Gaz Coombes

Gaz Coombes photo 1
2022 press photo: Tom Cockram



Contributor: Damien Joyce

“Freak Scene by Dinosaur Jr was one of the first songs we learned to play in my first band, the Stone Heads. It was the song that made me want to be in a band.” Gaz Coombes

Not a bad track to set you on your way.

It’s a bit wild to think that, as part of Supergrass, Gaz Coombes was only 17 when he signed a 6-album record deal with EMI. Supergrass were a very underrated band and solid live act, often overlooked in the era of Blur and Oasis.

In 2012, he tried to escape the shadow of Supergrass with his debut solo album Here Come The Bombs which showed some promise of what was to come, as he continued with clever lyrics and catchy melodies. White Noise and Universal Cinema were the standout tracks for me.

He has since recorded a trilogy of albums, each getting better in turn as he finds his solo voice and identity.

Gaz Coombes CDs


The first in the trilogy, released in 2015, was the Mercury Prize nominated Matador where he was still struggling with the transition to solo artist and pondering “the uncertainty of WTF am I going to sound like on my own”.

But he need not have worried about that, creating a stellar record including songs like Detroit, Buffalo, 20/20 and a heartfelt song called The Girl Who Fell To Earth which was about his daughter who has autism. Check out this stunning Other Voices performance of The Girl Who Fell To Earth:


2018 saw the follow up record, World’s Strongest Man, which was partially recorded at at his home and at Oxford’s Courtyard Studios. This album has a great sense of energy and excitement, dealing with a range of issues in his kind of light-hearted manner. He uses humour well even when tackling difficult subjects from around the edges, including where masculinity is currently, to topics such as mental health. But there is also a certain poignancy in some of his songs.

On this year’s release Turn The Car Around (2023), the lead single, Don’t Say It’s Over is a “f***ed-up love song” as he calls it. One of the other standout tracks is the tender Not The Only Things which again returns to the subject of his teenage daughter. However, I think my favourite of all his songs, and another example of that poignancy mentioned, is the track called Sonny The Strong about a fictional boxer inspired by the ‘forgotten’ British world champion Randy Turpin who, in his heyday, fought and defeated the great Sugar Ray Robinson. But his was ultimately a rags to riches, to rags again story, where Turpin ended up destitute and was found dead in questionable circumstances:

Oh then the fame comes
And they don’t wanna see you
He fought with his demons
The money and the mob
The hole he was in
But that was a fight
That he couldn’t win


I’ve played these records a lot, as well as streaming Gaz who was one of my top artists on Spotify this year.

Gaz Coombes spotify

I was fortunate to watch him perform live this year, where he and his band wowed the crowd with their musicianship. He was also great fun as a colourful raconteur, sharing delightful and funny little anecdotes between songs. The cadence of the show was perfect, building up from the start song by song with tracks from Turn The Car Around, to the middle where he stripped it back down to his solo acoustic guitar performance for The Girl Who Fell To Earth, picking the tempo up and finishing strong with crowd favourites like Detroit, 20/20, The English Ruse.

Gaz Coombes gig
Gaz Coombes, The Academy, Dublin (April 2023) – photo: D.Joyce


He was also generous with his time after the show, chatting briefly with any fans that waited.

Gaz Coombes photo 2


His solo records keep getting better, long may it continue! And here’s 10 of the best from Gaz …

World’s Strongest ManWorld’s Strongest Man
Don’t Say It’s OverTurn The Car Around
Turn The Car AroundTurn The Car Around
Sonny The StrongTurn The Car Around
The Girl Who Fell To EarthMatador
Wounded EgosWorld’s Strongest Man
Deep PocketsWorld’s Strongest Man
Universal CinemaHere Come The Bombs

Gaz Coombes playlist




Gaz Coombes official website

Gaz Coombes YouTube Channel

Supergrass official website

Toppermost #534: Supergrass

Gaz Coombes biography (AllMusic)

Damien Joyce can be found on Twitter @damienjoyce and on his blog.

Damien’s other posts on here include Broken Social Scene, Foals, Future Islands, Kaiser Chiefs, Local Natives

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