In Rise of the Ogre it is revealed that Murdoc was dumped on his father's doorstep in childhood and went on to a very abusive childhood. It has been proposed that his many addictions and his sour attitude are due to his childhood abuse. Murdoc stated in Rise of the Ogre that everybody knows who his father was but nobody quite knows who his mother is and there are so many stories about who she is. Sebastian Jacob Niccals ("or Jacob Sebastian Niccals, depending on who's asking") is a spiteful drunk of a man who often verbally abused and exploited his sons. The local pub had a routine talent show that Murdoc was often forced to participate in so he could win his father drinking money (Murdoc once played Pinocchio, singing "I've Got No Strings"). Though he and his older sibling Hannibal never got along (he was responsible for two of the eight separate times Murdoc's nose was broken), it was through his older brother that Murdoc was introduced to his favorite bands, such as The Clash (though Murdoc found Black Sabbath on his own).
Murdoc played in a number of bands before Gorillaz, many listed off in Rise of the Ogre or other interviews; they never went anywhere. Notably, there were Murdoc's Burning Sensations, Patchouli Clark, Kiss 'n' Make Up, Bullworker, Crimson Backdraft, Motley Dude, The Stupid Name Gang, Durango 95, Two's A Crowd, This Show Is Cancelled (a band he recalls often confused audiences who didn't show up to shows, to which they responded by changing the name to We've Split Up to no avail) and an unnamed metal band which consisted of six people, including Murdoc on bass. The names and instruments of the other members appear in the Gorillaz 2005 promotional booklet and are given as follows: Billy Boy (who is based on a character in A Clockwork Orange) and Tiny on guitars, Crunch on drums, Rocky on keyboards and Munch who appears to be listed as "Band Artist." Not much else is known about these characters including their personalities or current whereabouts, although they appear on a few pieces of official Gorillaz artwork, most notably in the previously mentioned booklet as well as in Kong Studios where an image of Crunch, Billy Boy and Tiny can be seen on the wall in the instrument room.
Eventually after recruiting 2D through a series of accidents and not-so-accidents and kidnapping Russel from Big Rick Black's Music Shack, he pieced together the band that would become Gorillaz. He purchased Kong Studios and was delivered a small Japanese girl who could play a wicked guitar solo; Noodle replaced Paula Cracker (presently an overmedicated psychopath with a personal vendetta against the thirteen-year-old who helped lead the band to success) as Gorillaz's axe bandier.Paula also cheated on 2D with Murdoc. Murdoc wrote the self-titled debut album with help from 2D and Russel. With the album's success, the band launched a disastrous world tour: while in the United States, Murdoc established a cult of personality with various seedy individuals, chief of which being Little Jimmy Manson, a psychopathic midget dangerously obsessed with either killing Murdoc, or falling in love with him. In a hotel room one night, Manson and his cronies summoned a black-skinned demon boy that has stalked the band ever since. After achieving fame, fortune, and several nasty hangovers, the alcoholic bassist relocated his band over to Los Angeles so they could begin production on a movie.
Unfortunately, this was never to be. They were conned by a movie director (who it turns out, was just an insane man) while Murdoc attempted starring in a television program (he was too old for the part), and they ventured unsuccessfully into scriptwriting. Murdoc took off to a Tijuana brothel after strangling 2D (who, like the rest of the band, went their separate ways) and was eventually thrown in prison with a 30-year sentence for giving counterfeit checks to the prostitutes (fact: Murdoc lost his virginity at 9 to a dinnerlady) It was during this sentence that he was acquainted with his raven Cortez, the "jailbird with a chilling reputation". While serving his sentence Murdoc acquired some prison ink (in the form of the seven deadly sins tattooed across his back), and also took an open University course: "Amateur Administration of Pharmaceutical Medicines" and managed to pass a medical exam, earning the title 'Dr. Niccals'. He escaped with the help of two Mexican criminals, a papier-mâché mannequin of himself and a taped loop of himself moaning.
