Led by guitarist/vocalist Paul Draper, Mansun formed in Chester, England in the mid-'90s. Draper met Stove King (bass) at Wrexham Art College, discovering that the pair shared a fondness for new wave acts like Duran Duran and ABC, as well as Prince, Pink Floyd, and David Bowie. The pair, who worked at a photo laboratory together, met Dominic Chad (lead guitar) at a local pub he was managing. Forming under the name Grey Lantern, the trio began playing, supported by a series of drummers. After being told by an acquaintance that Grey Lantern was the worst name he had ever heard, the group changed their name to Mansun, which was a truncation of a Verve B-side "A Man Called Sun."
Early in 1996, the group released the limited-edition single "Take It Easy Chicken" on their own Sci Fi Hi Fi label, and it entered the playlist for Radio 1. Shortly afterward, Andy Rathbone became their permanent drummer. Initially, the U.K. music weeklies tagged Mansun as one of the crowd of post-Oasis, lad-rock bands, primarily because of Chad's heavy drinking and alcohol-fueled antics. Over the course of the year, the guitarist sobered up and the band released a series of singles, each more ambitious than the one before. By the end of the year, they had earned their first Melody Maker cover. In February of 1997, Mansun released their debut album Attack of the Grey Lantern on Parlophone Records. It unexpectedly entered the charts at number one, earning enthusiastic reviews in the process. Six appeared two years later; it didn't fare as well as their first album, but Mansun wowed college audiences with the title track. The band's third effort, Little Kix, did even worse, barely receiving recognition in the States when it appeared in summer 2000. Although work began on a fourth album in spring 2002, Mansun split up in May 2003. The results of the new material appeared on the two-disc collection Kleptomania in 2004. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi