Music made Drew forget all the pain

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While Babyshambles fans await the indie group’s first album in six years and their September tour, they can check out bass player, Drew McConnell’s solo project – Helsinki – in Southsea tonight.

Because, while the band are working on their third album (The Sequel to the Prequel, also due in September), Drew is releasing his first, Coast of Silence, later this year.

Babyshambles's Drew McConnell comes to The Cellars tonight.

Babyshambles's Drew McConnell comes to The Cellars tonight.

He wrote the songs in the Costa Del Silencio, Tenerife, where he was recovering following a road accident on his bike which left him with 15 broken bones including his ribs, spine, knee and shoulder.

Irish-born Drew had to learn to walk again and is still in rehabilitation today.

He says: ‘It brought into sharp relief that we are inevitably lucky to be alive, and being on this planet is a gift that needs to be exploited.

‘The process of making music has been a real godsend to me.

‘When I was playing the guitar and writing songs, I found that it was a distraction and I’d forgotten how much pain I was in.

‘Over the course of two weeks, 22 songs pretty much fell out. Twelve of them seemed to fit together, so I threw down demo versions. I saw the process as a form of therapy, never intending to play them to anyone, let alone release them.’

But when a friend suggested he should release them, Drew knew he would do it under the Helsinki name.

‘Helsinki is a nickname my friend Jamie Morrison gave me many moons ago,’ he explains.

‘Jamie –a fine drummer – and I have played together around London for years, with a gradually increasing pool of musician friends.

‘Late 2013 will see the Helsinki mob return to the studio with producer Stephen Street to finish a full band album. Excited about that.’

Tickets to see Drew at The Cellars at Eastney from 7.30pm tonight cost £8 from (023) 9282 6249 or thecellars.co.uk or £9 on the door.

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