After returning to the brothel to make a final point to the Mexican authorities, Murdoc loaded up on duty-free tequila and a few sombreros and made his way back to Kong, finding that Noodle had written the second album by herself (which he tried to take the credit for). The new album, Demon Days, made the band into even bigger superstars. After several number one videos, Noodle (close compadre to Murdoc) was apparently "killed" during the "El Mañana" video shoot (it can be noted that Murdoc came up with the idea of shooting down the floating island with Noodle inside, though to try to save her in the long run).
After the El Mañana conspiracy, 2D and Russel were frantic about Noodle's supposed death. But it turned out to be a hoax. Murdoc revealed the truth about the El Mañana video in the Gorillaz official autobiography book, Rise of the Ogre. Gorillaz-Unofficial released an article containing the contents of the book.
I guess you've waited long enough. Noodle's safe, she was just acting as planned... Jamie Hewlett gave Noodle the command, and she parachuted safely off the island. —Murdoc Niccals on the video for El Mañana
It turns out that the entire El Mañana conspiracy was calculated specifically to get rid of an enemy of the band: Little Jimmy Manson, a psychotic hippie turned industry executive who was set on sabotaging Gorillaz. The reason was that Jimmy auditioned for Gorillaz a few years back, but was turned down after Noodle got the job. He has had a grudge with Gorillaz ever since. Murdoc saw Jimmy's plan and decided to get rid of Jimmy before it was too late. Murdoc told Jimmy that he had a plan to "help him" to kill off one of the band members so that 1) Gorillaz would end with a bang and 2) Jimmy could start a new band with Murdoc. Noodle was to do the El Mañana video with Manson stowed away on the island and then, while the windmill was crashing around them, Jimmy would shoot the guitarist whilst taking the parachute for himself. However, Murdoc turned the tables on Jimmy by not only "forgetting" to leave the weapon aboard the island but by also locking him in the windmill; Jimmy supposedly died within the crash while Noodle parachuted to safety. His statement has followed:
There's no way on earth I'm killing Noodle. Are you mad? She's Noodle. We're Gorillaz! The greatest band on earth. I'm arrogant, ruthless even, but I'm not stupid. I'm not having some two-bit mouldy despot record company nut killing off my band. No way, José. That clown got what he deserved. . . He set himself up and burned all the evidence in the process. Instant Karma for Mr. Jimmy Manson. —Murdoc Niccals, Rise of the Ogre
It was stated by Murdoc that Noodle had been planning to leave after Demon Days, although leaving what, the band or the country, was never answered. Though it had been planned for months, she had neglected to tell anyone of her plans (although Murdoc stated it was obvious what she was doing). Murdoc, in order to run with his plan to off Jimmy, made a deal with Noodle: she could disappear for some R&R with no fuss if she did the video.
While some may say this is one of the only occasions when it appears that Murdoc isn't as selfish as he appears, he later states that no one was going to ruin his band, obviously meaning he would not jeopardise his fame.
However on 8 November 2007, the day of the live chat on bandmate Murdoc's Facebook page, Murdoc revealed that Noodle has actually been taken in place of Russel Hobbs, to Hell by the demons invading the Kong Studios building. Murdoc is currently attempting to rescue her.
Noodle has been dragged to Hell. She can look after her self, but this one's too big for her on her own. I'm helping her out of there. In fact I only stopped by here to pick up a can of mace, when I noticed that someone had left the door open and let you gonks in.... —Murdoc Niccals on a live Facebook chat
He later explained:
Well... It’s funny. After the first album Russel had this big mad breakdown. He had the spirit of Del exorcised out of him by the Grim Reaper. Which kind of sent him mental. He tried to record a solo album but then he was saying that all these demons were flying out the speakers trying to eat him. Everyone thought he’d just gone loopy. “Living in a basement with Ike Turner”. Turns out though he was right. The Demons were real! You couldn’t really make it up. So next thing we know is after Noodle disappeared after The El Manana video incident, we hear this voice coming out of the basin basement room of Kong. Out of a radio. Turns out that when these demons couldn’t get hold of Russ, they grabbed Noodle instead. Dragged her downstairs, to Hades! So of course it fell to muggings here, (that’s me), to go on some epic Odysseus type journey into The Underworld to try to rescue her. It’s all tied up with contract I signed with Beelzebub that shoe-horned Gorillaz up the charts in the first place. He was cocked off about some late payment of my eternal soul, or something stupid. He as well as anyone should know that these type of payments take time to come through. I mean, well, everyone’s got their demons to battle. It's just that mine take on a more physical form and have names like “Alichino”, “Lilith”, “Baphomet” “Sidragasum”, “Xitragupten” and so on... I guess that’s what you get if you’re born in a mental asylum named after a demon called Belphegor. Still I was never bored as a child. Yup... never bored. —Murdoc Niccals on a live Facebook chat
Murdoc has since revealed various disturbing truths about Gorillaz' history, via his "Pirate Radio" broadcasts on Gorillaz.com. Among them include the revelation that Noodle was never rescued; upon entering hell and searching wildly for her, he discovered that she was not there and had disappeared on her own. Returning to Earth, he created a clone-cyborg version of her from DNA that he collected around the wreckage on the site of El Mañana, and used the new Noodle as his bodyguard against the Black Cloud, pirates and mercenaries that Murdoc had been selling bad weapons to since at least his time in Mexico. At a recent radio interview, Murdoc confirmed that he burned down Kong Studios and used the insurance money in order to create his hideaway/recording studio on a tiny island called Point Nemo. Also known as "Plastic Beach", it is an island made entirely of social and cultural garbage. He is presently located on Plastic Beach, where he's kidnapped 2D and began production of the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach. During the interview, Murdoc also hinted at a possible fourth album for Gorillaz.
Murdoc has most recently been trying and failing to appear at live shows around the world such as Coachella and The Roundhouse, but many things have stopped him such as being deported from America. He said in an iTunes interview that he "Wasn't 100% sure he really exists..." and that Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett have been trying and failing to stick him back on a piece of paper. The ever-so pesky "Gorillaz Tribute Band" has been blocking his way and preventing him from taking the stage (See the Murdoc Dressing Room video shorts where, when preparing for a concert, Murdoc, 2D, and Cyborg Noodle get trapped inside.).
It appears from the music videos of "Stylo" and "On Melancholy Hill", an evil force known as the Boogieman is chasing Murdoc, and is after him to claim his soul. The Boogieman also appears in several other pieces of Gorillaz artwork and is also seen in the 2D ident, though the motives of the character are still unknown. On the Gorillaz website however, it was noted that the Boogieman is a physical manifestation of Murdoc's evil side, the Evangelist being a lighter side, though all we know of the Evangelist is that it was created for the sole purpose of saving Murdoc from himself.
Murdoc got together a group of collaborators in 2010 and went out to look for Noodle, although they still haven't found her, she is now confirmed to be alive after the "El Mañana" incident, as she appears in the "On Melancholy Hill" video, which relates to Murdoc and the collaborators looking for Noodle, as they are in submarines in the ocean at the same time as Noodle, although the video also shows the arrival of the gang to the island of Plastic Beach.
On December 25, 2010 to cap off the end of 2010, the Gorillaz unveiled (via the Gorillaz Advent Calendar) their newest album, The Fall. It was made on the Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour using Damon Albarn's iPad.
As of late 2011, in a recent XFM Broadcast, Murdoc stated he left his pirate-infested Plastic Beach to live in Hawaii. It is evident by his detailed "story" that he is there alone, though, some fans are convinced he is lying about 2D's "sudden death" (which didn't happen in an uncut version until he said it again was true) and the appearance of Russel and Noodle, as well as the destruction of the Cyborg Noodle.
After nearly a year underground (or lurking in the dark corners of who-knows-where), Gorillaz’s Murdoc Niccals has resurfaced and is again wreaking havoc — this time over the airwaves. It seems in fact that, following a dramatic exit from Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach HQ, the miserable despot Murdoc Niccals has created yet another pirate radio station and is now sending transmissions from a brand new mystery location.it all about Gorillaz Converse single will be called "DoYaThing" and will feature collaborators André 3000 (of Outkast) and James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem). The single was released on 23 February.
