The official backstory of the virtual band members of Gorillaz, as established by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett.
Phase 1: 1998-2002
The story of Gorillaz begins on August 15th, 1997. Stu-Pot was a mentally deficient keyboard enthusiast and part-time employee at Uncle Norm's Organ Emporium. Satanist hoodlum Murdoc Niccals decided to ram-raid Uncle Norm's Organ Emporium to procure synthesizer equipment in order to establish a "chart topping" musical group. However, Murdoc ended driving his Vauxhall Astra through the building and directly into Stu-Pot's head, permanently damaging ("fracturing") Stu-Pot's left eye and putting him into a catatonic state. Murdoc was sentenced to "30,000 hours of community service, plus 10 hours every week of caring for the vegetabilized Stu-Pot". Not long after, Murdoc again injured Stu-Pot in a car accident in Nottingham's Tesco parking lot when attempting a 360° in order to impress some women. During the initial rotation, he was thrown through the windshield and landed face first on a curb. This permanently damaged Stu-Pot's right eye, but revived him from his coma. Murdoc then recruited the newly recovered (albeit still mentally defective) Stu-Pot as the keyboardist and vocalist for his group, re-dubbing him 2-D for the matching pair of dents in his head from the accidents.
In September of 1998, Murdoc acquired the property of Kong Studios, a sprawling haunted studio with a rather shady history, situated atop a hill in the midst of a run-down cemetery and landfill in Districtshire, Essex.
Murdoc then found a drummer for the group in a Soho record store: African-American expatriate Russel Hobbs. Russel was a middle-class New York native and was deeply troubled as a youth. He was expelled from an expensive private school for suffering from demonic possession. The trauma of said possession resulted in a four-year coma from which Russel was roused only by an elaborately executed exorcism. After his recovery, Russel began attending Brooklyn High School, where he quickly cultivated friendships with a group of rappers, DJs, MCs and street musicians. He has said that "hip-hop saved [his] soul."
This was a short-lived respite, however, as all of Russel's newfound friends were suddenly gunned-down one night in a drive-by shooting. Russel, the sole survivor, became the unwilling receptacle for the spirits of all of his slain compatriots, most notable of whom was the rhyme dropping blue phantom, Del. With their latent possession of his body, Russel gained incredible musical prowess in percussion, rap, and hip-hop as well as a disturbing side-effect: his eyes glowed an eerie white. With this new and violent turn of events, Russel's family shipped him off to England in hopes of helping him recover from his traumas quietly - not realizing they'd put him directly into the path of Murdoc's aspirations to superstardom, and the excesses that came along with it.
At that point, all the fledgling group needed was a guitarist. Their first guitarist was 2-D's girlfriend, Paula Cracker, but she was shortly fired from the band after Russel caught her and Murdoc making love in the studio toilets. Disgusted by this, Russel broke Murdoc's nose five more times. Like so many British bands before them, the trio placed an advertisement in NME. The very day the ad ran, a FedEx freight container from Japan was delivered to their doorstep and out jumped a mysterious amnesiac 8-year-old wielding a Gibson Les Paul. The tiny girl made an incomprehensible introduction in Japanese and tore into a "riff to end all riffs" which ended with an impressive karate kick to the air. She then spoke a single word in English to the stunned boys, which became her moniker: "Noodle". After the band was finally assembled, they changed their name to Gorillaz. Their first song was called "Ghost Train" and was recorded at Kong Studios. Murdoc posted a copy of the song, some photos of the band and a manifesto over to Mr. Whiffy Smithy at EMI.
On November 5th, 1998, Gorillaz played their first show at the Camden Brownhouse which ended prematurely due to a riot during their song "Punk". EMI A&R man Whiffy Smiffy discharged several rounds from shotgun to disperse the crowd enough to make his way to the stage and quickly signed them to the label. Gorillaz released their first collection of music on the "Tomorrow Comes Today" EP in November 2000.
Their first full-length debut album, "Gorillaz" was released on March 26th, 2001. During its release, the album spawned four singles; "Clint Eastwood," "19-2000," "Rock the House" and "Tomorrow Comes Today."
During 2001, Gorillaz began touring through various countries including England, France, Ireland and Japan.
On February 20th, 2002, Gorillaz performed at the Brit Awards where they were nominated for 6 Brit Awards but won nothing.
Also in 2002, Gorillaz collaborated with rappers, D12 and Terry Hall to create the downloadable single, "911".
