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Biography from VH1.com

The pioneering force behind the rise of trip-hop, Massive Attack were among the most innovative and influential groups of their generation; their hypnotic sound -- a darkly sensual and cinematic fusion of hip-hop rhythms, soulful melodies, dub grooves, and choice samples -- set the pace for much of the dance music to emerge throughout the 1990s, paving the way for such acclaimed artists as Portishead, Sneaker Pimps, Beth Orton, and Tricky, himself a Massive Attack alumnus. Their history dates back to 1983 and the formation of the Wild Bunch, one of the earliest and most successful sound-system/DJ collectives to arrive on the U.K. music scene; renowned for their seamless integration of a wide range of musical styles, from punk to reggae to R&B, the group's parties quickly became can't-miss events for the Bristol club crowd, and at the peak of their popularity they drew crowds so enormous that the local live music scene essentially ground to a halt.

When the Wild Bunch folded during the mid-'80s, two of its members -- Andrew "Mushroom" Vowles and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall -- teamed with local graffiti artist 3D (born Robert del Naja) to form Massive Attack in 1987; another Wild Bunch alum, Nellee Hooper, split his time between the new group and his other project, Soul II Soul. The group's first single, "Daydreaming," appeared in 1990; it featured the sultry vocals of singer Shara Nelson and raps by Tricky, another onetime Wild Bunch collaborator. The classic "Unfinished Sympathy" followed, as did another compelling effort, "Safe From Harm." Finally, in 1991 Massive Attack issued their debut LP, Blue Lines; while by no means a huge commercial success, the record was met with major critical praise, and was dubbed an instant classic in many quarters. Nelson, featured on many of the album's most memorable tracks, exited for a solo career soon after, and the group then confusingly changed their name to simply "Massive" to avoid any implication of approval for the U.N.'s policy towards Iraq; in the wake of the disastrous U.S. tour that followed, many were quick to write the band off right then and there.

After a three-year layoff, Massive Attack -- their full name now properly reinstated -- resurfaced with Protection; again working with Hooper and Tricky, they also brought into the fold vocalist Nicolette, as well as Everything but the Girl's Tracey Thorn. Three singles -- "Karmacoma," "Sly," and the title track -- were released from the LP, which was also remixed in its entirety by Mad Professor and issued as No Protection. A lengthy tour followed, and over the next several years, Massive Attack's solo work was primarily confined to remixes for artists including Garbage; they also worked with Madonna on a track for a Marvin Gaye tribute album. Finally, to promote their appearance at the annual Glastonbury music festival, the group issued a new EP, Risingson, during the summer of 1997. The third full-length Massive Attack effort, Mezzanine, appeared in mid-1998; in addition to reggae singer Horace Andy, making his third consecutive LP appearance with the group, vocal chores were handled by the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser and newcomer Sara Jay. Mezzanine became a cult hit among critics, clubs, and the college crowds, spinning successful singles such as "Teardrop" and "Inertia Creeps." A tour of America and Europe followed, but Vowles left the band after disagreeing with the artistic direction of Mezzanine. Del Naja and Marshall continued as a duo, later working with the likes of David Bowie and the Dandy Warhols, but Marshall later took a leave of absence to raise his family; producer Neil Davidge took up the slack. In February 2003, after a five-year wait, Massive Attack released their fourth album, 100th Window, including collaborations with mainstay Horace Andy as well as Sinéad O'Connor. Danny the Dog from 2004 marked the group's entry into the world of soundtracks.

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Discography - Box Sets


Singles 90/98

Label: Virgin

Released: 12.15.98


01. Daydreaming [Album Version]

02. Daydreaming [Luv It Mix]

03. Daydreaming [brixton Bass Mix]

04. Daydreaming [Luv It Dub]

05. Any Love


06. Unfinished Sympathy [Album Version]

07. Unfinished Sympathy [Nellee Hooper 7'' Mix] [Nellee Hooper 70 Mix]

08. Unfinished Sympathy [Nellee Hooper 12'' Mix] [Nellee Hooper 120 Mix]

09. Unfinished Sympathy [Perfecto Mix]

10. Unfinished Sympathy [instrumental]


11. Safe from Harm [Album Version]

12. Safe from Harm [7'' Version] [70 Version]

13. Safe from Harm [120 Version]

14. Safe from Harm [Perfecto Mix]

15. Safe from Harm [Just a Groove Dub]

16. Safe from Harm [Just a Dub]


17. Hymn of the Big Wheel [Album Version]

18. Hymn of the Big Wheel [Nellee Hooper Mix]

19. Home of the Whale

20. Be Thankful for What You Got [Perfecto Mix]

21. Any Love [Larry Heard Mix]


22. Sly [Album Version]

23. Sly [70 Edit]

24. Sly [7'' Stone Mix] [7 Stones Mix]

25. Sly [underdog Mix]

26. Sly [underdog Double Bass and Accapella]

27. Sly [Cosmic Dub]

28. Sly [Eternal Feedback Dub]


29. Protection [Album Version]

30. Protection [70 Edit]

31. Protection [underdog's Angel Dust Mix]

32. Protection [Radiation for the Nation]

33. Protection [The Eno Mix]

34. Protection [J. Sw! ft Mix] [J. Swift Mix]


35. Karmacoma [Album Version]

36. Karmacoma [Portishead Esperience] [Portishead Experience]

37. Karmacoma [Napoli Trip]

38. Karmacoma [u.N.K.L.E. Situation]

39. Karmacoma [bumper Ball Dub]

40. Karmacoma [Ventom Dub Special]

41. Blacksmith/Daydreaming


42. Risingson [Album Version]

43. Superpredators

44. Risingson [underdog Mix]

45. Risingson (Otherside)

46. Risingson [underworld Mix]


47. Teardrop [LP Version]

48. Teardrop [scream Team Remix]

49. Teardrop [Mad Professor Mazaruni Vocal Mix]

50. Teardrop [Mad Professor Mazaruni Instrumental]

51. Euro Zero Zero


52. Angel [Album Version]

53. Angel [Radio Edit]

54. Angel [Remix]

55. Angel [Mad Professor Remix]

56. Group Four [Mad Professor Remix]


57. Inertia Creeps [Album Version]

58. Inertia Creeps [Radio Edit]

59. Inertia Creeps [Manic Street Preachers Version] [Manic Street Preachers

60. Inertia Creeps [state of Bengal Mix]

61. Inertia Creeps [Alpha Mix]

62. Back/Shecomes

63. Reflection

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Discography - Records


Blue Lines

01. Safe from Harm

02. One Love

03. Blue Lines

04. Be Thankful for What You Got

05. Five Man Army

06. Unfinished Sympathy

07. Daydreaming

08. Lately

09. Hymn of the Big Wheel



01. Protection

02. Karmacoma

03. Three

04. Weather Storm

05. Spying Glass

06. Better Things

07. Eurochild

08. Sly

09. Heat Miser

10. Light My Fire [Live]



01. Angel

02. Risingson

03. Teardrop

04. Inertia Creeps

05. Exchange

06. Dissolved Girl

07. Man Next Door

08. Black Milk

09. Mezzanine

10. Group Four

11. Exchange


Protection/No Protection


01. Protection

02. Karmacoma

03. Three

04. Weather Storm

05. Spying Glass

06. Better Things

07. Eurochild

08. Sly

09. Heat Miser

10. Light My Fire


11. Radiation Ruling the Nation

12. Bumper Ball Dub

13. Trinity Dub

14. Cool Monsoon

15. Eternal Feedback

16. Moving Dub

17. I Spy

18. Backward Sucking


100th Window

01. Future Proof

02. What Your Soul Sings

03. Everywhen

04. Special Cases

05. Butterfly Caught

06. A Prayer for England

07. Small Time Shot Away

08. Name Taken

09. Antistar

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Massive Attack Use Internet To Promote Mezzanine

[Fri. March 13.1998]

Trip-hop originators Massive Attack have announced plans to preview their third album, Mezzanine, on the Internet beginning March 20 at the band's website, www.massiveattack.co.uk. That will be more than three weeks before the album's slated April 13 release in the U.K. and a full month before the U.S. release date of May 12.

The first available segment of the LP will be a 45-second audio clip of the single "Teardrop," featuring vocals from Elizabeth Fraser, formerly of the ethereal duo Cocteau Twins. A complete version of the single will be available at the site on March 23.

The artwork and the 11 songs on Mezzanine, produced by the Bristol, England-based trio and producer Neil James Davidge (Suzanne Vega, Vanessa Williams), will be posted on the Internet in small increments on a daily basis, over the course of 25 days, until all of the art is visible and all of the songs can be heard at the site.

Massive Attack's U.K. publicist, Heather Finlay, stopped short of calling the move unprecedented, but said she could not recall another band giving a sneak preview of a entire new album in this manner and that "it was something the band thought was quite special to do."

At least one Massive Attack fan and record-industry insider thought that this type of record promotion would pique the interest of listeners worldwide.

"I would immediately log on just to get a preview of the album," said Renee Tyler, a Massive Attack fan and the national product manager's assistant at Tower Records. "I definitely think it will excite fans, as well as boost sales -- just the thought that it's starting from the beginning and that each day it's going to develop further."

A spokesman at Virgin Records' London office said that the Internet preview will run concurrently with a large-scale ad campaign, and that several websites -- including "Dazed And Confused" and the Bristol-based "Venue" -- will have links to the band's website.

Finlay described the trailblazing threesome's follow-up to 1995's No Protection as sounding darker and more complex.

"Mezzanine is much darker than the last two albums. There's more guitars. It's much more complex," said Finlay, who added that Fraser sings on a total of three tracks and that the song "Dissolved Girl" features the soulful vocals of singer Sara Jay.

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Trip-Hop Pioneers Launch Massive Attack On U.S.

[Thu. April 02.1998]

NEW YORK -- With a new album on the way and America fixed in his sights, Massive Attack leader and frontman Robert delNaja knows that he's standing at the brink of something big.

It's the crossing over to that place that he's not so sure about.

For now, delNaja's sitting in his New York hotel room watching Saudi Arabian soccer, talking of the British trip-hop band's plans to present its third album, Mezzanine (due in May in the U.S. on Virgin), to these shores and hoping to finally break through in this market.

Despite relative indifference in the U.S. to Massive Attack's previous work, the band is supporting the release with a new tour and increased stateside media exposure, including the first-ever posting of a downloadable version of the entire LP on the Internet weeks before it hits stores.

Still, delNaja says he is determined to keep from overexposing the band.

"We're not going to expand too quickly," says the 32-year-old delNaja, a.k.a. 3- D. "We did about 12 U.S. dates for Protection [Massive Attack's second album]; this time we'll do about 15, starting in July. But we keep redeveloping the show. It's boring re-creating albums onstage."

Not only boring, but for the Attack, it's a difficult feat. The band's music incorporates elements of rap, hip-hop, alternative, reggae, punk, rock, pop, dance, soul and new age, among other sounds. It's so hard to re-create their studio sound, in fact, that Massive Attack shows often exclude the songs' original vocalists, since many only guested on the recordings. The first U.S. single, "Teardrop" (RealAudio excerpt), for instance, features lead vocals by Elizabeth Fraser, formerly of the Cocteau Twins, who joins reggae legend Horace Andy and soul singer Sara Jay in providing guest vocals on the record.

Adding to Massive Attack's live dilemma, the band also is often without much of its high-tech equipment onstage, delNaja says, and considering the ensemble's tendency toward long, ambient pieces, fans are left with a whole new approach to much of its material live. "Our audience needs to have a strong attention span," delNaja acknowledges. "We're not a singles band."

Certainly, this is at least part of the reason that the band's first two albums never broke in America. And delNaja is aware of it.

Hoping to make the music more accessible, the band's newest work captures a mood and an intimacy that more closely mirrors the band. Dark, foreboding songs such as "Inertia Creeps" and "Group 4" feature threatening vocals and pulsing beats that drive delNaja's oblique lyrics. A prime theme of the disc is life changes, which creeps up in songs such as "Risingson" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Teardrop," the single that deals with Fraser's feelings about having a child. "The album is more reflective of ourselves [than previous efforts] and of the instability in our lives and the duality of being in a band," he says. "The darker tone [of the new album] comes from stress and paranoia within the group. We [worked out] personal obsessions on this one."

To make sure that the U.S. gets the message, Massive Attack -- whose other members are Grant Marshall (a.k.a. Daddy G), 39, and Andrew Vowles (a.k.a. Mushroom), 29 -- have a multi-pronged plan for expanding their base of U.S. listeners, a group that delNaja perceives as "mixtures of the curious and quite a lot of people who know everything about our music."

