skip navigation
Danger Mouse

Danger Mouse

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: Brian Joseph Burton, Brian Burton Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Danger Mouse first gained attention for an album that was never released: The Grey Album (2004) mixed unlicensed samples from The Beatles' "White Album" and Jay-Z's The Black Album, creating a post-modern hybrid that was both a creative success and part of an ongoing argument about the fair use of sampling in popular music. After that underground success, the spotlight-shunning multi-instrumentalist became one of the best-known producers of his era, working with a wide variety of artists in a dizzying range of musical styles on projects that were both commercially and critically successful. Brian Burton was born in White Plains, NY, in 1977. He has revealed very little about his early life, other than the facts that he spent his childhood in Spring Valley, NY, a small town just north of New York City, and his adolescence in Atlanta. Studying telecommunications at the University of Georgia in Athens, hip-hop fan Burton developed a newfound interest in psychedelia and progressive rock, spurred in part by the influence of Athens-based bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor Control. While learning his way around a recording studio, the multi-instrumentalist and producer created two...

Danger Mouse first gained attention for an album that was never released: The Grey Album (2004) mixed unlicensed samples from The Beatles' "White Album" and Jay-Z's The Black Album, creating a post-modern hybrid that was both a creative success and part of an ongoing argument about the fair use of sampling in popular music. After that underground success, the spotlight-shunning multi-instrumentalist became one of the best-known producers of his era, working with a wide variety of artists in a dizzying range of musical styles on projects that were both commercially and critically successful.

Brian Burton was born in White Plains, NY, in 1977. He has revealed very little about his early life, other than the facts that he spent his childhood in Spring Valley, NY, a small town just north of New York City, and his adolescence in Atlanta. Studying telecommunications at the University of Georgia in Athens, hip-hop fan Burton developed a newfound interest in psychedelia and progressive rock, spurred in part by the influence of Athens-based bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor Control. While learning his way around a recording studio, the multi-instrumentalist and producer created two self-released solo albums under the project name Pelican City, The Chilling Effect (1999) and Rhode Island (2000). Burton moved to London in 2000 due in part to his love of British trip-hop acts like Portishead and Massive Attack, whose blend of hip-hop beats and swirling keyboards were a key influence on his own developing sound. While in London, the longtime comics fan adopted the stage name Danger Mouse after a popular British animated series of the 1980s.

In 2002, Danger Mouse signed with Warp Records subsidiary Lex Records as a producer, remixer and performer. His first release was 2003's Ghetto Pop Life, a collaboration with Brooklyn-based rapper Jemini that received positive reviews. But it was an underground sensation that made the rising producer's reputation. While listening to The Beatles' self-titled 1968 double LP, commonly known as "The White Album," Burton had the simple but clever idea to remix instrumental snippets from that rock classic with Jay-Z's recent hit The Black Album. Pieced together in his bedroom over the course of 200 hours, the resulting The Grey Album could not be released legally -- Burton had not received clearances from either Jay-Z's or The Beatles' legal representatives -- but it was an instant smash on the internet-fuelled mixtape underground. The album quickly became a word-of-mouth phenomenon across the nascent social media networks, becoming one of the first unofficial releases to be widely reviewed by the mainstream press. In fact, Entertainment Weekly picked The Grey Album as its Album of the Year in 2004. This despite a concerted legal effort by EMI Records, whose attempts to quash the unauthorized remixes made the project a cause célèbre among online copyright activists.

In 2005, Danger Mouse went aboveground, first with a collaboration with fellow Lex Records artist MF DOOM entitled The Mouse and the Mask that was based around (and included authorized samples from) Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming, such as "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" (Cartoon Network 2001- ) and "Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law" (Cartoon Network 2001-07). That same year, Danger Mouse found his first mainstream pop success when Damon Albarn tapped him to produce the critically-acclaimed second album by Albarn's project Gorillaz, Demon Days.

Danger Mouse then teamed with an old friend from Atlanta, R&B singer Cee-Lo Green, to form the eccentric duo Gnarls Barkley. Their first album, St. Elsewhere (2006), was buoyed by the international success of the hypnotic single "Crazy," but the album as a whole was an engagingly odd blend of hip-hop beats and experimental sounds. It was followed in 2008 by The Odd Couple, which received equally positive review but did not fare as well commercially as their debut. Both albums were named after classic TV shows; the duo also tended to recreate iconic television moments for their publicity photos.

During this period, Danger Mouse continued to work as an increasingly sought-after producer: his cross-genre aesthetic led him to work with artists ranging from gothic southern folkies Sparklehorse to British trip-hop chanteuse Martina Topley-Bird. A second collaboration with Albarn resulted in the supergroup The Good, The Bad and The Queen, in which the duo worked with Clash bassist Paul Simonon, The Verve's guitarist Simon Tong and legendary African drummer Tony Allen, best known for his 1970s and '80s work with controversial Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti. In 2008, Danger Mouse produced Beck's album Modern Guilt and Attack and Release by indie blues-rockers The Black Keys. The following year, Danger Mouse completed a multimedia project with Sparklehorse leader Mark Linkous and cult film director David Lynch entitled Dark Night of the Soul: a hardback book of Lynch's eerie photographs soundtracked by an equally unsettling album of songs by Danger Mouse and Linkous with guest singers including Lynch, punk pioneer Iggy Pop and downtown New York singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega. The album was delayed by a legal dispute between EMI Records and Danger Mouse's British label Lex Records; it was finally released in July 2010, after Linkous had taken his own life earlier that year.

In 2009, Danger Mouse collaborated with British singer-songwriter Helena Costas on an album inspired by the British folk-rock boom of the late 1960s, The Last Laugh, under the project name Joker's Daughter. The following year, he initiated a higher-profile duo with The Shins' leader James Mercer called Broken Bells. Their self-titled debut -- one of the few albums on which Danger Mouse chose to be credited as Brian Burton -- was a critical success that also sold well. It was also one of the three projects that won Danger Mouse the Grammy for Producer of the Year after being nominated three times before: the others were Dark Night of the Soul and The Black Keys' breakthrough hit "Tighten Up." The last of these collaborations bore fruit again in 2011 with the duo's Danger Mouse-produced album El Camino, which spawned the hit single "Lonely Boy." Both the album and the song won Grammy Awards in the rock category.

Also in 2011, Danger Mouse released Rome, a collaboration with Italian film composer Daniele Luppi based on the duo's shared love of classic Italian film soundtracks of the 1960s and '70s by composers such as Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone. In the works since 2005, the album was completed at Rome's Forum Music Village using musicians, including cult-favorite soprano singer Edda dell'Orso, who had recorded the original soundtracks decades before. Jack White and Norah Jones provided lead vocals on three songs each. Danger Mouse went on to produce Jones' next album Little Broken Hearts (2012), an autobiographical album hailed as a successful creative departure for the jazz-pop singer. His next high-profile project was Evil Friends (2013), the seventh album by Portland indie rockers Portugal. The Man.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Education

University of Georgia: -

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute