Brian Joseph Burton (Danger Mouse) – Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album is considered a landmark in rock/hip-hop fusion, which featured a “mashing” together of vocals from Jay-Z’s The Black Album with beats created from The Beatles’ White Album. The project, although met with a cease-and-desist order from EMI, pushed the producer into the international spotlight.
He has since embarked on a series of notable collaborations, working with rappers such as Gemini and underground superstar MF Doom, and finding platinum-selling success with Gnarls Barkley and Gorillaz (producing the latter’s second album, Demon Days).
Danger Mouse created The Grey Album as an experimental project – released in February 2004.
While Danger Mouse never asked permission to use the Beatles’ material, Jay-Z’s acappella recordings, though copyrighted, were released commercially for the purpose of encouraging mashups and remixes. A buzz around the album resulted in wider Internet distribution and media attention garnering a glowing review in the February 9, 2004 issue of The New Yorker.
The Grey Album was named the best album of 2004 by Entertainment Weekly and ranked #10 in The Village Voice’s annual Pazz and Jop critics poll.
“A lot of people just assume I took some Beatles and, you know, threw some Jay-Z on top of it or mixed it up or looped it around, but it’s really a deconstruction.
It’s not an easy thing to do. I was obsessed with the whole project, that’s all I was trying to do, see if I could do this. Once I got into it, I didn’t think about anything but finishing it. I stuck to those two because I thought it would be more challenging and more fun and more of a statement to what you could do with sample alone. It is an art form. It is music. You can do different things, it doesn’t have to be just what some people call stealing. It can be a lot more than that.” -Brian Burton (Danger Mouse)
Burton also commented at length on the creation of The Grey Album in the 2007 Danish documentary Good Copy Bad Copy: A documentary about the current state of copyright and culture.
A 1 Public Service Announcement
A 2 What More can I say
A 3 Encore
A 4 December 4th
A 5 99 Problems
A 6 Dirt Off Your Shoulder
B 1 Moment Of Clarity
B 2 Change Clothes
B 3 Allure
B 4 Justify My Thug
B 5 Interlude
B 6 My 1st Song
He formed Gnarls Barkley with CeeLo Green and produced its albums St. Elsewhere and The Odd Couple.
In 2009 he collaborated with James Mercer of the indie rock band The Shins to form the band Broken Bells.
In addition, Burton worked with rapper MF Doom as Danger Doom and released the album The Mouse and the Mask.
As a producer Danger Mouse produced the second Gorillaz album, 2005’s Demon Days, as well as Beck’s 2008 record Modern Guilt and four albums with The Black Keys (Attack & Release, Brothers, El Camino and Turn Blue).
In 2016, Danger Mouse produced, performed on and co-wrote songs for the eleventh studio album by the Red Hot Chili Peppers titled The Getaway.
Danger Mouse has also produced and co-written albums by Norah Jones (Little Broken Hearts), Electric Guest (Mondo), Portugal.
The Man (Evil Friends), Adele (25), and ASAP Rocky’s (At.Long.Last.ASAP (ALLA)).
He has been nominated for 22 Grammy Awards and has won six.
Danger Mouse has been nominated in the Producer of the Year category five times, and won the award in 2011.