Besides live radio broadcasts and a full-length video of shows and concept clips for the new songs, an important component of the plan this time around will be the Internet. The band began previewing every song from Mezzanine on its website (www. massiveattack.co.uk) on March 20 -- more than three weeks before the April 13 release date in the U.K. The move marks the first time that a major-label artist has allowed an entire album to be available on the Internet before its release.

DelNaja acknowledges that it could be a risky move, however, due to widespread Web pirating of unreleased music. That said, though, it could also introduce the band to millions of new listeners. "More people (will be able to) hear it as a whole piece," he says.

While they continue to have a low profile stateside, Massive Attack have, in the past, collaborated with one of the world's most well-known artists, Madonna, with whom they worked on a cover of the soul classic "I Want You" for a Marvin Gaye tribute album released in 1995. "She was very cool, very professional," delNaja says. "She sang well, with passion ... That's important."

DelNaja likens the band's collaborative tendencies to that of the Clash -- one of his main influences and his favorite band -- who also worked with various reggae artists through their career. "They send tracks over to me," says reggae king Andy, who has recorded on each of Massive Attack's albums. "I work with anything I like. I worked with them since their first album. I like what they do. They were fans of mine. You can hear it (in the music)."

Post-Mezzanine plans for Massive Attack include an album of remixes and outtakes. The band will also be doing some movie soundtrack work to add to its contributions to "Batman Returns" and "Welcome to Sarajevo," as well as the upcoming film "187."

Looks like Massive Attack are finally on the attack in America.

"We have no commercial aspirations," delNaja says. "We've never done a lot of press, but (this time) we thought, 'We're still here; we'd better deal with it now.' "

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Massive Attack Plan Fall Assault On North American Clubs

[Fri. July 17.1998]

Trip-hop innovators Massive Attack will headline a North American club tour this fall, beginning with a Sept. 3 date in Miami Beach and wrapping up Sept. 27 in Los Angeles.

This news follows the announcement that the Bristol, England-based trio has abandoned the opening-act slot on the summer American tour by British rockers The Verve.

Starting in the South and crawling up along the Eastern Seaboard, the 18-date tour in support of Massive Attack's latest album, Mezzanine, will shoot north for a pair of Canadian dates before trekking across the Midwest and ending up on the California coast.

The Verve tour would have brought Massive Attack to a number of arena-sized venues, whereas the fall tour is scheduled for a series of 2,000- to 3,000-capacity clubs.

Widely credited with sparking the trip-hop craze with their seminal LP, Blue Lines (1991), Massive Attack currently comprise Daddy G, Mushroom and 3-D. The ensemble formerly featured Tricky, who spun off into a critically acclaimed solo career.

Paul Tollett, owner of Golden Voice, a Los Angeles-based promotions firm, said he booked Massive Attack for a Sept. 27 date at the Hollywood Palladium based on seeing the threesome play a previous gig in L.A. "The last time they played at the American Legion Hall, it was one of the greatest shows," he said. "It'll be a great show no matter where they are."

Meanwhile, 18-year-old fan Darren Korte of Chicago, a.k.a. 3darren (in honor of Massive Attack member 3-D), expressed his excitement at the band coming to America.

"I can't wait to see Massive Attack live," Korte wrote in an e-mail. "My favorite thing about Massive Attack is how their music has changed from the beginning, and how it always sounds new and fresh, even though Blue Lines is 7 years old. Mezzanine is more of a rock-ish album, but it still has the beats that made Massive Attack so great."

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Massive Attack Trip Through Mezzanine On Tour

[Wed. September 09.1998]

ATLANTA -- A few songs into the set by trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack Sunday at the Roxy, Grant "Daddy G" Marshall put an arm around his smaller bandmate, Robert "3D" Del Naja, and whispered into his ear.

No one observing could discern what was said over the din of beats, guitars and samples, but the gesture said plenty.

The band, which had by most accounts nearly torn itself to pieces while making its dark and foreboding third record, Mezzanine, seemed again to be on friendly terms.

"I think we work really well and get on very well on the road. It's not so pent up," Marshall said before the tour. "It's when you get us in the studio that we all have our conflicts, because we're so passionate about what we do and everybody wants to get their ideas across."

Marshall, Del Naja and the third full-time member of the group, Andrew "Mushroom" Vowles, may be getting along famously, but the raw, aggressive tone that permeates Mezzanine crept its way into Massive Attack's set at every opportunity. The set leaned heavily on the album, but even tracks culled from the band's first two records, Blue Lines and Protection, sounded rougher and more jagged than the recorded versions.

