Sigue Sigue Sputnik Biography

These UK punk/glam revivalists engineered themselves a briefly prosperous niche in the mid-80s. The creation of Tony James (ex-Chelsea; Generation X), Sigue Sigue Sputnik artlessly copied the shock tactics of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. Instead of taking on board the Pistols’ nihilism, James poached from cyberpunk novels and films (particularly Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner) for their image. This consisted of dyed hair piled high, bright colours and an abundance of eyeliner. James had also recruited clothes designer Martin Degville (27 January 1961, England; vocals), Neal X (b. Neil Whitmore; guitar), Ray Mayhew (drums) and Chris Kavanagh (b. 4 June 1964; drums), taking pride in their apparent lack of musical experience. Taking their name from a Moscow street gang, they set about a publicity campaign that resulted in EMI Records, understandably keen not to let the next Sex Pistols slip through their hands again, signing them for a reported £4 million. The figure, however, was deliberately exaggerated in order to provoke publicity. Their first single was ‘Love Missile F1-11’, which soared to number 3 in the UK charts in February 1986. However, although ‘21st Century Boy’ also made the Top 20, and a debut album sold advertising space between tracks, James’ moneymaking ruse soon ended. Despite an avalanche of intentionally lurid press, the band dissolved, and Tony James subsequently, albeit briefly, joined the Sisters Of Mercy in 1991. Kavanagh would go on to Big Audio Dynamite, though James would make another attempt at resurrecting Sigue Sigue Sputnik later in the 90s. Degville recorded the dreadful solo set World War Four in 1991. He reunited with James and Whitmore in the late 90s, buoyed by Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s continued popularity on the Internet. The trio recorded a new album Piratespace in 2001 and embarked on a number of tours.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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