The Story of Massive Attack, through their music, art and influences

This book is dedicated to the history of the band Massive Attack and their relationship with their own city, Bristol, which shaped their greatness and uniqueness.

The story starts decades before Blue Lines, the band’s first album, in the green lands of England’s West Country and from the dark hours of the triangular trade with America… Fast-forwarding to the 1960s, this past came to shape a new generation of artists, influenced by their multicultural roots and links, from the Caribbean to America, Italy and even Japan…

With the making of Blue Lines, displaying superb featuring (Shara Nelson, Horace Andy, Tricky), the band (as in Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall, and Andrew Vowles) came to influence their friends and collaborators, from
Neneh Cherry to Martina Topley Bird, including Nellee Hooper, Geoff Barrow from Portishead, Smith & Mighty, Roni Size, James Lavelle, Alpha, up to Damon Albarn and his Gorillaz project and many more.

This book describes the Bristol where Robert (3D), Grant (Daddy G) and Andrew (Mushroom) grew up, transformed by the arrival of new waves of popular music, from the Beatles to reggae and later on punk, post-punk and hip-hop. This story begins with their predecessors, Black Roots, The Pop Group, The Cortinas and Maximum Joy, among others, who were all at the forefront of a new generation of artists. The book then takes us into the world of The Wild Bunch, into Bristol’s graffiti outburst and to the birth of Massive Attack.

The trio soon worked with the likes of Tracey Thorn, Madonna, David Bowie, Elizabeth Fraser, Sinéad O’Connor, Mos Def, and more recently Burial, Young Fathers, Ghostpoet and Roots Manuva, constantly reinventing themselves. The band also always nourished a unique visual image, rich and multiform, from album covers to exceptional videos and incomparable live shows, displaying their deep concern for social change and world’s issues. 3D later came to collaborate artistically with his fellow Bristolian Bansky, who admits the man was his first inspiration, as well as with UNKLE, the Lazarides Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, numerous filmmakers, for soundtracks and different projects, and with the award-winning documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis.

In parallel, this book retells how Bristol’s history had a major influence on these self-taught, conscious and rebellious artists, and in return how the band changed their city. It follows Massive Attack’s journey from Bristol to further away around the world, in Europe, America and in the Middle East notably. Because of 3D’s deep involvement into a political look at our world, and after our hours of discussion, this book ended up displaying another history of British culture, from an underground and unorthodox point of view. After three decades of increasing creativity, Bristol now epitomises another side of England, deeply artistic, less conformist and much more rebellious… And Massive Attack thus embody a different, more diverse, progressive, radical and uncompromised story of their own British culture.

Massive Attack, A Bristol Story
By Melissa Chemam

The book will be out on 9 April 2018.
Publisher: Tangent Books

About the author

Director and DJ, Ian French (Naif) is passionate about every genre of music from Breakbeat, to Drum & Bass, to Techno and Progressive House. If he was to describe his preferred style of music he would probably describe it simply as electronic music. Besides his love for music and DJing his other passions are fine cuisine, wine, and travel.