The band was formed in Chester, England in 1995 by vocalist/rhythm guitarist Paul Draper and bassist Stove King. Originally called themselves “Grey Lantern” but changed their name to “Manson”, after the cult leader Charles Manson but were forced to change it to “Mansun” due to copyright issues.
After several EP’s and singles, their critically acclaimed debut album, “Attack of the Grey Lantern” was released in 1997 and it knocked fellow Parlophone act Blur’s self-titled album from the top spot of the British album chart.
The album’s sleeve art was a painting produced by Max Schindler, and commissioned especially for the album. It contains many references to personal interests and obsessions of the band, such as a TARDIS and an image of Tom Baker as Doctor Who, and Patrick McGoohan as Number 6, from The Prisoner. There is also a depiction of Winnie the Pooh standing close to a painting that may be a reproduction of Vinegar tasters, a Taoist allegorical painting. Guitarist Dominic Chad is known to be both a Taoist and a fan of A. A. Milne, and the album’s name is in fact a reference to Milne’s book Now We Are Six.
The second album, “Six” was preceded by the single “Legacy”, driven by lyrical references to the Marquis de Sade. Several more singles followed, including part 1 of “Being A Girl”, “Negative” and a re-recording of the album’s title track, “Six” produced by Arthur Baker. Draper later admitted to placing the two main singles at the end of the album to be awkward and described the album as being “commercial suicide”.
The album included a guest monologue by Tom Baker. Paul Draper stated that the “interlude” “Witness to a Murder (Part Two)”, recorded by Tom Baker was included to separate the album into two parts as a tribute to old-style vinyl albums.
“Six” was released on September 7 1998 in UK and on April 20, 1999 in the U.S.A.
It’s a dense, even kind of dizzy, turbulent album, Mansun never had a particular style or genre, never focused on “being or become something”, but more on playing music and express themselves. Combining tenaciously classic progressive rock and pop styles and sounds with contemporary ideas, Mansun delivered their own perfumed style and music. When comes down to progressive rocks, Brits delivered the best bands from Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer to Marillion and Mansun.
Unfortunately, after two more albums the band split in 2003.