From February 23rd - March 11th, 2002, Gorillaz embarked on an 11-month tour of North America. At the end of the American Tour, of that year, the Gorillaz took a six-month break in L.A on March 13th. There they attempted to get a movie project off the ground. The band played their last gig together at the Isle of MTV Festival in Portugal on July 20th. Meanwhile, that Halloween, Kong Studios had been shut down tight in its owner's absence by local law enforcement after an unknown man was seen running, naked and in hysterics, in the marshes near the studio. The police proceeded to keep the area secured while they investigated the strange paranormal events surrounding Kong. The Gorillaz spent the interim period working on their movie while living in a large rented home in the Hollywood Hills.
Alas, the film was not meant to be, due in part to extensive over-partying, in-fighting, and disagreements with producers, directors, and a notable incident of Murdoc getting himself banned from the Playboy Mansion for stealing ashtrays. Gorillaz tried to create a movie, but everyone was too concentrated on doing drugs and hanging out with celebrities. Murdoc almost got a TV show, but they replaced him at the last minute. When Murdoc almost killed 2-D it became too much and they went their separate ways on a year and a half hiatus.
Post-Phase 1 to Pre-Phase 2: 2003-2004
2-D went back to Eastbourne and worked at his father's fun fair, where his ego got a significant boost and re-established his grip on reality, and come to terms with his newfound pop icon status with the ladies. He also began a friendship with Shane Lynch from Boyzone.
Russell remained in LA, but became increasingly haunted by the Grim Reaper, who eventually banished Del from his body. Luckily, Russel was approached by Ike Turner who offered him sanctuary in his basement to recover.
Murdoc headed to Mexico to booze it up in Tijuana brothels, getting himself arrested for passing bad checks in the process. He enjoyed little company in his Mexican jail cell aside from his raven, Cortez, and two Mexican mobsters who would later help break him out.Noodle went back to Japan in a fruitful attempt to uncover the secrets of her own past after suffering from nightmares and visions on the Gorillaz Tour. In Japan, she was reuntied with her mentor, Mr. Kyuzo and learned that she was part of a secret government super soldier project and could speak English fluently. Noodle was the only survivor after the project was scrapped. Mr. Kyuzo erased Noodle's memory using the words, "Ocean Bacon" and sent her off to England in the FedEx crate. Armed with her newfound knowledge and iron resolve, Noodle was the first to return to Kong Studios. There she went to task battling the zombie and monster-infested darkness of the building, set up the "Search For A Star" contest, and began the process of pulling the band back together to record their new album, Demon Days.
Phase 2: 2004-2007
With the band reunited, the process of recording Demon Days began with the help of music producer, Dangermouse.
Demon Days was released on May 23rd 2005.
The first single off the album was "Feel Good Inc." featuring De La Soul and it entered the UK Charts at No.2. The album's second single, "Dare" featuring Shaun Ryder, became their first single to go to No.1. The third single was "Dirty Harry" featuring Bootie Brown and the last single was a double-sided single containing the songs, "Kids With Guns," featuring Neneh Cherry and "El Manana."
Noodle decided to write her own album, "Demon Days" The first song she wrote was "DARE", and recorded the first video which she starred in. She felt that Murdoc spent the whole time showing off in the video for "Feel Good Inc." This is why she decided to make the video herself. Noodle also felt that the boys were being too silly. 2D and Russel heard her from upstairs and in the bathroom because the music was turned up so loud. At the end of the video, Noodle plays a little prank on Murdoc and takes the camera into the Winnebago while he is sleeping.
On March 27th 2005, Gorillaz performed at the Manchester Opera House where they were joined with most of the collaborators from the Demon Days album.
From June 6th - June 22nd, Gorillaz enbarked on The Deman Detour; a series of live radio shows throughout America.
On February 15th 2006, Gorillaz perfomed "Dirty Harry" at the Brit Awards featuring a huge chour of children and guest star, Bootie Brown.
Around 2006, Noodle wanted to leave Gorillaz for a break. She planned to leave straight after the filming of the "El Manana" video shoot. On March 7th 2006, Gorillaz started the shoot for "El Manana" which starred Noodle on windmill island. Halfway through the video, the island gets shot down by the Boogieman's minions. The island goes down with Noodle on it, but she grabs a parachute and escapes. Russel and 2-D search for her but cannot find her anywhere. The music video aired on Channel 4 on March 11th, 2006.
Gorillaz ended Phase 2 after performing a series of five shows at New York's Harlem Apollo and then went their separete ways.
