Melissa Chemam New Massive Attack Book
The book discusses, analyses and presents the unique development of the band Massive Attack, the group’s gestation in the inner city cultural melting pot that was the Bristol of the 1970s and 1980s, and the scene that consequently emerged with and after their first album, Blue Lines.
Melissa Chemam’s book charts their rise out of the uniquely inclusive communities of urban working class kids, British with Jamaican, Irish, and Italian immigrants who were particularly productive in Bristol. This hybridisation was partly to do with the city’s geography and underground clubs that meant most communities tumbled into each other easily.
The book first details the coming of Bristol’s music scene, from the 1960s to the making of Massive Attack’s groundbreaking first album, Blue Lines, as well as the impact of their following records, including Mezzanine, which is 20 years old this year. From the 1980s, Bristol’s youth of different backgrounds with a passion for music could meet
the interesting musical mix of punk, reggae, soul, funk and later hip-hop, with the notable collective known as the Wild Bunch, composed of the DJs Grant Marshall, Milo Johnson, Nellee Hooper, soon joined by MCs Willy Wee and Robert Del Naja, then DJ Mushroom and
sometimes a rapper known as Tricky.
A group of artists as much as musicians, the Wild Bunch were also instrumental in developing the Bristol’s graffiti scene, Robert Del Naja working early on under the pseudonym of 3D, working with the likes of Goldie and the Americans of Tats CRU, inspiring Inkie and later Banksy.
Melissa Chemam retells this musical and artistic mix through interviews with key Bristol musicians and scene stalwarts, members of the early punk and post-punk scene in Bristol and in particular the Pop Group, reggae pioneers from Black Roots and Talisman, the duo
Smith & Mighty, graffiti artist Inkie, as well as Tricky, Portishead, Lupine Howl, Alpha, and Roni Size, singers Tracey Thorn, Martina Topley-Bird, historians, and many more.
Central to this book is the unfolding story of Massive Attack, their art, their politics, their reflections on their own identity and the development of their astounding music that has had an impact all over the world. Key to the story are also the band’s greatest collaborators, from Horace Andy, Shara Nelson, Madonna, and Elizabeth Fraser, to Sinéad O’Connor, Martina Topley-Bird, Mos Def, Young Fathers, Adam Curtis and many others.