James Stevenson (musician)

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James Stevenson
James Stevenson, guitarist.jpg
Background information
Born (1958-10-12) 12 October 1958 (age 56)
Genres Rock, punk rock, post-punk, new wave
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1977–present
Associated acts Chelsea, Gen X, Gene Loves Jezebel, The Alarm, Kim Wilde, Glen Matlock, The Cult, Hot Club, The International Swingers
Website http://www.jamesstevenson.info

James Stevenson (born 12 October 1958)[1] is an English punk/alternative rock guitarist, at one time appearing with The Alarm,[2] Gene Loves Jezebel,[3] Gen X[4] and Chelsea.[5]

Music career[edit]

Stevenson started his career with the London-based punk band Chelsea in 1977, while he was still at school studying for A Level exams. He joined Billy Idol in Gen X in 1980 around the time that band's "Dancing with Myself" single was released.[6] After Gen X, Stevenson played for Kim Wilde, contributing to her first album Kim Wilde and second album Select and performing in all of Wilde's early videos including "Kids in America". Stevenson then formed Hot Club with former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock.[7] They released two singles on RAK Records.[8]

In 1985, he was asked to join post-punk band Gene Loves Jezebel when their guitarist left suddenly at the beginning of their first U.S. tour. Stevenson performed on the band's albums Discover, House of Dolls, Kiss of Life, Heavenly Bodies, VII and The Thornfield Sessions. He produced Gene Loves Jezebel singer Jay Aston's solo album Unpopular Songs as well as Beki Bondage's solo album Cold Turkey, among others.[9]

During 1994 and 1995, he provided additional guitar playing for The Cult during their world tour.[10] He also contributed guitar to the song "Brand New You're Retro" by Tricky from his Maxinquaye album.[11] He has contributed as a session guitarist on numerous recordings including artists as diverse as Scott Walker, Jimmy Nail, Helen Terry, Louise and The Hothouse Flowers, and has composed music for TV and film.[12]

In 1998, seven years after Mike Peters left The Alarm, he called upon Stevenson to back his solo projects, and the latter has been a permanent fixture inh Peters' subsequent musical incarnations, resulting in minor chart success, first under the guise of The Poppyfields with the Top 30 hit "45 RPM" in February 2004,[13] and as The Alarm MMVI with the No. 24 single "Superchannel" in February 2006 (from the album Under Attack).[14]

Stevenson still plays with The Alarm and Gene Loves Jezebel (Jay Aston's version) as well as with Chelsea, who released a new album, Faster, Cheaper and Better Looking in 2006. He also plays in Matlock's band The Philistines, and has contributed to Matlock's Open Mind and Born Running albums.[15] He sometimes turns up in New York singer/songwriter Willie Nile's band when they play in the UK.[16]

Stevenson currently records and performs with The International Swingers, which also include vocalist Gary Twinn, bassist Matlock and drummer Clem Burke.[17][18] He also released, via his own website, a three-track CD, "The Shape of Things to Come" in January 2013. An album, Everything's Getting Closer to Being Over, followed in January 2014.[19] The album, produced by Peter Walsh, featured Matlock, Steve Norman, Barriemore Barlow, Geoff Dugmore and others.

Stevenson rejoined The Cult as second guitarist for their "Electric 13" world tour throughout North America, Europe and Australian in summer 2013 and continued to tour with them in 2014.[20]


  1. ^ ""An Alarm Call for James Stevenson" Live Interview by Mel". Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "Thousands Ready to Rock for The Alarm's Gathering". The Daily Post. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "A new chapter in the Goth tale of Gene Loves Jezebel". Malaysia Star. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Rock music stars line-up for match". Trinity Mirror. 14 January 2004. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Poppyfields Sound the Alarm". Rolling Stone. 20 February 2004. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  6. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 472. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  7. ^ "Interview: James Stevenson and Glen Matlock". Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Hot Club". Discogs. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "James Stevenson of Gene Loves Jezebel, the Alarm, International Swingers & The Cult". Glide Magazine. 2014-07-28. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Cult Rejoined By Guitarist James Stevenson". 16 July 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Maxinquaye". Discogs. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  12. ^ "25 Years in the rock'and'roll wilderness". Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ageing punks' single stunt a hit". BBC News. 19 February 2004. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "The Alarm - Superchannel album". Discogs. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "Glen Matlock and the Philistines: Born Running". Punk News. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "James Stevenson & Willie Nile". Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  17. ^ The International Swingers, Vive le Rock, p. 26, September 2013
  18. ^ Benjamin Leatherman (2013-05-22). "The International Swingers: "The First Punk Bands ... Were Just Bands"". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2015-02-21. 
  19. ^ "James Stevenson - Everything's Getting Closer to Being Over album". Discogs. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  20. ^ Getting ready for the road... | Billy Duffy

External links[edit]