PAUL DRAPER (MANSUN)
Paul Edward Draper (born 26 September 1970, in Liverpool) is an English singer-songwriter, musician and record producer, formerly the frontman of the rock band Mansun.
Draper is best known as the main songwriter, producer and lead vocalist with British rock band Mansun. Playing intelligent alternative rock with an ambitious outlook that found room for punk, electronic, prog, post-rock and glam influences, Mansun broke through in the mid ’90s after extensive touring led to a No.1 debut album, Attack Of The Grey Lantern and the follow up cult classic SIX.
Draper grew up on Garmoyle Road in Wavertree, Liverpool before moving with his family to Connah's Quay, Deeside. Draper described it as "the absolute nothing of Great Britain", adding "Deeside is just a bit where the Welsh people really aren't Welsh because they were infiltrated by the English in the Fifties and Sixties. It's where everyone from Liverpool ended up. Basically, just after the war, Liverpool had 800,000 people; now it's got 390,000 people, and the missing 400,000 all live in Deeside. It's a horrible, horrible place. In Liverpool, if you're 15 and you pick up an acoustic guitar in school and play a song, then people would listen. But in my school when I tried to take in a guitar, I was just a poof and a queer, and that was that".
Draper attended St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Flint and Thames Polytechnic (now University of Greenwich) where he formed Grind with Steve Heaton and drummer Carlton Hibbert who regularly played around London and released one 12" single before splitting. Draper returned home to study at Wrexham Art College before forming Mansun with bassist Stove King, and guitarist Dominic Chad. The band signed to Parlophone and released three studio albums before splitting in 2003 whilst recording their fourth. In 2004, Draper compiled Mansun's aborted fourth album recordings for release in the Kleptomania box set.
On 16 May 2006, Draper announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer during fourth album sessions at Rockfield Studios. After a blister appeared on his left-hand middle finger that kept bleeding, Draper visited a local doctor who took a sample of tissue from the finger. He was informed that it was a malignant tumor known as a "Bowenoid Malignancy", and responded positively to five cycles of chemotherapy. However, he was unable to play for several months after the tumor was cut out and his finger swelled up following treatment.
In October 2005, "Alone in My Room", a single by Skin (Skunk Anansie), co-written and co-produced by Draper, was released; his first involvement in any musical project since Kleptomania.
He worked on a version of the 2006 Ibiza anthem "Exceeder" by the Dutch DJ Mason, which was uploaded to his MySpace page, and in 2009 produced and appeared on a track by The Joy Formidable, which was made available as a free download from the band's official website.
Draper performed a version of Mansun's "Wide Open Space" at London Astoria's last ever gig before it closed on 14 January 2009 with My Vitriol. The two acts had toured together previously in 2000, along with King Adora.
In October 2013, Draper stated that he was considering releasing material from his abandoned unrecorded solo album "Spooky Action At A Distance" which only existed in demo form if there was enough interest. After a petition was set up on Facebook, He responded that he was going to give the idea of releasing solo material some "very serious consideration".
On 5 May 2014, the debut single "What Goes Around" by The Anchoress was released. A collaboration between Draper and singer-songwriter Catherine AD (Catherine Anne Davies), the duo have recorded an album's worth of material with Draper having co-written several of the songs and co-produced the whole album. A follow up to the single is due for release on 20 October in the form of EP "One For Sorrow". In 2017, Davies reciprocally co-wrote 5 tracks on Draper's solo album Spooky Action.
Draper's first solo song "Feeling My Heart Run Slow" was premiered at a Mansun convention held at The Live Rooms in Chester on 23 August 2014. Recorded especially to play at the convention, Draper with the help of musicians from The Anchoress sessions, recorded five songs from his unrecorded solo album with a view to completing a whole album's worth.
Draper announced his first solo single would be released via monthly subscription service 'The Too Pure Singles Club' in April 2016. It was announced that the official release of his EP One would be on Kscope on 10 June 2016. On 25 November 2016, Draper released EP Two. His full-length album, Spooky Action, was released on 11 August 2017.
In 2016, an online interview with Paul Draper was removed from the Backseat Mafia website, after he made numerous unsubstantiated allegations against former bandmate Dominic Chad. The website issues an apology to Chad, stating that "on February 1st we published an article which contained several unsubstantiated assertions about former Mansun guitarist Dominic Chad. We would like to unreservedly apologize for the upset which the article may have caused Mr Chad and his family for the short period it was online. We are all embarrassed and upset by the whole affair, and we must offer our heartfelt thanks to Dominic Chad for his understanding, reason and his kind acceptance of our apologies".
Draper undertook his first UK solo tour in September 2017. This included a show at Scala in London, which was recorded for the ‘Live At Scala’ album released on 16 February 2018. The main support band Estrons pulled out of the tour after the first night at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, with their frontwoman Tali Källström stating that she "woke up yesterday to a public tweet from Paul and inappropriate messages to my band's Facebook page which made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Me and him have never even had a conversation. In reading these messages, his intentions became very clear. Knowing this I felt it was impossible to continue the tour dates with him comfortably".
A second solo tour in February/March 2018 in which he performed a second set playing Mansun's debut album Attack of the Grey Lantern, also attracted controversy when he performed heavily intoxicated and appeared disoriented, forgetting lyrics, berated his backing band and fans alike before being escorted off stage by his tour manager midway through his set at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham. The show was described as being an "a chaotic, shambolic embarrassment", with Draper quickly taking to social media and attacking UK music website Drowned in Sound and asking fans to boycott the publication, claiming that the website was "prejudice against mental illness" and had ruined the tour. Drowned In Sound responded, stating that they "haven’t written about him or reviewed anything, so no idea what he’s going on about. Heard tonight’s gig wasn’t great tho". Journalist Dom Gourlay, who writes for several publications including Drowned in Sound but was covering the show for Gigwise, was branded a "Natzi" (sic) by Draper. The following day, Draper issued a press release apologizing for the show and claimed that a "personal issue raised its head just prior to the gig" that had upset him.
In April 2018 Draper toured the U.S as support to Steven Wilson. His first dates in the U.S since Mansun toured in 1997. On 8 June 2018 to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the release of Mansun’s debut album, Attack Of The Grey Lantern. Kscope released an anniversary deluxe edition. This included a 4 disc deluxe book with a specially written introduction from Draper and previously unheard rarities and outtakes that Draper compiled from the writing and recording sessions. The album re-charted at #28 in the U.K album chart.
Following the success of the solo U.S tour with Steven Wilson; Draper decided to tour the U.K in November 2018, playing a headline Acoustic set with guitarist Ben Sink. Kscope also announced a new vinyl release, Paul Draper - Attack Of The Grey Lantern - Live At The Ritz, recorded in Manchester on Thursday 1 March 2018. The show was recorded by Ronnie Stone who produced the original Mansun debut album, and mixed by Paul PDub Walton.
In January 2019 Draper with guitarist Ben Sink supported Steven Wilson on Wilson’s headline French tour. The duo will also visit Japan and China for dates in Tokyo, Osaka, Guangdong, Beijing and Shanghai in March 2019. Draper is currently working on a follow up to his debut solo album ‘Spooky Action’ which is due for release in 2019.
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