former lead vocalist of rock band Suede. He now fronts The Tears, although they are currently on indefinite hiatus, and Anderson released a debut solo album.
In his teens, Anderson played guitar for garage bands such as The Pigs and Geoff, the latter featuring future Suede bassist Mat Osman. In the late-1980s, Anderson and Osman formed Suede with Anderson's girlfriend, Justine Frischmann, soon recruiting guitarist Bernard Butler through an advertisement in the NME. After receiving percussional help from former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce, in 1991, Simon Gilbert joined Suede as their official drummer. It was around this time that Frischmann left Anderson for Blur frontman Damon Albarn, which created an early rift in the burgeoning Britpop scene of the early 1990s. After missing too many rehearsals and flaunting her relationship with Albarn while still living with Anderson, Frischmann was fired from the group, going on to front Elastica.
Even before Suede's first album appeared in stores, Anderson's androgynous style and vague "confessions" about his sexuality stirred controversy in the British music press. In 1993, Suede hit number one on the UK charts. Combining Morrissey's homoerotic posturing with David Bowie's glam theatrics, Anderson achieved instant fame in the UK. America, however, was still spellbound by the grunge revolution and Anderson's grim yodellings clashed with the raw anger of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. Furthering complications across the Atlantic, due to a trademark dispute with the American lounge singer Suede, the band were forced to change their name to The London Suede for the American market. Although the departure of songwriting partner Butler in 1994 during the recording of second album Dog Man Star (number three on the UK charts) led many to fear Suede's eventual demise, the band continued to release critically and commercially successful material in the UK, such as 1996's critically-acclaimed Coming Up (another number one of the band).
Coming Up proved to be a last high point, as Anderson's well-publicised problems with crack and heroin addiction put the band on hiatus in the late 1990s. The band carried on to release Head Music (number one on the UK charts and in several countries) in 1999. But A New Morning was a commercial disappointment in 2002. In 2003, after the release of their "Singles" compilation, Suede disbanded.
Anderson has commented that the history of Suede is "...ridiculous. It’s like Machiavelli rewriting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It involves a cast of thousands. It should star Charlton Heston... it’s like a pram that’s just been pushed down a hill. It’s always been fiery and tempestuous and really on the edge and it never stops. I don’t think it ever will.”
On his own, Anderson collaborated with Stina Nordenstam, and his guest vocals can be heard on the album This Is Stina Nordenstam and has made a duet with Jane Birkin in 1995 which exists in 1998 Birkin's Best Of album. He also sang the lyric "You're going to reap just what you sow" in the Children In Need charity single Perfect Day.
In 2004, after resolving their differences, Anderson and former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler formed the band The Tears, who released a critically acclaimed debut album Here Come The Tears. It was produced by Bernard Butler and largely recorded at home, and featured the singles Refugees and Lovers.
In May 2006, Anderson announced details of a forthcoming solo album consisting of 11 tracks, which is set for release on 26th March 2007. He told NME that the title will be 'Brett Anderson' since "...that's my name, you see." The accompanying video for Anderson's first single Love Is Dead debuted on UK television in February 2007, quickly finding its way to YouTube. Love Is Dead made its debut at #42 in the UK singles chart, and the album went to #54 the following week.
- Brett Anderson (March 26, 2007) #54
- Love Is Dead (March 19, 2007) #42
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