In 2006, Noodle's voice was heard from a radio in the Brain Room at the ruins of Kong Studios. Murdoc attempted to travel through the bowels of hell in order to bring her back, but failed. This "rescue attempt" was then revealed to be a drunken stupor.
Phase 3: 2008-2012
Murdoc went on the spend the new few years on a bender around the world. In 2008, Murdoc began to run low on money, so he burned down the ruins of Kong Studios, cashed in on the insurence money, blamed the fire on some kids and fled the country. He also mentioned that part of the reason for the move was to flee from a deadly underground network of pirates simply referred to as the "Black Clouds." The Black Clouds, who were out to kill him after their business deal went south.
While searching the world for a new hideout, Murdoc discovered an island in the middle of the ocean made entirly out of landfull stuck together. He sprayed the island bright pink and used the insurence money to build a new Gorillaz HQ on top, renaming the island, "Plastic Beach." According to the pelican at the entrance of the building on the band's website, Plastic Beach is the farthest point from any other land mass in the world, dubbed "Point Nemo".After finding the island, he shipped a great deal of the band's belongings to Plastic Beach, their new home. While residing on the island, Murdoc began production for the third Gorillaz ablum, but he had to reassemble his band mates.
Murdoc said he tried to recover clues to Noodle's whereabouts from the wreckage of the windmill from El Manana, but the most he could obtain was a DNA sample. He later used her DNA to create a violent cyborg version of Noodle, who acts as his bodyguard. In the Stylo video, Cyborg Noodle is shown to be adept at the use of firearms, nearly blowing away a police officer that was in pursuit of 2D and Murdoc as they fled toward Plastic Beach. However, Noodle is confirmed to be alive due to her appearance in the "On Melancholy Hill" and "Rhinestone Eyes" videos. Part of the album artwork for Plastic Beach also included a picture of a battered and bruised Noodle with jet-black eyes. Since a robot can't bruise, it makes sense that this picture would be of the real noodle rather than the cyborg version. (Of course, that brings up the question of how she got those eyes and what exactly they mean, but time will tell.) Noodle is being hunted by pirates in a manner similar to Murdoc for unknown reasons, (more on that later) and the cruise ship she was sailing on was sunk by attacking bombers, leaving her drifting at sea in a life raft.
2D was gassed, kidnapped in his Beruit retreat, and taken to Plastic Beach in a suitcase (as shown in 2D's Plastic Beach Ident video clip). He believes Murdoc was the one who kidnapped him; however, it appears that a new character, a demon wearing a gas mask known as the Boogie Man, was his kidnapper. The Boogie Man is the embodiment of all wordly evil and appears in several artworks, as well as 2D's Ident, the Stylo video, and the storyboard for Rhinestone Eyes. Currently, he is being held at Plastic Beach against his will by Murdoc, who forces him to assist in the making of his music tracks.
Little was known about the fate of Russell initially, as Murdoc mentioned he had essentially dropped off the face of the earth. Murdoc mentions that he used a drum machine built from all of Russel's equipment to provide percussion for his album. Finally, Russel's Plastic Beach Ident clip hit the website, showing him stomping down a fishing dock in a barely suppressed rage and jumping off the end into the ocean. When the album dropped and the artwork for the record debuted, it depicted Russel as a giant; he is now as tall as all of Plastic Beach. In the "Making of Plastic Beach" documentary, included in the deluxe edition of the album, Jamie Hewlett shows Mos Def the artwork for the album and explains the back story for each character. He says that in swimming the ENTIRE way to Plastic Beach, Russell ingested so much pollution, trash and toxic waste that he was transformed into a giant, making a reference to Gulliver's Travels. Russell's situation reinforces the idea of human excess destroying nature already present on the album. On the way to Plastic Beach, Russel finds the sea-stranded Noodle and rescues her, and together they continue on to be reunited with the rest of the band.
Murdoc and 2D proceed to make their way to Plastic Beach via a road trip to the ocean in a 1969 Camaro SS (dubbed "Stylo'). Murdoc and 2D are attacked by Bruce Willis, driving a 1968 El Camino. Cyborg Noodle is rendered useless due to a bullet through her head, and Willis opens fire on the two, resulting in a car chase that makes up the Stylo video. Murdoc drives them off a cliff into the ocean, and the car transforms into a shark shaped submarine. The car chase was recorded on film by Murdoc's personal camera crew and was edited the make the music video for the "Stylo" single.
