Music/Features

Art Attack host Neil Buchanan plays in a metal band

May 4, 2015

Marseille have been around since the '70s.

Neil Buchanan is best known as the chipper, shaggy-mopped host of British kids’ show Art Attack. However, before he popped on his red crewneck and showed audiences how to make spooky castles out of toilet paper, Buchanan got his start in the spotlight as the guitarist of glam-metal band Marseille.

The Liverpool-based NWOBHM group formed in the hairy 1970s, sharing a stage with the likes of Judas Priest, Nazareth, and Saxon (then affectionately known as “Son of a Bitch”). Oddly enough, Marseille’s original name was AC/DC before the Australian group came out banging hell’s bells. Buchanan and co. humbly bowed out and changed their monicker in 1976, shortly before winning the first ever national UK battle of the bands (with celeb judges including Queen’s Brian May and Mick Ronson of Bowie’s Spiders from Mars). According to the fact section of their awesomely ugly website, Marseille scored a minor hit with the 1979 sleazeball anthem “Over and Over”, and also saw their song “Do It The French Way” used as the soundtrack to an undisclosed softcore porno. Don’t tell the kids!

Buchanan’s tenure as the host of Art Attack lasted from 1990-2007. Classic episodes of the colourful and hyperactively positive DIY art show can still be seen in syndication around the world, and it continues on Disney Junior with new host Lloyd Warbey. Meanwhile, Marseille reunited in 2010 with a new album titled Unfinished Business (“After 25 years and 5 divorces… the gang are BACK”) and tour dates as recent as spring 2014. It seems that Buchanan has now put down his giant paintbrush and picked up the flying V for all eternity. [H/T Permanent Plastic Helmet]

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