He is the self-proclaimed 'leader' of the band and often makes attempts to bully the other members into doing things his way, especially 2D. He's also something of a womaniser. Despite these grave personality flaws, he also manages to be highly amusing through his use of creative insults and misanthropic rants. He is an alcoholic and a former speed addict, who also has problems with personal hygiene.
His main influences are the likes of Black Sabbath, The Clash, David Bowie and The Rolling Stones; however, he is also fond of AC/DC, Syd Barrett and The Ramones. Other influences for Murdoc, as well as the other characters of the band, are stated in the Charts of Darkness mockumentary about Gorillaz, which can be found on the Phase 1 DVD. In Phase 3, his personality appears to be much more sinister and evil than in other phases (Kidnapping and somewhat mentally abusing 2-D and kidnapping contributors to the Phase 3 album as examples.) As mentioned on Gorillaz World Tour Diary 4 in his profile page, he has a severe case of anablephobia, a fear of looking up. However, it is not known where he got this fear from. Murdoc is a Satanist and sometimes says, "Hail, Satan!" He can also be seen periodically wearing an inverted cross necklace, as shown in the music video for "Rock the House", for example.
Murdoc can often be seen with his shirt off, at times even appearing in nothing but his underwear (usually briefs but sometimes a thong) and sometimes, totally naked, although only showing his behind. During the period of the first Gorillaz album, he was generally seen wearing a grey sweater and jeans, although in the music video for "Rock the House" he wore briefs and what appeared to be the protective padding used in cricket. The electric bass which he is seen playing the most is a rare red 1981 Gibson Flying V bass, which he calls "El Diablo". It is one of only 375 ever made, and in reality is actually owned by Albarn himself. A large feature of him is his 6-inch (150 mm) long tongue. Murdoc has stated that his height is 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m).
During the Demon Days era, his wardrobe seemed to grow much more diverse, appearing in a variety of different outfits. For example, in the music video for "Dirty Harry", he wore a military uniform reminiscent of a Nazi outfit. He had also acquired a so-called 'designer label' cape with a skull woggle, seen in much of the album art for Demon Days, and seemed to wear it more often than his inverted cross. He also appears to have heterochromia, with his right eye being black and his left eye of a red colour, which is rumoured to be caused by rubbing crystal meth in his eye during his teen years. His nose is permanently crooked as a result of it being broken 8 times. His tongue is abnormally long, which may be a reference to Gene Simmons's famously long tongue (although Murdoc maintains that his tongue is longer than Mr. Simmons'). Murdoc sports a number of tattoos, including a black inverted cross on his left upper arm, an Iron Cross on his upper right arm, a black skull and crossed roses bearing the inscription "Born to Die", the word "Helios" tattooed in black on his lower back with an arrow pointed downwards, and a red octopus on the inside of his right forearm. During his stint in a Mexican prison during the band's hiatus, Murdoc was said to have gotten some more ink in the form of the seven deadly sins emblazoned across his back (he maintains that "Lust", "Pride" and "Gluttony" are his favourites). During interviews, he has been 'voice-coached' by Phil Cornwell. Murdoc's hair, originally completely black changed to a shade of dark grey, possibly a sign of ageing. As well as the darker hair Murdoc also has wrinkles under his eyes, whether a sign of ageing or lack of sleep is unknown. He says they're laughter lines though. His skin has also turned to a shade of green, According to Murdoc, he tans green. He is also seen in some videos with one pinkie nail a bright red, possibly a reference to the character "Jesus" in the Coen Brothers' film The Big Lebowski who sports the same.
His current appearance is different. In the "On Melancholy Hill" music video, he is wearing black jeans, a white turtleneck sweater, a captain's hat that has a skull and crossbones, boots, and he was also smoking a pipe. In the "STYLO" music video, he was wearing all black with a red bandana tied around his neck. His eyes aren't mismatched any more and seem to be either brown as seen in 'Stylo' or a gold/hazel color as seen in the 'Dressing Room' clips that have been shown during the Gorillaz Escape to Plastic Beach Tour. Murdoc's skin has changed as well. In the "On Melancholy Hill" music video, when Murdoc emerges from the submarine, his skin is green. This is due to the fact that because he sold his soul to the devil, he grows more inhuman with each phase.