Green Gartside (born Paul Julian Strohmeyer, 22 June 1955) is a Welsh musician, and the frontman of the band Scritti Politti.
Gartside has also worked with Miles Davis, Chaka Khan, Eurythmics, Elvis Costello, Shabba Ranks, Mos Def, Kylie Minogue, Robyn Hitchcock, Manic Street Preachers and Tracey Thorn among others.
Life and career.
Gartside was born in Cardiff, South Wales, to a "Cup-a-soup salesman dad and a hairdresser/secretary/whatever mum". His childhood was not always happy, with the family having to move every 12 months or so because of his father's job. He ended up "living all over, from Bridgend to Newport to Ystrad Mynach". His father died while he was a child, after which his widowed mother married a solicitor from Newport named Gordon Gartside, from whom Green adopted his new last name. He later became inspired to adopt the stage name "Green" after a train journey he took back to Wales, in which he looked out of the window and could only see the natural greenery of the area.
Green attended Croesyceiliog Grammar School in Cwmbran (now known as Croesyceiliog School) and later studied foundation art at Newport Art College (now known as the Faculty of Creative Industries at University of South Wales).
In the mid-1970s, Gartside moved to Leeds to study art at Leeds Polytechnic (now Leeds Metropolitan University). It was there that he formed the post-punk band Scritti Politti in 1977, with school friend Nial Jinks and university friend Tom Morley. After Gartside and Morley had left Leeds Polytechnic, they moved to London, later securing a recording deal with Rough Trade Records who released the first Scritti Politti album Songs to Remember in 1982. However, subsequent Scritti Politti albums featured Gartside with different personnel, with Gartside being the only constant member of the group.
In 1988 Scritti Politti's album Provision was a UK Top 10 success, though it only produced one UK Top 20 hit single, "Oh Patti". After releasing a couple of non-album singles in 1991, as well as a collaboration with B.E.F., Gartside became disillusioned with the music industry and retired to south Wales for more than seven years. Gartside suffered a complete mental breakdown:
“We’d been doing months of chat show-type things all around the world and I’d really started hating myself deeply, and everybody around me, for talking so much b*******. Unless you’re some sort of weird ego maniac it’s not healthy to spend that amount of time talking about yourself, and I’d become totally burned out and insane. So to go straight from that into making our next record was a mistake ... I just remember hailing a cab one day and coming to in bed surrounded by doctors.
Gartside lived alone in a secluded cottage in Usk, spending his time listening to hip hop, playing darts and having a few pints down the local pub. He returned to music-making in the late 1990s, releasing a new album, Anomie & Bonhomie, in 1999 (which included various rap and hip hop influences). In 2006, another new album was released, the stripped-down White Bread, Black Beer which returned to the more experimental era of the band's history.
In 2012, Gartside, who has suffered from recurring stage fright that prevented Scritti Politti from touring for many years, performed several songs by Sandy Denny as part of a tribute called 'The Lady', which took place in several UK cities. He has also returned to touring with Scritti Politti.
In 2015 Gartside was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Goldsmiths, University of London.
He is now a regular stand-in presenter on BBC 6 Music.
I remember watching Scritti Politti walk down Blenheim Crescent, Ladbroke Grove, London on their way to the Rough Trade Records Offices around 1981.
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