MANSUN frontman Paul Draper returns more than a decade after his cult band's demise with his first solo album and accompanying debut solo tour that opens at Leeds Brudenell Social Club on Thursday night.

Since their dissolution in 2003 after three albums, a Facebook petition calling for fresh material, fervent fan conventions and a collaboration with Catherine AD, alias The Anchoress, prompted Draper to unleash his solo venture, Spooky Action, on the independent Kscope label this summer.

"I’ve never actually been away. I’ve just been carrying on doing music, including producing Skunk Anansie singer Skin’s album and doing other jobs as well, which meant I just shelved plans for the solo album," says Draper, now 46.

"We have our studio in West London which is used by other artists. I produced an album for The Anchoress last year and did some interviews around that, which made people realise I hadn’t just grown a beard and was hiding out in a cave in Snowdonia. I’m still alive!"

He compares the process of making and releasing the album to painting a piece of art. "You have to abandon work on it at some point," he says. "If I could go back, there’s probably 50 things I would change on it, so in that way it's like a piece of art.

"I don’t know if it’s any good – I'm my own worst critic –but this is an album that feels like a continuation of what we could have done had the band stayed together. With Mansun, our first couple of albums, in particular, had pretty abstract lyrics but this is more personal.

"I didn’t find it all that hard to write about all those experiences in rock'n'roll. I had a lot I wanted to say about it. So it was actually good fun, and in a way it was kind of like therapy, getting it all out there."

Draper will be performing on the road with a full band, including regular studio collaborator Catherine AD, and all six shows are sell-outs. "We only set up a handful of dates for the tour, not knowing how they would go, but as these have sold out I’ll hopefully be doing a much bigger tour early next year," he says.

Could Mansun ever re-form, if relations were to be mended between band members? "I'm not opposed to the band happening again, but I think there may be more chance of The Beatles getting back in their original line-up than Mansun re-forming," says Draper, who reckons a reunion would need to be rooted in making new music and not for nostalgia’s sake.