The set opened with Jamaican vocal legend Horace Andy -- a longtime Massive Attack collaborator -- emerging from darkness onto the stage to the sound of a ringing, metallic guitar. He launched into "Angel" (RealAudio excerpt), the lead-off track from Mezzanine, and the room was soon buzzing. Del Naja, Marshall and Vowles then took the stage and continued their trip through the album with "Risingson".

Marshall -- tall, slender and dressed in a white tank top that accentuated his ebony skin -- and Del Naja -- short, skinny and wearing a black silk shirt that showed up his pastier skin tones -- looked like an unlikely pair as they traded deadpan raps with equal fervor. Meanwhile, Vowles spent most of his stage time behind the turntables, with a floppy hat pulled down almost over his eyes.

The threesome then vanished and Andy returned to lead the four-piece band -- which included a live drummer, guitarist, bassist and keyboard player -- through "Man Next Door," another track from Mezzanine.

That pattern continued for most of the set. The three main Massive Attackers would perform one song, then turn the spotlight over to Andy or the band's new honey-voiced diva, Atlanta native Deborah Miller. Raw, aggressive songs, such as "Inertia Creeps," were handled by Marshall, Del Naja and Vowles; older, more melodic songs, such as "Hymn of the Big Wheel" and "Unfinished Sympathy," were left to Andy and Miller.

The pace seemed to suit everyone just fine. Marshall, Del Naja, and Vowles exchanged warm smiles on more than one occasion. Marshall, who seemed in particularly good humor, even dropped rhymes from his old pal and rival Tricky's first solo album, Maxinquaye, into some Massive Attack tracks, including the title cut from Mezzanine and "Daydreaming."

Even the most lush, danceable grooves, however, remained dark and foreboding. The slinky, sultry beats of "Safe From Harm" (recently featured in a Victoria's Secret ad) descended into angry, guitar-screeching clatter. As red lights flashed hyperkinetically behind the group, shards of noise streamed in from all corners of the mix.

The audience appeared to appreciate what they saw and heard.

"They're just dead-on brilliant," said 27-year old Ian McCombs, a native of Sheffield, England. "I saw them about a year ago in London, but I've got to say, this show puts that one to shame."

Tia Weeks, another concert-goer, agreed.

"I've seen Tricky, Portishead and Morcheeba, but this is my first time seeing Massive Attack," said the 19-year-old receptionist from Stone Mountain, Ga. "There's no question Massive Attack blow them all away."

They saved the best for last.

With white lights strobing through the dark green smoke that hung in the room and the guitarist repeating a raging riff over and over, all the players took the stage together for the first time.

As the wall of noise grew, the silhouettes of Marshall, Del Naja, Vowles, Andy and Miller could be made out clearly at the edge of the stage. And then, just as the dense mix of sound seemed ready to explode, it stopped on a dime and the band was bathed in bright white light and the cheers of an ecstatic crowd.

"That was about the coolest ending to a show I've ever seen," an enraptured Deena Rolesnick, 24, said following the show. "I'm shaking."

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Massive Attack Put 'Angel' To Good Use

[Fri. April 21.2000]

Massive Attack have licensed their song "Angel" to be featured in commercials for Emporio Armani's HE/SHE fragrance and will donate their fee to charity.

The band will contribute $250,000 to the British Red Cross and the Bristol, England-based Beira Fund, which will rebuild schools damaged by recent floods in Beira, a port city in Mozambique.

"The music that's used in ads is becoming increasingly homogenized, and the agencies are resorting to cheap rip-offs of other peoples' styles," the band said in a statement. "This is not something we want to be part of, but if we can redirect money to people that need it, then it's worth it."

Massive Attack has invited Armani to match their donation. A spokesperson for the fragrance company did not return phone calls.

"Angel" is from the group's 1998 album, Mezzanine, which garnered critical acclaim and sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide.

Massive Attack emerged from the 1990 breakup of the UK production crew the Wild Bunch. The trio of 3D (born Robert Del Naja), Daddy G (born Grant Marshall) and Mushroom (born Andrew Vowles) released their seminal debut, Blue Lines, the following year.

Although Mushroom reportedly left the group in 1999, Massive Attack are recording a follow-up, set for release in 2001.

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