Mansun were one the most interesting bands swept up by Britpop. Louder Than War boss John Robb did their first ever interview after getting a great demo tape of the band that somehow combined the raw rush of Nirvana with a very UK mash of styles. Great songwriting and great original ideas and really good vocals marked the band out.
And now, there is a petition for Mansun’s Paul Draper to release his solo songs…
If you are a Mansun fan, please like the petition page. Or maybe you believe in people power and want to see a happy ending. We need your help.
If us Mansun fans stick together and show Paul Draper that we want to hear his songs, then the solo album we’ve waited so long for could finally be within our reach.
“Nobody cares when you’re gone” is what Mansun singer-songwriter, Paul Draper, sang on the band’s Top-10 single “Legacy” in 1998. He was wrong of course. Mansun had one of the most dedicated fanbases around and when they split, three thousand disappointed devotees successfully petitioned Parlophone to release the aborted fourth album, “Kleptomania”.
In the 10 years since Mansun’s demise, Draper has continued to write and produce for other artists, including Skin, You Animals and Catherine A.D. He has also been working on solo material but none, as of yet, has materialised.
Paul recently claimed on BBC Wales that he doesn’t like the sound of his own voice and has no desire to sing again. Tracks such as “Annie”, “Lying About Who We Sleep With”, “Can You Ever Trust Another?”, and interestingly for Mansunites, “Being A Girl Part 3” and “Cancer Part 2” are said to exist somewhere but hearing them has become the Holy Grail for Draper fans.
This is why members of the “Mansun’s Only Love Song” Facebook group have launched a new petition calling on Paul Draper to release his long-awaited solo album. Jules Bhangu, who set up the petition page, told me in an online chat I had with the group last weekend, “Paul’s got a great voice and we’d love to hear it again”. She went on to say “we know he’s already got solo tracks. They need to be heard!”
Frank Hiis, a Mansun fan from Norway, believes that Paul “does not know that he has a huge fanbase that still care about his music” and so the group are “aiming to remind him of that.”
Mansun fans always were a passionate bunch and I should know because I am one. As a teenager, my bedroom walls were covered in Mansun posters and I had every version of every single they released. Super-producer Dev Hynes is another fan and has covered Mansun on his new “Blood Orange” album. This will expose a new generation to Paul’s work.
Perhaps then, now is the time for Paul Draper to focus on his solo work. The music industry has changed over the last 10 years but Draper is a talented songwriter, musician, producer and singer. Whether the material emerges in conventional album format or through several EPs released online, it is clear that his fans want to hear it.
But will he listen? The signs are promising. Paul is aware of the petition and has responded to say that while he is busy finishing a current project, he will “have a serious think about things” and “give it very, very serious consideration if there seems to be a demand to hear the songs”. He’s also recently joined Twitter and seems to be engaging with his fans, which can only be positive.
Article by Martin Leay and photograph © Suzi Meredith.