The Plasic Beach album was released on March 3rd 2010.
Murdoc, 2D, and the newly recovered Cyborg Noodle, along with all the collaborators for the Plastic Beach album, make their way to Point Nemo together, traveling side by side in an armada of underwater vehicles. Upon arriving in a thick fog, Murdoc sights the Boogie Man and orders his Cyborg bodyguard to open fire. The Boogie Man escapes, leaving the fog to dissipate and reveal Plastic Beach.
On November 21st, Gorillaz released a new single called "Doncamatic" featuring Daley. The music video for the single featured Daley piloting a one man submarine through the depths of the ocean on his way to Plastic Beach. The song went to No.37 in the UK Singles Charts.
From October 3rd - December 21st, Gorillaz set off on their first world tour; "The Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour." Unfortunatly Murdoc, 2-D and Cyborg Noodle spent the entire tour locked in the dressing room while the Gorillaz "live band" took over the stage. Murdoc suspected that when he refused to give his soul to Satan for making Gorillaz successful, he kept the real Gorillaz out of the shows and gave the glory to the Gorillaz Live band. The live band consisted on Daman Albarn and half of The Clash. It was also Satan who sent the Boogieman to track Murdoc down to claim his soul.
During the American leg of the tour, 2-D had been working on a new collection of Gorillaz music on his iPad. He had been experimenting with new sounds and apps in various locations during the tour, including his hotel room, backstage in the dressing rooms, and in the back of the tour bus. This collection of new music was become, "The Fall." It was released on Christmas Day in 2010 for free download from their website to the members of their Sub-Division fan club. The album was physically released on CD on April 18th, 2011. The first single off the album was a double sided single featuring the tracks, "Revolving Doors"/"Amarillo."
The storyboard of the now cancelled music video for "Rhinestone Eyes" reveals that the gas mask demon known as the Boogie Man has a grudge against Murdoc due to a deal they made. This could mean that the Boogie Man represents the Black Cloud in this video, as he is also seen summoning pirates, as well as planes similar to the ones that attacked Noodle, to raid Plastic Beach in an attempt at Murdoc's life. The album's collaborators, along with Cyborg Noodle, arm themselves with guns and retaliate, while Murdoc hides for fear of his own safety. 2D, who is shown to be deathly afraid of whales, is frightened senseless when a whale nearly rams the underside of the island during the battle. However, just as it closes it's jaws around the underwater window of 2D's room, Russel appears and hurls the whale into an enemy plane, destroying it. Russel then leans onto the Beach and opens his mouth, revealing the real Noodle. Noodle then takes off her mask, revealing scars around her eye.
Soon after that, the Black Clouds bombarded the island, now going for an all-out attack on the island. In the chaos, the whale managed to break through the wall where 2D was and the singer shared the fate of Jonah: being swallowed whole by the whale. While this was going on, Cyborg Noodle suffered a severe malfunction and tried to kill Murdoc, but was put offline permanently by Noodle. Russel managed to rescue Noodle and 2D managed to escape the whale. The Boogieman was "destroyed" by the Evangelist, a polar opposite of the Boogieman. Murdoc was killed in the bombarding of the garbage island. Or so the Black Clouds thought. In truth, Murdoc had a badly disguised decoy take his place and make it look like he committed suicide. The Boogieman collected the decoy's soul but was "wiped out" by the Evangelist. Meanwhile, the real Murdoc escaped the island in a rowboat, but was caught up in a typhoon and eventually landed in Hawaii. There, he began to record a radio show to celebrate Gorillaz' Ten Year anniversary. Turns out he wasn't in Hawaii, but a ransacked house in London, where the other three members managed to reach him. It's unknown what happened then.
As of October 16, 2011, the four remaining band members were seen living at 212 Wobble Street, London(as seen in the DoYaThing music video). 2D is seen checking on Noodle as she sleeps. Most of her facial injuries appear to have healed. The Boogieman was also revealed to still be alive and lived in with the band, reading a newspaper. Russel is later seen sleeping on the roof of the row house as 2D receives a letter stating that the band was being evicted from the residence. The floating windmill island can be seen in a state of disrepair and anchored to the roof of the building.
Phase 4: 2017-
The next album released by them is Humanz. The next place of residence the Gorillaz move to is 'Spirit House', a haunted two story house in a ghetto like neighborhood. This is seen in the "Saturnz Barz" video. It is unknown whether they decide to live there or not, since all of the members are tormented by ghosts.